Packed with crunchy veggies, edamame, rice noodles and a scrumptious garlicky, gingery peanut-lime dressing, this Thai Peanut Noodle Salad recipe is make ahead ready and simple to pull together! This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and gluten free. [ VIDEO in recipe card ]
Discovering Thai Flavors
When I transitioned to a vegetarian way of eating, it opened up a whole new world of flavors I hadn’t previously known. Thai flavors quickly rose to the top of my list of favorites. What I love about Thai food is that it’s fresh, umami packed and is easily plant focused.
While the crunchy veggies and slurpy noodles shine in this cold peanut noodle recipe, it’s the totally mouthwatering Thai peanut salad dressing/sauce that ties the textures and flavors together. The dressing is garlicky, gingery, peanutty, with just a touch of sweet and has that mouthwatering umami I’m forever after.
Ingredients for this Rice Noodle Salad
Load up on the most colorful and favorite Thai inspired veggies. Thin or wide rice noodles (rice vermicelli or rice stick noodles) work beautifully for this salad.
For the Salad:
- Rice Noodles or Rice Sticks – thin
- Frozen Edamame
- Cabbage – purple and green for all the color
- Bell Pepper
- Sugar Snap or Snow Peas
- Green Onions
- Sesame Oil
- Fresh Herbs – Cilantro, Thai Basil, Mint (optional)
For the Dressing:
The Thai peanut salad dressing is easily whipped up in a food processor. Thin with water as needed, but not too much or the dressing won’t stick to the noodles and veggies.
- Peanut Butter
- Lime Juice
- Maple Syrup or Honey
- Tamari – or soy sauce
- Sriracha or Red Pepper Flakes
How to Make Thai Peanut Noodle Salad
This Asian peanut noodle salad comes together in about 30 minutes. And although these cold peanut noodles can hang out for days in the fridge, the fats in the peanut butter are softest at room temperature. Toss the salad with the Thai peanut salad dressing just before serving for the best texture.
- First, boil the edamame, then use its cooking water to soak the noodles. Soak the noodles until tender, not mushy. About six minutes for thin stick noodles.
- Second, toast the cashews. Allow to cool then chop.
- Third, prepare the veggies by chopping and using a Julienne peeler for the carrots. Chop the herbs.
- Continuing, whip up the Thai peanut lime dressing in a food processor.
- Last, layer the ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the dressing.
If sharing after the salad has been chilled, allow the salad to set at room temperature for about 30 minutes so the fats in the dressing can soften. Or, dive right in! Either way this salad is quite fabulous.
Related: Do you Love Meal Prep Ready Salads? Find more like this salad on my 10 Vegetarian Salad Recipes to make for lunch or dinner post!
A Few Recipe Notes
- This recipe calls for Tamari in the Thai peanut dressing, which is naturally gluten free. However soy sauce can be used if desired.
- For a spicier Thai peanut noodle salad, share with Sriracha on the side or include up to three teaspoons in the dressing.
- Depending on how much dressing you like on the salad, you may have some peanut sauce left over. It stores beautifully for weeks in the fridge. I’ve used it as a dipping sauce for summer rolls, tossed it into curry and have poured it over these Thai Lentil Lettuce Wraps.
- When soaking the rice noodles, keep an eye on them as they can go from perfection to mush quickly. The Kitchn shares helpful tips on soaking rice noodles.
- This Thai noodle recipe calls for a hefty portion of herbs such as cilantro, Thai basil and mint. They add so much freshness to the salad. If you have particular (ie: picky) eaters in your house, share the herbs on the side.
More Thai Inspired Recipes to Love
- Thai Mushroom Pumpkin Curry
- Thai Ginger and Garlic Noodle Bowls
- Spicy Peanut Tofu Bowl with Coconut Forbidden Rice
- Sweet Potato ‘Noodle’ Pad Thai – by Foolproof Living
- Thai Vegetable Fried Rice with Cashews
- Vegetarian Pad Thai (Instant Pot) – by Kitchen Confidant
- Sesame Ginger Noodle Salad with Cashews
Thai Peanut Noodle Salad Recipe
For the Salad
- 1/2 C (65g) Cashews or peanuts
- 1 C (140g) Edamame frozen
- 4 oz (110g) Rice Stick Noodles
- 1-2 tsp Sesame Oil optional, *see note
- 1 1/2 C (155g) Red or Yellow Bell Pepper about 1 large, I like to mix red and yellow
- 1 C (45g) Carrots shredded
- 3 C (190g) Cabbage green and purple mixed, shredded
- 1 C (100g) Sugar Snap Peas or snow peas, sliced into bite size pieces on the bias
- 1/2 C (30g) Green Onions sliced thin on the bias
- Herbs such as Thai basil, mint and cilantro use to taste - I like a combo of all three, fine chop about 4 Tbs. Use whole leaves to garnish.
For the Dressing (makes about 1 C (260g))
For the Salad
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C) and toast the cashews for 8-9 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool. Rough chop. Set aside 2 Tbs for garnish.
- Bring a medium 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. Set a strainer inside a large bowl to retain the water from the edamame. After 5-6 minutes of cooking and the edamame is tender, strain the edamame reserving the water in a large bowl. Rinse the edamame under cool running water. Set the edamame aside.
- Working quickly, into the reserved water, add the rice noodles. Allow the noodles to soak for 4-6 minutes in the previously boiled edamame water. Loosen with a fork and check on them every few minutes. They should be tender, not mushy, when ready. Strain and rinse with cold running water, tossing, until the water runs clear. Wipe the bowl dry and add the rice noodles to the bowl. Drizzle with sesame oil if using and toss. Otherwise, add the edamame to the rice noodles.
- To the mixing bowl add the cashews, peppers, carrots, cabbage, peas, onions and herbs. Set in the refrigerator while making the dressing.
For the Dressing
- Into the bowl of a food processor, add the ginger, garlic, peanut butter, lime, Tamari, maple and Sriracha. With the processor running drizzle in a few Tbs of hot water. Process until smooth. Check consistency. The dressing needs to be thick enough to stick to the noodles and veggies. If too thin, it'll sink to the bottom of the bowl. Add up to two more Tbs of water if desired.
- Pour the dressing over the salad, holding out about 1/4 C. Toss salad thoroughly so that all the noodles and veggies are covered. Add additional dressing if desired. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle additional herbs and 2 Tbs of cashews over the top. Serve with lime wedges and Sriracha.
- Thai Peanut Salad holds well in the fridge for up to three days. If desired, set out at room temperature at least 30 minutes prior to serving to allow the fats to soften.