I don’t typically title my recipes with adjectives like amazing, superb, or outstanding. It seems trite. But in this case, I have good reason. I went to my first Thai restaurant in college. Growing up in Texas, I’d only ever heard of tex-mex. I’m only half kidding. Upon recommendation from a friend, I ordered #45—Amazing Chicken.
She promised me it was good, amazing rather. With no ingredient list, I took her word. I went back to that restaurant at least 100 times over the 4 years. And every time I ordered #45. They weren’t kidding on the amazing part. But my undiscerning palette couldn’t fill in the ingredient blanks. All I knew—it didn’t have avocados or salsa.
Out of pure curiosity, I asked the waiter one day if he knew what was in the amazing sauce. It’s a coconut peanut sauce. I had no idea what that meant at the time, but I locked it away in my memory. When I moved to Chicago, the birthplace of this little space, I discovered coconut milk. (Don’t laugh.) This must be the coconut they were referring to, I thought to myself. After a lot of experimenting, I recreated a similar sauce as seen in the Thai Peanut Bowl.
The sauce has morphed a bit over the years, but only slightly. We use it on spring rolls as well. I’ll post that recipe once the snow clears and the sweaters are packed away. However, this recipe’s not much different. It’s served cold. Probably much better for the warmer months. But it’s easy, fast, and healthy. That’s the name of the game these days.
Even better, you can make it ahead of time, right before serving, or in stages. Whatever your schedule can handle. It’s forgiving like that. It’s great for lunch or dinner. Or better yet, lunch and dinner.
You can serve it warm if you wish. Just steam the veggies first. But I like to serve this more like a salad—slightly chilled with plenty of crunch. With a bit of this coconut peanut sauce, eating veggies never tasted so amazing. And I’m not being trite.
Another 30 minute meal coming at you. This one is super fresh and raw. Almost like a salad but better. The coconut peanut sauce will make you forget you’re eating healthy.
6 oz. soba noodles (or whole wheat spaghetti noodles)
1/2 bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced or shaved
1/4 c. frozen peas, thawed
1/4 c. frozen edamame, shelled and thawed
a sprig or two of kale, de-stemmed and chopped
1/2 c. light coconut milk
1/4 c. natural peanut butter
2 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. fresh lime
squirt of agave nectar (optional)
Make soba noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and run under cold water until chilled.
Prep veggies. Run peas and edamame under warm water to thaw.
Make sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until well combined.
Make bowl. Layer with noodles and veggies. Top with sauce. Garnish as you wish and serve.
• If you wish to make this ahead of time, and store the sauce separately, add a bit of water to the sauce before serving. It will thicken as it sits in the fridge.
• If you wish to serve this warm, heat the sauce on the stove and add cooked and semi-drained noodles to the pot. Reserve some of the cooking water to help thin the sauce. The noodles will absorb the sauce more when warm. Steam veggies.
• You can easily save individual servings for lunch or/and dinner. Add the sauce to the bottom of your container. Then layer with the remaining ingredients. Add a bit of water before serving and stir to combine.
Great stuff. I’ll put chicken in next time – but only because my hubs thinks he hasn’t eaten if there’s no meat. As is though, most meals this tasty take way longer to make. Nice job & thanks.
I feel like its unfair how many times I have made this recipe without reporting back to say thank you, thank you, thank you! This has become our go-to meal and it is incredible every time. We have made it and shared the recipe with friends, family, neighbors and everyone is so impressed! When making it for just us two, we typically go ahead and add sriracha or sambal into the sauce because we like the spice. You rock and your healthy, delicious recipes are very much appreciated!
Well this may be the best comment ever! So glad you guys like it. Sending you one huge virtual hug for making my day.
I never comment but had to come back to say I made this last night and WHOA. So so good. And super simple. I never cook Thai food at home because of the complex and usually long list of ingredients, but this is such an easy and delicious way to do it!
#45 Amazing Chicken!….you wouldn’t be referring to the infamous Thai Spice? Conveniently located in a tiny Siloam Springs strip mall?
No, but I should have gone there more! Did you ever go to Bangkok on Dixon in Fayetteville? Ahh, so good! It closed down while my sister was at JBU. Tear! Hope you and that sweet babe of yours, Lucy, are doing well!
YES! It’s where I had my first Thai food too! 🙂
(I guess “amazing chicken” was a stable Arkansas Thai-dish…)
Just made this as a single-lady dinner tonight while the husband is working. Whoa mama, it’s amazing, indeed.
Simply and healthy!
Oh my, I could have this for lunch every day! Beautiful!
I want a bowl of your amazing soba. That sauce! x
COCONUT MILK! Oh gosh… why haven’t I thought to do that? I am a sucker for a soba bowl, but always struggle with the dressing. Looks fabulous!
Absolutely love the idea of this. I think that peanut sauce could be used in many other ways, too, like drizzled over roasted veggies and rice.
Beautiful photos too by the way. Pinning this for sure.
That looks so, so good. I love coconut milk! Thanks for the reminder that the simple stuff is often the most exotic stuff.
Peanut sauce is so great. I’m not sure when I first encountered it, but surely it was in college or later. I was such a picky kid, but I am convinced that I would have loved spicy ethnic foods if my parents had introduced them to me! Alas, I was just a suburban Oklahoma girl. 😉 This dish looks so good. I love any and every variation on peanut sauce!
How funny, I know what you mean we have an over abundance of Mexican restaurants here in Phoenix with one good Thai place clear across the valley I rarely make it to. The sauce sounds amazing! I love the combination of coconut and peanut.
Mmm I love peanut sauce!!!!! Looks amazing, and I love the anecdote. (Don’t worry, no judgement for not knowing about coconut milk growing up haha. It’s an asian staple that has only recently become popular in North America)
I just had my first soba bowl this week. I can’t wait to try this version. The sauce sounds amazing!
Made this for dinner tonight and it was delightful. I will certainly eat this again. Thanks for this recipe.
So glad you liked it! I appreciate the feedback!
The peanut sauce i make uses coconut milk too and I almost always have some in the fridge for busy lunches and dinners. These bowls are perfection and the photos are simply just gorgeous. I love them!
All you had to say was “coconut peanut sauce” and I was IN.
Hi Melissa, still loving your recipes! Any reason not to use regular vs. low fat coconut milk?
And, are you knitting?
You could definitely use either. I tend to cook with light coconut milk and bake with regular. Not really sure why. I think back when I first started buying coconut milk, Trader Joe’s only sold the light.
Sadly, I’m not knitting this winter. The babe is occupying my hands and lap space 🙂 Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back to it next winter!
The word “amazing” doesn’t bother me at all!! Especially since you never use it – I believe you!
I want this *so* bad.
I think I need more soba noodles in my life. And that coconut peanut sauce, obvi!
Looks great! I recently made something similar but with almond butter. Will have to try your version soon.
i love making peanut sauce, but it has never occurred to me to add coconut milk! what a brilliant idea. i have half a box of soba noodles in my cabinet begging to be eaten… i think this recipe is in my future!
and don’t you get a kick out of it when restaurants label things as amazing (and it IS)?!
i like peanut sauce and coconut based sauces but never had them together , i am so tempted to try. Soba bowl is always a winner in my house too.
oh man, I am so with you on peanut sauce, and now I want to try coconut peanut sauce! also ps soba noodles yay!