Our Asian noodle salad is an easy, refreshing, and tasty recipe inspired by sweet, zesty, and savory south-Asian flavors.

The salad is typically served chilled or at room temperature. It offers a refreshing mix of textures and flavors – crunchy vegetables, tender noodles, and a tangy-sweet dressing with umami notes.

And if you want to add extra protein, this noodle salad is delicious with grilled tofu, chicken, or shrimp.

Asian noodle salad with sticks and scallions

Dietary Note: this recipe is suitable for a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diet. It’s low in cholesterol and saturated fats.

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What is Asian noodle salad?

Asian noodle salad with chili and chopsticks

Asian noodle salad is a stunning, colorful, refreshing Southeast Asian recipe inspired by Thai, Vietnamese, and Korean cuisines.

Like our Asian cucumber salad, peanut noodles, and sesame noodles, the recipe is excellent for hot summer days.

It uses simple ingredients and can be made in less than 30 minutes, as no cooking is involved.

Asian noodle salad after mixing with grilled tofu

We soak rice noodles in warm water and combine them with crunchy fresh vegetables, aromatic herbs, and a gorgeous sweet and tangy dressing with lime and soy sauce, which we learned to make in an cooking class in Bangkok.

Asian noodle salad is excellent as a quick and satisfying lunch or a tasty dinner.

For extra protein, we recommend adding grilled tofu, oven-baked tofu, pan-fried tofu, pastured chicken, or shrimp.

Ingredients for Asian noodle salad

ingredients for asian noodle salad on a table

Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Noodles

We use instant rice noodles, sometimes known as rice vermicelli. They are easy to prepare by simply soaking them in warm water for 5 minutes.

Substitute soba noodles, soy noodles, or egg noodles for rice noodles.

Cucumber

We use English cucumber. Substitute American or Persian cucumber.

Carrot

Shredded or thinly sliced carrot is for crunch. Substitute red bell pepper.

Cabbage

We use green cabbage here, but red cabbage works too.

Spring onions

Spring onions, scallions, or green onions add a fresh, zesty flavor.

Bean sprouts

Optional. We add soybean sprouts for crunch; they are often used in South Asian salads.

Cilantro

Cilantro or fresh coriander adds a fresh, bright, herbal flavor typical of Vietnamese and Thai salads and bowls.

We adore cilantro in Asian noodle salad; however, different people might experience cilantro differently. Some find it soapy and metallic due to genetic factors.

If you don’t like cilantro, feel free to replace it with chives or with flat-leaf Italian parsley.

Peanuts

Lightly toasted peanuts are for crunch and to recall delicious Tahi flavors (think Pad Thai). They are gorgeous with our lime dressing below.

ingredients for asian noodle salad dressing
  • Soy sauce: substitute tamari or coconut aminost for gluten-free.
  • Lime juice: substitute rice vinegar.
  • Sesame oil: substitute vegetable oil like peanut oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, or canola oil.
  • Maple syrup: substitute tamarind paste, honey, palm sugar, regular sugar, agave syrup, or date syrup.
  • Garlic: a small clove, freshly grated.
  • Chili: we add a thinly sliced red chili. Substitute red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or two teaspoons of sriracha sauce.
  • Sesame seeds: optional.
Asian noodle salad with chopsticks

How to make a noodle salad

US cups + grams measurements in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

1. Chop the vegetables

Cut the carrot, cabbage, and cucumber into thin slices (julienne).

You can do so with a sharp knife on a cutting board, a mandoline slicer with vertical blades, or a julienne peeler. Add to a large mixing bowl.

Thinly slice the green onion and add it to the same mixing bowl. Then, add the bean sprouts and chopped cilantro.

chopping vegetables for asian noodle salad

2. Soak the noodles

Soak the rice noodles in a bowl with hot water per package instructions.

When tender but not mushy, rinse them under cold water, drain them well, and add them to the bowl with the veggies.

Ours took 3 minutes in 195°F or 90°C hot water.

Asian noodle salad in a white bowl before mixing

3. Make the dressing

To a small bowl, add soy sauce, fresh lime juice, sesame oil, maple syrup, grated garlic, thinly sliced chili, and sesame seeds.

Whisk well until combined.

dressing for asian noodle salad

4. Mix the salad

Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the salad and toss until combined. Reserve the remaining dressing for later.

Asian noodle salad with dressing

Serve in a bowl and garnish with lightly toasted peanuts, more cilantro, and a drizzle of reserved dressing.

Tip: You can toast the peanuts on a skillet or in the oven at 350°F / 180°C for 7 minutes.

Asian noodle salad with chopsticks and cilantro

Serving suggestions

Louise and I love eating Asian noodle salad for a tasty and refreshing lunch.

We often make it when it’s too hot to cook as there’s no need to turn on the stove.

Asian noodle salad after mixing with grilled tofu

You can add extra protein to make it even more nutritious and fulfilling.

Typically, this kind of salad is served with either:

Note: Tofu is a sustainable, healthful, and affordable choice. Think of shrimp and chicken as a once-in-a-while treat worth paying more for.

Storage

Make ahead: You can make this recipe up to two days in advance and bring it to potlucks and picnics or use it for meal prep. The flavors will meld as the salad, and the dressing sit together in the fridge.

Refrigerator: Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Freezer: this recipe is not suitable for freezing.

More Asian-inspired recipes

Asian noodle salad with grilled tofu in a white bowl

Asian Noodle Salad

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 3 votes
Our Asian noodle salad is an easy, refreshing, and tasty recipe inspired by sweet, zesty, and savory south-Asian flavors.
The salad is typically served chilled or at room temperature. It offers a refreshing mix of textures and flavors – crunchy vegetables, tender noodles, and a tangy-sweet dressing with umami notes.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 3 people
Course: Main
Cuisine: Asian

Ingredients

  • ounces vermicelli rice noodles + hot water to soak them
  • 1 cucumber thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot thinly sliced
  • green cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1 green onion thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup cilantro or fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup bean sprouts optional
  • 4 tablespoons peanuts toasted and chopped

FOR THE DRESSING

  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • 2 red chilis thinly sliced – more or less to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds optional

Instructions 

  • CHOP VEGGIES: Cut 1 cucumber, 1 carrot, and green cabbage into thin slices (juilienne).
    You can do so with a sharp knife on a cutting board, a mandoline slicer with vertical blades, or a julienne peeler. Add all to a large mixing bowl.
    Thinly slice 1 green onion (white and green part) and add it to the same mixing bowl. Then, add 1 cup bean sprouts and ¼ cup cilantro.
    chopping vegetables for asian noodle salad
  • SOAK NOODLES: Soak 4½ ounces vermicelli rice noodles in a bowl with hot water per package instructions.
    When tender, rinse under cold water to cool, drain well, and add to the bowl with the veggies.
    Ours took 3 minutes in 195°F or 90°C hot water.
    Asian noodle salad in a white bowl before mixing
  • MAKE DRESSING: To a bowl, add ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce, ¼ cup fresh lime juice, 3 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, 1 clove garlic (grated), 2 red chilis (thinly sliced), and 1 teaspoon sesame seeds.
    Whisk to combine.
    dressing for asian noodle salad
  • MIX SALAD: Pour ¾ of the dressing over the salad and toss until combined. Reserve the remaining dressing for later.
    Asian noodle salad with dressing
  • GARNISH: Serve in a bowl and garnish with 4 tablespoons peanuts (lightly toasted), more cilantro, and a drizzle of reserved dressing.
    Asian noodle salad with chopsticks and cilantro
  • NEED MORE PROTEIN? To increase protein, serve noodle salad with grilled tofupan-fried tofuair-fried tofu, or oven-baked tofu. Chicken and shrimp work too.
    Asian noodle salad after mixing with grilled tofu

Notes

Nutritional information is an estimate for 1 serving of Asian noodle salad out of 3 servings.
SUBSTITUTIONS
Rice vermicelli: substitute soy vermicelli, soba noodles, egg noddles, or another type of Asian noodle. Cook them according to package instructions.
Carrot: substitute red bell pepper.
Green cabbage: substitute red cabbage, broccoli, or kale.
Bean sprouts: you can use fresh or canned bean sprouts. Substitute micro greens or omit them if you can’t find them.
Cilantro: aka fresh coriander. If you don’t like cilantro, substitute flat-leaf parsley for it.
Peanuts: substitute fried onions.
Soy sauce: substitute Tamari or coconut aminos.
Lime juice: substitute rice vinegar or lemon juice.
Sesame oil: substitute a neutral vegetable oil.
Maple syrup: substitute sugar, honey, agave syrup, or date syrup.
Fresh garlic: substitute garlic powder.
Fresh ginger: substitute ground ginger.
Fresh chili: substitute red pepper flakes, gochujang to taste, sriracha sauce, or cayenne pepper.
STORAGE
Make ahead: You can make this recipe up to two days in advance and bring it to potlucks and picnics or use it for meal prep. The flavors will meld as the salad, and the dressing sit together in the fridge.
Refrigerator: Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezer: this recipe is not suitable for freezing.

Nutrition

Calories: 444kcal, Carbohydrates: 66g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 877mg, Potassium: 694mg, Dietary Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 3.939IU, Vitamin B6: 0.4mg, Vitamin C: 73mg, Vitamin E: 1mg, Vitamin K: 68µg, Calcium: 109mg, Folate: 111µg, Iron: 2mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 88mg, Zinc: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below or mention @theplantbasedschool on Instagram. We are also on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok.

Note: As usual, we do extensive research beforehand when we cook recipes that don’t belong to our cooking heritage.

We developed this recipe after traveling to South East Asia and trying different versions in Asian restaurants in Berlin, Germany, which has some of the best Asian food in Europe.

Asian noodle salad from Chai Umi and Rolls restaurant in Berlin
Here’s a picture of Asian Noodle Salad from Chay Umi and Rolls restaurants. Both make it with Tofu.

Here we are with the incredible Chef Leez in Bangkok, learning the basics of Thai cooking and flavors.

It was a wonderful experience, and we definitely recommend it!

Nico and Louise in Thailand with Chef Leez learning how to cook Thai food
Louise is on the right side, Chef Leez is in the center, and Nico is on the left. The picture was taken in 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand, in Chef Leez’s kitchen.

Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

5 from 3 votes

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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Totalmente espectacular. Ligera. Una mezcla perfecta de sabores y texturas. Maravillosa

  2. 5 stars
    Love all your recipes ☺️. But sorry to say I am a prograstinator when it comes to cooking 🥴. So am going to try at least one of your recipes per week. Wish me luck 👍😅. Thanks for all your recipes and sharing your travels too😄❤️

    1. Wishing you the best of luck, Patricia. One homecooked meal a weak is a great start.
      As Audrey Hepburn once said: “nothing is impossible. The word itself says: I’m possible!”

      Al the best, Louise

  3. 5 stars
    This salad is so tasty and fresh!

    The dressing is excellent, we loved the play of sweet and tangy from the lime.

    My husband loved it too, which is amazing since he usually doesn’t like veggies.

    I had it with tofu as your recommended, he added shrimp.
    Really delicious recipe, thank you both!

    1. Thank you Dana,

      we are happy you and your husband liked the salad. It’s such a simple but tasty recipe.
      Have a wonderful day.
      Nico