Asian Noodle Salad

Everyone loves a good Asian noodle salad, right? How do you like yours? I like mine with lots of colorful veggies tossed in with the noodles, so it feels more like a “salad” and not just highly seasoned cold noodles. Nothing wrong with plain noodles, mind you! In fact, the beauty of this salad is its flexibility. Add as many or as few extras as you want. I love the colors and crunch of purple cabbage and red bell peppers so they’re in, along with carrots and steamed broccoli. 

I’ve also made this salad with almost all noodles and just some sliced green onions and bell pepper. It’s all good. The trick is to let the noodles dry after you cook them, and then dress them with soy sauce alone, so they absorb the flavor of the soy sauce. Then toss in whatever vegetables you are using plus a sweet and sour, ginger garlic sesame dressing. The salad holds up well for several hours, so it’s perfect to take to a potluck too.

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Asian Noodle Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

Prep as many vegetables as you can while the water in step one is heating.

The types of vegetables you can use in this salad is flexible. Don't like broccoli? Leave it out. Prefer napa cabbage to red cabbage? Use it instead.

The recipe calls for the type of Chinese noodles that are typically used for making chow mein. You can also use Japanese soba noodles or any long and skinny, wheat-based pasta (not egg noodles).

chinese-noodles-welpac-215

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces Chinese noodles (for making chow mein)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 - 3 cups raw bite-sized broccoli florets (from about 1 head of broccoli)
  • Salt
  • 4 ounces mung bean sprouts (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced white and green parts
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, thinly sliced and cut into 1-inch long pieces
  • 1/4 large purple cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and slivered (just continue to peel with a peeler)

Dressing:*

  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 Tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 1 medium clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup canola, rice bran, or vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons dark sesame oil

*This dressing is just enough to dress the noodle salad in the proportions given, and then lightly so. If you prefer stronger seasoning or more dressing, just increase the amounts by a half and add a bit more soy sauce to the noodles.

Method

cook noodles in boiling water spread noodles out to dry

1 Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. If using Chinese noodles, do not add salt (they are already salted). If using soba or pasta noodles, add a tablespoon of salt to the water. Add the noodles to the pot. Stir the noodles frequently while they cook. Check the noodle package instructions, if using Chinese noodles, they should be done after 5 minutes of cooking. Drain the noodles, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Spread the noodles out on a sheet pan to air dry.

steam broccoli florets

2 Place a steamer rack in the bottom of a 3 to 4-quart pot. Add enough water to come up to the level of the steamer. Heat until boiling. Add the broccoli florets. Cover and steam cook for 4 minutes. Remove from the pot and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.

toss cooked noodles with soy sauce

3 Place the cooked noodles in a large serving bowl. Toss with soy sauce to coat completely. Let sit to absorb the soy sauce while you make the dressing.

pulse ginger sugar garlic in food processor add vinegar and oils and puree

4 Place the ginger, sugar, garlic, and red pepper flakes into a mini chopper or food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Add the vinegar and both oils to the ginger mixture. Pulse again until well blended.

toss noodles with vegetables and dressing

5 Add the dressing to the soy-sauce infused noodles, tossing to coat completely. Then add the cooked broccoli, the sliced green onions, sliced bell pepper, sliced cabbage, shredded carrot, and mung bean sprouts.

If making more than a day ahead, toss the noodles with the soy sauce and half of the dressing and prep the vegetables. Then when ready to serve, toss the noodles with the vegetables and the rest of the dressing.

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Asian Noodle Salad on Simply Recipes

24 Comments

  1. Matt Robinson

    I love this salad, Elise. So perfect for summer!

  2. Pat

    Beautiful and it looks delicious. :)

  3. Allie | Baking a Moment

    Beautiful bowl! And that dressing sounds so delish! :D

  4. Aj

    Delish… But can I use rice noodles in the place of wheat?

    • Elise

      Maybe. I haven’t tried it with rice noodles. If you do, please let us know how it turns out for you!

      • Saskia

        I just made it with rice noodles and I can’t stop eating it! Delicious!

  5. Alice // Hip Foodie Mom

    Elise, this is absolutely how I like my Asian noodle salads. . with lots of colorful veggies tossed in! beautiful and flavorful!

  6. Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch

    Great for summer! Love it!!!

  7. Liz

    Nice salad. Thanks so much.

  8. jennifer oliva

    Curious about why you said not to use egg noodles-I have some thin Chinese egg noodles. Are they stickier or something?

    • Elise

      The taste of egg noodles is not right for this recipe in my opinion. But if you try it, let us know how they work out for you!

  9. Kristine

    Yay! With the exception of the noodles (i just used vermicelli), and the cooked chicken purchased earlier in the week; i got all the provisions from the salad bar at work! They didn’t have cabbage, but they did have snap peas; and pineapple! It came out so good. My husband and i ate it up.

    • Elise

      I’m so glad you liked it Kristine! I love the variation of adding pineapple and snap peas too.

  10. Corina

    So lovely and fresh. This would be great at a picnic or bbq.

  11. shawn

    I used vermicelli rice noodles – I thought it worked perfectly. I used a good helping of red and green cabbage, carrots, red bell and green pasilla and jalapeno peppers. I also topped it with some shredded roasted chicken. As I was putting it together, I thought the dressing was a bit sweet – but it worked perfectly in the salad.

    This plate is visually stunning, tasty and healthy.

    • Elise

      Hi Shawn, I’m so glad that the vermicelli rice noodles worked for you! A simple substitution to make the salad gluten-free. Thanks for letting us know. :-)

  12. Sandy S

    This was so pretty that I had to try it! I have had a ridiculous bias against soba noodles. So I went to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soba and got over it. Tons of useful info there. Found some beautiful Japanese soba ‘sans wheat’ called Juwari (not brand just means 100% buckwheat) and will be happily making this with soba noodles again and again! Must also say that I thought 4 T. of sugar sounded a bit much, but found it to work perfectly! You are the goods Elise! This recipe rocks!

  13. Marguerite

    Yours is one of the few blogs I trust to produce really good results. This dish is wonderful. I used soba noodles, pea pods, red and yellow peppers, green onions and broccoli. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. We loved it!

  14. Debra

    Love this salad. Just made your Moroccan Beet Salad for dinner tonight. I can’t wait to eat it and then make this one. Thanks!

  15. Carol at Wild Goose Tea

    I am with you. If I had my choice, I like the extra veggies. I like the color and variety of textures. This is a most wonderful example of that type of Asian salad.

  16. Alison

    Making this today; thanks for the inspiration! ;)

  17. Jackie

    Fantastic! Elise, you’ve got the dressing ‘tang’ perfect for this salad. I used the veggies in my fridge and udon noodles. It was great and I really liked the steamed spinach I added (no broccoli). The udon noodles were tasty too. Thanks for a great recipe. Last summer I tried to make something similar, but I couldn’t find a dressing recipe that worked for me. Now I have it and summer has barely started. I plan to make this for a Pot Luck in 2 weeks – with soba noodles.

  18. Nika

    Thanks for a wonderful recipe. I found that just one tspn sugar was enough, and we didn’t have broccoli around so I just used more of the other veggies. It had a bit of a kick but in a comfort-food kind of way. :) But beware: dangerously good on day two…

  19. Deanne Bush

    I have made this salad several times with delicious results. Today I substituted edamame beans for the mung bean sprouts and used soba noodles….It is Yummy and keeps for a few days in the fridge. It is a perfect healthy salad to have on hand for our hot Florida summers. Thanks Elise!

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