Easy Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles with Tofu & Veggies

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Get ready for a flavor explosion with these Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles with seared tofu and veggies!  The sauce is nutty, tangy, salty, slightly sweet, and spicy with peanut butter, teriyaki, Thai red curry paste, sesame oil, and garlic!  The tofu is seared for a perfect outside and creamy inside.  The zucchini, peppers, and peanuts on top add crunch and texture.  The noodles, well they let you slurp everything up perfectly!  It’s irresistible!  

This is perfect for a prep-ahead and last-minute-weeknight-cook dinner.  The cooking only takes about 15 minutes, so most of the work is the prep for the tofu and the veggies. 

MEATLESS MONDAYS!

I have said this before on the blog, but I love building themes into weekly meal planning.  It makes dinners so much easier when you have a guide for what to cook.  And one of my favorite themes is Meatless Mondays!  The kids like it especially because they don’t have to eat meat.  I like it because we all get more veggies and healthy plant-based proteins.  

Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles are a great addition to my Meatless Monday repertoire.  Here are some other meatless favorites to try!

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

For this Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles Recipe, you will need a large skillet/frying pan for making the veggies and curry sauce. I use my absolute favorite 12″ Ceramic Pan, which is great because food really does slide right off with minimal oil and I don’t have to worry about food sticking and burning. 

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR YOUR THAI PEANUT SAUCE NOODLES & TOFU

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below)

Since cooking only takes about 15 minutes, if you can do these steps a day ahead or even the morning of, you can have a super fast dinner!

Start with the tofu prep.  Cut tofu into 1 inch square pieces and pour teriyaki sauce over to coat. Marinate in fridge for 15-30 minutes.

Firm tofu cut into cubes and marinating in teriyaki sauce for Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles with seared tofu and veggies.

Slice red pepper into thin strips.  Slice Zucchini into triangles about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.  Finely slice 1 tablespoon scallion greens for garnish, then rough chop remaining the scallions into 1/2 inch pieces. Peel and mince the garlic.

Make the sauce by measuring out 4 teaspoons of peanut butter and soften by either microwaving for 10 seconds or putting it in a glass container and submerging the bottom into hot water until softened. Once the peanut butter is softened enough to mix, add the Thai Red Curry Paste, teriyaki sauce, water, sesame oil, and minced garlic. Whisk to completely combine.

Peanut butter, thai curry paste, garlic, and honey in a bowl for Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles with seared tofu and veggies.

Thai peanut sauce mixed in a bowl for Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles with seared tofu and veggies.

How many days ahead can I prep?

You can cut the tofu up to 4 days ahead and lay it on a paper towel lined dish.  I would not marinate the tofu in the teriyaki more than 24 hours as it may start to break down and not sear nicely.  You can prep the rest of the ingredients up to 4 days ahead.

What if I don’t have thai curry paste?

You can skip it all together and this dish will still taste great, but it really brings the thai and pepper component to the recipe.  You could also replace it with a teaspoon of Harissa paste or red pepper paste.

COOK YOUR THAI PEANUT SAUCE NOODLES & TOFU 

The rice noodles cook very quickly, so I like to start boiling the water, but then wait to put the noodles in until just before I want to add them to the pan.  They only take a few minutes to soften and if they cook too long, then can get very mushy.

Preheat a large frying pan on medium-high heat and add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Drain the tofu pieces and pat dry, then add to the hot pan. Seared on all sides for 1-2 minutes each side. Remove the tofu to a plate and set aside.

Firm teriyaki-marinated tofu cut into cubes searing in a hot pan for Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles with seared tofu and veggies.

Add another teaspoon of Olive oil to the pan, then add the zucchini, scallion, and red pepper to the pan. Let sear for 4 minutes, stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the sauce and scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan.

Thai peanut sauce added to zucchini and red pepper in a pan for Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles with seared tofu and veggies.
Add the tofu pieces back with the drained noodles, then stir to combine. Cook for just enough time for everything to get hot.  Serve and garnish with sliced scallions and chopped peanuts.

Cooked Rice noodles being added to a pan with Thai Peanut Sauce with tofu and veggies.

Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles with seared tofu and veggies in a pan on stove.

Can I make this ahead and reheat it?

Yes!  This dish will reheat wonderfully, so go for it!  To reheat it, you can either use the microwave or the stove.  For the stove, try to find a large pan with enough surface area for everything to warm up on the pan rather than steam.  You can add 1/4 cup of water to loosen it up as it warms.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Easy Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles with Tofu and Veggies

Get ready for a flavor explosion with Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles with seared tofu and veggies!  The sauce is nutty, tangy, salty, slightly sweet, and spicy with peanut butter, teriyaki, Thai red curry paste, sesame oil, and garlic!  The tofu is seared for a perfect outside and creamy inside.  The zucchini, peppers, and peanuts on top add crunch and texture.  The noodles, well they let you slurp everything up perfectly!  It's irresistible and easy to make for a family dinner!  

Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Thai
Keyword gluten free, meatless, noodles, tofu, vegetarian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Tofu

  • 14 oz Extra Firm Tofu or Super Firm
  • 1/4 cup Teriyaki Sauce

Peanut Sauce

  • 4 tsp Peanut Butter
  • 2 tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 2/3 cup Teriyaki Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp Garlic minced (1 clove)

Other

  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 1 Zucchini medium
  • 4 Scallions
  • 3 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 6 oz Rice Noodles thin
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped Peanuts

Instructions

Prep Ahead Steps

  1. Cut tofu into 1 inch square pieces and pour teriyaki sauce over to coat. Marinate in fridge for 15-30 minutes.

    Firm tofu cut into cubes and marinating in teriyaki sauce for Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles with seared tofu and veggies.
  2. Slice red pepper into thin strips. Slice Zucchini into triangles about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. 

  3. Finely slice 1 tablespoon scallion greens for garnish, then rough chop remaining the scallions into 1/2 inch pieces. Peel and mince the garlic.

  4. Make the sauce by measuring out 4 teaspoons of peanut butter and soften by either microwaving for 10 seconds or putting it in a glass container and submerging the bottom into hot water until softened. Once the peanut butter is softened enough to mix, add the Thai Red Curry Paste, teriyaki sauce, water, sesame oil, and minced garlic. Whisk with a fork to completely combine.

    Thai peanut sauce mixed in a bowl for Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles with seared tofu and veggies.

Cooking Steps

  1. Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Turn off heat on water and add the rice noodles to the hot water. Stir to submerge and remove once soft, about 3-5 minutes. Drain and then rinse with warm water (rice noodles are very starchy and you need to rinse off the excess starch).

  2. Preheat a large frying pan on medium-high heat and add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Drain the tofu pieces and pat dry, then add to the hot pan. Seared on all sides for 1-2 minutes each side. Remove the tofu to a plate and set aside

    Firm teriyaki-marinated tofu cut into cubes searing in a hot pan for Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles with seared tofu and veggies.
  3. Add another teaspoon of Olive oil to the pan, then add the zucchini, red pepper, and scallion to the pan. Let sear for 4 minutes, stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the Thai Peanut Sauce you made earlier and scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan.

    Thai peanut sauce added to zucchini and red pepper in a pan for Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles with seared tofu and veggies.
  4. Add the tofu pieces back with the drained noodles, then stir to combine. Cook for just enough time for everything to get hot.  Serve and garnish with sliced scallions and chopped peanuts.

    Cooked Rice noodles being added to a pan with Thai Peanut Sauce with tofu and veggies.

Saffron Butter Crispy Rice

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Saffron Butter Crispy Rice on a plate with cilantro and peppadew peppers on top.  Spatula scooping up a triangle piece. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.

Here are four magical words… Saffron Butter Crispy Rice.  And yes, they describe this amazing, but really easy, Crispy Rice recipe.  Crispy rice is a traditional Persian dish that is full of flavor and texture.  The saffron brings that slightly sweet, floral note that’s hard to replicate.  Saffron also gives that beautiful yellow-orange hue to this rice.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom that is irresistible.

While it may seem like a complex, too-sophisticated-for-family-dinner dish, it really isn’t!  It’s simple to make and perfect for a family dinner side!  Just scroll down to see how easy it comes together in a few steps.  

Want more tips for making busy family dinners easier?  Click here for my Free Printable 5 Simple Steps to Easy Family Dinners!

Saffron Butter Crispy Rice on a plate with cilantro and peppadew peppers on top. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.

What to serve with this Crispy Rice

A simple grilled chicken or beef kabob or broiled or seared chicken breast is perfect for this dish.  If you go this route, you probably want a yogurt or vinegar based sauce to drizzle over top.  Here are some of my favorite recipes to pair with this Saffron Butter Crispy Rice!

Saffron Butter Crispy Rice slice on a plate with chicken and cilantro and peppadew peppers on top. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

You will need a small hole strainer to rinse the rice, medium pot to pre-cook the rice and an 8-10 inch skillet/frying pan (I used an 8 inch) for this recipe with a fitted lid. Finally, need a very clean dish towel that will be used between the pan and the lid when cooking the rice.

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR YOUR SAFFRON CRISPY RICE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below)

To prep ahead, you can rinse and soak the rice in the morning.  Then before you start cooking, you can drain and rinse the rice again.  Then bloom the saffron in hot water!

Rinse the rice by adding the dry rice to a small hole strainer and running cold water through it until the water runs clear.

Rinsing uncooked rice under sink in strainer for Saffron Butter Crispy Rice. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.

Soak the rice in cold water in a large bowl for 30 minutes up to 1 hour. Then rinse the rice again in the strainer under cold water.

To a small bowl with hot water, add a pinch of Saffron. Let this sit and bloom, so that the flavor of the water is infused with the saffron.

Saffron blooming in water in a bowl for Saffron Butter Crispy Rice. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.

Prep your cooking lid for the pan by laying a clear dish towel on the counter and placing the pan lid with handle on top. Wrap the sides of the towel up and around and tuck into the handle so that the entire lid is wrapped and the towel is secured through the handle.

Dish towel wrapped around lid of pan for Saffron Butter Crispy Rice. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.

What can I use instead of Saffron?

Saffron can be expensive and therefore, is not always an ingredient that you have on hand.  Therefore, if you cannot get Saffron, you can swap it with Turmeric.  Turmeric also imparts a beautiful yellow-orange color and a floral, slightly sweet flavor.  That makes it a great substitute.  If you’re looking for a different flavor profile all together, you can also sub in ginger, coriander, and garlic. 

What kind of rice is best?

You want to use a long grain rice for this recipe.  Most Crispy Rice recipes will call for Basmati.  However, the recipe will work with any long grain rice.  You do NOT want to use quick cooking rice.

COOK YOUR SAFFRON BUTTER CRISPY RICE 

Pre-cook the rice by boiling 3 cups of water with the salt in a medium pot. Add the rinsed rice, bring back to a boil, and cook for 4 minutes. Drain the rice and rinse a final time under warm water.

Boiling rice in pot for Saffron Butter Crispy Rice. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.

Preheat the pan on medium-high heat. Add the butter to melt it, then add the bloomed saffron and water.

Hand about to pour saffron into pan with melted butter for Saffron Butter Crispy Rice. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.

Add the pre-cooked rice and pat down with the back of a spoon into a packed layer. Using the handle of a spatula or wood spoon, poke 6-8 holes into the rice so that steam can escape. Place your towel-wrapped pan lid on top of the pan. Make sure that the towel is secured through the handle and not hanging down where it could catch on fire. Let cook covered for 30 minutes.

Pouring cooked rice from strainer to pan with melted butter and saffron for Saffron Butter Crispy Rice. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.

Spoon patting cooked rice down into pan for Saffron Butter Crispy Rice. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.

Spoon handle poking holes into cooked rice in pan for Saffron Butter Crispy Rice. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.

After the 30 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the lid.  Place a plate over the rice and using oven mitts or a towel to protect your hands, turn the Crispy Rice over onto the plate!

I like to garnish with fresh cilantro and peppadew peppers for a sweet and spicy finish!

Can Crispy Rice be reheated?

After storing this dish in the fridge, it can get chewy.  To reheat it, the best results are in a skillet or in the oven.  Put a little butter in the skillet and add the rice to warm through.  In the oven, preheat it to 375 F degrees and place the rice on sheet pan to warm through.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Saffron Butter Crispy Rice on a plate with cilantro and peppadew peppers on top. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.

Saffron Butter Crispy Rice

This Saffron Butter Crispy Rice recipe is based on a traditional Persian dish that is full of flavor and texture.  The saffron brings that slightly sweet, floral note that's hard to replicate.  Saffron also gives that beautiful yellow-orange hue to this rice.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom that is irresistible. While it may seem like a complex, too-sophisticated-for-family-dinner dish, it really isn't!  It's simple to make and perfect for a family dinner side!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine persian
Keyword rice recipes, saffron, sides
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups Long Grain Rice, such as Basmati rice
  • 3 cups Water for pre-cooking
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt
  • Pinch Saffron (approximately 20-30 strands)
  • 2 Tablespoons Hot Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Salted Butter

Optional Garnishes

  • 1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro Leaves
  • 4-5 Peppadew Peppers, sliced

Instructions

Pre-Ahead Steps

  1. To a small bowl with hot water, add a pinch of Saffron. Let this sit and bloom, so that the flavor of the water is infused with the saffron.

    Saffron blooming in water in a bowl for Saffron Butter Crispy Rice. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.
  2. Rinse the rice by adding the dry rice to a small hole strainer and running cold water through it until the water runs clear.

    Rinsing uncooked rice under sink in strainer for Saffron Butter Crispy Rice. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.
  3. Soak the rice in cold water in a large bowl for 30 minutes up to 1 hour. Then rinse the rice again in the strainer under cold water.

  4. Prep your cooking lid for the pan by laying a clear dish towel on the counter and placing the pan lid with handle on top. Wrap the sides of the towel up and around and tuck into the handle so that the entire lid is wrapped and the towel is secured through the handle.

    Dish towel wrapped around lid of pan for Saffron Butter Crispy Rice. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.

Cooking Steps

  1. Pre-cook the rice by boiling 3 cups of water with the salt in a medium pot. Add the rinsed rice, bring back to a boil, and cook for 4 minutes. Drain the rice and rinse a final time under warm water.

    Boiling rice in pot for Saffron Butter Crispy Rice. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.
  2. Preheat the pan on medium-high heat. Add the butter to melt it, then add the bloomed saffron and water. Add the pre-cooked rice and pat down with the back of a spoon into a packed layer. Using the handle of a spatula or wood spoon, poke 6-8 holes into the rice so that steam can escape. Place your towel-wrapped pan lid on top of the pan. Make sure that the towel is secured through the handle and not hanging down where it could catch on fire. Let cook covered for 30 minutes.

    Spoon handle poking holes into cooked rice in pan for Saffron Butter Crispy Rice. Saffron brings a floral note and beautiful yellow-orange color.  Added to the butter is what gives this crispy rice the buttery, crispy bottom.
  3. After the 30 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the lid.  Place a plate over the rice and using oven mitts or a towel to protect your hands, turn the Crispy Rice over onto the plate!

  4. Optional: Garnish with fresh cilantro and peppadew peppers