Asian Chicken Zoodles feature tender sesame chicken served with zucchini noodles for a healthy, hearty low-carb meal!
Reasons You’ll Love this Recipe
- One Pan: This meal can be cooked all in one pot or a large pan. A one-pan meal streamlines the cooking process and minimizes cleanup because your meat and vegetables are all cooked together.
- Balanced nutrition: While quick and convenient, that isn’t the only plus of this dish! It is also a balanced and nutritious meal because it incorporates protein and vegetables ensuring you’re getting a well-rounded dinner.
- Versatility: This can be easily adapted or modified based on the ingredients you have available and can be very convenient for weeknight cooking. This allows you to be flexible with what you cook based on what’s in your fridge and pantry. The zoodles can be subbed for other vegetables such as fresh green beans, mixed vegetables or cabbage.
As always, this is a quick overview of the ingredients needed to make this savory sesame chicken dish! For the complete, printable instructions simply scroll to the recipe card below.
- Chicken: boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts will work in this recipe. You will need to cut your preferred chicken into small bite-sized pieces.
- Zucchini: for this recipe, we will be spiralizing the zucchini into noodles. If you don’t have a spiralizer or prefer a shortcut you can purchase precut zucchini at most grocery stores.
- Spices and Herbs: red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, sesame seeds, fresh garlic, and grated ginger.
- Toasted Sesame Oil: this is essential for getting that authentic, rich sesame flavor signature to Asian dishes.
- Soy sauce: tamari or coconut aminos can also be used if you prefer.
- Rice vinegar: this helps to balance the rich oil and salty soy sauce. Rice vinegar is milder in flavor than distilled or apple cider vinegar.
- Peanut Butter: I know it may seem a little odd, but peanut butter is used in many Thai dishes, so you probably have peanuts in Asian food. This helps add richness and depth to the sauce.
- Cornstarch: used to thicken the sauce. If you do not want to use cornstarch you can omit this ingredient or you can use xantham gum in its place.
How to Make Asian Chicken
In addition to the ingredients listed above you will need a spiralizer, or pre-spiraled zucchini, as well as a large pan and spatula. I’ve documented every step of this process so you can easily make this dish at home. To make this healthy chicken stir fry follow the instructions below.
Make the Zucchini Noodles
Choose medium-size zucchini and remove the ends. Spiralize zucchini using a zucchini spiralizer on the smallest noodle blade you have. Alternatively, you can buy pre-spiralized zucchini. If using a zucchini spiralizer, follow the package directions well to ensure safety. Place the zucchini noodles on a clean dish towel and allow them to rest while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. This allows some of the moisture to escape before cooking.
Make the Sauce
In a jar or medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds, rice vinegar, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
Marinade and Cook the Chicken
Place the cubed chicken in a medium bowl with 2 tablespoons of the sauce and toss to coat. Let marinate for 15 minutes. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining sesame oil and the marinated chicken. Cook for about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked through (reaching at least 160°F on an instant-read thermometer). Mix in the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until the garlic has cooked through.
Add the Sauce and Zucchini Noodles
Add remaining sauce and simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Once the sauce is nice and thick (remember, the zucchini is going to add extra moisture to this dish so you really want the sauce to be reduced) add the spiralized zucchini and toss everything together, cooking for 1 minute on medium heat.
This meal contains a good source of protein and vegetables so it can be considered a complete and balanced meal. However, if you would like to incorporate a side to stretch your meal a bit further here are some great ideas:
- Easy Cucumber Salad: This simple no-cook salad contains several of the same ingredients for the sauce.
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts: the sauce with this recipe is very similar to Yum Yum sauce which goes great with this chicken as well!
- Air Fryer Egg Rolls are a great option for our non-keto friends.
How to Prevent Soggy Zoodles
Zucchini has an extremely high moisture content. A common issue when cooking with zucchini is a To prevent zoodles from being soggy, you can follow these tips:
- Choose the right zucchini: Medium-size firm, fresh zucchini is the best option. Large zucchini have big seeds and will not produce nice zoodles. Also, look for zucchini with smooth skin. Avoid zucchini that feels soft or has blemishes, as they may have higher water content.
- Pat them dry: After spiralizing the zucchini, place the zoodles on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Gently pat them dry to remove excess moisture. Do this while you measure out and prepare the other ingredients and you will be shocked at how much moisture you absorb.
- Quick cooking: Cook the zoodles quickly over high heat. This will help them retain their structure and prevent them from releasing too much water. Avoid overcooking, as this can lead to sogginess.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan: If you’re cooking a large batch of zoodles, it’s essential not to overcrowd the pan. Cooking in smaller batches allows for better heat distribution and helps to avoid steaming the zoodles, which can make them soggy.
- Serve immediately: Zoodles are best when served right after cooking. If you let them sit for too long, they may release more moisture and become soggy.
Storage and Reheating
Allow any leftovers to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container. To help prevent additional moisture from being an issue you can add a paper towel to the container to absorb and liquid the zucchini releases, however this step is optional. To reheat add to a skillet over medium heat and warm, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes.
I do not recommend freezing this dish. Zucchini noodles do not freeze well due to their high water content. Freezing them can cause them to become mushy and lose their texture.
To make zucchini noodles you will need a spiralizer. This is the one I use and it has several different attachments so you can make different cuts.
The blade you will need looks like it has several small holes. Most spiralizers come with two different size blades for noodles. I suggest using the smallest for zucchini noodles.
Yes, this recipe works well with shrimp, pork, steak or salmon.
If you use gluten-free soy sauce this recipe is naturally gluten-free and does not require other adjustments.
Other Zucchini Recipes
- Air Fryer Zucchini with Parmesan: a quick and easy side with minimal ingredients and a short cook time!
- Buffalo Chicken Zucchini Boats: a reader favorite recipe!
- Air Fryer Sausage and Veggies: quick, easy and delicious!
- Tuna Zoodle Casserole: the perfect low carb comfort food!
Asian Chicken Zoodles
- 3 medium-large zucchinis spiralized (about 1 1/2 pounds; 6-7 cups zucchini noodles)
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs fat trimmed and cut into 1” cubes
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
- 2 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- **2 teaspoons cornstarch combined with 1 tablespoon COLD water: optional if needed to thicken the sauce**
- Spiralize zucchini using a zucchini spiralizer. Alternatively, you can buy pre-spiralized zucchini. Place the zucchini noodles on a clean dish towel to rest while you prep the remaining ingredients.
- Make the sauce: In a jar or medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds, rice vinegar, ginger, and red pepper flakes.
- Marinade the chicken: Place chicken in a medium bowl with salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of sauce. Let marinate for 15 minutes.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil and the marinated chicken. Cook for about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked through (reaching at least 160°F on an instant-read thermometer). Mix in the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until the garlic has cooked through.
- Add remaining sauce and simmer for 2 minutes or until it has reduced by half and thickened.
- Add spiralized zucchini and toss everything together, cooking for 1 minute on medium heat. Be sure not to overcook the zucchini, cook until just tender.