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!”
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!
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
More Favorite Dinner Recipes
- Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken
- Maple Sesame Salmon
- Honey Garlic Shrimp
- Citrus Chicken Quinoa Salad
- Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Lemon Thyme Chicken
- 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 2–3 cups)*
- Optional Toppings: 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, handful of chopped cilantro, 1/2 cup peanuts, 1 Tablespoon chopped green onion
- 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
- 1–2 teaspoons Sriracha or any hot chile sauce
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for a few days. Reheat to your liking.
- Zucchini: Some stores sell zucchini noodles in the produce section, but you could also do this yourself at home with a spiralizer.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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