Inspired by a grocery deli classic this spicy cold noodle salad is great for the summertime. The salad holds well in the warm weather and is a wonderful meal prep. It also makes a great lunch salad or a perfect side dish for dinner. You can adjust the spice level on this salad by adjusting the amount of sambal or hot pepper flakes you add to the dressing. This is not a traditional asian noodle salad, but is a version you may just love. For a more traditional version of this salad, head over to "The Woks of Life" for the best traditional recipe https://thewoksoflife.com/sour-spicy-cold-noodles/
So many of my food memories tie back to moments with my Mom. I will forever be grateful for your curious spirit and cooking skills it formed my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Often many of the recipes I cook come to fruition because I am attempting to capture a childhood memory of a favorite dish. This recipe is one of those recipes.
As a child, I often got to visit my parents for lunch, the best part of my summers as a kid. We would typically head to Bayview Market, a specialty foods market in my hometown with the best deli and outdoor sitting on the water. It's still one of the best kept lunch secrets back at home. Bayview also had a large catering department and is still one of the top caterers in my hometown. When I was younger they often would cater many of my Mom's work events, and she would always order their Sesame Cold Noodle Salad, it was my favorite dish to come out of their deli.
You would take a bite and the spicy sesame oil would coat your lips, giving you all the yummy feels. Though this recipe is not a copycat, it is inspired by the salad from my childhood. Bring this great salad to your summertime potlucks and gatherings. If you are thinking you want to bring this salad to your next summer gathering, considering holding back on spice level, or notate that the salad is spicy before a guest gets a spicy surprise. If it is extremely hot outside, place salad in a medium-sized bowl and fill the bottom of a large bowl with ice. Set salad bowl on top of the ice, inside the large mixing bowl and this will help keep the salad cold and you won't have to worry about food safety.
I hope you decided to make this salad or some version of it that matches your needs. I would love it if you take the time to post a photo or video on social media, please don't forget to tag us @thewholerevolution
- Soba Noodles or Whole-wheat spaghetti noodles
- Shredded red cabbage
- Red onion, thinly sliced, or chopped green onions/spring onions
- Serrano, seeds and vein removed, thinly sliced
- Cilantro, loosley packed, chopped
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Chopped cashew nuts, toasted
- Sesame Cashew Dressing:
- Cashew butter or almond butter or peanut butter
- Warm water
- Tamari, soy sauce or coconut aminos
- Rice vinegar or lime juice
- Toasted sesame oil
- Sambal (chili garlic sauce) or red pepper flakes
- Honey or maple syrup
- Mushroom umami powder (optional)
See recipe card for quantities.
- Cook noodles according to package instructions in salted water. Remove one minute earlier that instructions state.
- While pasta cooks make the dressing.
- In a large bowl, add dressing/sauce ingredients whisking until well combined.
- Add cooked and drained noodles to the dressing and toss.
- Add remaining salad ingredients. Toss to combine.
- Chill pasta salad in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Toss prior to serving.
- Tamari - use soy sauce or coconut aminos
- Noodles - use any type of long noodle (udon noodles, glass noodles, brown rice noodles, buckwheat noodles, spaghetti noodles)
- Vegan - to make this delicious recipe vegan, sub the honey for maple syrup
- Nut Butters - you can sub any type of nut or seed butter, just be aware if there is any added sugar. If there is added sugar add half the amount of honey or maple syrup to the dressing. I also suggest that the nut butter you chose to add to the dressing, should be the same as the nut in the salad.
- Spicy - if you aren't wanting something too spicy, omit the sambal or add even more to the dressing if you are a fan of spicy foods.
- Deluxe - serve with grilled meats for a great side dish for a deluxe meal. Serve with lime wedges for an extra touch.
- Kid friendly - keep spice level low and add fresh veggies the kiddos enjoy.
- Large bowl or medium bowl
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Measuring cups and spoons
Place any leftover salad in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. This salad will keep up to 4 days in the refrigerator. You can add 2 -4 tablespoons of hot water to loosen up the noodles prior to serving.
When making a noodle salad recipe, cook your noodles 1 minute less than the package directions states. This will ensure al dente pasta that will continue to cook while it cools and will help the dressing adhere to the noodles. Do Not Rinse cooked noodles in cold water, this will remove the starch, which we want to help make our dressing stick to the noodles.
Though there isn't a direct origination for the Cold Sesame Noodle Salad you can trace Cold Noodle Salads to Northeast China. Zhajiangmian is the traditional Chinese dish. During the late Qing Dynasty this salad became popular. The dish quickly spread around the world and many variations of these Asian noodle salads began to appear.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with [this recipe]:
Spicy Sesame Cashew Cold Noodle Salad
- 1 Stovetop
- 1 lb whole wheat spaghetti noodles cooked in salted water
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons cashew butter
- ¼ cup warm water
- 4 tablespoons tamari soy or coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon sambal depending on your spice level preference
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon mushroom umami powder optional
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- ½ cup red onion thinly sliced
- 1 serrano seeds and vein removed, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cilantro loosely packed, chopped
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- ½ cup chopped cashews toasted
- In a large mixing bowl, add the tahini, cashew butter and warm water. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add remaining dressing ingredients and mix well until combined. Add half the cooked noodles over the dressing then add the veggies, top the veggies with the remaining noodles. Add the sesame seeds and cashews. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Toss prior to serving.
- This salad will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator. You can add 2 -4 tablespoons of hot water to loosen up the noodles.
- Cross-contamination. Especially if you are cooking for specific dietary needs, or if you will have any raw meat in the vicinity of your ingredients.
- Clean your vegetables. Wash fruits and vegetables under cold water, even if it's "pre-washed" or "ready-to-eat." After prepping, put produce in clean containers, not in original bags or containers.
- Refrigerate. Leave salad in the refrigerator (below 40 degrees Fahrenheit) until the very last moment. The longer it sits out at room temperature, the more time bacteria has to grow. Never leave anything out longer than 2 hours