Cold Asian Noodle Salad (with Peanut Sauce)

Cold Asian noodle salad is a delicious side dish with fresh vegetables and spicy peanut butter-soy sauce dressing. It travels well making it great for potlucks, picnics, and tailgating. Serve it at room temperature for luncheons or bridal & baby showers.

noodle salad in black bowls on wood table.

Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Make your next pasta salad using long thin noodles, fresh veggies and a peanut sauce that has the perfect blend of flavors. This Asian-inspired dish is easy to make in under 30 minutes with simple ingredients.

It’s one of those go-to recipes for a light meal. I love it for bridesmaid luncheons and baby showers, but it’s also great for outdoor gatherings like graduation parties and summer cookouts.

PARTY TIP: Enjoy this flavorful dish as a light main by adding edamame or chicken. 

Why You’ll Love It

  • Quick. Make it in about 30 minutes.
  • Make-ahead. Since cold salads need to sit for a while to let the flavors marry, you can make this ahead up to 24 hours. That makes it ideal for entertaining.
  • Versatile. Serve it as is for a delicious side dish, or toss in some edamame or chicken to make it an entrée for a ladies luncheon.
  • Room temperature. Cold pasta salads taste great at room temperature and this one doesn’t contain mayonnaise or dairy. Let it sit out safely for a couple of hours.
  • Feeds a crowd. It’s a crowd-pleaser and makes a lot for backyard bbq’s and potluck parties.
  • Year round recipe. Although this pasta salad works well for summer and outdoor parties, it’s equally good for fall tailgating or winter super bowl parties.
  • Leftovers. This cold Asian noodle salad tastes just as good the next day. Simply toss it together before serving as some of the dressing has probably sunk to the bottom of the dish.
Asian noodle salad in black serving bowl.

How to Make It

Aside from boiling the noodles there’s no other cooking involved. It’s so easy to prepare in less than 30 minutes!

Salad Ingredients

While the noodles cook you can cut the vegetables and mix the dressing together.

  • Noodles. You can choose from a variety of noodles for this salad. I use whole wheat thin spaghetti, but other options are angel hair pasta, vermicelli, or soba noodles. Soba noodles are Japanese buckwheat noodles. They cook quickly and are vegan!
  • Cucumbers. Use English cucumbers that are seedless and usually sold single in plastic wrap. Or, simply clean out the seeds of regular cucumbers.
  • Shredded carrots. Make life easy and just buy a package of shredded carrots. No need to make extra work for your self!
  • Green onions. Also known as scallions, they have a mild flavor and you’ll cut them into bite-size pieces.
  • Peanuts. Nuts give flavor and texture to this salad. You can use dry roasted or salted nuts depending on your personal preference. You can also substitute sesame seeds or sunflower seeds.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stovetop. Add a generous pinch of salt and cook pasta noodles according to the package instructions, just passed the al dente point. Noodles should be soft but not mushy.

Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and remove the starch. Then drain fully.

Red or yellow bell pepper is a good addition or substitution for the carrots. Slice them into very thin strips, julienne style.


Basic pantry ingredients are all you need for the sauce. Mix it in a medium size bowl with a whisk or spoon.

  • Soy sauce. I always use Low-sodium soy sauce. You can also use Light soy sauce which is thinner and made for dipping, but not lower in sodium (although some brands do use the term to market as low sodium).
  • Coconut milk. This is the canned coconut milk found in the baking section. Not the dairy beverage substitute.
  • Rice Wine vinegar. This is a delicious vinegar that’s less acidic than white vinegar, and has mild flavor.
  • Peanut Butter. Use creamy peanut butter, or you could substitute almond butter, sesame butter or sunflower butter.
  • Garlic. Use freshly crushed cloves or substitute with garlic powder. One clove of garlic is equal to 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder.
  • Sesame Oil. This is not a cooking oil; it’s a flavor ingredient used in a lot of Asian and Thai dishes.
  • Red Pepper flakes. Red pepper flakes give you just the right amount of heat without being overpowering, but feel free to adjust it more or less if you like.
Asian noodles in Chinese takeout box with chopsticks.

Party Tips

Add this recipe to a Chinese themed dinner party or Asian theme party. Serve in take out boxes with chopsticks.

Make a meal for a dinner party or luncheon by serving it with teriyaki chicken skewers or plank grilled salmon.

Include appetizers in the menu, that have a similar flavor profile like Asian-style tuna wonton cups.

Make this the night before a luncheon or the morning of a late day dinner party menu. The ingredients need time to blend together.

This cold Asian noodle salad is addictive! Serve it at your next ladies luncheon or add it to your list of summer side dishes and watch it disappear.

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Asian noodle salad recipe with cucumbers, carrots, green onions and peanuts.

Cold Asian Noodle Salad & Peanut Sauce

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Cold Asian inspired noodle salad has fresh veggies and a peanut butter-soy sauce dressing that's a crowd pleaser at outdoor parties or ladies luncheons. Make it ahead for best flavor.


  • 1 (16 ounces) package thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta
  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 1 (10 ounces) package shredded carrots
  • 6 green onions
  • 1/2 cup peanuts


  • 3/4 cup lite soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt


    1. Cook pasta according to package directions, just past al dente. When done drain and rinse under cold water. Drain and toss to make sure pasta is loose and not sticking to each other.
    2. Meanwhile, peel cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise to remove seeds. Slice cucumber into half moon shapes.
    3. Cut green onions into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces.
    4. Add cool dry noodles to a large bowl, along with cucumbers, carrots and onions.
    5. In a medium bowl whisk together soy sauce and remaining dressing ingredients. Pour over pasta mixture and toss well to coat.
    6. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or over night for flavors to marry.
    7. Top with peanuts and toss when ready to serve. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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  1. I need to try this one with my family. We love Chinese food, but I don;t cook Chinese. We mostly do takeout.

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