Peanut-Miso Sauce Chicken (with Vegan Option)

Posted by on November 9, 2010 | 23 Comments

Light and frugal, scrumptious music to so many foodie ears.

I’m not going to say that I prepared this dish perfectly, and without any errors. That would be a lie.

The pan was too hot when everything merged, causing a rapid sizzle rather than a subtle simmer … and, in my hunger, I did a very shabby job in plating and serving, resulting in a dinner that didn’t look half as good as it tasted. But, I can tell you that the sauce is delicious, the chicken is great, and fortunately, it is a hard dish to ruin.

This recipe appeared in the November edition of Cooking Light magazine, and the second I saw it, I knew I would be making it this week. Chicken thighs were on sale for $.79 a lb, my CSA delivered loads of onions and sweet bell peppers, I had all of the sauce components simply waiting on hand in my cupboard and refrigerator, and even when coupled with some broccoli (crowns on sale for $.77 a lb!) and rice (does it get much cheaper than that?), I knew I had the perfect delicious entry for our first Naturally Frugal Challenge!

No, I can’t win the challenge, but I sure can enter! And, no, I suppose a miso-peanut sauce may not be part of a traditional holiday meal, at least not in the U.S. However, it is meals like this (quick, easy, and Asian-inspired) that have become “traditional” in my home. Plus, I believe this meal-for-4 easily clocks in at under $10, side dishes and all!

What about you? Do you have a Naturally Frugal Meal to share? Yes, prizes are involved!

Spicy Miso-Peanut Chicken

This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light, November 2010. It is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free and Wheat-Free. You can make it Soy-Free by using a chickpea (or other soy-free) miso, and Peanut-Free and Nut-Free by using sunflower butter. The sauce itself is Vegan / Vegetarian (when using agave nectar), so feel free to swap the chicken for tofu or a meat alternative of your choosing!

  • 3 Tablespoons Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Light / White Miso
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey or Agave Nectar
  • 2 Teaspoons Red Curry Paste
  • 2 Crushed Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Cup Hot Water
  • 8 Chicken Thighs, bone in, with skin
  • 2 Tablespoons Avocado Oil, Olive Oil, or Coconut Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Small to Medium Sweet Bell Peppers (orange, red, or yellow), diced
  • 1 Medium Onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons Dry White Wine
  • 2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
  • To Serve: Cooked Brown or White Rice and Veggies (I steamed some broccoli in the steamer basket of my rice cooker as the rice cooked)

In a bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, miso, honey, curry paste, garlic, and water. Set aside.

Alisa’s Lazy Chicken Method: Season chicken thighs with a little salt and pepper. Place them in a crockpot on low for about two to four hours (in a single layer if possible), or until they are wonderfully, fall off the bone cooked.

Cooking Light’s Stove Top Chicken Method: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and add it to the skillet, cooking to a golden brown (about 4 minutes per side). Transfer the chicken to a plate, and drain the fat, but since you just used up the oil, you will need to leave about 2 tablespoons of the fat in the skillet to cook your veggies.

With the skillet still set over medium-high heat, add the peppers and onions, and cook until the onions are soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the white wine, return the chicken to the skillet, and pour the peanut-miso sauce over all. Simmer the chicken, partially covered, for about 20 minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, you can add a little more water. During the last minute of cooking, add in the green onions.

Plate the chicken with rice and steamed broccoli (or veggie of your choice), and spoon any remaining peanut sauce w/ onions and peppers over top.

Makes 4 dinners

Blog Event: As mentioned, this baby is being entered in the first Naturally Frugal Challenge, co-sponsored by me!


Filed Under: Alisa's Recipes

Comments (23)


  1. Wow this sounds like a full flavor dish. There are so many ingredients on this list that pack a punch. Love that it’s frugal too. I think I’d like mine over quinoa too!

  2. The flavors in this dish sound absolutely amazing together. I have 2 pounds of chicken thighs right now. I think this would be a great dish. The only thing I do not have on hand is the miso, which is easy to pick up! I am excited to give this one a try! Thanks for sharing it! 😉

  3. I’m with Kim, I’ve got the chicken thighs and a fresh jar of red curry paste, but no miso. I know what I’m getting when I hit the grocery store today. I think all your GF friends are having a good influence on your recipes Alisa. I can eat this.

  4. Alisa, this recipe looks amazing and I will definitely have to try it once my sense of smell and taste return (it’s been 6 months, so any day now, right??).

    I concur with what Wendy said about your GF friends having a good influence on your recipes, and I will say in return that you have had a very positive influence on me converting recipes to be dairy-free! 😀

  5. Tia says:

    What a great sounding recipe! Since I am not a fan of dark meat, I think I will try your slow cooker method with chicken breasts. Mmmmmmm. I love asian, asian inspired, etc. Can’t wait to try this. Thanks!

    Tia 😛

  6. This looks great….thanks for adding the vegan option…however, my hubby may really like this chicken dish!!!

    I have a huge Cooking Light cook book, like the mother of all cook books, I just whipped it out and altered a recipe tonight from it. They always have the b est recipes!

  7. Alisa – I think this dish not only sounds wonderful but it looks pretty darn good to me. Intriguing flavor combination. And, frugal to boot…doesn’t get much better.

  8. Alisa, dear, what are you talking about in re: to your plating? This dish looks fabulous! Chicken thighs are always a great basis for a frugal meal and they also make for great comfort food. 🙂 With the other ingredients, this meal has to be wonderful. BTW, I love that plate, too. It’s gorgeous. I’d eat on that plate all the time.


  9. Joanne says:

    Would it be rude if I told my mother I was eating this on Thanksgiving instead of her turkey? Because it looks delicious. I love the sound of that peanut miso sauce. Love.

  10. MaryBeth says:

    This chicken sounds wonderfully amazing, the flavor must be simply outstanding. My husband would love this one for sure….

  11. Hannah says:

    *claps excitedly* This looks marvellous!! You know how I feel about peanut butter, and I’m constantly forgetting about the miso in my cupboard (I wonder if it will go off anytime soon?!) I think I’ll try the vegan version though 🙂

  12. Maggie says:

    Wow! What a fantastic combination of ingredients. I’ll try the vegan version for sure!

  13. Katie says:

    My friend gets Cooking Light and at the end of the year, she gives me all 12 magazines….now I am excited. I just have to wait 2 more months.

  14. The flavors with the spicy peanut – miso sauce sound terrific! I’m excited to see the use of avocado oil in this recipe, I just got some and been very happy using it.

  15. Marianne says:

    This sounds delicious. And uses things I almost always have on hand, which is always nice.

  16. This looks positively delicious Alisa! I love the idea of making a peanut sauce with miso and red curry paste. My favorite brand of miso is from The South River Miso Company which has a line of gluten-free miso using rice koji instead of the typical barley koji. Their Garlic Red Pepper Miso is divine and would work well in this recipe! -Ali 🙂

  17. Tara says:

    Quick question re: the slow cooker method. You only mention throwing in the chicken… I assume you throw in EVERYTHING and turn on the slow cooker? All the ingredients and away you go?

  18. alisa says:

    Sorry Tara! Actually, no. Just the chicken. Though you could probably throw it all in. We do just the chicken (on a grate if possible so the fats can drain), because the chicken releases so much juice and fat when it cooks. That would all go into your sauce if you did it all together. This could taste quite good, but would be heavier in fat and may turn out a bit too soupy. We just cook the chicken in the crockpot after seasoning it, as it is really easy and the slow cooking makes it fall-off-the-bone. I then drained the chicken, and added it to the sauce to simmer (skipping cooking it in the pan).

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