These spicy peanut tempeh noodles are the latest addition to my repertoire of weeknight go-to’s. Very loosely inspired by Chinese dan dan noodles, they’re savory, rich, chewy, and easy to make.
As part of my never-ending quest to make tempeh cool and fashionable, I present to you my latest creation: spicy peanut tempeh noodles. Much like my [quite popular] soy-glazed crumbled tempeh, these noods are the perfect gateway recipe for tempeh skeptics. They’re savory, luxurious, and satisfying, and I know you’re just going to love them.
The recipe consists of tempeh – crumbled and stir-fried with bell peppers and napa cabbage – plus thick udon noodles and spicy, garlicky, ginger-y peanut sauce. Vegan comfort food at its finest, if you ask me. Let’s jump in!
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
- Tempeh: Usually located in the supermarket next to things like tofu, kimchi, and vegan meat substitutes. Lightlife is the most common brand. I also like Soyboy (made locally in NY) and Trader Joe’s brand.
- Napa Cabbage: has thinner leaves and a milder flavor than European green cabbage. Here you can sub it with bok choy or curly kale.
- Fresh Garlic + Ginger: Do not sub with dried.
- Peanut Butter: Be sure to use natural peanut butter (the only ingredient should be peanuts and maybe salt). Yes, it does require a good stir when you first open the jar but the extra work is 100% worth it as it creates a rich, extra-delicious sauce. Conventional peanut butter (Jif, etc.) contains oils that are terrible for you, as well as chemical stabilizers and unnecessary sugar.
- Gochujang: This fermented chili paste is a staple of Korean cooking. It adds heat, but also a hint of sweetness and funk. It’s available in most supermarkets today (in the Asian or international aisles). If you wanna get by without, sub with Sriracha or harissa.
- Fresh Udon: These are thick, slippery, extra-chewy Japanese noodles that can stand up to the heft of tempeh. Look for them in the refrigerated section. Fresh ramen or pad see ew noodles can be used here too. If using dried Asian noodles (like pad Thai), use 8 ounces instead of the whole pound.
Peanut Tempeh Noodles Step-by-Step
Simmer the Tempeh: Crumble the tempeh with your fingers into small bits. Place in a large high-sided skillet and add some water. Bring to a simmer and cook until all the water is evaporated; this step softens the tempeh and tones down its bitterness.
Add the Vegetables: Add oil and bell peppers, and cook until the peppers are just starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Then add the cabbage and cook for ~10 more minutes until everything is lightly browned. For proper browning, resist the urge to stir too often – you only need to stir 2-3 times.
Make the Peanut Sauce: In a bowl, whisk all the sauce ingredients into a paste. When the vegetables are just about ready, cook the noodles according to package directions. Before draining the noodles, reserve some of the noodle-cooking water and whisk into the peanut sauce to thin it out.
Finish the Noodles: Make sure to combine the noodles with the veg and sauce right away – they have to be hot in order to combine well with the sauce.
What to Use Instead of Tempeh
If you don’t like tempeh or have a soy allergy, sub it here with thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms. (Skip step 1, then add the ‘shrooms with the peppers in step 3). Tofu is not a suitable substitute here.
More takeout-inspired faves…
Let me know if you try this recipe! Give it a rating below and leave a comment, and don’t forget to tag @thenewbaguette on Instagram with your creation.Print
These vegan tempeh noodles with spicy peanut sauce are chewy, savory, and rich.
- One 8-ounce package tempeh
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil, like avocado or refined coconut
- 1 red or green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 3 cups (about 1/4 medium head) sliced napa cabbage* (see note below)
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tablespoon gochujang*
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (lemon also works)
- One 16-ounce package fresh udon noodles*
- Scallions and sesame seeds, for serving
- Using your hands, crumble the tempeh into chickpea-sized bits. Place in a large high-sided skillet and add 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until all the water has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the noodles.
- To the skillet, add 1 tablespoon avocado oil and the peppers, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook until the peppers are just starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Then add the cabbage with a pinch of salt, and cook until everything is nicely browned, 8 to 10 minutes more. (It may seem like a lot of cabbage at first, but it will cook down considerably.) For proper browning, resist the urge to stir the mixture more than 2-3 times.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the garlic and ginger with 1/4 cup peanut butter, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon each of gochujang, sesame oil, and lime juice. Stir into a paste.
- Cook the noodles according to package directions. Reserve 1/3 cup of the starchy cooking water, then drain the noodles.
- Whisk the reserved water into the peanut mixture until smooth.
- Add the hot noodles to the skillet with the vegetables, along with the sauce, and toss with tongs to coat.
- Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
- Napa cabbage has thinner leaves and a milder flavor than European green cabbage. You can sub it with bok choy or curly kale.
- Gochujang is a Korean fermented chili paste. You can sub with Sriracha or harissa.
- Can’t find fresh udon? Sub with fresh ramen or pad see ew noodles. If using dried Asian noodles, use 8 ounces instead of a pound.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 475
- Fat: 22.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 52.4 g
- Fiber: 3.5 g
- Protein: 17.2 g