Toddler Thai: Noodles in Peanut Sauce with Chicken

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I’ve really been struggling lately with what to pack David for lunch. He is 16 months old and goes to a Mother’s Day Out program twice a week. He’s also lactose intolerant—he can eat yogurt and baked goods, but dairy milk and cheese give him incredibly awful gas pains. If you’ve been a long-time follower, you might remember I had to go dairy-free for a few LONG months during his early nursing time as well.

Thankfully the dairy products I ingest no longer seem to bother him (he’s still nursing, but only 1-2 times a day). But when it comes to feeding my sweetie boy, I’ve had to be more creative than I ever was with Libbie. (Which is not hard, considering she ate only bread, cheese, and bananas for about 6 months.)

David is also underweight and just went through a bunch of tests to make sure there was no underlying problem. Nope … just genetics is our guess. Mr. V and I are both short, and Mr. V just has a small frame, too. His dad and sister are the same way.

All that to say, it’s hard to find cheese-free lunch options for a baby that also pack in fat—and that he will eat! My kids have always been fans of peanut butter, though, so I’m hopeful these Thai Peanut Noodles will be a hit. The itty-bitty pastas are too cute for them not to love!

Toddler Thai Noodles in Peanut Sauce with Chicken

Yield: 4 toddler servings

Serving Size: 3/4 cup

Toddler Thai Noodles in Peanut Sauce with Chicken


  • 1 c. mini noodles, such as Barilla piccolini mini-penne
  • 1 chicken breast, cooked (see my method below)
  • 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 3 to 4 T ponzu sauce or soy sauce
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 T finely grated carrot


Boil noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Sear and saute chicken breast (you can also boil or bake it, but it will be less flavorful). I cooked my chicken in a cast-iron pan with ponzu sauce, and just kept adding more sauce as it evaporated. The sauce glazed the chicken nicely as it cooked.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together peanut butter, ponzu sauce, honey, sesame oil, and grated carrot. You can substitute soy sauce for ponzu sauce; if you do, you might add a squeeze of citrus to the pan for extra flavor. Ponzu is a sauce made with soy and lime or lemon juice.

Combine cooked noodles and sauce. If needed, you can thin out sauce with more ponzu/soy or some of the pasta water.

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to pasta.

For freezing, divide into 1-cup containers. Defrost and reheat in the microwave for 1 minute, until hot.

You can make this gluten-free as well as dairy-free by using gluten-free soy or tamari sauce and gluten-free pasta, or substitute rice.


5 thoughts on “Toddler Thai: Noodles in Peanut Sauce with Chicken

  1. My little guy likes peanut butter and nutella sandwiches. If David can tolerate a little milk in yogurt and stuff, he might be ok with the nutella. We have a hard time getting protein down ours otherwise. He likes peanut butter, but PBJ gets a little old. I’ll have to try your noodles. They look yummy.

  2. Thank you for posting this recipe. My son is around the same age as yours and is also underweight. The doctor keeps trying to get us to give Pediasure, but I would rather not. We prefer a wholesome, natural diet so I also like to find creative and healthy ways to incorporate fat into his diet. I’m going to try this recipe. Hopefully, he’ll eat it up!

  3. Has anyone actually tried this? I made it and the sauce was like a paste I had to add chicken broth like alot of it to get it to liquid and even the there were still spots where there was too much peanut butter but I used the same pan I cooked the chicken in after I wipes it with a napkin so maybe it was still to hot. Any thoughts?

    • It’s been a really long time since I made this, Darlene. I think it probably depends a lot on what kind of peanut butter you use. I may try it again and see what happens. I’m sorry it wasn’t a hit for you.

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