This vegan cold Asian noodle salad with spicy peanut dressing tastes amazing and is easy to make in under 30 minutes with simple ingredients.

A bowl of noodles topped with green onions, peanuts and cilantro with a set of chopsticks sitting on the bowl.

You will love the flavour of this delicious Asian pasta salad! It’s vibrant, nutritious and delicious and always quick to disappear. Fresh, crunchy veggies are paired with noodles and spicy peanut sauce recipe for a satisfying combo.

Enjoy this dish any time for a light main or delicious side dish. It’s perfect any time of year, especially when you don’t feel like cooking and makes a great option for meal prep too.

For more refreshing cold pasta salads, this Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Tangy Dressing, Pesto Orzo Pasta Salad with Chickpeas and Vegan Cold Buckwheat Noodles with Miso Sauce are all delicious.

Recipe Features

  • Vegan and can be gluten-free.
  • Quick and easy to make in 30 minutes.
  • Customize with any veggies.
  • Serve hot or cold.
  • Serve as a main dish or side salad.
  • Travels well, so good for summer picnics, BBQs and gatherings.
  • Great option for a meatless meal the whole family will enjoy.

Ingredient Notes

Labelled ingredients for an Asian noodle salad.
  • Vegetables: The recipe calls for carrot, scallion, red bell peppers, napa cabbage and red cabbage but if you’re missing one, that’s ok!
  • Cilantro: If you’re not a fan, you can leave this out or try another herb like Thai basil.
  • Noodles: You can use regular or whole-wheat spaghetti or linguini noodles, ramen noodles, soba noodles or brown rice or buckwheat noodles for a gluten-free option.
  • Ginger & Garlic: These are used in the sauce. If you don’t have fresh ginger and garlic on hand, you can use garlic powder and ground ginger in a pinch.
  • Maple Syrup: Can be substituted with agave syrup or coconut sugar.
  • Peanut Butter: Can be substituted with almond butter or for a nut-free dressing, you can use sunflower seed butter. Natural creamy peanut butter is suggested but you could crunchy if that’s what you have.
  • Soy Sauce: Use low-sodium soy sauce or for a gluten-free, be sure to use tamari or coconut aminos.
  • Rice Vinegar: Seasoned or unseasoned rice vinegar can be used.

This list is not complete. Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for the complete ingredient list with measurements and detailed instructions.


  • if you’re missing any of the veggies, no problem. Use what you have on hand and don’t worry about exact amounts. Other suitable veggies include any variety of cabbage, any color of bell pepper, broccoli, jalapeno and cucumber.
  • To add protein to this recipe, add baked crispy tofu, marinated tempeh or 1 cup edamame.
  • To make the recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free noodles such as buckwheat noodles and make sure you use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
  • To make the recipe low-carb, use zucchini noodles.
  • To make it spicier, add up to 1 tbsp sriracha or chili garlic paste to the sauce.
  • Alternative Sauce: This recipe would also be good with the sesame miso sauce from this cold soba noodle salad.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Cooked spaghetti noodles in a pot.

Step 1: Bring a large pot of water to a boil stovetop with a generous pinch of salt. Cook your pasta according to the package instructions.

Once it’s done, drain and quickly run it under cold water then add it back into the pot.

Chopped scallions, cabbage, carrot and cilantro in a large mixing bowl.

Step 2: While the noodles are cooking, chop up all the fresh veggies and herbs and add to a large bowl.

Creamy peanut sauce in a glass jar with a spoon.

Step 3: Make the sauce by adding everything into a small blender, starting with 2 tbsp of water. Process until smooth and creamy then add a little more water and blend again to adjust the consistency, if needed.

A peanut noodle salad with chopped vegetables in a large mixing bowl.

Step 4: Once the noodles are cooked, add to the bowl with the veggies. Add the peanut sauce and toss to combine.

Serve right away with toppings like sesame seeds, lime, sriracha and chopped peanuts or cashews.

Recipe FAQs

Do I have to use peanut butter?

No. You can use almond butter, cashew butter or sunflower seed butter.

Can I freeze this recipe?

This recipe is not suitable for freezing but will keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days.

How long does a cold noodle salad keep?

Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days. It will dry out a bit after storing as the noodles absorb some of the moisture but it will still taste great. If you like, you can toss it with 2-3 tbsp vegetable broth to add some moisture back in.

What kinds of noodles can I use in this recipe?

This recipe was originally made with spaghetti noodles. You can also use linguine, Chinese style lo mein noodles, soba noodles, ramen wheat noodles or udon noodles. For gluten-free noodles, use soba noodles (buckwheat noodles) or rice noodles.

Chopsticks in a bowl of noodles mixed with vegetables.

Chef’s Tips

  • Want to save time? Use a few handfuls of coleslaw mix, broccoli slaw or pre-chopped veggies instead of the cabbage and carrot.
  • For quick and optimal chopping, a mandolin works best for thin, even slices of cabbage and bell pepper. I like to use a julienne peeler for the carrot but you can also use a grater.
  • Since we’ll be serving the noodles cold, you want to cook it just a touch past the recommended time rather than al dente. It should be fully cooked but not so overcooked it’s mushy. Consider adding 1-2 tsp sesame oil or olive oil after draining to prevent the noodles from sticking together.

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A peanut noodle salad with chopped vegetables in a large mixing bowl.

Cold Asian Noodle Salad

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 16 reviews
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Diet: Vegan
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The best thing about this cold noodle salad recipe is it takes less than 30 minutes to make, yet feels like something that took much longer. Preparing the vegetables and sauce while the noodles cook saves time, making it a perfect meal for busy weeknights.


For the Asian Noodle Salad

  • 10 ounces (283 g) regular or whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (130 g, approx. 1 cup)
  • 2 large carrots, grated (150 g, approx. 1 heaping cup)
  • 1 cup lightly packed green onions, finely chopped (40 g)
  • 1 cup, lightly packed cilantro, finely chopped (40 g)
  • 2 cups finely chopped or grated cabbage (300 g, use red, green or napa cabbage or a mixture)

For the Peanut Sauce

  • 1 tbsp minced ginger (10 g, omit if you don’t like ginger)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 3 tbsp, 15 g)
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1.5 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce, coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2.5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or up to 1 tbsp sriracha sauce (optional, for spicy peanut sauce)
  • 24 tbsp water to adjust consistency

Topping Suggestions

  • peanuts or cashews
  • a squeeze of lime juice
  • fresh chopped cilantro or Thai basil
  • sriracha


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil stovetop. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, chop all the vegetables and add to a large mixing or salad bowl.
  3. To make the dressing, blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Start with 2 tbsp of water and increase up to 5 tbsp to adjust the consistency. It should be fairly thick and creamy but still pourable.
  4. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain and rinse under cold water then add back to the pot with 3 tbsp of water and mix to coat.
  5. Add the pasta to the bowl with the chopped veggies.
  6. Top with the sauce and mix well.
  7. Serve right away topped with optional peanuts or cashews, sriracha and a squeeze of lime juice.
  8. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.


This can easily be adjusted to make 2-4 servings. Simple make as much pasta as you want, use a bit less veggies, top with desired amount of sauce then store any extra in the fridge for dipping tofu in, using on another salad or stirfry or in a wrap.

I suggest cooking pasta to well rather than al dente to prevent the noodles from drying out after cooking. They should be fully cooked but not so overdone that they’re mushy. I let them cook about 30 seconds longer than the suggested time on the box.

UPDATE NOTE: This recipe was originally published on September 5, 2013.