Peanut sauce noodles and mango salad blends the sweetness of mangos, crunchy veggies, a heap of spinach, and spicy peanut sauce for a delectable vegan noodle salad. Noodles and a whisk-it-up sauce make for a quick, hearty salad that is delicious warm, or chilled.
Mango and spicy peanut sauce – yes, it's a 'thing.' Ok, it's a thing for me. And why not? If mangos can make a special curry or dal, then, of course, it should be added to a veggie-loaded noodle salad.
Turns out the sweet flavor of mango is just what a spicy peanut sauce is looking for. And once you take 10 minutes to make the sauce, and once you stop dipping your spoon into the peanut butter jar, this salad comes together as quickly as you can prep the mango and cook a few noodles.
Peanut butter – That's our prime ingredient, so make it a good one. Peanuts ground smooth, that's all you need. Avoid brands that contain extra sugar or other unhealthy ingredients.
Soy sauce – The umami flavor of soy sauce or gluten-free Tamari gives the peanut sauce more Asian flare. If your peanut butter contains salt, consider using lite soy sauce or cut back to 2 tablespoons of regular soy sauce. You can adjust with more after you make the sauce.
Rice vinegar – Mellow rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar (it's the same thing) is dependable for adding a touch of sour with a tweak of Asian flare. If you don't have rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar is your best bet, but you may want to reduce the amount. It's another matter of tasting and adjusting.
Lime juice – Even with the vinegar, the dressing is tastiest with a bright citrus flavor. Lime works well because it is sweet than lemon and is a complement for mangoes in particular.
Date paste – Unless your peanut butter has added sugar, you'll want a touch of sweetness. I used date paste because it's my whole food sweetener of choice. You can also use maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or another sweetener.
Chili sauce – Sriracha is a good choice of chili sauce because it has a slight garlic flavor. For a more pure chili flavor, consider Sambal oelek. You’ll find that around the hot sauces or in the sections of your supermarket dedicated to ethnic foods such as South Asian.
Ginger – Fresh minced ginger has a sharp flavor that you can't get with the dried ground version, so I highly recommend using it. If you don't want to buy a knob of ginger, look for ready-minced. It comes in tiny jars, sometimes right in the produce department of the supermarket.
Noodles – Use your favorite noodles for this one. Soba, whole wheat ramen, or even rice noodles are good choices. Check to make sure that the noodles you use are vegan and oil-free if this is something you strive for.
Mango – Cubes of mango make this a noodle and peanut sauce salad with a difference. And you might be surprised at what a difference they make. Aim for a ripe mango. It should give when you gently squeeze it, and it should smell like mango.
There are a lot of gadgets and gimmicks when it comes to prepping mangos. My method is to place the mango on the fat end, then slice it down to the side of the stem, avoiding the stone. I make two slices, then cube the flesh and trim it away from the skin. Don't forget to get any mango that's still clinging to the stone. It doesn't need to be perfect.
Sugar snap peas – Sugar snap peas land between snow peas (pea pods) and fresh garden peas. They are the best of both worlds because they are crisp and don't need to be shelled. Perfect!
You can eat sugar snap peas raw, but I gave them a quick, 30-second simmer. This turns them bright green and gives them a slightly sweeter taste.
Spinach – Fresh spinach, slightly wilted, is our salad green. Use baby spinach or, if you use regular fresh spinach, remove the stems and roughly chop it. You can roughly chop it or just toss it into the pan with the noodles and dressing.
Cucumber – Get your fiber on and cut a cucumber lengthwise, then slice it. I always run a spoon down the middle of the cucumber after cutting it. The seeds can be challenging to digest. You can peel them if you like, but they stay firmer if you don't. Besides, why miss out on all the nutrition of cucumber peels if you don’t have to?
Scallions – Toss in a few sliced scallions (green onions) and use the white and green parts. I try to use the tops of scallions whenever I can because they are flavorfully crunchy.
Red chili – Adding slices of red chili such as Thai red chili gives the salad a fresh kick of spicy bites. You can remove the seeds and core if you want to tone them down.
Cilantro – If you like cilantro (coriander) and its tangy citrus flavor, this is a dish that thrives on it. I include it here as optional because so many folks dislike it. Consider it a good-to-have rather than a must-have.
- This is a quick cook, so mix up the dressing first. You don’t want to be overcooking noodles as you scramble for peanut butter or dig for rice vinegar.
- Heat the pot with enough water for the noodles. Once it reaches a simmer, add the snap peas. Simmer them for 1 -2 minutes, just enough that they turn bright green. Then, use a slotted spoon to remove them. Reheat the water to boiling, then add the noodles.
- The best way to tell if noodles are done is to taste them. Drain them promptly and rinse them with cold water. This stops the cooking process and keeps them from clumping together.
- I found it easiest to transfer the noodles to a skillet and mix in half the dressing before adding the rest of the ingredients. Then, heat the skillet and add the spinach. Just wilt the spinach for a minute or two. Remove from the heat, add the rest of the veggies and more of the dressing.
There are several nut-based and non-nut substitutes for peanut butter. Almond butter is a great substitute; however, if you are avoiding nuts, consider sunflower butter.
If you don’t have fresh mango, first consider using frozen or look for pre-prepared mangos. Be careful with canned fruit as it can contain high fructose corn syrup. Other fruits to consider are peaches, nectarine, papaya, or apricot.
Whole food, vegan noodles are readily available and come in a wide variety. Look for whole-wheat Asian-style noodles, Japanese soba noodles, or brown rice noodles. Look for noodles labeled vegan and made from whole wheat, buckwheat, brown rice, or other whole-food ingredients.
This is your salad, so feel free to improvise as you like. Add veggies such as red bell pepper, shredded carrot, steamed broccoli or cauliflower, zucchini, or shredded cabbage. In place of the spinach, try greens such as kale, Bok choy, or Swiss chard. Try out what's seasonal and available.
Want extra protein? Consider adding a batch of crispy baked tofu or beans such as adzuki.
related noodle salads
peanut sauce noodles and mango salad
Peanut sauce noodles and mango salad is a savory-sweet, spicy as-you-like-it plant-based meal loaded with delightful textures and flavors.
- Prep Time: 20 min
- Cook Time: 20 min
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: hearty salads
- Cuisine: Asian
- Diet: Vegan
- ½ cup of peanut butter (smooth, preferably)
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce or Tamari
- 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of lime juice
- 1 teaspoon of date paste
- ¼ cup water
- 1 - 2 teaspoons of chili sauce such as Sriracha
- 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
- 2 cups of sugar snap peas
- 8 oz. Asian-style noodles (whole wheat, soba, Thai, or brown rice noodles)
- 8 oz. fresh baby spinach or roughly chopped regular spinach
- 1 large mango (or 2 smaller), peeled, pit removed, and diced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced
- 3 scallions sliced (white and green parts)
- 1-2 fresh red chilis, sliced
- ½ cup chopped cilantro (coriander), optional
- Begin by mixing up the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, and date paste. Mix until smooth and add about ¼ a cup of water to thin it out.
- Add the ginger and chili sauce. Taste, adjust the ingredients and add more water if necessary. Set aside.
- Fill a medium pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the sugar snap peas and reduce the heat so that the water is simmering. Cook the peas for about 30 seconds until they turn bright green. Use a slotted spoon to remove the peas and set them aside.
- Bring the water back to boiling, then add the noodles. Cook them according to the package directions. Drain and rinse the noodles.
- Heat the same pan or a large skillet to low heat, then add the noodles and half the sauce. Mix them together, then add the spinach. Cook for a minute until the spinach starts to wilt.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and add the snap peas, mango, cucumber, scallions, red chili, and cilantro (if using).
- Garnish with lime slices if desired.
- I find it easiest to dice the mango on end, then slicing down on one side of the stem away from the stone. Repeat for the other side. Dice the mango flesh inside the skin, then cut the cubes from the skin so that you are left with the pieces. Then salvage whatever you can from the stone.
- Look for Asian-style noodles such as soba, whole wheat, or rice noodles. Cook according to the package directions. Be sure to rinse them so that they don't stick.
- Optional veggies you might enjoy in this salad include red bell pepper, shredded carrots, steamed broccoli or cauliflower, zucchini, or shredded cabbage. In place of the spinach, try greens such as kale, Bok choy, or Swiss chard.
Keywords: peanut sauce noodles and mango salad