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This flavorful peanut chicken zucchini noodles dish is a healthier and wholesome dinner that has lean protein, plenty of vegetables, and a delectable savory peanut sauce. Feel free to switch up the vegetables and meat, or skip the meat and replace with more vegetables or tofu. Readers have raved about this recipe for years and it’s a team favorite, too.

One reader, Sam, says: This is absolutely amazing!! We’ve made it so many times, it’s a biweekly meal for us! I add more chicken because we just love it for lunches too! Thank you!”

peanut chicken zucchini noodles on a white serving tray with a fork
peanut chicken zucchini noodles

This peanut chicken zucchini noodles dish works on so many levels because it’s:

  • simple and light
  • fresh-tasting and flavorful
  • ready in 40 minutes
  • pretty healthy
  • super versatile – you can change up the vegetables and protein!

Just like we do when we make bruschetta chicken, we’re replacing regular noodles with zucchini noodles. But TRUST ME when I say you won’t even miss regular pasta. The zucchini noodles soak up every bit of the savory peanut sauce.

Tell Me About Peanut Chicken Zucchini Noodles

  • Texture: Tender vegetables, shredded chicken, and zucchini noodles are coated in a rich, indulgent sauce. The garnishes – sesame seeds, cilantro, peanuts, chopped green onion – add more flavor, of course, and crunchy textures.
  • Flavor: The peanut sauce is easily the star of the show. As you can imagine from the ingredients used, it has a massive and sophisticated flavor that’s all at once sweet, savory, and lightly spicy.
  • Ease: You’ll need to prep your veggies, spiral the zucchini, and make the sauce, but they’re all easy tasks.
2 images of spiralized zucchini and veggies in a skillet

Choosing the Right Ingredients

Don’t stray from the ingredients listed because each one serves a purpose to round out the flavors in this dish.

  • Zucchini. Some stores sell zucchini noodles in the produce section, but you could also do this yourself at home with a spiralizer. If you’re not into zucchini noodles, you can use regular pasta (cook it first) or cut the zucchini into thin strips. See the recipe notes.
  • Vegetables. You can use any vegetables, really, but I like using shredded carrots, cabbage, and sliced pepper. Make sure you thinly slice whichever vegetables you use.
  • Sesame oil. Sesame oil is essential to this dish because of its unmistakable flavor – it cannot be skipped! You’ll also need a little in the peanut sauce, too. We also use it when making this flavorful honey garlic soy salmon.
  • Chicken. I usually boil skinless boneless chicken breasts for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through, and then shred it. But you could also use up leftover chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken and shred the meat – whatever makes it easy for you. You could also use cooked beef, shrimp, salmon, tofu, or whatever your heart or diet desires.
2 images of peanut sauce in a glass bowl and diced fresh ginger

Easy Peanut Sauce

The peanut sauce is made from only a few ingredients: peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, fresh ginger, rice vinegar, and a little Sriracha for a kick. This recipe is a very loose adaptation of Vietnamese peanut dipping sauce and Chinese peanut sauce – the main difference is that my version features honey. Many readers end up making this peanut chicken zucchini noodles meal more than once, so my advice is to keep your pantry stocked with the sauce ingredients!

  • Use Rice Vinegar. Sweet and delicate rice vinegar is a KEY signature flavor of this dish. Avoid using white wine or white vinegar, which are much too harsh. If you must, you can use cider vinegar, which is milder, but your sauce will not taste the same. Again, rice vinegar is best.

You’ll just need to whisk all of the ingredients together on the stove for about 5 minutes, or until the peanut butter has melted down and the flavors thoroughly combine. I usually do this as the vegetables cook to save some time.

peanut chicken zucchini noodles in a pink skillet
zoomed in image of peanut chicken zucchini noodles

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peanut chicken zucchini noodles on a white serving tray with a fork

Peanut Chicken Zucchini Noodles

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Thai

Description

Mixing up weeknight dinners with this wildly flavorful peanut chicken and veggies dish. The sauce is inspired by two delicious Asian peanut sauces: Vietnamese peanut dipping sauce and Chinese peanut sauce. Keep in mind that it’s a very loose adaption as neither usually contain honey.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil (you’ll need more for the peanut sauce below)
  • 2 teaspoons minced or chopped garlic
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced cabbage (I use red)
  • 1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced (I use red)
  • 3 large zucchini, spiralized into noodles*
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked & shredded (about 23 cups)*
  • Optional Toppings: 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, handful of chopped cilantro, 1/2 cup peanuts, 1 Tablespoon chopped green onion

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar*
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 12 teaspoons Sriracha or any hot chile sauce

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 Tablespoons of sesame oil and the garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, cabbage, and pepper slices. Cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are a little tender. (I usually begin the peanut sauce, step 2, during this time.) Once tender, add the zucchini noodles and shredded chicken to the skillet. Cook and stir for about 3 minutes until the zucchini is a little softer and chicken is warm. Turn off the stove and remove from heat. Set aside. (*If your skillet isn’t quite big enough, you can do this step in batches.)
  2. Combine all of the peanut sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk constantly until the peanut butter has melted and everything is combined. I usually use 2 teaspoons of Sriracha, but use the amount of heat you like.
  3. Once the sauce is heated through, pour over chicken/vegetables. Toss everything around until combined. Place on a serving dish (or not!) and top with sesame seeds, cilantro, peanuts, and green onion. Serve immediately.
  4. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for a few days. Reheat to your liking.

Notes

  1. Zucchini: Some stores sell zucchini noodles in the produce section, but you could also do this yourself at home with a spiralizer.
  2. Chicken: I simply boil chicken until cooked through– about 12-15 minutes, then shred it. If you have leftover shredded, chicken from another recipe, use that. Or buy a rotisserie chicken from the store and shred the meat.
  3. Rice Vinegar: Rice vinegar is best for this sauce. Do not use white wine or white vinegar– they’re too harsh. Apple cider vinegar works as a substitute.
  4. Substitutions: See Choosing the Right Ingredients and Easy Peanut Sauce sections above for explanations of possible substitutions.

Keywords: peanut chicken zucchini noodles, thai chicken zoodles

overhead image of peanut chicken zucchini noodles on a white serving tray

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. We LOVE this recipe. Enough that I want to take it for a potluck and convince others that zoodles are amazing and oodles of fun to make. My question is this…. if I make the sauce and have everything chopped chicken cooked and shredded, do you think I could cook it in the crockpot? I know it sounds strange, but I love it fresh and this is our only heating source. I was running off doing it in steps. I have up to 4 hrs of crockpot time. Maybe it would be better to do it all separate and combine to just warm? Any ideas?

    1. Hi Hannah! We haven’t tested this recipe in a crockpot, but fear the low and slow cooking could lead to soggy, flimsy zucchini noodles. Perhaps combining just to keep warm may work. Let us know if you give it a try!

      1. Hi Karen, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients, and many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients. However, there are many great online calculators where you can plug in your exact ingredients like this one: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076

  2. Made this tonight-we both loved it, so tasty! I did figure out the calorie content of all the ingredients and I must say- it’s not diet food!! We got 3 servings instead of 4, guess we need to use smaller serving bowls-lol!

  3. Do you recommend any substitution for the soy sauce? I am allergic to it, and soy is not really all that good for you.

    1. Hi Dawn, There are many substitutes that would work including tamari and coconut aminos. Enjoy!

  4. What is the nutritional values for this recipe? What is the serving size? When some one says a recipe is healthy I expect this info.

    1. Hi Robin, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients, and many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients. However, there are many great online calculators where you can plug in your exact ingredients like this one: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076.

  5. Hubby and I both thought this was a delicious meal. Zucchini spirals make a tasty, healthy substitute for noodles. I can’t wait to try this with shrimp. Thanks for such an amazing recipe!

  6. My husband and I love this recipe. I was wondering if you could use tahini instead of peanut butter.

    1. Hi Marilyn, so glad you love it! We haven’t tested this recipe with tahini but would love to hear how it goes if you do.

  7. As this recipe appeared in my search for “lunch meal prep”, my intention is to make this ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator to eat throughout the week. However, my experience with zoodles is such that they immediately begin liquefying after spiralizing. How do you suggest the zoodles be prepared to avoid liquefication? Thanks!

    1. We do cook the noodles down in this recipe, although you could cook them down less (or not at all — some readers have done this) for a crunchier noodle that should last a bit longer. Regardless of how they are prepared, they will start to lose their freshness a bit as the week goes on. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

    1. Hi Maria, many readers (our team included!) love this recipe as a cold lunch. Let us know if you give it a try!

  8. Hi Sally,
    Was wondering if I could omit the cabbage with something else?

    1. Hi Laura, absolutely — simply add in more of the other vegetables. Enjoy!

  9. This looks like a great recipe! Couple of questions, please: Instead of spiralizing the zucchini, do you see any problems using pasta noodles and adding thinly shredded zucchini like you do with the carrots? And, have you ever used almond butter instead of peanut butter? Me and other folks in the family are allergic to peanuts but I think this recipe sounds amazing and would like to make it. Thank you!

    1. Hi Karen, that should work just fine! You can use almond butter (or any nut butter) in place of peanut butter. Hope you enjoy this one!

  10. Wondering if I am planning to use this for lunch meal prep if I would be better served to leave the zucchini noodles separate and microwave them quickly when I am heating my lunch and add. So maybe they don’t get limp during the week?

    1. Hi Terry Anne, you can absolutely do that if you’d like. Hope you enjoy it!

  11. If you were to use pasta noodles, like fettuccine or linguini, how much would you need to make this?

  12. Very tasty recipe. We loved it and it has much potential to add other items. I do agree to be careful with zucchini spirals as to when you add them to keep crispness. Also sometimes the noodles need to be cut for easier eating. Will have this again now I know about Tahini & Tamari. Thank you.

    1. You’ll want about 6 heaping cups of zucchini noodles.

  13. I have to dress up veggies for my hubby to eat them. This was AWESOME! The bombdiggidy as we say in our household! I followed the recipe with the exception of adding a half of an onion. There is nothing not to like about this recipe. It takes a little bit of prep time but it’s totally worth it. I made the zoodles, I think that adds to the freshness of the recipe. Shrimp would be great in this also. Sally rocks baking, and dinner dishes too as I just learned. Thank you, Sally! Keep them coming!

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