Asian Noodle Salad

Picnicking in Madison, Wisconsin is a competitive sport. Each summer, the city hosts weekly outdoor concerts, and thousands of residents flock, unfold their blankets, and pull out the most epic collections of picnic food that I have ever witnessed. When we lived in Madison, I attended almost every one, and today’s recipe for Asian Noodle Salad is the dish I most often loved to bring. It’s fresh, feeds a crowd, and was a long-standing favorite amongst our friends.

Asian Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing. This is the BEST cold pasta salad recipe! Whole wheat pasta mixed with crunchy veggies in a sweet and spicy peanut sauce. Packed with flavor, healthy, and filling too! @wellplated

I was ill prepared for my first Wisconsin concert. I arrived ten minutes before showtime with a half-empty bottle of wine and nothing else. Rookie mistake. In addition to listening to music and eating, the other primary activity at these outdoor concerts is to compare your picnic spread to those of neighboring groups. Forget the solo cups and PB&J—at the Madison concert scene, you best go big or go home.

Asian Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing. AMAZING cold pasta salad. Quick and easy, lightened up from the original, and everyone always asks for the recipe! Great for a cookout side dish or add chicken to make it a full meal. @wellplated

I’m proud to report that, by the end of summer, my friends and I could be ranked amongst the picnic elite. Everyone brought something homemade to contribute, we used real forks and plates, and I even invested in a set of wine glass picnic sticks.

Homemade cold pasta salads like today’s Asian Noodle Salad are my go-to contribution for any picnic or cookout. This recipe tastes excellent both cold and at room temperature, travels well, and is a universal hit anywhere I bring it. It also tastes fabulous leftover, so when my friends and I go overboard and bring more food than we can finish (the best kind of picnic problem), I’m happy to keep the leftovers  for lunch the next few days.

Asian Noodle Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing. Quick and easy to make, lightened up from the original, and the sweet and spicy peanut dressing is ADDICTIVE! @wellplated

This Asian Noodle Salad is easy to throw together and requires zero cooking beyond boiling the noodles. Do not, however, be deceived by its two simple steps—Asian Noodle Salad is a flavor monster. Creamy peanut butter, zingy ginger, sweet honey, and a kick of Sriracha combine to create complex layers of flavor that will keep your fork wandering back to the bowl.

In addition to being addictive, this Asian Noodle Salad is also healthy and packed with veggies, thanks to a product I’ve been adding to my slaws and cold pasta salads for years, Mann’s Broccoli Cole Slaw. I’m ferociously committed to eating my daily veggies, but to be honest, I don’t enjoy washing and chopping them. Mann’s sells a wide variety of pre-prepped vegetables (we go through 3-4 bags of the broccoli a week), so when Mann’s asked me to contribute a recipe to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of its Broccoli Cole Slaw, I said yes right away. This Asian Noodle Salad is part of that celebration, and I’m excited to share it with you today!

Our family LOVED this Asian Noodle Salad. Whole wheat pasta, crunchy veggies, and peanuts, topped with an irresistible creamy peanut dressing. My new go-to cold pasta salad! @wellplated

Broccoli Cole Slaw is the perfect way to sneak veggies into this Asian Noodle Salad, because its mild taste is almost imperceptible, and its thin cut blends seamlessly with the thin noodles. The overall effect is similar to a spiralized veggie pasta, minus the work of actually having to spiralize (plus, we still get to eat pasta!). The broccoli and noodles tangle together, and the rich peanuty sauce coats every morsel.

Translation: the euphoria of a total pasta binge, despite the fact that the majority of what you are shoveling into your mouth is vegetables. Healthy eating VICTORY!

Asian Noodle Salad with Sriracha Peanut Dressing — EASY, healthy, and everyone always asks for the recipe! Perfect for a light summer side or add chicken to make it a full meal. @wellplated

This Asian Noodle Salad is lovely as a light side or lunch. To make it more hearty, I also like adding shredded chicken and edamame for a protein boost. I haven’t tried it with tofu yet, but I think it would be an excellent vegetarian option as well.

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Asian Noodle Salad

Asian Noodle Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing. A flavorful, easy, and healthy cold pasta salad recipe! Easy to make ahead and feeds a crowd.

Yield: Serves 10 (as a side), 6 as a main

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces long, thin whole wheat pasta noodles such as spaghetti (use soba noodles to make gluten free)
  • 24 ounces Mann’s Broccoli Cole Slaw (2, 12-ounce bags)
  • 4 ounces grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey (use light agave nectar to make vegan)
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (gluten free if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha pepper sauce or garlic chile sauce, plus additional to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • 3/4 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse briefly with cool water to remove the excess starch and stop the cooking, then transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the broccoli cole slaw and carrots.
  2. While the pasta cooks, whisk together the olive oil,  rice vinegar, honey, peanut butter, soy sauce, Sriarcha, ginger, and garlic. Pour over the noodle mixture and toss to combine. Add the peanuts and cilantro and toss once more. Serve chilled or at room temperature with additional Sriracha sauce as desired.

Asian Noodle Salad can be served cold or at room temperature. Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 (of 10)

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 256
  • Total Fat: 13g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 181mg
  • Carbohydrates: 29g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Sugar: 10g
  • Protein: 8g

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