Spicy, Peanutty Udon with Kale

January 21, 2014
14 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 1, but easily doubled or tripled
Author Notes

An exceedingly simple but truly delicious quick meal, with possibilities for variation galore (more Sriracha! more peanut butter! different greens!). To make it vegetarian/vegan, omit the fish sauce. —Laura

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Laura is just as excited about dark, leafy greens as we are.
WHAT: A noodle dish so simple and slurp-worthy, you’ll have to stop yourself from making it every night.
HOW: Make a savory sauce and round it out with everyone’s favorite sandwich spread (peanut butter!). Use the sauce to sauté greens and cooked noodles, then top with scallions, chili flakes, and chopped peanuts for more crunch and spice.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Big flavor need not require big effort. This peanut sauce turns to your pantry’s most potent players (sesame oil, soy sauce, Sriracha, fish sauce, and peanut butter) to make a powerful sauce in 30 seconds flat. Play with the ingredients to find the combination that’s right for you, then use it to make noodles and greens infinitely more exciting. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1/8 teaspoon fish sauce, plus an extra dash at the end
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (any type)
  • 3 ounces udon or soba noodles
  • 1/2 bunch kale, deribbed and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces (1 packed cup)
  • Chopped scallions, for serving
  • Chili flakes, for serving
  • Chopped peanuts, for serving
  1. Heat 1 quart of water in a saucepan to boil.
  2. In a sauté pan over low or medium-low heat, add sesame oil, soy sauce or tamari, Sriracha, and fish sauce. Stir ingredients or rotate pan to combine and let cook for about 30 seconds. Add peanut butter, stir to combine, then turn off heat.
  3. When water is boiling, blanch kale for about 15 seconds. Drain the kale and add it to the sauce in the sauté pan and stir to coat.
  4. Bring clean water to boil. When the water is boiling, add the noodles and cook until al dente. Fresh noodles will cook very quickly; dry noodles will cook in 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Use tongs to add the noodles straight from the water to the sauté pan with the peanut sauce and the kale. The unstrained noodles will carry enough water to dilute the peanut sauce; if you decide to strain the noodles and then add them to the sauce, add 1 tablespoon water, as well. Add a dash of fish sauce to finish.
  6. Garnish with chopped scallions, chili flakes, and chopped peanuts.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • velvet.onion
  • AntoniaJames
  • rebecca22
  • Emily Budd
    Emily Budd
  • Adrienne

60 Reviews

betsy April 8, 2023
Such a small serving size and while it's simple, the peanut sauce could be so much tastier with just a few more ingredients that wouldn't necessarily make it that much harder/more time consuming. I did appreciate the addition of kale, which I've never used in peanut noodles before.
rachel November 1, 2022
This is one of my go to recipes with a few tweaks, some of which others have listed below.
1) Too much peanut butter, in my opinion. I use half of what it calls for. I could do with slightly less sesame oil next time as well.
2) Double the sauce & use a whole 8 oz. packet of udon noodles (which barely feeds my husband and I in a single meal, ha)
3) Surprised this recipe doesn't call for some lime/ acid. I stir in lime juice at the end & garnish with a wedge + black sesame seeds (+ red chili flakes + scallion). Also added umami mushroom seasoning blend + more tamari for additional flavor.
4) Sautéed ginger, garlic, and shallot + additional veggies like mushrooms, zucchini, red cabbage. Broccoli would be great as well. YUM!
Merry February 1, 2022
We've been enjoying this recipe for a long time, but last night was the first time we substituted Swiss chard. Kale at the store was pretty pathetic, but some beautiful chard was our option. Since chard is so tender, it was sliced and added when the noodles went in along with some of the pasta water. Just as great with the substitution. Oh and those leftovers...
Amy June 24, 2021
Does anyone think ginger would work in this sauce? looking for a peanut ginger noodle recipe. Share one if you have it :)
Bojan V. April 3, 2021
Delicious! All the prep can be done while the water for the noodles is boiling. If you're looking for a recipe for a simple lunch or supper, look no further: this is it! Make sure to reserve more cooking water. I didn't find one tablespoon to be enough. Also, I see absolutely no need to blanch the kale separately. 15 seconds before straining the noodles simply add the kale to the water you're cooking the noodles in.
velvet.onion April 27, 2020
Wow. Absolutely delicious. So easy. Did add a squeeze of lime juice to finish. Thank you!
Maria A. July 31, 2018
So easy! Eating this for lunch today and enjoying the spicy kick. Doubled sauce and greens, kept amount of noodles unchanged and didn't have sriracha so used chili garlic sauce. Definitely kicking myself for forgetting the lime juice - I can see how it would take the whole dish up a notch by rounding out the flavors - but for the simplicity and health benefits I'm loving this recipe. Think crunchy peanut bits would also add some variety to the texture. I like reading from the comments how easily this can be adapted/tweaked. Probably going to try some of the ideas below next time adding mushroom, garlic, ginger! This was great. Definitely adding this to my regular rotation, thank you!
Maria A. July 31, 2018
Sorry, meant to say I should have added the peanuts when I made it - I know it's written into the recipe!
AntoniaJames February 15, 2018
The ratio of ingredients in the sauce is perfect. This one's a keeper! I made it with soba, Chinese broccoli (previously blanched) and tofu that I'd cooked a few days before, as described in my comment to this recent post (and on several other tofu with sauce recipes on the site): Only modification: I sprinkled Japanese brown rice vinegar on it, as I did not use any Sriracha, so it needed acid to brighten it up. And I didn't have any peanuts, so I sprinkled on some sesame seeds I recently roasted. ;o)
rebecca22 December 19, 2017
Made this last night! I tripled the ingredients for the sauce. The umami in this dish is unreal. Thanks for the recipe. This will definitely be a staple in my house. Fast, cheap, savory. Yumm
BakerMary December 5, 2017
Oh this looks good! Planning to use some of the Costco Spicy Kale Salad that’s in the has kale, Brussels sprouts, some other greens. Dinner!
Merry October 17, 2017
So sorry to see the comment by Emily Budd since we just made this again last night. Killer recipe and our changes of the moment are to triple the sauce and rather than blanch the kale, we now toss it in the sauce on the cooktop until softened and then add the noodles. Leftovers were amazing, as always. We hope Emily will try it again.
Emily B. October 17, 2017
Not good. Wish I knew what went wrong.
Stefanie April 14, 2017
Made this and absolutely loved it! I doubled the recipe and tripled the sauce. I also added a lot more veggies from my fridge like shaved brussel sprouts, mushrooms, some peas, broccoli, and red peppers. My husband is 6'4" and can eat more for dinner than I do all day so I usually end up trying to bulk every dinner up to keep him full. We were both very happy!
Adrienne March 13, 2017
Great recipe I anticipate will be on heavy roatation during busy seasons. I doubled the recipe and used broccolini with excellent results.
Natalie B. November 22, 2016
I love this, and usually add chicken that I have on hand. So easy and tasty.
cupcakemuffin August 11, 2016
This is great! We had everything on hand except the kale and udon so it was an easy shopping trip. I love that this is super easy and healthy but also has a comfort food feel from the peanut sauce. We did half the amount of Sriracha. Fantastic dinner!
Stacey P. February 28, 2016
I absolutely love this dish. Super simple, and so tasty that even my toddler will eat the kale in this dish. Lately I've been adding mushrooms (I saute 'em before adding the sauce ingredients). Must say I prefer the recipe with mushrooms.
B R. February 3, 2016
Dear Laura,
Thank you for this outstanding yet healthy recipe! It has so many great ingredients unified into one fantastically textured mishmash of full on flavor that, I find, it never fails to hit the spot! While certainly very spicy, for all of your readers with fireproof taste buds it is a pure delight. Most of the healthy items can often be found just down the street at a local CSA or grower's market.
B Richardson
Megan January 18, 2016
So simple and satisfying. This will become part of the weeknight rotation! I tripled the noodles and quadrupled everything else.
mika December 21, 2015
What is Sriracha????
Kevin F. December 28, 2015
Niki March 21, 2016