Asian Noodle Salad is a nutrient-rich lunch or side dish that stays fresh up to 5 days, making it ideal for meal prep.

Large white bowl of soba noodles tossed with vegetables, crunchy rice noodles and peanut dressing.

Asian Pasta Salad Recipe

“I was looking for healthy lunch options and came across this recipe. I have made it several times and really love it. I double the recipe because I usually eat lunch with two other people and wanted enough to last a couple of days. Holds up well, and everyone loves it!!”

—Debbie

Since this Asian Noodle Salad recipe was first published several years ago, it has had more than a half million viewers from around the world!

So, it seems like many people are looking for a cold noodle salad that is packed with veggies. Many people have told me they use this for work lunches, by either doing meal prep in a big bowl and then dividing it, or building the salad in jars for easy transport.

Read on to discover why this recipe is not only a colorful feast for the eyes, but for the taste buds, as well

Why you’ll love this Asian Pasta Salad Recipe

  • It’s a refreshing salad making it a perfect choice for a hot day or whenever you need a satisfying but light meal.
  • Ideal for meal prep since it stays fresh for up to 5 days. You can even build it in jars for easy transport.
  • Nutrient-rich, since it is packed with nutritious ingredients like edamame, bell pepper and carrots.
White tabletop filled with ingredients for cold noodle salad, including carrots, green onions, red pepper, edamame and Asian condiments.

Asian Pasta Salad Recipe Ingredients

  • soba noodles – these serve as the base of the salad, but I discuss alternative noodle options below.
  • edamame – add a pop of vibrant green color, and protein.
  • peanut butter – the emulsifier and nutty flavoring agent for the dressing.
  • sambel oelek or sriracha – you’ll need one of these Asian hot sauces to add a spicy kick to the dressing.
  • soy sauce – seasons the dressing and add umami.
  • rice vinegar – adds a tangy note to the dressing and balances the richness of the peanut butter.
  • olive oil – bulks up the dressing and makes it nice and smooth.
  • black sesame seeds – adds a visually striking element and crunchy texture, but you can use white sesame seeds instead.
  • green onions – gives the salad a a mild onion flavor and pop of green color.
  • red bell pepper – adds sweetness and vibrant color. Any color of bell pepper works here!
  • carrots – add a crunch and orange color.
  • crunchy rice noodles – offer an extra layer of crunch!

How to make Asian Pasta Salad

  1. PREP. Prepare noodles and edamame according to their package directions. Rinse both under cold water and drain well.
  2. DRESSING. Whisk together the peanut butter, sambal oelek, soy sauce, vinegar, olive oil and sesame seeds.
  3. TOSS. Add the onions, bell pepper, carrots, noodles and edamame to the bowl with the dressing and toss everything together.
  4. SERVE. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 5 days. Just before serving, sprinkle the salad with the crunchy rice noodles.

Asian Cold Noodle Salad Home Chef Tips

  • Adjust the spice level by adding more or less sambal oelek or sriracha, according to your taste preference.
  • Don’t overcook the noodles, or they’ll get very mushy when kept in the fridge. Cook them carefully, according to package instructions, so that they still retain their chewy texture.
  • Make sure your peanut butter is at room temperature before making the dressing, so the dressing comes together easily.
Glass mason jar filled with layers of dressing, noodles and vegetables.

How to Serve Cold Asian Noodle Salad

Serve Asian Pasta Salad in a Bowl

Toss this cold noodle salad together and serve it up right away in a big, beautiful serving bowl, or pack it into a tupperware container for your picnic tomorrow.

Asian Noodle Salad Recipe Meal Prep Option

Or, you can build the noodle salad in layers, in mason jars, to “meal prep” for your lunches throughout the week.

The dressing goes in the bottom of this Asian pasta salad jar.

Then, the noodles go in. That means the noodles basically marinate in the dressing as the jars sit in your fridge, making them super flavorful when you finally un-cap that jar and dump it into a bowl.

The veggies sit on top of the noodles, staying crisp since they’re not covered in dressing.

To keep the rice noodle garnish crispy, simply put the rice noodles in a small ziploc bag, and either squeeze that bag into the jar above the veggies, or pack it separately.

What kind of noodles do I use for this Asian pasta salad?

My absolute favorite kind of noodles to use for this Asian noodle salad recipe is Ka-me brand Soba Stir-Fry Noodles. I love their flavor and texture. They have a bit of a chew to them and don’t get too mushy, even after being tossed with dressing for a few days.

The noodles I use for this Asian noodle salad recipe are shown in their packaging in a photo in this post, which I hope will make it easier for you to find them in the Asian section of your grocery store.

The Ka-me noodles are packaged and sold fully cooked, and need just a few minutes in the microwave to loosen them up before tossing with the rest of the salad ingredients.

If your store doesn’t carry these noodles, you can use dried soba noodles or whole wheat spaghetti for this cold noodle salad. I recommend 8 ounces of dried noodles, prepared according to package instructions.

Slate blue bowl filled with Asian noodle salad, alongside larger serving bowl and small bowls of hot sauce and black sesame seeds.

Why use peanut butter for this Asian noodle sauce? Can I substitute something else?

I frequently use peanut butter as an emulsifier in salad dressings. The flavor works especially well in Asian-style salads. The peanut butter allows the oil and vinegar in this Asian noodle sauce to come together into one harmonious substance.

Tahini (sesame seed paste) is another good option in place of the peanut butter for these Asian noodles.

What is sambal oelek? Can I use sriracha instead?

Sambal oelek is an Asian chile paste made with raw red chiles, vinegar and salt.

It’s found in the Asian food aisle of most grocery stores, right near the sriracha. If you can’t find sambal oelek, you can use the same amount of sriracha to make the dressing in this Asian noodle salad recipe.

Don’t be nervous about buying a jar of sambal oelek for these Asian noodles – it’s a super versatile ingredient!

Asian Noodle Salad Storage

How long does this Asian Cold Noodle Salad last?

This Asian noodle salad recipe stays fresh up to five days in the fridge. I highly recommend sprinkling the rice noodles on JUST before you eat.

Large white bowl filled with Asian noodle salad, with fork twirling some noodles.

Cold Asian Noodle Salad Recipe FAQs

Can I make the dressing for these Asian noodles more mild?

If you’d like a dressing without any spiciness at all, you can simply leave the sambal oelek out of this Asian noodle sauce. However, if you do this, the dressing might be a touch on the too sweet side from the peanut butter.

So if you are leaving out the sambal oelek, I recommend adding 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger to the cold noodle salad dressing to balance out the peanut butter flavor a little bit in this Asian pasta salad.

Can I add protein to these Asian noodles?

Sure! I recommend adding roasted or grilled chicken, sautéed shrimp, or cubed tofu if you’d like to add more protein to this salad.

I can’t find edamame at my supermarket. What else can I use?

Snow peas or sugar snap peas are a great substitute for edamame in these Asian noodles. If you like eating these types of peas raw, you’re welcome to add them raw to this Asian pasta salad.

Or, you could quickly cook (blanch) them to make them a bit more tender. To do that, I recommend following this how to blanch and freeze sugar snap peas tutorial, steps 1 – 4 (you just won’t be freezing them!).

Cut snow peas or sugar snap pea pods in half crosswise before adding to the salad, for easier eating.

Where do I find crunchy rice noodles?

You’ll also (hopefully) find these in the Asian aisle of your supermarket. I used La Choy brand Asian-style crunchy noodles for this Asian noodle salad recipe.

You can also look for chow mein noodles, which are a little thicker, but just as crunchy and delicious.

Alternatively, you can top this cold noodle salad with chopped up peanuts for crunch, and skip the crunchy noodles altogether.

Is Asian noodle salad vegan?

As long as you ensure that whatever brand of soba noodles and crunchy rice noodles you buy are vegan, this cold Asian noodle salad recipe is vegan!

At the time of this writing, to my knowledge, the Ka-Me noodles and La Choy crunchy noodles I’ve recommended above for these Asian noodles are vegan, but please double check the packaging before purchase.

Large white bowl of soba noodles tossed with vegetables, crunchy rice noodles and peanut dressing.

Asian Noodle Salad Recipe (Easy Meal Prep!)

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Asian Noodle Salad is a nutrient-rich lunch or side dish that stays fresh up to 5 days, making it ideal for meal prep.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (14.2 ounces) soba stir-fry noodles (see Home Chef Tip)
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons sambal oelek or sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup crunchy rice noodles

Instructions

  1. Prepare noodles and edamame according to package instructions. Rinse under cold water and drain well.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together peanut butter, sambal oelek, soy sauce and vinegar. While whisking, slowly drizzle in olive oil until all oil is incorporated. Stir in sesame seeds.
  3. Add onions, bell pepper, carrots, noodles and edamame to bowl with dressing; toss until well combined.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 5 days. Just before serving, sprinkle salad with crunchy rice noodles.

Notes

Home Chef Tip: I use Ka-me brand soba stir-fry noodles, which are sold fully cooked, and need just a few minutes in the microwave to loosen up before tossing with the rest of the salad ingredients.

If your store doesn't carry these noodles, you can use dried soba noodles or whole wheat spaghetti. I recommend 8 ounces of dried noodles, prepared according to package instructions.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 476Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 843mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 10g

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