Zucchini Noodles with Chicken and Tangy Peanut Sauce

Time Away | A Guest Post from The Cilantropist

I’m taking a little time off to spend some much needed R&R with my family and an early celebration of my upcoming 10th wedding anniversary. By the time you read this, I will hopefully be relaxing on the beach, Piña Colada in hand, a straw hat on my head, and a book on my lap. The kitchen has been cleaned spotless and I am looking forward to not cooking for a full week! But I have a few things planned in my absence, the first of which is a beautiful guest post from Amanda Opaluch, who writes The Cilantropist. If you haven’t yet encountered Amanda’s gorgeous blog, you will find someone who shares my passion for the freshest foods, mouthwatering recipes, and tantalizing photographs. The recipe she graciously shares here is just my kind of dish -  I can’t wait to make when I return! Amanda, thank you, the stage is yours.

I want to thank Liren so much for giving me the opportunity to share a post with her lovely readers!  I really enjoy the recipes Liren shares here on Kitchen Confidante because I find they match with many of my food philosophies – specifically that I like to use a lot of fresh, seasonal ingredients – but also because a lot of her recipes strike a chord with memories I have of food and family.  When she asked me to create a post for her blog, I let a few ideas run around in my head (I have been obsessed with cherries lately, seems Liren has too) but I ultimately wanted to do a recipe that would be a healthy weeknight meal for family, but could also be a quick meal for one.

I have been wanting to try and make zucchini ribbons or ‘noodles’ for ages now, because they are a healthy and fun alternative to pasta, and plus they just look really neat.  But here’s the thing, despite the fact that I have a million kitchen gadgets, I can’t say I own a mandoline for julienning these types of vegetables. And while I do work hard in my kitchen, you can bet I am not about to slice these up by hand (I am far too accident prone for that).  So what is a girl to do?

Well turns out, all she had to do is stand in line at Williams and Sonoma, where they had a neat little demo of their Swissmar Julienne Peeler.  When I went there, they had vegetables on display, and that peeler cut them into strips like a hot knife through butter.  I was sold.  I bought a cute little set, and I could barely wait to get home to try them out on the summer squash I had picked up from the farmer’s market the day before.

I was completely amazed at how easily and quickly the peeler could slice up vegetables – even tougher ones like carrots – and my inner perfectionist squealed with glee at how neat and uniform the vegetable slices turned out.  And all with just a peeler!  I can imagine using this to slice up other fruits and vegetables (think matchstick potatoes), so I know it will get a workout in my kitchen.

To turn these vegetable slices into noodles for a healthy dish, I merely blanched them, topped them with cooked, shredded chicken, and then poured on an awesome peanut sauce recipe I got from a friend.

My friend told me he learned to make this type of sauce from his family growing up, and they used to put it on all sorts of dishes with chicken, tofu, or just noodles.  The tangy peanut sauce is slightly sweet, slightly sour, but the nutty taste and texture are not overpowering.  I will probably be using this same peanut sauce with other dishes, because it is really easy to whip up (no cooking required) and tastes good either hot or cold.

But here is the thing I liked most about this dish: It doesn’t just taste good, it is really good clean food.  And by that I mean that the vegetables are kept pure – no oil or frying to bog down the flavor, or leech out good nutrients – the chicken is healthy, and the peanut sauce is made-from-stractch, family-style.  Go ahead and use a natural peanut butter and you can feel really good about yourself.  This is the kind of food I can imagine wanting to feed my family, and the kind of food I want to eat to keep myself fit and happy.

And of course, it doesn’t hurt that I get to use a fun kitchen tool to make it.

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Zucchini Noodles with Chicken and Tangy Peanut Sauce

Though you can certainly slice the squash and carrots into ribbons by hand, a julienne-style peeler or mandoline will make the job a breeze. If you want to use a peeler to julienne the squash, it is best to choose medium to small zucchini and summer squash - they should be no wider than than the width of the peeler. Also, topping these zucchini 'noodles' with chicken and peanut sauce is just a suggestion for a simple healthy meal, but these fresh vegetables are a great foil for tomato based sauces as well.

Ingredients:

2 cooked chicken breasts, either boiled or pan-fried
4-6 medium-sized zucchini and summer squash
2 large carrots
About 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
About 1-2 tbsp sesame seeds

Peanut Sauce:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic (or more)
1/2-1 tsp granulated sugar (depending on taste)
At least 1/4 cup water, add 1-2 more tablespoons depending on texture

Directions:

First, prepare your chicken breasts by either shredding the chicken (if you prefer to boil it) or by dicing it (if you prefer to pan-fry it). Set the chicken aside.

Next, make the peanut sauce by whisking all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Start by adding 1/4 cup water as the recipe suggests, and if the sauce is too thick for your taste, add additional tablespoons water to reach desired consistency.

Lastly, prepare the zucchini, squash, and carrot ribbons by using a mandoline or by using a peeler designed to julienne vegetables. If using the peeler, hold the stem end of the squash in one hand and drag the peeler from the top to the bottom to create the ribbons. Julienne all the vegetables, keeping the carrots separate from the squash and zucchini. Briefly blanch the vegetables in a pot of boiling water by adding the carrots first for about 2-3 minutes, and then adding the zucchini and squash for another 1-2 minutes (it gets tender very quickly). Drain the hot water, immediately add cold water to stop the cooking, and once the vegetables have cooled, drain the water again.

Assemble the dish by putting some of the vegetable ribbons on a plate and topping them with diced or shredded chicken, then the peanut sauce, and chopped cilantro and sesame seeds. Serve at room temperature, but can also be served cool (if you would like to refrigerate ingredients before serving).

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by Liren Baker on June 22, 2011

47 Responses to “Zucchini Noodles with Chicken and Tangy Peanut Sauce”

  1. Tiffany June 22, 2011 @ 6:21 am (#
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    So creative…. I’d digging the vegetable noodles!

  2. nancy@skinnykitchen.com June 22, 2011 @ 7:48 am (#
    2
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    What a great idea. Looks amazing and so healthy too!

  3. Kim - Liv Life June 22, 2011 @ 7:48 am (#
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    MMM!!! I’m loving everything about this dish… including the cute little tools! I have one of them and it has become one of my favorite tools. As for the dish, I’m always pleased to find and serve fresh ingredients and I have to admit that cilantro tops our list. Topped with the peanut dressing, this one is a family pleaser.
    Aloha to Liren!

  4. norma June 22, 2011 @ 8:01 am (#
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    )

    I have tried this in a salad, but this idea wit the chicken and the sauce is quite interesting…..

  5. Jean June 22, 2011 @ 8:37 am (#
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    I need to get that peeler stat!

    So nice to see you both in one place, Liren and Amanda. You both always inspire me with your tasty posts.

    Amanda, this dish is so perfect for summer. In fact, I’ve just posted something very similar, a chicken salad with a peanut vinaigrette, so I know I would love this. Great minds…? :-)

    Liren, I can’t think of a better way to kick off summer than by being oceanside. Safe travels and have an extra piña colada for me! :-)

  6. spcookiequeen June 22, 2011 @ 9:03 am (#
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    Beautiful dish Amanda, love the colors and perfect for summer. You know I bought the peelers and still hadn’t figured out what to do with them, thanks for the hint.

    Liren, enjoy your vacation.
    -Gina-

  7. Roxana GreenGirl June 22, 2011 @ 9:05 am (#
    7
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    hi Liren, hello Amanda.
    Sp great to see two wonderful foodies on the same page.
    Liren, happy anniversary, hope you’re having a wonderful time.

    Amanda, I love zucchini spaghetti, even made some over the weekend after our visit to the farmers market. Love the peanut sauce, next time I’m definitely going to try it. Thanks for sharing :)

  8. Barbara | Creative Culinary June 22, 2011 @ 9:35 am (#
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    What a great idea; only wish I had thought that when I was at Williams Sonoma last weekend for a cooking demo and they showed us those tools. I resist most new tools for lack of space to store anymore but I’m already contemplating this now as a must have purchase!

    And the peanut sauce? I’m in heaven.

  9. Kathy - Panini Happy June 22, 2011 @ 10:48 am (#
    9
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    Wow, this is SO pretty! I can’t wait to get a julienne peeler, I definitely want to make this (my vegetable-avoiding 18 mo just might go for it).

  10. DessertForTwo June 22, 2011 @ 1:54 pm (#
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    What a great summer recipe! And so perfect for me because I have a garden full of squash! I wonder if you could salt the vegetables ahead of time to soften instead of cooking them?

  11. Liz June 22, 2011 @ 4:12 pm (#
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    Welcome Amandsa, great post! I made squash”noodles” with spagetti sauce for dinner. Had I seen this in time I may have changed my plans! With hot sauces I don’t even blanch the ribbons, the sauce seems to be enough to soften.

  12. Belinda @zomppa June 22, 2011 @ 8:23 pm (#
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    Hope you are having a blast!! This is a beautiful dish.

  13. Winnie June 22, 2011 @ 8:45 pm (#
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    Liren-Hope you are having a blast at the beach!

    Amanda- what beautiful photos and what a fantastic recipe! I make zucchini noodles a lot in the summer…LOVE them :)

  14. Karriann Graf June 22, 2011 @ 8:50 pm (#
    14
    )

    What a great guest post and gorgeous pictures. Happy Cooking!

  15. This just looks like the perfect dish for a warm summer afternoon, and I love your vibrant photos. I am pretty sure that I will have to practice quite a bit before my julienne strips are up to your standards.

    Liren, have a wonderful time on Maui. If you like Pina Coladas try a Lava Flow. It is a great time to be in Hawaii.

  16. Lana June 22, 2011 @ 11:12 pm (#
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    Liren, have fun in Maui (can anyone NOT have fun in Maui?) Your blog is in great hands:)

    Amanda, I love the colors of your vegetables! I make noodles with peanut sauce very often for my girls, usually meatless, but the veggies are going to be a great alternative.
    Do I need to say that your photos are gorgeous?

  17. Brian @ A Thought For Food June 23, 2011 @ 10:01 am (#
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    Oh my goodness! I’m so jealous of your trip. Have a marvelous time!

    And this wonderful recipe from Amanda is the perfect summer meal.

  18. The Cilantropist June 23, 2011 @ 3:01 pm (#
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    Thanks all for the kind comments! :) I loved writing up this guest post for Liren and I am glad you are enjoying it (and the peeler)!

    Dessert for Two: Hi Christina! I don’t know if I would recommend salting the vegetables, especially the squash. I can’t say I have personal experience with squash, but I have salted other vegetables before and I think the thin strips and soft flesh might make them too delicate. However, if you dont feel like cooking them, I have seen lots of recipes with raw zucchini strips! Give it a try!

    • dana replied: — July 7th, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

      I made this last night with my own twist. I would love to post a pic if you tell me how. Incredible!

      • Liren replied: — July 7th, 2011 @ 11:41 pm

        I would love to see it! If you email it to me (kitchenconfidante at gmail dot com), I will post it on the site’s facebook page! Can’t wait to see what you did with it :)

  19. Magic of Spice June 23, 2011 @ 3:54 pm (#
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    Such a gorgeous dish for summer…looks amazing!
    Liren, I hope you have an amazing vacation…

  20. Nami @ Just One Cookbook June 24, 2011 @ 2:23 am (#
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    Amanda, I love your beautiful zucchini noodles! I first need this peeler. ;-) Liren, have a wonderful vacation! :-)

  21. Erika - In Erika's Kitchen June 26, 2011 @ 11:43 am (#
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    I. Want. This. Peeler. Am heading to Williams Sonoma right this second. Seriously.

  22. Amy | She Wears Many Hats June 27, 2011 @ 2:24 pm (#
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    )

    I have to have one of those. I recently had pimento that had been cut with one of those. Nnow I know, I was thinking there was someone with excellent knife skills in the kitchen.

    • Liren replied: — June 30th, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

      Now I know, too! I’m sure there are some with talent and excellent knife skills, but nice to know I can do it too – I can’t wait to pick one of these tools up myself.

  23. Belinda @zomppa June 29, 2011 @ 6:36 pm (#
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    This is a stunning work of art!

  24. Peggy June 30, 2011 @ 2:56 am (#
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    )

    Great guest post! I’ve been wanting to make vegetable “noodles” for quite some time now, and I think I just may have to do it this weekend – after a trip to Williams Sonoma, of course =)

  25. Anne June 30, 2011 @ 4:35 am (#
    25
    )

    How many servings does this hold?

    • Liren replied: — June 30th, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

      Hi Anne! I haven’t had the chance to try this recipe myself yet (but plan to very soon!), but I would estimate that this would serve between 4-6 adults. I have emailed Amanda and will update you if my estimate is off. Enjoy!

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  27. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts July 16, 2011 @ 11:16 am (#
    26
    )

    How creative! Love the use of zucchini, sounds wonderful!

  28. Bee July 29, 2011 @ 1:33 pm (#
    27
    )

    I am SO glad I invested in one of these peelers. Made your recipe today and was so happy with it. Tastes and looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

    • Liren replied: — July 30th, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it, Bee! Those peelers are really nifty, aren’t they?

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  30. Britney September 20, 2011 @ 7:53 pm (#
    28
    )

    I made this tonight and was not expecting it to be as yummy as it was!! Definitely a yummy dish that is also extremely healthy – thanks for sharing!! :)

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  33. Jana February 15, 2012 @ 1:11 pm (#
    29
    )

    Made this for lunch today — quick, easy and yummy. Thanks for sharing!

    (I’m posting a review on my blog with a link to you.)

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  35. Kel June 18, 2012 @ 8:52 pm (#
    30
    )

    Oh my this was sooo delish, and my first foray into zucchini “noodles!” I made it for one and I love having the freedom to load up on chicken (which I poached) since I’m not wasting calories on minimally-nutritious, grain-based noodles. Definitely a recipe I’ll be coming back to a lot!

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  40. Ali @ Inspiralized September 24, 2013 @ 5:56 am (#
    31
    )

    I love that zucchini noodles get the spotlight here! I love spiralizing my veggies, but julienning is so beautiful! I love your blog, your writing, your photography – so glad I happened to find it!

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