Asian Noodle Salad
Everyone loves a good Asian noodle salad, right?
How do you like yours? I like mine with lots of colorful veggies tossed in with the noodles, so it feels more like a “salad” and not just highly seasoned cold noodles.
Nothing wrong with plain noodles, mind you! In fact, the beauty of this salad is its flexibility. Add as many or as few extras as you want.
I love the colors and crunch of purple cabbage and red bell peppers so they’re in, along with carrots and steamed broccoli.
I’ve also made this salad with almost all noodles and just some sliced green onions and bell pepper. It’s all good.
The trick is to let the noodles dry after you cook them, and then dress them with soy sauce alone, so they absorb the flavor of the soy sauce. Then toss in whatever vegetables you are using plus a sweet and sour, ginger garlic sesame dressing.
The salad holds up well for several hours, so it’s perfect to take to a potluck too.
Asian Noodle Salad Recipe
Prep as many vegetables as you can while the water in step one is heating.
The types of vegetables you can use in this salad is flexible. Don’t like broccoli? Leave it out. Prefer napa cabbage to red cabbage? Use it instead.
The recipe calls for the type of Chinese noodles that are typically used for making chow mein. You can also use Japanese soba noodles or any long and skinny, wheat-based pasta (not egg noodles).
- 10 ounces Chinese noodles (for making chow mein)
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 2 – 3 cups raw bite-sized broccoli florets (from about 1 head of broccoli)
- 4 ounces mung bean sprouts (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced white and green parts
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, thinly sliced and cut into 1-inch long pieces
- 1/4 large purple cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
- 1 large carrot, peeled and slivered (just continue to peel with a peeler)
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 Tbsp white granulated sugar
- 1 medium clove of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup canola, rice bran, or vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 4 teaspoons dark sesame oil
*This dressing is just enough to dress the noodle salad in the proportions given, and then lightly so. If you prefer stronger seasoning or more dressing, just increase the amounts by a half and add a bit more soy sauce to the noodles.
1 Cook and drain the noodles: Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. If using Chinese noodles, do not add salt (they are already salted). If using soba or pasta noodles, add a tablespoon of salt to the water.
Add the noodles to the pot. Stir the noodles frequently while they cook. Check the noodle package instructions, if using Chinese noodles, they should be done after 5 minutes of cooking.
Drain the noodles, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Spread the noodles out on a sheet pan to air dry.
2 Steam the broccoli: Place a steamer rack in the bottom of a 3 to 4-quart pot. Add enough water to come up to the level of the steamer. Heat until boiling. Add the broccoli florets. Cover and steam cook for 4 minutes. Remove from the pot and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
3 Toss cooked noodles with soy sauce: Place the cooked noodles in a large serving bowl. Toss with soy sauce to coat completely. Let sit to absorb the soy sauce while you make the dressing.
4 Make the dressing: Place the ginger, sugar, garlic, and red pepper flakes into a mini chopper or food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Add the vinegar and both oils to the ginger mixture. Pulse again until well blended.
5 Toss dressing with noodles, then add vegetables: Add the dressing to the soy-sauce infused noodles, tossing to coat completely. Then add the cooked broccoli, the sliced green onions, sliced bell pepper, sliced cabbage, shredded carrot, and mung bean sprouts.
If making more than a day ahead, toss the noodles with the soy sauce and half of the dressing and prep the vegetables. Then when ready to serve, toss the noodles with the vegetables and the rest of the dressing.