How to make The Healthy Cook’s peanut dressing

And two ways to use it

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Whether you make it spicy or not, this irresistible peanut dressing transforms simple (and healthy) ingredients into dishes that you’ll want to dive right into.

Spoon it over your favorite salad greens and crunchy veggies. Drizzle it over lettuce wraps filled with tofu or chicken. Or toss it with noodles, shredded cabbage, and bell peppers.

Peanut Dressing

Time: 5 minutes

Serves 5

1/3 cup peanut butter
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 red chili pepper, minced (optional, or serve on the side)

Whisk the ingredients together until smooth and glossy.

Makes 15 Tbs.

Per serving (3 Tbs.):

  • Calories: 140
  • Total fat: 11 g
  • Sat fat: 2 g
  • Carbs: 8 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Total sugar: 4 g
  • Added sugar: 3 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Sodium: 530 mg


Peanut Lettuce Wraps

Time: 20 minutes

Serves 1

3-4 medium lettuce leaves (leaf or butter lettuce)
3 oz. cooked tofu, tempeh, or chicken
1 cup crunchy vegetables (cucumbers, sweet bell peppers, radishes, carrots, and/or cabbage)
1 scallion, thinly sliced
3 Tbs. Peanut Dressing
A lime wedge

  1. Lay the lettuce leaves on a plate.
  2. Top with the tofu (or tempeh or chicken).
  3. Sprinkle with the crunchy vegetables and scallions.
  4. Spoon the dressing over the lettuce leaves.
  5. Serve with the lime wedge.

Per serving (entire recipe):

  • Calories: 270
  • Total fat: 16 g
  • Sat fat: 3 g
  • Carbs: 19 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Total sugar: 8 g
  • Added sugar: 3 g
  • Protein: 16 g
  • Sodium: 580 mg


Peanut Noodles

Looking for a gluten-free option? Try brown rice noodles instead of whole wheat spaghetti. To cut about 200 calories, replace the spaghetti with a cup of spiralized zucchini.

Time: 20 minutes

Serves 1

2 cups shredded green cabbage
2 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
3 Tbs. Peanut Dressing
1½ cups spiralized vegetables (carrots and/or cucumbers)
½ cup thinly sliced vegetables (radishes and/or sweet bell peppers)
2 oz. cooked shredded chicken, chopped tofu, or crumbled tempeh
1 Tbs. roasted peanuts

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a small strainer, dip the cabbage into the water to wilt. Remove and immediately rinse under cold running water. Drain well.

  2. Cook the spaghetti in the large pot of boiling water until al dente, 8-10 minutes. Drain well.

  3. Toss the spaghetti with the dressing.
  4. Arrange all the ingredients on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Top the spaghetti with the peanuts.

Per serving (entire recipe):

  • Calories: 580
  • Total fat: 20 g
  • Sat fat: 4 g
  • Carbs: 72 g
  • Fiber: 14 g
  • Total sugar: 17 g
  • Added sugar: 3 g
  • Protein: 36 g
  • Sodium: 680 mg
Photos: Kate Sherwood & Jennifer Urban/CSPI.

Enjoy these recipes?
Salad Days! The latest cookbook from Nutrition Action’s Healthy Cook, Kate Sherwood, will help you expand your repertoire with imaginative combinations of greens, vegetables, herbs, whole grains, and proteins. You’ll find healthy variations on classics like Chicken Caesar and Cobb, as well as more adventurous combos like Black Beans & Red Rice with Smoked Paprika Dressing and Sesame Shrimp with Caramelized Shallot Citrus Dressing.

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