Spicy Peanut Noodles with Cucumber
Ramen noodles tossed with a spicy peanut sauce, sliced cucumber, scallions, and fresh cilantro. A flavorful easy dinner to add to your rotation!
As I’m sure is the case among many of us, we’ve recently hit a dinner rut. To break out of it, I’ve made a concerted effort to expand our running list of go-to meals.
One of the best ways to do this is to try new dishes every week. Bookmark a recipe from your favorite cookbook or website (our recipe archive can be searched by category or ingredient), jot down a shopping list, and roughly plan the week ahead.
It requires some time, but more often than not, makes the week more exciting and rewards you with a new favorite meal. Keep a running list of favorites and turn to it when you’re stuck on ideas.
These Spicy Peanut Noodles with Cucumber are here to stay. They come together quickly and taste fantastic at room temperature or prepped ahead and served as cold leftovers. This dish is all about the peanut sauce!
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- PEANUT BUTTER – you’ll want to use natural creamy (unsweetened and, preferably, unsalted) peanut butter for this sauce.
- SOY SAUCE – for added flavor and seasoning.
- LIME JUICE – adds brightness and punch of acid to the peanut sauce.
- TOASTED SESAME OIL + SESAME SEEDS – toasted sesame oil is incredibly flavorful and an ingredient I always keep on hand in my pantry. We’ll also add some toasted sesame seeds for texture.
- SAMBAL OELEK – an Indonesian hot sauce, which sometimes goes by the name of chili garlic sauce. I recommend Huey Fong brand, which can be found in most grocery stores. Feel free to add more to taste.
- RICE VINEGAR – for another touch of acid. If you don’t have rice vinegar and don’t wish to buy it, feel free to add a touch more lime juice to taste.
- GINGER + GARLIC – fresh ginger and garlic are absolutely essential to this dish. I recommend using a microplane to finely grate them.
- DRIED RAMEN NOODLES – feel free to use basic instant dried ramen noodles (remove and discard the seasoning package) or fresh ramen noodles for this recipe. Be sure not to overcook them and rinse them well under cool water before tossing in the sauce.
- ENGLISH CUCUMBER – sliced cucumber adds great color, texture, and crunch
- SCALLIONS – we’ll use both the green and white parts – don’t skimp on the scallions, you can’t get enough.
- CILANTRO – fresh herbs improve every dish.
- CRUSHED PEANUTS – we’ll garnish the noodles with a sprinkle of crushed dry-roasted peanuts
How to Make Spicy Peanut Noodles:
1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2) Prepare the Peanut Sauce Mixture: In a large mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, sesame seeds, sambal oeleek (chile garlic paste), rice vinegar, grated ginger, grated garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using). Whisk together until well combined and smooth.
3) Prepare the Noodles: Add the ramen noodles to the boiling salted water and cook according to the instructions, stirring often, or they are until al dente. Drain the noodles, run under cool water, and drain again.
4) Transfer the rinsed, drained ramen noodles to the mixing bowl with the peanut sauce and toss gently with tongs until the noodles are evenly coated in the peanut sauce. Add the sliced cucumber, chopped cilantro, and sliced scallions, and toss again gently. Season to taste.
5) Serve at room temperature topped with finely crushed peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedges. You can also prep the noodles ahead of time – they taste great cold from the fridge!
How to Serve Spicy Peanut Noodles:
This noodle dish is substantial enough to be served on its own.
If you’re looking to bulk it up a bit, you can pair the noodles with sautéed tofu (or even this No Cook Spicy Tofu, if you really want to up the heat level!), grilled chicken, or roasted vegetables.
How to Store Leftovers:
These spicy peanut noodles taste great at room temperature, just after preparing, but they can also be prepped ahead to enjoy as leftovers.
Store leftover noodles in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The sauce will thicken during chilling – feel free to add a tablespoon of water to thin the sauce if you wish.
Spicy Peanut Noodles with Cucumber
- 2 tablespoons (32 grams) natural creamy peanut butter preferably unsalted
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (roughly ½ juicy lime) plus wedges for serving
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons Sambal Oelek (chile garlic paste)
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- ½-inch piece fresh ginger peeled, grated on a microplane
- 1 small garlic clove grated with a microplane or finely minced
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 8-9 ounces dried ramen noodles see note*
- ½ English cucumber (roughly 8 ounces) seeds scooped and discarded, quartered lengthwise and cut into thin ½-inch slices
- 3 scallions (white and green parts) thinly sliced on a bias
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
- dry-roasted unsalted peanuts finely crushed, for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Prepare the Peanut Sauce Mixture: In a large mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, sesame seeds, sambal oeleek (chile garlic paste), rice vinegar, grated ginger, grated garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using). Whisk together until well combined and smooth.
- Prepare the Noodles: Add the ramen noodles to the boiling salted water and cook according to the instructions, stirring frequently, or they are until al dente. Drain the noodles, run under cool water and toss until cold, and drain again. Transfer the noodles to the mixing bowl with the peanut sauce and toss gently with tongs until the noodles are evenly coated in the sauce. Add the sliced cucumber, chopped cilantro, and sliced scallions, and toss again gently. Season to taste. Note: If you're struggling tossing the noodles, you can add a tablespoon or so of water to help loosen the sauce.
- Serve room temperature topped with finely crushed peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedges.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The sauce will thicken during chilling (it still tastes great!) - feel free to add a tablespoon of water to thin the sauce if you wish.
Tips for Success:
- Feel free to use dried or fresh ramen noodles for this recipe. You'll want roughly 8 - 9 ounces total (if you're using a brand like Nissin Instant Noodles, that is roughly 3 packages - remember to discard the seasoning packet!).
11 Comments on “Spicy Peanut Noodles with Cucumber”
Delicious! I made 3 different noodle recipes this week trying to find one I really like — this was it! Great dressing!! Added leftover rotisserie chicken. Yummy!
So happy to hear that! Thanks for taking the time to leave a recipe review.
I’ve made this 3 times so far, 2 were within the last week! These noodles are DELICIOUS! I used PB powder because that’s what I had, and they still came out great. My husband doesn’t like cucumber, so made him a batch with steamed broccoli and it was still a winning dish.
Yum! So glad to hear that! Love the addition of broccoli too – roasted would be delish. Thanks for the feedback and taking time to leave a review!
Made this tonight with Kelp noodles! Suuuper delish!!
Do you have a gluten-free alternative for the ramen noodles you recommend?
Unfortunately I’m not an expert on GF substitutes, but I think a lot of people like the Millet and Brown Rice Ramen brand (it’s available in a lot of grocery stores!) – just be extra careful, because GF noodles can be very gummy, so err on the side of undercooking and def make sure you rinse them well. You could even get away make this with perhaps a GF linguini pasta (not exactly authentic, but could work!) – I think Jovial or Tinkyada are great brands for that.
Made for dinner…added cooked chicken breast pieces…. so bloody delicious!❤?
interesting ingredient for me, Samal Oelek chili paste, and peanut flavor too, thank you!
Made for dinner tonight! I snuck a quick bite…DELISH!!!
So happy to hear that you liked it! Thanks for leaving a review Susan!