Who said salad has to be lettuce based? I’ve got a brand new recipe for cold noodle salad that’s gonna be a summer staple. Inspired by traditional Thai noodle salad, this recipe explodes with flavor. I can’t wait for you to try it!
What is noodle salad?
…And why is it cold?! Noodle salads can be found in many different regions around the world. Hot and cold, mayonnaise based as well as drenched in Italian dressing, a salad with noodles is a tried and true dish that lots of people love.
I love Thai peanut sauce, and it works seamlessly in this version of a Thai-inspired salad. Because there are several sauces + more processed ingredients in this salad, it is higher in sodium. If you need to cut back, then try using dried red pepper flakes with a bit of olive oil instead of the chili sauce. The flavor does change, yet the sodium content goes down.
What noodles should I use?
Now onto the ever important question of what noodles to use. Here are my top picks: millet and brown rice ramen, egg noodles, soba noodles, fresh pasta noodles and rice noodles.
All of these options are a bit different, yet delicious. Make this cold noodle salad your own with your fav option.
Cold noodle salad recipe
This colorful salad uses a mix of raw and cooked ingredients; typical of many noodle salads. If you’d like a hot option, then check out my vegetarian ramen recipe.
If you are able, make this salad a day ahead, then refrigerate. Giving the sauce + ingredients a bit of time to marinate really takes the whole dish to the next level. If you’d like to make this salad for a party, then don’t be afraid to double the recipe.
Tips for making a great salad
Pick noodles you love– I used egg noodles for my salad, yet I’ve also made this with gluten free ramen. It tastes great with both!
Pre-mixed cabbage slaw– When in a pinch, go for the pre-mixed slaw mix. Trader Joe’s has a great slaw mix that doesn’t already have the dressing mixed in. It’s just shredded cabbage and carrots. Using pre-cut veggies shortens your prep time as well as cuts down on dishes. #winwin
Fresh or frozen green beans work– I look at canned green beans as a last resort, and instead go for fresh or frozen. The flavor just can’t be beat!
Swaps for peanut butter- If peanut butter doesn’t work for you, then swap in almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower butter.
Soy free option- If you’re looking for a soy free cold noodle salad, then swap the tamari for coconut aminos. They have a slightly different flavor, yet work great in this sauce.
Vegetarian Noodle Salad
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 3 tbsp tamari
- 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 teaspoon ginger root, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp water, more if needed
- 6 oz asian noodles, egg, lo mein, ramen, etc
- 1.5 cups carrot, julienned
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1.5 cups green beans, fresh + halved
- 1 red bell pepper, finely sliced
- 2 cups cabbage, shredded (red or green)
- 3 green onions, stems finely sliced on the diagonal
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds, preferably toasted
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, on top
- Prepare noodles according to the packet directions. Drain, rinse and set aside to cool.
- Mix together all dressing ingredients, using water only if needed to loosen.
- Steam green beans until just cooked, tender but still crisp. Drain under running water to cool.
- Chop and slice salad veggies while green beans are cooking.
- Place salad ingredients in a big bowl and toss with dressing.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro, then serve at room temp. Keeps up to 4 days in fridge.
- To make sure this salad is gluten free, read the label on the package of noodles to ensure it is certified gluten-free.
- Fresh, raw green beans are preferred, but in a pinch, canned can be used.
Great vegetarian side dishes
If you loved this salad (and your guests could believe a vegetarian dish could taste so good!) then I’ve got some more great recipes for you to try. I love pulling in Thai-inspired flavors to my dishes, as evidenced by this delicious list of recipes:
Hundreds of recipes like these are available through my plant based meal planner, Rawk the Year. I needed something to keep my family eating at home together, and eating healthy meals. So, I created a meal planner full of recipes we actually eat, and I can’t wait to share it with you and your family too.