Asian Noodle Salad with rice noodles, kale, cabbage, red peppers, green onions, cilantro, and a delicious creamy almond dressing.
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Asian Noodle Salad with Creamy Almond Dressing Recipe
There is nothing better than this Cold Asian Noodle Salad with a spicy almond butter dressing and tons of crunchy veggies. It’s flavorful, healthy, and is great for picnics, barbecues, and meal prep. Serve it with some Broiled Asian Chicken Thighs or Honey Garlic Salmon.
During the spring and summer, we are constantly in search of delicious salad and side dishes to bring to parties, barbecues, and other outdoor events. Green salads can sometimes wilt in the heat and mayo-based pasta and potato salads get a little scary in warm weather. That’s where this amazing Asian Cold Noodle Salad comes in. It tastes amazing cold or room temperature, holds up in the heat, and is something unexpected. It’s always a huge hit.
Plus it’s one of those recipes, that you can almost always throw together. As long as you have some type of pasta, some nut butter, and some veggies – you can throw this delicious salad together. There are so many variations and options, it’s a last minute dish that feels special.
How to Make Asian Noodle Salad
Making this cold noodle salad couldn’t be easier. It comes together easily and is great for meal prep since it will hold up a few days in the fridge.
- Make the dressing: Start by making the Asian dressing for the salad. It is made right in the blender and can be customized with your favorite nut butter and herbs.
- Cook the pasta: Prepare the pasta. Although you will be tempted to immediately rinse the pasta, leaving it warm with the starch will help the sauce to stick to the noodles.
- Prep the veggies: Get all the veggies chopped and diced. For easy prep, use prepared veggies like coleslaw, broccoli slaw, or a bag of fresh Asian veggies.
- Assemble the salad: Start by tossing the noodles with about half of the dressing. Then add the veggies and the remaining dressing. Taste and season if needed with extra soy sauce, lime juice, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper.
What are the best noodles to use in Asian Noodle Salads?
When you make an Asian noodle salad, you have a few different options when it comes to noodles. These are our top three recommendations:
- Rice noodles: This is my preferred option for Asian pasta salads since it is the most authentic. The rice noodles have a heartier texture than regular pasta and a slightly different flavor. Almost any version of rice noodles will work, just cook according to the package directions for that particular rice noodle. This also is a gluten-free option.
- Spaghetti or pasta: You can also use regular pasta in any shape or size you like. My personal preference is to use a long noodle like spaghetti or linguini. For short noodles, I like something like penne or rigatoni that has some texture to soak up the sauce.
- Veggie noodles: For a low carb salad, you can use cold zucchini or cucumber noodles. You can also use shirataki noodles, which are made with the konjac plant and low carb.
What are the best veggies for Cold Asian Noodle Salads?
Although you could use any vegetable when making this salad, some options are better than others and what you are really looking for is something that will hold up to the dressing and stay crunchy. You will see my go to options in the recipe itself, but here is a list of veggies to consider adding to your salad. For something quick and easy, grab a bag of fresh Asian veggies or your favorite slaw.
- Cabbage or cabbage slaw
- Broccoli slaw
- Green Beans
- Sugar snap peas
- Snow peas
- Bell peppers
- Shredded Brussels sprouts
- Red Onion
- Green onion
How do you make Asian salad dressing?
There are lots of different ways you can make an Asian salad dressing to use for this noodle salad or any other Asian inspired salads or bowls. Here is a basic Asian dressing recipe with lots of ideas to mix it up using different nut butters, herbs, and spices.
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (or almond butter, tahini, cashew butter, sunflower butter, reduced fat peanut butter, or PB2)
- 3 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup, Stevia, or leave out)
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar (or lime juice)
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 green onion
- 2 tbsp cilantro (or basil, mint, parsley, or leave out)
- 3-6 tablespoons warm water, to thin dressing (you can also use olive oil, sesame oil, or coconut oil)
- Optional: Sriracha, Asian chili sauce, or red pepper flakes to taste
- Directions: Add everything to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and season if needed. This dressing will thicken up as it sits, so you may need to add some extra warm water or heat it slightly before using.
Recipes Ideas for Asian Noodle Salads
- Add protein: To make this salad more filling, consider adding some protein. You can use chicken, pork, shrimp, or salmon. For a vegetarian option use tofu, tempeh, or edamame.
- Switch up the dressing: Try the dressing using different nut butter. It will take on a whole new flavor with peanut butter or tahini. Try lime juice in place of the vinegar. Add in some fresh mint and basil.
- Make a bowl: If you don’t feel like noodles, make this with quinoa, brown rice, or farro.
- Go sugar-free: For a sugar-free version, leave out the honey or use a sugar-free sweetener like Stevia.
- Add fruit: Add sweetness with some chopped fruit like mango, pineapple, or Asian pears.
- Try different veggies: This salad works with almost any vegetables you like. They can be raw, roasted, or parboiled.
How long will this last in the fridge?
This Asian noodle salad is best when eaten within 3-4 days of preparing it. If you think you might want it to last longer, pack the noodles, veggies, and dressing separately so it doesn’t get soggy or dry. One other quick tip, if the salad seems dry after a couple of days in the fridge, add in a couple of glugs of soy sauce or warm water to add some extra moisture.