A delicious low-calorie peanut sauce recipe with ginger, garlic, sesame, lime, and a little heat! Pour this over spiralized summer squash noodles for a refreshing cold salad with staying power.
I have this mounting fear that one day I’ll have a child and that child will have a peanut allergy. What will I do? How will I relate to my own children if they don’t know what it means to wait all year for Reese’s Easter eggs? Answer me that.
It’s something that I can’t think about for too long. For now, we make peanut noodles.
Healthy peanut noodles, so that we can enjoy more peanut butter. [pray for my children]
The challenge in making a healthy peanut noodle recipe is that the peanut butter alone is so rich (high in calories) that it leaves little room to spare for noodles. And noodles? Ain’t doin’ us any favors. You can go through the whole process, lightening and tweaking, and still end up with something equivalent to a Big Mac. Delicious, but frustrating if you’re trying to be mindful.
We’ve got to get our flavor priorities straight. First priority: peanut butter. Since peanut butter is the main flavor here, I didn’t skimp. Instead, I reduced the amount of added oil and sugar that most traditional recipes call for, and honestly didn’t miss them at all—not in texture or flavor. The high fat content in peanut butter makes for a smooth, slick enough sauce. Any more oil would just be a means to thin the sauce without watering it down. As for sugar—ginger adds a good amount of natural sweetness, so I only added a teaspoon of brown sugar.
The second big swap was using spiralized summer squash in place of pasta—saving hundreds of calories and really letting the peanut sauce shine. It’s the best way to use veggie noodles, I think: when a rich sauce just needs a lighter base.
For the summer squash noodles, I picked up a super cheap Vegetti vegetable spiralizer for under $15 because I wasn’t too sure I’d love spiralizing and wanted to try out something fairly low-risk. It’s small and easy to clean, and certainly gets the job done. Now that I know I love spiralizing, though, I really want to buy my friend Ali’s Inspiralizer. With that, I’d be able to make four different shapes of noodles and it’s just an all-around better machine.
Friends, I call this a success. The peanut sauce is packed with flavor and the raw veggies go a long way to fill you. For a cold salad, this is surprisingly hearty. If you’re a peanut sauce fan, this one hits every taste bud in just the right way – from salty to sweet to umami and back again. It’s rich and still bright and zesty. You won’t miss the pasta and you most definitely won’t miss the calories.
Light and Healthy Peanut Sauce Noodles Under 275 Calories
- 1 inch piece ginger peeled
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/3 cup natural creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice juice of half a lime
- 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 4 tablespoons water room temperature, add them 2 TBSP at a time until desired consistency
- 3 summer squash peeled and spiralized (or zucchini)
- 2 large carrots grated
- ½ large seedless cucumber chopped
- 4 scallions chopped
- ¼ cup roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
- Make the peanut sauce: In a food processor or blender, combine the ginger, garlic, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, Sriracha, sesame oil, and 3 tablespoons room temperature water. Pulse until smooth, adding 1 more tablespoon of water if needed to give the sauce a pourable, silky consistency. *Do not add more than 4 tablespoons of water or the sauce will be too thin.
- In a large bowl, combine the summer squash, carrots, cucumber, and scallions. Pour the peanut sauce on top and toss well to coat all of the squash noodles and veggies. Divide the salad among 4 bowls and sprinkle the top of each with 1 tablespoon of chopped peanuts.