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Cool and Crunchy Thai Noodle Salad

5 from 4 votes

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Crunchy, colorful and flavor-packed vegan Thai noodle salad with a red cabbage slaw with kale and Thai noodles tossed in a tangy peanut-lime dressing.

A white oval serving bowl with chopsticks on the side, full of red cabbage and green kale ribbons, bell peppers and Thai noodle slaw with peanuts on top.

This cold Thai noodle salad is a crisp and fresh lunch salad or vegetable side dish for any meal. It’s loaded with flavor, and super-healthful. Plus, it’s easy to double for a crowd (like a backyard get-together).

It starts with rice noodles tossed with a crunchy slaw made with shredded red cabbage. chopped kale and fresh herbs. To put it all together, a tangy-sweet peanut dressing adds just the right amount of spice and acidity.

This salad makes a sensational side dish for a cookout or to make ahead for lunches during the week. It’s light yet satisfying, full of tasty umami-loaded ingredients.

A gray bowl with chopsticks on the side, full of red cabbage salad with  green kale ribbons, bell peppers and Thai noodle slaw with peanuts on top.

This combination noodle salad + veggie slaw pushes all the buttons if you love eating fresh meals. The irresistible combination of crisp, cool texture from the vegetables and peanuts along with and sweet-sour flavors will have you hooked right away, too!

Ingredients in Thai noodle salad

This vibrant salad is vegetarian and vegan-friendly, made with a mix of colorful vegetables you can grab straight from the produce drawer of your fridge:

  • Red cabbage
  • Curly green or purple kale
  • Red bell pepper: Use purple, yellow or orange peppers if you’d rather — they are all sweet and beautiful.
  • Red onion
  • Green onion (scallions)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves: Thai basil is another herb to add in if you have a bunch.
  • Cooked noodles: Udon, ramen, soba noodles or pad-thai rice noodles will all work in this salad.
  • Optional: Add in a handful of any other fresh vegetables you might have on hand, such as matchstick-sliced carrots, snow peas or snap peas.
Raw vegetables arranged in a white enamel pan including a whole head of red cabbage, purple bell pepper and red onions.

Noodle salad dressing

The secret sauce behind this flavorful salad is a peanut-lime dressing that bursts with freshness. Here’s what you need to mix it up:

  • Thai peanut sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Prepared Thai peanut sauce
  • Tamari (gluten-free) or soy sauce
  • Toasted peanut oil or sesame oil
  • Roasted unsalted peanuts (cashews work well too)
  • Maple syrup
  • Korean chili pepper (gochugaru) is a crushed red chili pepper that has a mild heat. You can use crushed red chili pepper flakes or cayenne instead (just use about half the amount).
A gray bowl with chopsticks on the side, full of red cabbage and green kale ribbons, bell peppers and Thai noodle slaw with peanuts on top.

Assembling and making ahead

Too hot to cook? The best part of this noodle salad is that after you’ve prepped the vegetables and whisked the dressing, you can mix the salad in a matter of minutes.

  • The cooked noodles and vegetables will keep separately in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the salad.
  • Cabbage and noodle salads are perfect to make ahead because they hold up well for hours, and up a day or two refrigerated. The sturdy cabbage and noodles will only absorb the flavor, so they often taste even better!
  • Top off this salad with grilled chicken, cooked shrimp or glazed tofu for extra protein.
A gray bowl with chopsticks on the side, full of red cabbage and green kale ribbons, bell peppers and Thai noodle slaw with peanuts on top.

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Cool and Crunchy Thai Noodle Salad

Karen Tedesco
Colorful and quick Thai noodle salad with a red cabbage, kale and noodles tossed in a tangy peanut-lime dressing.
Print Pin
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine Asian, Vegetarian/Vegan
Servings 4

Ingredients

Thai Peanut Dressing

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) Thai peanut sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons toasted peanut oil or sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Korean chili pepper (gochugaru), or ½ teaspoon crushed red chili or cayenne

Salad

  • 8 ounces udon, ramen or pad Thai noodles, cooked, rinsed under cold water and drained
  • 4 cups (175 g) shredded red or green cabbage, or a combination
  • 2 cups (135 g) green or purple kale, sliced into ribbons
  • 3 green onions, sliced on the diagonal
  • ½ cup (80 g) thinly sliced red onion
  • ½ red or orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced into matchsticks
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons crushed unsalted peanuts or cashews

Instructions 

Make the dressing

  • Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until blended.

Make the slaw

  • Add the cold noodles to a serving bowl with the cabbage, kale, onions, bell pepper and cilantro.
  • Pour the dressing over the noodles and toss together with tongs. Top with the chopped nuts and serve.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

Make ahead: The salad will keep for an hour or two at room temperature and up to 2 days refrigerated. Because time allows the sturdy cabbage to absorb all the flavors, it will taste even better!

Nutrition

Calories: 161kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 508mg | Potassium: 428mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 4673IU | Vitamin C: 90mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 1mg
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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing this! It sounds delicious – probably because I immediately salivate over anything containing peanut butter, whether that be sweet or savoury. This recipe sounds like a healthy way to satisfy my satay cravings 🙂