Rice Noodle Salad
Published Nov 16, 2023
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Rice Noodle Salad is one of the most delicious make-ahead meals. You can add in all of the crunchy, fresh ingredients you want, from bell peppers, carrots, cabbage, or cucumbers. Top it with a dreamy Thai-inspired peanut sauce and lunch or dinner is served! Naturally gluten-free and vegan but you can adapt it with any other ingredients you’d like.
A rice noodle salad is about the most fresh and fun salad you could ever serve. Bonus that it’s packed full of a rainbow of vegetables and topped with arguably the best sauce of all time – Thai-inspired peanut sauce.
Rice Noodle Salad Ingredients
These really are so simple! This is my go-to combination, but see below for other variation ideas.
- Rice Vermicelli Noodles – These are very thin rice noodles that cook fast. This salad is best with the noodles that are labeled as “Vermicelli” not the thicker style of rice noodles used for Pad Thai.
- Red Cabbage – Chop it up small. Green cabbage works too or use coleslaw mix as a shortcut. Just give the coleslaw mix a good rough chop before you add it.
- Diced Bell Peppers – Any color works. I also love using the mini rainbow sweet peppers here.
- Edamame – Be sure to grab edamame that has already been removed from the pods. I find this in the produce section at Trader Joe’s or in the frozen vegetable section at most other grocery stores.
- Peanut Sauce – Don’t forget the creamy peanut sauce. I use a version that has some fresh ginger and is made with conventional peanut butter like JIF. If you use natural peanut butter, just taste the sauce and add some extra honey.
- Toppings like chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro, and fresh lime juice.
How to Make a Rice Noodle Salad
- Cook the noodles – Every variety of rice noodles varies a bit in how it should be cooked so be sure to check the instructions on the variety you purchase. And watch them carefully so they don’t overcook. These cook fast! I like to use kitchen scissors to chop them up a bit after they’re cooked so that they’re easier to eat.
- Combine noodles and veggies – Just combine everything in a big bowl.
- Top with sauce – Pour on all of that creamy peanut sauce.
- Finish with lots of chopped roasted peanuts for crunch, fresh cilantro, and lime juice.
- Add chicken – Substitute cooked rotisserie chicken for the edamame (or in addition to it for extra protein).
- Use a different sauce – This recipe is also great when made in a Vietnamese style with something like Nuoc Cham as the dressing.
- Mix up the veggies – Seriously, almost any are great here!
Oh yes you can! It’s best to keep the noodles, vegetables, and peanut sauce separate and mix just before serving, but even if the salad is all mixed together, you can make it up to 3 days ahead.
Try it with angel hair or spaghetti.
Absolutely. Almost any substitutions will work in this easy, fresh salad. Use your favorite vegetables, add a different protein, or use a different dressing like nuoc cham.
Yes, as long as you use Tamari instead of soy sauce.
If you cook rice noodles ahead, they tend to stick together. The solution for this is to soak the rice noodles in cold water in the fridge. Just drain them when you’re ready to use them.
Rice Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing
- Kitchen Shears
- Mixing Bowl
- Cutting Board
- Jar with Tight Lid
- 8 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red cabbage
- 1/2 cup diced bell peppers, any color
- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
- 1 cup edamame (look for shelled edamame already removed from the pods; often found in the freezer section)
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (I just use conventional peanut butter like JIF)
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (if using regular soy sauce reduce this to 2 tablespoons; substitute tamari for gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce or Sriracha
- 1 cup chopped roasted peanuts
- fresh cilantro, for topping (optional)
- 1 lime
- Prepare the rice noodles according to package directions. When they’re done cooking, use kitchen shears to roughly cut through them in intervals (this just breaks them down into smaller pieces and makes them easier to eat).
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the noodles, cabbage, bell peppers, carrots, and edamame.
- In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the grated ginger, warm water, peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, toasted sesame oil, and chili garlic sauce / Sriracha. Put the lid on and shake very well until the sauce is smooth.
- Pour the sauce over the salad and gently toss until everything is combined.
- Top with peanuts, cilantro, and fresh lime juice.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.