Need a quick and tasty vegan weeknight dinner? Look no further! These vegan satay noodles are so delicious and include warm, creamy, and rich peanut butter sauce, crispy savory tofu and tons of crunchy vegetables. It packs a whole lot of amazing flavors and everyone will love it! 100% plant-based.
If you are a lover of peanut butter, then you are in for a delicious treat!
This recipe highlights one of our favorite recipes from the blog: Thai peanut butter sauce. We have used it many times for different dishes and as a dipping sauce for spring rolls, we never get tired of it!
But this time I combined both our favorite foods and made a slurp-worthy noodle recipe: Vegan satay noodles!
Satay is an Indonesian dish typically served as street food in South East Asia. It is made with pieces of marinated meat (or tofu) placed over a bamboo stick that is then grilled, similarly to a skewer. Satay is usually served with peanut sauce and sometimes rice. You can eat the satay by grabbing the stick and dipping in the sauce.
Given our obsession with everything noodles, I tweaked a traditional tofu satay for a saucy peanut butter noodle dish loaded with colorful crunchy vegetables and savory pan-fried tofu.
The result is a satisfying and delicious meal you can make for a weeknight dinner that your entire family will love. Our kids absolutely go nuts for it and my husband generously covers his bowl with spicy sriracha. Everyone is happy. And everyone is eating all their veggies!
Plus, these noodles also are packed with plant-based protein from the tofu, making them super filling too. I added broccoli, red bell pepper and bok choy to my dish, but you can use other veggies that you like better instead.
I also included some coconut cream mixed in with the peanut butter sauce to create the most silky, velvety and rich Thai sauce. So good!
Let me know if you gave it a try! ❤️
Why you will love this recipe
- Full of savory + sweet + tangy flavors from peanut sauce and coconut cream
- Versatile: use your favorite veggies!
- Packed with plant-based protein and super filling
- Easy to make
- Amazing dinner for busy weeknights
- Makes for yummy leftovers
- Vegan, vegetarian and can be made gluten-free
Ingredients you will need
- Peanut butter sauce: this is the star of the dish! You can find the most delicious peanut sauce recipe here. You will only need half of the batch from the recipe. You can either make it all and keep the other half for later, such as to use as a dipping sauce for egg rolls or rice paper rolls. Or, simply make half of it. To make it, you will need natural peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, garlic and some fresh ginger. This time, instead of using a blender as described in the recipe, I simply whisked the ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. The blender works better on smaller volumes.
- Coconut cream: you can find it in most grocery stores. You have two choices: 1- use a small can of unsweetened coconut cream (5.4 oz) or 2- if you cannot find it, then simply use the top solid part of a regular can of unsweetened coconut milk. To ensure there is a solid cream that forms well and that's easily scoopable, you can transfer the can of coconut milk into the fridge for 1-2 hours prior to using. Check out my video (at 0:38) on how to make a vegan mascarpone cheese to see how I get coconut cream from a can of coconut milk. Use the extra coconut water to make smoothies!
- Tofu: use an extra-firm tofu for the best texture and crispier result.
- Noodles: I used buckwheat soba noodles from the brand Lotus, but you can use your favorite noodles to make this recipe. Other ideas include udon noodles, rice noodles, flat pad Thai noodles and ramen noodles (egg-free to keep it vegan). In a pinch, regular spaghetti noodles work too.
- Soy sauce: a small amount is used to flavor the tofu before pan-frying it.
- Cornstarch: helps the tofu be crispier while cooking.
- Fresh vegetables: I used a combination of broccoli, red bell pepper and bok choy. See below for more ideas!
How to make vegan satay noodles with tofu
There are a few steps to making this recipe, but they are all super easy. To save some time, you can make the peanut sauce ahead of time if you like to meal prep.
Make the creamy peanut sauce
Follow this peanut butter sauce recipe. Make half of the batch. Set aside or store in the fridge until ready to use. You can blend the sauce if you have a small blender, or simply whisk the ingredients in a bowl (you will have to crush the garlic and grate the ginger in that case). You can make the creamy sauce first or prepare it while the tofu is cooking.
Prepare the crispy tofu and noodles
Bring a medium-large pot of water to a boil and then cook the noodles according to the package instructions (keep them al dente or even slightly undercooked). Then, drain, rinse them and set them aside until time to assemble the dish.
Drain the tofu from its packaging and wrap the bloc in a few layers of paper towels or a clean hand towel. Remove as much moisture as you can and then, slice the tofu into cubes of about 1 inch thick.
Transfer the cubes of tofu to a bowl, add the soy sauce and toss the cubes. Let them sit until the soy sauce is mostly absorbed, about 10 minutes. Then, add the cornstarch and toss.
Warm up a large non-stick pan with a little oil and then add the tofu. Disperse them well all over the pan so they don't stick together and cook on medium-high heat flipping them once in a while until golden brown on each side. This can take up to 20 minutes (this can be a good time to make the peanut sauce too).
Once the tofu is done, transfer to a large plate and set aside.
Put the pan back on the stove and add a little more oil if desired. Then, add the broccoli and cook for a few minutes on medium-high heat stirring often. You can add a little water to help them stem.
Once they are more tender but still crunchy, then add the red pepper and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Then add the bok choy and keep cooking and stirring until the veggies are done to your liking.
Combine and serve
Add the peanut butter sauce and coconut cream to the pan and stir to combine. The coconut cream will slowly melt and become more saucy.
Then, transfer the cooked noodles (rinse them just before adding to the pan if they were sitting in the colander for a while) and fried tofu to the pan and fold them in the saucy veggies. Keep cooking for 1-2 minutes just to warm up everything together, then serve.
- It is important not to overcook the noodles. You can cook them for 1-2 minutes less than recommended by the packaging, they will finish up cooking in the sauce at the end.
- You can use sesame oil for cooking the vegetables and tofu to add more flavor.
- If using a large bok choy instead of a few baby bok choy, then you might want to add the thicker stem parts first, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the delicate leafy green parts.
- Be patient while roasting the tofu! Ensure all the sides are cooked and browned, which will give the best texture to the dish. Try to individually flip the pieces as you go. It often takes me up to 20 minutes to do that. During that time, you can prep the peanut sauce, clean and chop the veggies, cook the noodles, etc.
- I used a package of 8 oz of noodles for making this recipe, but you could use more, such as 10 oz. There are enough veggies and sauce to take on more noodles, which can be a good idea if serving more people or want leftovers.
Can I make it without coconut cream?
Yes, you can! Skipping on the coconut cream would make the noodles less rich and silky in texture, but also this would make this recipe a little healthier by keeping it lower in fat and it would be more convenient, too.
To make it without coconut cream, then you can add a little regular plain plant-based milk (like oat milk). Make sure it is unsweetened and unflavored and add just enough to create a saucy consistency. Even a little water would work!
When serving these vegan satay noodles, I recommend garnishing your dish with something crunchy, like salted chopped peanuts or roasted cashews. You can also top your bowl of creamy noodles with fresh cilantro and sesame seeds. To add some heat, serve with a little red pepper flakes, chili oil, a drizzle of sriracha or your favorite hot sauce.
I like to also add some chopped green onion or chive and serve with a squeeze of lime juice.
You can also serve this noodle dish with more Asian-inspired recipes, such as:
- Vegan egg rolls
- Edamame crunch salad
- Gochujang soup
- Asian carrot cucumber salad
- Crispy Thai Brussels sprouts
- Miso glazed aubergine
Variations to the recipe
This recipe is pretty versatile and you can use different noodles, veggies and even adjust the flavor of the sauce to your preference. Here are a few ideas;
- Vegetables: you can cook other vegetables if you prefer, such as mushrooms, cauliflower, snap peas or zucchini.
- Garlic: there is garlic in the peanut sauce, but feel free to add some to the pan when cooking the vegetables to make this dish stronger in garlicky flavor.
- Lime: I like to serve with lime wedges, but you can also add some lime juice to the sauce for a more tangy flavor.
- Protein: other plant-based proteins you can try instead of tofu are edamame, tempeh, chickpeas or seitan. Skip the quick soy sauce marinade and cornstarch in that case.
These vegan Thai peanut noodles make for great leftovers for the next day! The noodles tend to stick together while resting, but although the texture might change a little bit, we found the leftovers just as delicious.
Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat, you can use the microwave or a small pan. Add a splash of water to loosen up the sauce consistency.
I do not recommend freezing this recipe since the noodles would turn mushy and too soft after thawing.
If you have extra time, yes, pressing the tofu would help it absorb the soy sauce and also make it crispier while cooking. I often do a quick tofu press by wrapping it in paper towels and then adding something heavy over it while I prep the other ingredients, maybe for 15-20 minutes. You can also use a tofu press if you have one!
Yes, you can! Bake in a preheated oven at 400º for about 20-25 minutes flipping once halfway.
To make this recipe GF, then be sure to use GF noodles (buckwheat noodles or rice noodles are often GF) and swap the soy sauce for a GF tamari sauce (both to marinate the tofu and in the Thai peanut sauce).
More vegan noodle recipes you might like
- Spicy garlic noodles
- Quick kale sesame noodles
- Vegan kimchi ramen noodles
- Cold vegan peanut noodles
- Teriyaki udon noodles
- Vegan garlic udon noodles
- Vegan vermicelli tofu bowl
- 20-min creamy miso udon noodles
I hope you like this vegan satay noodle recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Vegan Satay Noodles with Tofu
- 8 oz noodles of your choice - soba, udon, flat pad thai noodles or regular spaghetti work well
- 14-16 oz extra firm tofu
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 head of broccoli - chopped in small florets
- 1 red bell peppers - chopped
- ½ large bok choy - or 3-4 small baby bok choy, chopped
- ½ batch peanut sauce - find the Thai peanut butter sauce recipe here, you will need only half of this recipe.
- 5.4 oz unsweetened coconut cream (or about ⅔ cup) - see notes
To serve (choose your favorites)
- fresh cilantro
- sesame seeds
- sriracha hot sauce
- Start by making the peanut sauce. You will only need half of the recipe. If you choose to make it all, then keep the other half to use as a dipping sauce for another meal.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then, cook the noodles following the instructions on the packaging. Keep them al dente, they will keep cooking in the sauce later. Then, rinse in cold water and set aside.
- Meanwhile, remove the tofu from the packaging and drain the water. Wrap the bloc in a clean towel and pat dry well. You can do a quick tofu press by placing something heavy on top for 15-30 minutes. Then, cube the tofu and transfer it into a bowl.
- Pour the soy sauce over and toss the cubes of tofu. Once the soy sauce is mostly absorbed (10-15 min), then sprinkle the cornstarch over and toss.
- Warm up a large non-stick pan with a little oil (olive oil, oil spray or sesame oil) and then, add the tofu. Cook for about 15-18 minutes on medium-high heat flipping once in a while or until the tofu is golden brown on each side. Once done, transfer to a plate, wipe the pan with a towel and place it back on the stove.
- You can add a little bit more oil in the pan if desired and then, add the broccoli and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes stirring often and add a little water to help them stem, if necessary. Then, add the red pepper and cook for 2-3 more minutes stirring often. When the veggies are starting to be tender, then add the bok choy and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Then, pour the peanut sauce and the coconut cream over the veggies. Stir and warm up until all combined and bubbly. Taste and adjust flavors if necessary and add some water if needed to loosen up the consistency. Add the noodles and tofu and combine/warm up everything together.
- Serve right away garnished with peanuts, sesame seeds, cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice and sriracha for some heat. Enjoy!
- Storage: keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat using the microwave or the stove and add a little water as needed.
- If you cannot find the small can of coconut cream (5.4 oz), then you can also use the top solid part from a can of regular coconut milk. To do so, you can transfer the can to the fridge for an hour before you need it (especially on a warm day) and simply scoop the top solid cream. Use the leftover coconut water from the can to make smoothies. In a pinch, you can skip the coconut cream altogether and simply use about ¼-1/3 cup of plant-based milk (plain) or enough to reach the desired consistency. This will make for a sauce that's less rich, but still delicious.
- You can use other vegetables in this recipe, such as mushrooms, carrots, cauliflower, etc. Check out the blog post for more ideas!