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A hand eating spicy peanut pork noodles in a bowl with chopsticks.
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Spicy Peanut Pork Noodles (Gluten free)

These spicy peanut pork noodles feature crispy pork, a creamy peanut sauce and fresh spinach for an addicting one-dish dinner that you’ll want to make on repeat. The brand of rice noodles you use makes a big difference in terms of texture, so pay attention to the quantities. If you use Lotus Foods Pad Thai Rice Noodles (which I love for their toothsome bite), you’ll need two packages, or 1 pound. If you use Annie Chun’s or Thai Kitchen brand, use 1 box, or 8 ounces (you can use white or brown rice noodles for any brand). If you prefer, you can swap out the pork for ground turkey. Take note that the peanut sauce will taste very potent on its own, but it will get diluted with chicken broth when it goes into the pan. The sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: peanut sauce noodles, pork noodles
Servings: 4 people

Equipment

  • 12-inch pan

Ingredients

Peanut Sauce

  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • ¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek or sriracha, plus more for serving
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Noodles

  • 16 ounces (2 packages) Lotus Foods Pad Thai Rice Noodles, or 8 ounces (1 box) Annie Chun’s or Thai Kitchen Pad Thai Rice Noodles

Crispy Pork and Spinach

  • 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 pound 16 ounces ground pork
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped (optional)
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 2 large scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
  • Chopped peanuts (optional)

Instructions

Make the peanut sauce

  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil (this will be for the noodles in a bit). While the water comes to a boil, make the peanut sauce.
  • In a mini food processor, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth (the sauce will taste quite strong at this point, but it will mellow considerably when tossed with the broth and noodles). Do Ahead: The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Cook the noodles

  • Cook the noodles in the boiling water according to the package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water.

Cook the pork and spinach

  • Heat the oil in a 12-inch pan over high heat until it's shimmering. Add the pork, and season with salt and pepper. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon, then let it cook without stirring until it’s brown and crispy on the bottom in several places, about 3-5 minutes. Scooch the meat to one side of the pan (it’s okay if it’s not fully cooked at this point), tilt the pan, and spoon off the fat (discard the fat).
  • Add the garlic (if using), and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the spinach and cook, tossing with tongs, until wilted.

Finish and serve

  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the chicken broth and peanut sauce. Add the cooked noodles. Cook, stirring (tongs are helpful here), until the sauce is bubbling and has evenly coated the noodles (it will only take a minute or two). If the pan looks dry, add more broth as needed (this will depend on the brand of rice noodles you use). Stir in the scallions, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Swirl the pork noodles into serving bowls and garnish with more scallions and chopped peanuts. Serve with Sambal Oelek or sriracha for drizzling.

Notes

Recipe tips:
  • You’ll need a mini food processor or a high speed blender to make the peanut sauce. 
  • The peanut sauce is very potent, as it gets thinned with chicken broth when you add it to the pan (don’t be alarmed if it tastes too strong on its own!). 
  • Cook the pork in a 12-inch pan (you’ll need a large pan because everything will get added at the end). I love my enameled cast iron braiser, which can go from stovetop to table.
  • You can swap out the ground pork for dark meat turkey. 
  • The brand of noodles you use is important, as different brands behave differently. If you use Lotus Foods Pad Thai Rice Noodles, you’ll need 2 packages (1 pound). If you use Annie Chun’s or Thai Kitchen pad Thai rice noodles, use 1 box (8 ounces). You can use white or brown rice noodles.
  • If you’re sensitive to garlic you can omit it—the noodles will still be delicious. 
  • Chinese five spice powder is one of my favorite spice blends and gives the peanut sauce a wonderful depth of flavor (try it on roasted carrots!). 
  • For a vegetarian version, try this Cold Peanut Noodle Salad!