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.

bowl of Asian Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing

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 on a plate

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.

Two bowls of Asian Noodle Salad

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, 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 salad is part of that celebration, and I’m excited to share it with you today!

bag of Mann's broccoli cole slaw and ingredients to make an Asian noodle salad

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 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.

Asian Noodle Salad with Sriracha Peanut Dressing

More Healthy Salad Recipes

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

Asian Noodle Salad

4.91 from 21 votes
Asian Noodle Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing. A flavorful, easy, and healthy cold pasta salad recipe! Easy to make ahead and feeds a crowd.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins

Servings: 10 servings (as a side), 6 as a main

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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 10)Calories: 256kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 8gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 181mgFiber: 4gSugar: 10g

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photo collage of Asian noodle salad

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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78 Comments

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  1. I love broccoli slaw! I might make this and leave out the noodles entirely, so it can really shine :)

  2. Oh I am loving this! Especially the part where it’s mostly vegetables but you still get your pasta fix. I feel you there! Pinning, sharing, making soon! Cheers!

  3. I like the sound of this salad.  I would probably use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, though, because fresh garlic for me has a strong, too long lasting flavor.

  4. Just pinned this yummy recipe! I love noodle salad’s and the dressing for this one sounds perfect.

  5. Erin, that pasta looks amazing! I can’t wait to make it and bring it to my next beach day picnic!  My boyfriend is a little picky but he would LOVE this! Thanks for sharing!

    Jess

    1. Elizabeth, HOORAY! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it so much. Thanks for sharing your review!

  6. Wow, I expected to see thin rice noodles for this recipe but this is fantastic. Looks so delicious (:

  7. As much as Matt and I *adore* peanut butter, I fail to incorporate it enough into our savory meals. This looks so so good! The perfect picnic meal bursting with flavor. :)

  8. Hi Erin! I recently found your blog via Pinterest! I am drawn to it for several reasons! The biggest is how extremely healthful and flavorful your recipes are! Your grammar and writing are exceptional as well :) :) I just made this Asian Noodle Salad and I must write you to tell you I LOVE IT. The sauce, wow! You nailed that. I am going to use that as a lettuce wrap dip in the future. At my local grocery store, I only found 12 oz bags of Broccoli Slaw. I used 2 of those and it turned out great. This feeds tons of peeps and on the cheap! Wheat noodles–$1, broccoli slaw-$4, cilantro–$.59, carrots–$.50, sauce ingredients–approx. $2 since you use small portions of all the ingredients and I had most on hand. WOW, great deal!! Thanks for this! I look forward to trying out more of your recipes. (One more thing–I doubled the sriracha since we like spice around here!) –Leah from Indiana

  9. Hi Erin, I made this salad today and it is so, so good! It’s impossible to convey with words or photos (yours are gorgeous though!) how amazing the flavors are here! Thank you so much for this recipe! We used shredded cabbage in place of the slaw. Also, if you’re serving this to picky eaters, it should be stated that the peanut butter does not dominate here, especially if you serve the chopped peanuts as a topping on the side. Cilantro on the side too and that was enough to please everybody! Thanks again from Austria!

  10. I’ve made this salad twice and it’s a winner!  We love the sauce, the crunch, and especially that it’s a bright, healthy dish. It was the main course at dinner last night for five friends, and all asked for the recipe. So Erin, thanks for another recipe I can use as a go-to salad or entree in these hot days of summer. Wish I could send you the photo, since it was a lovely bowl to behold. 

    1. Marnie, YAY!!!! I’m so so happy to hear that you enjoy this recipe so much. Thanks for taking time to leave this kind review and for sharing it with friends too!

  11. Wanted to let you know that I stumbled onto your site a few days ago and made this last night — it was delicious! I added baked chicken tossed in hoisin sauce for a little extra protein but my boyfriend and I both decided it was a keeper. I love your regular combinations of veggies, protein, and a carb. It makes a balanced plate and a tasty meal. Thanks!

    1. Elyssa, WELCOME! I am so happy that you found my site and loved this recipe. Thanks so much for trying it and for leaving this kind review.

  12. I’m going to give this a try with spaghetti squash instead of noodles… I’ve had good success with coodles (cucumber noodles) and zoodles (zucchini) but I have TON of spaghetti squash right now!

      1. Turned out really good. The spaghetti squash made it filling I thought. Looks wise, the zoodles/coodles look a little prettier, but it was more fitting for Fall.

  13. OHHHHH MY TASTEBUDS!!! This dressing + ingredient combo are perfection! Instead of a second bag of broccoli slaw I used 2 very thinly sliced bell peppers to please the bells-obsessed toddler in our house. And he LOVED it. We parents devoured it too! It will definitely become a new go-to in our regular rotation. (Not to mention a recipe to show off at summer BBQs!)5 stars

    1. WOOHOO Rachel! I’m so glad to hear the recipe was a hit! Thanks for sharing your tweak with the bell peppers! That sounds delicious. I really appreciate your taking the time to report back!

    1. YAY Nicole! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this review!

  14. This recipe looks amazing! What are your thoughts on using sesame oil in place of olive?

    1. Hi Rebecca! Sesame oil, while delicious, has a much, much stronger flavor than olive oil. I’d swap out 1 tablespoon max, see how you like the flavor, then you can always add more. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  15. I made this with zucchini noodles and it was fantastic. Didn’t miss the pasta at all!!! Making again this week for a pot luck on Saturday. I know it will be a hit and I love that I can do the prep ahead of time. Thanks so much for this recipe!!!!5 stars

    1. Great idea about using zucchini noodles, Diane! Thanks for giving the recipe a try and sharing how it went!

  16. I made a similar sesame noodle recipe today, with cabbage. The broccoli slaw is such a good idea! This looks delicious and I will definitely try, but soba noodles are NOT gluten free. Will be using gluten free spaghetti

    1. Hi Rachel, I hope you enjoy it! I recommend a 100% buckwheat soba noodle, which is gluten free, but you’re correct that some soba has wheat flour added, so label checking to make sure you’ve got a gluten-free type is definitely important!

    1. Stacey, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank YOU for taking the time to leave this nice review!

  17. This looks delish but my kiddo has a peanut allergy. What would you suggest as far as a sub that doesn’t sacrifice flavor? She can eat tree nuts. Thanks!

    1. Hi Phyllis, you can use another nut butter in the sauce. Cashews would be a good sub for sprinkling on top instead of peanuts! I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  18. Will this be ok if I make it the night before I want to serve it? I have a potluck at work and I don’t think I will have time in the morning to make it. It looks delicious!

  19. THANK YOU!!!!!!   I Just made this, and it was delicious!  I will serve it with chicken for my husband.  FYI. I put it into the WW app and 1 serving is 5 points.  I used brown rice noodles and that turned out great. Does it freeze well?  I don’t think we can consume that much in 3 days.

    1. Hi Caroline, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this! I have not tried freezing it, and I fear it would get mushy once thawed, so if you’re finding it makes way more than you’re able to eat in the few days it will keep in the fridge, I’d recommend halving the recipe.

  20. Made this for lunches for the week for me and my husband- AMAZING! Only minor changes I made were…I subbed out some of the broccoli slaw and added in edamame and red pepper and I used maple syrup for the sweetener in the dressing to make it vegan. So delicious!5 stars

    1. HOORAY Kristen, thanks for taking the time to leave this awesome review! I’m so glad the recipe was a hit!

  21. I made this for an Easter Day picnic.  I misread the amount of pasta and used 1lb.  All was well though,  I made an extra batch of peanut sauce and mixed it in.  It was a hit!  All the veggies from the broccoli slaw made it crunchy, and  there was a nice spicy kick from the sriracha.  I will definitely make it again!  4 stars

  22. This dish is amazing! I made it last night and my wife couldn’t stop talking about how good it was. Very easy to make and I know I will make this again before too long. My wife even shared the recipe with her friend.

    I made some slight tweaks to the sauce, but overall it is fantastic.5 stars

    1. Thank you so much for your positive feedback, Dan! I’m thrilled you both enjoyed this recipe!

  23. Love this recipe! I made it for a BBQ tomorrow and my husband and I ended up eating some for dinner tonight… our friends will never notice some missing ? I served it with fresh lime juice squeezed over top, too, which I love over my pad Thai and it was great! Thanks for sharing!5 stars

    1. Demi, HOORAY! I am so so happy you enjoyed this. Thanks for taking time to leave this lovely review!

  24. I made this for a simple summer dinner.  I used a bottled Asian peanut salad dressing from Trader Joe’s and added grilled chicken that was marinated in a honey soy glaze. Delicious and my picky teen liked it!!! I used soba noodles and left out the chopped peanuts (bc we didn’t have any!!)5 stars

  25. This is my third time making this recipe and it ALWAYS comes out so good! It’s so refreshing, yet filling. Perfect for a family meal and the leftovers keep really well. I think the flavor is best after it has been in the fridge overnight.5 stars

  26. I melted the peanut butter first a bit( I doubled it) to make it easier to whisk into the other ingredients. Also, I thought it was too tart, so next time I will only put in half the vinegar. Also, I added about a teaspoon of sesame oil…what a big difference! I was in an experimenting kind of mood and I had some Frank’s Red Hot Sweet Chili sauce that in the fridge. I added about a half of cup..it added great flavor!5 stars

  27. Just made this last night, YUM! I don’t like raw broccoli, so I skipped that but added a bunch of chopped up steamed asparagus, plus edamame and shredded chicken. So delicious! I’m about to have leftovers for dinner and can’t wait ?

  28. I used your dressing recipe for a noodle salad with slightly different toppings. It was a huge hit at a baby shower and lots of people asked for the recipe. Thanks!!5 stars

  29. Oh my gosh this is surprisingly SO delicious! ! It’s been so hot in Minnesota the last week, so I wanted something filling but cold! This is PERFECT! The box of noodles I bought was a 16oz which is double what the recipe calls for. So I cooked the whole thing and just doubled the amount t of sauce mix! Boy am I happy! The carrots and special broccoli mix has the perfect amount of crunch too.  I wasnt sure how this would turn out because I’ve never cooked with such an array of ingredients before, but it was easy as heck and turned out great! 10/10 will make again! 

     Also shout out to my boyfriend for finding the recipe hehe 5 stars

    1. Cassie, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this! Thanks for sharing this review—keep cool over there in Minnesota!

  30. WOW! A huge hit at both of the parties we took it to and I can’t get enough. We made this because my girlfriend is vegan and we were going to a couple of potlucks where the hosts had recommended we bring side dishes but we still wanted to make sure that we brought something that was hearty enough for my girlfriend that it could suffice as her meal in case there weren’t any other dishes that were vegan. I’m not normally a fan of vinegar based sauces but this dressing is to die for and the creaminess of the peanut butter really balances it out. I did make a couple of modifications: I couldn’t the broccoli slaw at my grocery store so I ended up using one that was mostly cabbage with some cauliflower stalks and I also added roasted brussel sprouts (and I might add some tofu or something else to give it some more protein if we’re making it as a meal in the future). I make a lot of asian dishes so I already had everything in the house except for the veggies so it was a relatively cheap grocery shopping trip to get everything for this recipe and it will definitely be something I make again in the future.5 stars

    1. Delaney, I am so happy to hear how much you enjoyed this and enjoyed reading about your tweaks as well. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  31. Ok, this salad was ridiculously good! We paired it with Tyler Florence’s Seared Ahi Tuna!
    It was amazing! This will be in our weekly dinner rotation all summer long. We especially loved the dressing. We used Pad Thai noodles cause that is what I had on hand!
    Thanks for the awesome recipe!5 stars

    1. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the recipe, Mariah! Thank you for sharing this kind review!

  32. I make this for us VERY often. My recipe is nearly identical to this one, but I do not use olive oil in mine. If you need the sauce to be a bit thinner, add some chicken or veggie broth to it. Use whatever veggies you have on hand. Add cooked chicken to make it a one-dish meal. It’s delicious!5 stars

  33. 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.5 stars