Thai Noodles in a Spicy Peanut Sauce

Thai NoodlesSo can you stomach meat produced in a lab? Humane meat, meat that did not come at the cost of an animal’s life, meatless meat that tastes like meat but just isn’t?

If you’ve been alive in this century, you know that there are efforts afoot to produce meat from lab-cultured stem cells. And although some famous vegans and vegetarians have said it’s not for them — but great for meat-eaters and animals– it sounds to me like a win-win for just about everyone.

After all, we vegans go to great lengths to find meat substitutes that emulate the texture of meat? If we can get something that’s as close to the real thing as possible but without the cruelty and killing, why wouldn’t we eat it?

And what about the carnivores among us, those of us who will not give up their burgers and beef at any price? Can the idea of lab-produced meat — quite possibly the solution to world hunger, if proponents are to be believed — sway them enough to give it a try?

I will admit that the idea of meat grown in a lab doesn’t sound appetizing. In fact, it sounds rather gross. But then, some vegan substitute meats and cheese can be pretty gross too, heavily processed as they are.

This week, there was a lot of press again around the idea of lab-grown meat following the publication of a paper by two Dutch researchers. According to a National Geographic article, everyone from Google’s Sergey Brin to New York Times food critic Mark Bittman have spoken out in favor of exploring lab-grown meat and Brin has even bankrolled the world’s first cultured-beef hamburger.

There’s just one hurdle right now–  at the current cost of production, cultured meat is going to cost you $240 for a pound. And one thing that always seems to be missing from any discussion about lab-grown meat is whether it will be healthier than the real thing, or not — a factor that would definitely play into most people’s decision.

So how do you — vegan or not– feel about lab-produced meat. Assuming it was affordable — or assuming you are super rich, do you think you would eat it?


Thai NoodlesToday’s recipe is one of my favorites for the lunchbox– Thai Noodles in a Spicy Peanut Sauce. Just saying those words makes my mouth water.

The combination of noodles with spices and peanut butter is pure genius, and whoever chanced upon it — Thai or not — deserves a tip of the hat. The sweet peanut butter and spices  perfectly flavor the bland tofu  and noodles, making this dish delicious beyond your wildest dreams.

To make my noodles super-healthy and nutritionally complete, I throw in some cubes of tofu and tons of fresh veggies. My favorites are carrots and onions and bell peppers, although you couldn’t go wrong with zucchini, broccoli, or even leafies like spinach or kale.

If you love easy recipes and if you love Thai food (why wouldn’t you?) this is the recipe for you. Enjoy!

Thai Noodles

Thai Noodles in a Spicy Peanut Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 4
  • 8 oz spaghetti
  • 1 14-oz slab of extra firm tofu, cut into four slices
  • 2 large bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, julienned
  • 1-inch knob of ginger, finely minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha sauce (use more or less per taste)
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 6 spring onions or scallions, trimmed and white and green parts chopped.
  1. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet. Arrange the tofu slice sin a single layer and cook until browned on both sides. Cool enough to handle and cut into ¼-inch cubes.
  2. Cook the noodles in salted water per package instructions until al dente
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tsp of oil in a wok.
  4. Add the onions, ginger and garlic. Saute until the onions soften and start to brown.
  5. Add the carrots and bell peppers. Saute, stirring over high heat, until the vegetables begin to soften.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the peanut butter, maple syrup, rice vinegar and soy sauce. Add some water if it's too thick.
  7. Pour the sauce over the veggies in the skillet and mix.
  8. Add the noodles and the tofu and stir well to combine everything.
  9. Sprinkle the chopped green onions over the noodles. Sprinkle on some coarsely pounded peanuts too, if you wish.
  10. Serve hot.

Thai Noodles

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  1. Elizabeth says

    I have one at home that won’t eat bell peppers or onion :( , I love onion, so I will replace them with shredded cabbage and julienned pea pods or green beans. I do not have siracha sauce, believe it or not. Does it have much flavor or is it just adding hot-ness to the dish? I do have red chili paste…could that substitute?

    • says

      Hi Elizabeth, the sriracha contains vinegar and garlic so it does have a distinctive flavor, but with all the other flavors in this recipe you won’t really notice a huge difference if you substitute with red chili paste. Hope you try it! :)

  2. says

    Lovely recipe, thanks. :) Since you asked…I would never eat lab meat. Meat is meat to me, I could never eat flesh (ughh!), and I bet some being somewhere will be suffering even with lab meat. We don’t know the safety issues yet, either- there’s bound to be some risk of some kind. We are not God; we cannot create everything and something always goes wrong when we try. As well as the suffering, I don’t think meat is a healthy or sustainable food. Maybe lab meat will be too expensive and cost too much in energy, water or other resources. Plant protein remains the best, most sustainable way to feed everyone and alleviate hunger globally. Give me tofu and tempeh any day! PS: I wouldn’t morally judge anyone who eats lab meat, but hope they make an informed choice.

    • says

      Hi Sarojinididi, thanks for your candid response and you make some good points. I agree that it’s hard to think about eating flesh, even lab-produced, after one is used to delicious fruits and veggies and whole grains. I do think that for anyone who thinks they can’t give up meat, though, it could be a good option. Most people are not vegan, and don’t plan to be, and if they can have their meat and eat it too, so to say, without animal cruelty involved, I think it’d be great.

  3. says

    Oh what I wouldn’t give to be able to eat peanut butter again! SIGH! I love noodles, I love peanut butter, slurp!
    That bowl looks awesome. Some people substitute PB for other nut butters, but I am sure, it does not come close to the real thing :( I just want regular PB, without a huge dose of migraine, please, thank you.

    To answer your question about humane meat / lab produced meat, would I ever eat it? No.

  4. says

    Hi Vaishali! I dropped by your site a few years ago and just now happened upon it again. Your website and photos look great! Congratulations on a really beautiful site and kudos to your husband for contributing his photography skills.

  5. Molly says

    I don’t think I would eat lab produced meat. I find if the meat substitute today is too much like the real thing, it kind of turns my stomach. I would also be fearful of unkind people slipping real dead animals into dishes and claim they are test tube products. I’m sure the texture will be enough to make me gag. Now, on the other hand, I would love to see meat eaters switch to test tube meats and all factory farms close.

    • says

      Hi Molly, that makes a lot of sense. And I agree that it would be great to get meat eaters to switch to lab-produced meat so animals don’t have to die anymore.

  6. Leah says

    Hi Vaishali! I wrote to you a while ago saying that we were about to start a 3-year State Dept tour in New Delhi and you wrote back a lovely message. We are here and loving it! We have a wonderful maid who isn’t used to vegan (I’m here today to print out some recipes for her) but I’m slowly working her towards more vegan dishes and less animal products. We aren’t vegan but try to eat vegan primarily. To answer your question, I would eat the HECK out of some lab meat! Seems like a win-win to me – no cruelty, no killing, no suffering, and I get a steak out of it. YUM. :-) Of course I’d want to check out the health situation, and it would still make up less than 10% of our diet, but it would be great to have a guilt-free delicious meat option as part of our repertoire! Thanks for being so open-minded (the knee-jerk vegans do a lot to turn off people like me who aren’t willing to commit to being vegan 100% but still want to make it the primary part of our diets!)

    • says

      Hi Leah, so fantastic that you’re in India, and enjoying it. Delhi is a foodie’s paradise. And thanks for weighing in on the lab meat debate. I am glad you feel that way, and I couldn’t agree more on including it in the diet after ensuring that it’s safe.

  7. Stacey E. says

    I agree with what a former commenter stated, that I’d be afraid that someone who doesn’t care would try giving me actual meat, rather than the created stuff. I haven’t eaten meat for 24 years, so I don’t like the way it tastes, anymore. I only really miss steak, so I think that I would try. But eating another beings skin or muscles is just too revolting. It’s still kind of gross, even if it was created.

  8. LeslieG says

    I have been vegan for about two years, but I went vegetarian over 30 years ago because I didn’t like meat, so no, I have no interest in lab-produced meat. But I would love for it to be an option for my husband, who hasn’t yet committed to giving up chicken or fish when we eat out. I do use some of the “meat substitutes,” because it’s nice to have another protein source available, but if one tastes too much like meat I won’t eat it. Luckily the world has wonderful websites and blogs like yours, where it’s easy to find recipes for delicious vegan food.

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