An easy weeknight dinner, these rice bowls feature a Spicy Tomato Peanut Sauce that uses everyday ingredients to create a unique tasting experience. The tomato peanut sauce is vegan, but if you’re not vegan or you’re eating with a mixed group, we’ve got instructions for adding chicken.
About the Spicy Tomato Peanut Sauce
Although combining tomatoes and peanuts might sound unusual, it’s a delicious mix that really works. We were inspired by some West African recipes that use peanuts and tomato paste, although the recipe is definitely not West African.
The Spicy Tomato Peanut sauce is made from fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, peanut butter, and peanuts. Red pepper flakes add heat, while coconut sugar provides a hint of sweet and brings out the flavour of the tomatoes. If you don’t have coconut sugar, you can sub with any sugar, or honey if you’re not vegan. You’ll also need a tablespoon of cooking oil for frying the onions and salt to taste. Super simple!
If you’re not vegan, chicken makes a delicious addition. Allow about one quarter pound of chicken breast for serving.
Making the Spicy Tomato Peanut Sauce
The sauce comes together in less than 20 minutes, including preparation time.
Here’s a quick visual overview of the steps.
Start by heating the oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and fry them for about 5-7 minutes until they are softened and starting to brown a little bit around the edges.
Turn the heat down to low, and add in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Fry, stirring occasionally for another 2 minutes or so.
Transfer the onion mixture to a blender, and add 2 cups of the tomatoes, the peanut butter, coconut sugar, and salt.
Blend until it reaches your desired consistency.
Transfer the sauce back to the saucepan, stir in the remaining 1 cup of tomatoes, the peanuts, and the cilantro.
Heat until everything is warmed through.
That’s it! It’s ready to eat! Serve garnished with additional peanuts and cilantro.
Making this for Mixed Groups
The Spicy Tomato Peanut Sauce is made from 100% plants. If you’re a meat-eater or sharing a meal with one, this sauce works really well with chicken. We cube a chicken breast, fry it lightly in oil and then add it to the sauce at the end. Here’s our messy leftovers from the chicken version. (It’s great cold!)
You might also like:
- Indian-Spiced Spinach (Saag)
- Lettuce Wraps: Vegan or with Pork
- 15-Minute Thai Chickpea Curry (Vegan or with Pork)
- Tom Kha Soup (Vegan or Chicken)
- Chipotle Cheese Stuffed Peppers (Vegan, Vegetarian, Meat)
- Butternut Squash Green Curry (Vegan or Chicken)
- Buddha Bowls with Pineapple Brown Butter Teriyaki Sauce (Vegan or with Shrimp or Chicken)
Printable Recipe Card
Spicy Tomato Peanut Rice Bowls
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 cloves garlic (Or substitute with one teaspoon dried garlic)
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 cups fresh tomatoes, diced (Separate into 2 cups and 1 cup)
- 1/3 cup peanut butter (We used all natural, unsalted peanut butter)
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (If not vegan, you can swap this with honey. You can sub any sweetener you like here, such as regular white sugar, brown sugar, or maple syrup.)
- 1/3 cup peanuts, roughly chopped (We used unsalted roasted peanuts. Reduce or omit the salt if you use salted peanuts).
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For chicken version
- 1/4 pound chicken breast, cubed
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- cilantro, minced
- peanuts, roughly chopped
- rice, white or brown
Make the Rice
- If you're making brown rice, get that started as it takes about 40 to 45 minutes. White rice will be faster, usually about 20 minutes. The sauce itself takes less than 20 minutes, including prep so getting the rice started first is a good idea.
Make the sauce
- Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and cook until soft and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat down and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for one minute.
- Transfer the onion mixture to a blender and add 2 cups of the tomatoes, the peanut butter, coconut sugar, and salt. Blend until desired consistency.
- Transfer the sauce back to the saucepan and stir in the remaining 1 cup of tomatoes, the chopped peanuts, and the cilantro. Heat through.
Make the chicken
- Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the cubed chicken and cook until done. If you're not eating with vegans, you can stir this into the cooked sauce.
- Add rice to bowl, top with sauce, and garnish with additional cilantro and chopped peanuts.
Storage and ReheatingThis will store well in the fridge for at least 2-3 days in a well-sealed container. The sauce is good hot or cold, so if you have leftovers, it makes a great cold lunch.
Replacing Fresh TomatoesIf you don’t have good quality fresh tomatoes, replace with canned, drained, diced tomatoes.
Replacing Fresh GarlicYou can substitute 1 teaspoon of dried garlic for the fresh.
Replacing Coconut SugarYou can use any kind of sweetener you like. This is good with honey if you’re not vegan.
Nutrition InformationNutrition information is an estimate only, without the chicken, rice, or garnishes.
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