Picnicking in Wisconsin is a competitive sport. Each summer, the city hosts outdoor concerts several times a week, and thousands of residents flock, unfold their blankets, and pull out the most epic collections of picnic food that I have ever witnessed. 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.
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.
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 our hometown concert scene, you best go big or go home.
I’m proud to report that, by the end of summer, my friends and I could be ranked among 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.
Classic Asian Noodle Salad
Homemade vegetable salads (like Asian Cucumber Salad) and cold pasta salads (like today’s 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 left over, 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.
How to Make Asian Noodle Salad
This Asian noodle salad recipe 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 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, broccoli cole slaw.
- Broccoli coleslaw 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 is lovely as a light side dish 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.
More Healthy Salad Recipes
- Healthy Taco Salad
- Mexican Salad
- Shrimp Pasta Salad
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Asian Ramen Salad
- Healthy Italian Pepperoni Pasta Salad
Asian Noodle Salad
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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Delicious! Just made this and we loved it. It will be in my summer dinners rotation now ?
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Emma! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
Soo good. I think I will try a little less peanut butter, but this reciepe is good.
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Silvia! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
I stumbled across this recipe this morning when I realized I needed a picnic food. It was amazing! The pasta was flavorful, quick to put together, traveled fantastically and got rave reviews from my husband and kiddos. This recipe is a keeper.
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Sarah! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
Love, love, this salad. Always a winner when I bring it to share. If you can’t find Mann’s, I’ve had equal success using any Asian/Thai pre-packaged Salad mix. Its because the sauce is what makes it so delicious!
Hi Cindy! So glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for this kind review!
I am learning Vietnamese Thai Cambodian and Chinese plus some from the Philippines and Indonesia I am going to try your salad as I’ve had something like it and I am wanting to make it for my wife yours sounds very much like the one I have had
I hope you enjoy it, Robert!
I have enjoyed many of Erin’s recipes (many more than I have actually reviewed and given feedback for), but this one is the first where I wanted to make some observations and my feedback is to make some adjustments. And, as always, I actually made this dish with little or no deviation from the actual recipe with the same ingredients, all measured.
(Feedback and reviews when you don’t actually prepare the dish and follow the instructions are not helpful. Everybody likes to support their favorite blogger, but the cheerleader comments are not subtle. Or sincere sounding for that matter.)
First, I think people should understand this makes a LOT of noodle salad. Erin does say that there will be delicious leftovers and all the ingredient quantities are there in black and white, clear as crystal. Yet reading this information and seeing it in real life are two different things. There is one and a half pounds of broccoli slaw alone, without considering the cooked noodles, grated carrots, and other ingredients. So when you make it, you need your largest mixing bowl or a punch bowl. I used my largest Pyrex mixing bowl, that I normally don’t use very much because it’s so big. It was filled to the rim and I set the bowl in the sink when I was tossing and mixing the ingredients because I was afraid some would fall over on the counter.. because the bowl was just that full. Again, I actually made this.
Does it taste good? Well, I would say it tastes good (lower case), but CAN taste GREAT with a caveat. I don’t think there’s enough dressing/sauce to adequately coat/flavor the other ingredients. To me, it was really light on flavor when completely incorporated. I tasted the dressing before stirring it in, and the flavor is not the issue. It’s the ratio of slaw and noodles to the dressing. My first helping tasted like shredded broccoli and plain pasta noodles with the “suggestion” of Asian flavor (versus actually tasting Asian).
So I added a couple dashes of siracha sauce to a single helping (which Erin does suggest), which helped, but then I felt I needed a couple dashes of soy sauce… and then I really wanted about a half or quarter teaspoon of peanut butter to stir in that helping. You see where I’m going with this? Then it just occurred to me that if I am doing all that then the recipe needs more dressing for that ratio of vegetable and pasta. I’d say 1.5X the amount of dressing/sauce would do wonders. Double the dressing would probably be too much.
And once I doctored it a bit, it tasted fabulous.
Of course, I’m a rando on the internet and individual taste is subjective. Some people might like it that plain. I just think the flavor profile lost it’s punch or snap with ratio given. That’s not hard to fix! Also the peanuts got kinda swallowed up by the other ingredients as well. I might keep the peanuts separate and let people garnish them on an individual serving. Otherwise you might miss them. This surprised me with 3/4 of a cup of peanuts, but it did.
Thanks for your feedback Jim
Excellent, I had leftover dressing because I halved the salad mix but I am going to use it to cook up some chicken to have with the leftovers!
Hi Shelley! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
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