Make cold sesame noodle salad once, eat all week! With abundant crunchy veggies, and an easy flavor packed Asian ginger dressing, this noodle salad recipe comes together with ease. This recipe is vegan, vegetarian and easily gluten free.
This recipe was first posted July 2017 and has been updated July 2021 with new pictures and recipe notes. The addition of optional shelled edamame is the only change to the recipe.
Hearty Summer Salads
Easy summer dinners, early morning baking, picnic food, and salads that can hang out in the fridge for daaaays is my idea of spending less time in the kitchen during summer.
Having a ready made salad in the fridge, like this Asian pasta salad or this cold peanut noodle salad, makes for an easy lunch or dinner because it can hang out in the fridge, ready when you are.
If you love crunchy, fresh salads and noodles, you’re going to love how this sesame noodle salad comes together. Versatile enough for lunch, dinner, an impromptu picnic or a lazy leftover dinner.
Quick Guide: How to Make Sesame Asian Noodle Salad
Easy peasy to pull together, use the freshest veggies you can get your hands on! Upon the suggestion of a commenter, I updated the recipe to include edamame. It is optional, but I love the new addition! In summary, here’s how to make this cold noodle salad (see recipe card for details):
- First, cook the edamame (optional) and then the pasta.
- Second, toast the cashews and whip up the dressing.
- Third, chop the veggies.
- Next, when the noodles are done, drain thoroughly and toss with the dressing.
- Last, finish the salad by tossing the noodles and all the veggies together. Sprinkle with cashews, sesame seeds and green onions.
For a spicy sesame noodle salad, a hearty douse of Sriracha will do the trick!
What Noodles to Use?
For this sesame noodle salad, the sky is the limit! Enjoy with:
- whole wheat thin spaghetti
- angel hair pasta
- soba noodles
- brown rice (GF) pasta
Simply cook pasta according to package instructions, then follow the recipe.
The Best Sesame Oil for Asian Noodle Salad Dressing
The dressing utilizes multiple flavor builders to bring all the components of the salad together including fresh ginger, Tamari, sesame oil, lime juice and cayenne (or Sriracha).
My favorite sesame oil for this salad is organic toasted sesame oil. If not a new bottle, be sure to smell and taste the sesame oil prior to mixing into the dressing to make sure it’s not rancid. If it doesn’t have a fresh nutty smell, and/or tastes somewhat bitter, it’s time to replace it.
Look for a small bottle if this isn’t an oil you’ll use within about a year.
A Few Recipe Notes
- Big Salad Alert! This sesame ginger noodle salad makes a big salad, seven to eight servings, so it’s a good one to take to the office, picnic or toss in your loves lunch box.
- Kitchen Sink Sesame Salad: Use whatever fresh veggies you have on hand. Sometimes I toss in julienned carrots or seeded, thinly sliced and quartered cucumbers in place of the red bell peppers. But one ingredient, especially during summer, that takes this salad over the top is sugar snap peas. They have a crunch factor that is satisfying!
- No Snap Peas? If snap peas aren’t available, give snow peas a go. They make an excellent sub.
- Edamame: Upon the suggestion from Maggie who left a comment below, I added edamame to the recipe! It’s fabulous and optional, yet worth the extra few minutes it takes to cook. Thank you, Maggie!
More Asian Noodle Recipes to Love
- Thai Ginger and Garlic Noodle Bowls
- Thai Peanut Noodle Salad
- Speedy Spinach Mushroom Ramen
- Ginger Miso Soba Noodle Bowls
- Garlicky Asparagus Noodle Bowls
Sesame Ginger Noodle Salad with Cashews
For the Salad:
- 3/4 C (100g) Raw Cashews whole
- 1 C (140g) Shelled Edamame frozen (optional)
- 1/2 lb (230g) Angel Hair Whole Wheat Pasta or thin spaghetti, soba noodles or gluten free noodles.
- 1 1/2 C (170g) Red Bell Pepper* (see note) sliced thin and into bite size pieces, about 1 large pepper
- 1 1/2 C (150g) Sugar Snap or Snow Peas cut on the bias and in bite size pieces
- 2 C (100g) Savoy or Green Cabbage or a mix of green and purple
- 2 Scallions green and white parts sliced thin
- 3 Tbs Sesame Seeds
- 3-4 Stems Fresh Cilantro and/or Thai Basil chopped for garnish
For the Salad:
- Preheat oven to 350 and toast cashews for about 13-15 minutes. Alternatively, dry-toast the cashews on medium-low in a skillet tossing and flipping the cashews occassionally for about 5-6 minutes - watch these carefully as they burn quickly. The cashews should be golden and fragrant when ready. Once cool, rough chop and set aside. (I like the oven method better with cashews as the pan method produces uneven toasting - but for the sake of leaving the oven off... there's an option!)
- Optional Edamame: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling add the frozen edamame. Set a timer for five minutes and cook the edamame on high heat. The water should return to a boil. After five minutes, fish the edamame out of the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer it to a strainer reserving the cooking water for the pasta. Rinse under cool running water. Set aside.Bring the water back to a boil, adding more water if needed, to cook the noodles.
- Cook the noodles according to package directions. The noodles should be cooked al dente (to the tooth - not soggy). While the noodles are cooking, make the dressing (see below). Set aside. Drain and rinse the noodles. Transfer them to a large mixing bowl, pour the dressing on and toss to coat. Rest the noodles in the refrigerator while you finish chopping/assembling all the veggies.
- To the noodles in the large mixing bowl, add the bell peppers (and/or carrots), peas, cabbage, scallions, sesame seeds, herbs and chopped cashews. Toss well so that all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Chill at least 30 minutes prior to serving so the flavors have time to marry.
- Serve with extra lime wedges and Sriracha (if desired). Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
For the Dressing:
- In a small jar add the Tamari, sesame oil, honey or maple syrup, cayenne (or Sriracha), lime juice and ginger. Shake well and set aside until ready to use.