Who doesn’t love a perfectly balanced tasty meal in a bowl? These healthy satisfying Thai noodle salad bowls are filled with juicy marinated chicken, a rainbow of shredded raw veggies and herbs, delicate rice noodles and spicy peanut dressing that’s out of this world! Easily customizable for vegetarians or vegans.
Lots of exciting flavors and textures are packed into these little Thai noodle salad bowls: crisp shredded veggies, tender noodles, bright fresh herbs, salty crunchy peanuts, oniony scallions and delicious marinated chicken (more about that next). The spicy peanut dressing is so tasty you’ll want to lick the spoon!
About the chicken – so tender and delicious! And it’s easy to make. Boneless chicken thighs soak for 15 minutes in a simple Asian marinade of vegetable oil, soy sauce, Saki (or sherry), garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Then the chicken bakes for 20-25 minutes in the oven while you get the rest of the ingredients for the bowls ready.
HOW TO GET THESE THAI NOODLE SALAD BOWLS ON THE TABLE FAST!
- Whisk up the simple Asian marinade and get the chicken (or tofu) soaking. Preheat the oven.
- While the chicken is marinating, make the peanut dressing and shred the cabbage and kale.
- Get the chicken in the oven and set the time for 20 minutes.
- While the chicken is roasting, cook the rice noodles, chop the scallions and cilantro and crush the peanuts.
- Shred the chicken and assemble the bowls.
The thing I’ve discovered about these Thai noodle salad bowls, after making them about a gazillion times, is that they are delicious any way you make them. Once you have the spicy peanut dressing and the Asian marinade, you can take it from there and get creative with everything else.
Here’s a version I made over the summer with cubed chicken and sautéed sugar snap peas. So good with sweet fresh snap peas in the mix when they’re in season!
Here’s one I made with brown rice and sautéed snow peas.
HOW TO CONSTRUCT HEALTHY THAI NOODLE SALAD BOWLS WITHOUT A RECIPE:
This dish is easy to construct using your favorite ingredients or whatever you have on hand.
- Vegetables: I chose shredded kale and red cabbage in this version but you can choose from a variety of in-season vegetables: broccoli, asparagus, sugar snap peas, snow peas, shredded carrots, spinach and cucumber are all great choices that go well with peanut sauce.
- Herbs: I used cilantro here but other fresh herbs such as basil, Thai basil or fresh mint would work beautifully in Thai noodle salad bowls
- Make it Vegan: It’s easy to make Vegan Thai Noodle Bowls by using the same delicious marinade with tofu instead of chicken. Drain the tofu on paper towels for ten minutes or so, to dry it out a bit. Soak it in the marinade for ten minutes. Pan fry it in a little oil until golden, and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
- Make it Hot! If you want more of a kick to the peanut dressing, add additional crushed red pepper flakes or sriracha or cayenne or a teaspoon of Thai red chili paste, for even more flavor.
- Noodles: If you can’t find thin rice noodles, substitute capellini or angel hair pasta
- Acid: You can use cider vinegar or rice vinegar in place of lime juice in the peanut dressing
- Sweet: Use honey in place of maple syrup in the dressing
- Make it Whole Grain: Sub out the noodles for brown rice or quinoa
- Your Recipe: If you come up with your own unique Thai noodle salad bowl combo, I’d love to hear about it!
I’m a big fan of one bowl meals, especially if they’re loaded with healthy stuff and taste great.
These Thai noodle salad bowls have quickly become a favorite dinner in my house. They’re so exciting to behold. Every colorful crunchy bite is twisted in noodles and coated with creamy spicy peanut sauce. Scrumptious!
The added bonus: in addition to how great these Thai noodle salad bowls taste, is how healthy they are. They give you a big nutritious dose of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein.
On a personal note, this recipe took months of testing. I served Thai noodle salad bowls to lots of friends during that time and got lots of requests for the recipe. I kept promising that it would be on the blog soon. Finally, it’s here. Sorry friends. This one took me a long time but I hope you agree it was worth it!
Here’s the recipe for Thai Noodle Salad Bowls with Spicy Peanut Dressing. If you try this recipe I hope you’ll come back to leave a rating and comment. I’d love to know what you think.
Thai Noodle Salad Bowl with Spicy Peanut Dressing
A healthy satisfying flavor-packed meal in a bowl, with shredded veggies, marinated chicken or tofu, rice noodles and spicy peanut dressing.
- Prep Time: 45 min
- Cook Time: 25 min
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4-5 servings
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: oven
- Cuisine: Thai
For the Quick Chicken Marinade:
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (to make this vegan use a 14-ounce package of firm or extra firm tofu. *See notes)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sake or Dry Sherry
- 1 tablespoon crushed garlic (2 large cloves)
- a pinch or two of dried crushed red chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon unflavored oil such as rapeseed or light olive oil
For The Spicy Peanut Dressing:
- 1/2 cup natural (unsweetened) smooth peanut butter at room temperature (from a well-stirred jar of peanut butter)
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (use Tamari for gluten-free)
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup, honey or brown sugar (I use 1 tablespoon but you may like it sweeter)
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon of grated ginger root
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes
- a few tablespoons of warm water to thin peanut sauce to desired consistency
For The Veggies and Noodles:
- 6 ounces dried vermicelli rice noodles or angel hair pasta or your favorite noodles – the thinner the better.
- 1/3 of a medium, cored red cabbage, shredded by hand or using a mandolin or food processor. (3 cups)
- 1 bunch of smooth kale (dinosaur kale), thick stems removed, leaves stacked and very thinly sliced crosswise. (3 cups)
- 1 bunch of scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise
- 1/2 cup of cilantro leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup of roughly chopped roasted salted peanuts
- Marinate The Chicken: Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Place the chicken thighs in a glass baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. In a small bowl or cup, whisk soy soy sauce, wine, garlic, chili flakes and oil. Pour over the chicken and toss to coat. Leave for 15-20 minutes (longer is fine too. Cover and put it in the fridge if you’re marinating longer than 20 min.)
- Make The Peanut Dressing: In a small bowl whisk together all the ingredients except the water. Whisk in a tablespoon of water at a time until you get your desired consistency. I like it to be the consistency of thin honey. Peanut dressing will keep, covered in the fridge for 3 days. Thin with water if it gets too thick.
- Cook The Chicken: Roast it in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes or until it’s cooked through. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken by hand or by pulling it apart with two forks. Toss shredded chicken in the delicious juices at the bottom of the pan.
- Prepare the Veggies: While the chicken is roasting in the oven, shred the cabbage as thinly as possible. Best to use a mandolin or a the shredding blade of a food processor. Sliver the kale leaves by stacking them and slicing them thinly, crosswise.
- Cook the Noodles: Cook noodles according to the package directions. Rinse them to prevent sticking. Drain and toss with 3 or 4 tablespoons of peanut sauce. Add some salt, to taste.
- Assemble The Bowls: Divide the noodles between bowls. Arrange veggies and chicken on top. Drizzle with peanut sauce. Sprinkle generously with cilantro and scallions. Top with peanuts. Serve at room temperature, with extra peanut dressing on the side.
*If using tofu, slice the block of tofu horizontally into three large steaks. Lay them out on a double layer of paper towels with a paper towel on top. Let them drain for ten minutes or so. Put them in a large shallow container and pour marinade in. Let them soak for ten minutes or so. Sauté them in a little oil until golden on both sides. Cut into cubes.
Keywords: peanut sauce, noodle bowl, rice bowl, grain bowl, healthy, salad