This recipe has been updated on September 4, 2020 to include new images and descriptions.
If you’ve read Macheesmo for any period of time, you know my love for a good noodle bowl. They can be infinitely customizable and make great leftovers for lunch the next day. This Thai Noodle Bowl with Tofu and Peanut Sauce is my latest iteration of this idea and it’s all about the sauce!
The sauce I used for this recipe is a combo of a classic peanut sauce and a coconut curry sauce. It has literally everything. A little savory, sweet, sour, and spicy. I was eating the stuff with a spoon and you will find yourself adding more and more of it as you eat. So addictive!
Besides the sauce, this Thai Noodle Bowl can be a make-it-your-own meal, for sure. On this day, I used some seared sesame tofu, loads of fresh veggies, and some green garnishes. You could add different proteins, different veggies, or just pile a big bowl of noodles with the sauce. Your call!
How to Make the Thai Peanut Sauce Dressing
This sauce is the most important part of the recipe. I basically just tested a few mash-up ideas for various sauces and finally hit one that I like. It has a coconut milk base, but also has a little green curry in it (I found the red curry to be too spicy for this recipe) and peanut butter.
Blend everything together really well on high so you have no big chunks of garlic. The resulting sauce should be creamy smooth and pourable. If it’s too thick, thin it out with tablespoons of hot water.
Thai Noodle Bowl Ingredients
I used wide rice noodles for my bowls, but any noodle would work. Soba? Sure. Thin rice noodles? Yes. Rice? Absolutely.
For my protein, I went tofu on this particular day. I pressed a few pieces of extra-firm tofu, added some sesame seeds, and seared them until browned, about 4-5 minutes per side. Looking good!
Then it’s just chopping practice!
Napa cabbage, red peppers, carrots, scallion, cilantro. I want it all!
Making a peanut noodle bowl is pretty straight forward. Pile everything high and deep to your liking. Drizzle with lots of sauce!
Optionally, add some crunchy peanuts to the bowl for a little extra crunch.
These Thai Noodle Bowls are packed with flavor but take just a few minutes to toss together. They would make great weekday lunches also!
If you have leftover sauce, it keeps great in the fridge, but it will thicken in the fridge so thin it out with hot water before using it.
Green Thai Peanut Noodle Bowls
- 1 blender
- 8 ounces rice noodles
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1 red pepper, sliced thin
- 2 cups sliced Napa cabbage
- 16 ounces extra-firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Cilantro, garnish
Peanut Sauce Dressing:
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass
- 1 tablespoon green curry paste
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 lime, juice only
- To make sauce, add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. If sauce seems too thick (it should be pourable), add hot water by the tablespoon to thin it out.
- To sear the tofu, cut tofu into 1/4-inch planks and press between a few paper towels to remove as much liquid as possible. Sprinkle each piece of tofu on both sides with sesame seeds. Press the seeds into the tofu so they stick.
- Add a drizzle of vegetable oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add tofu and sear for 4-5 minutes per side until browned. Set seared tofu aside.
- Cook rice noodles according to package. When cooked, drain and toss with a little sesame oil or peanut sauce to prevent sticking.
- Make bowls by piling in some noodles and top with a piece of tofu and all the veggies. Garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds or peanuts. Drizzle liberally with peanut sauce dressing.
- These bowls make great lunches. Bring the dressing separately and add it right before eating.