Healthy enough for a weeknight family dinner and elegant enough for a dinner party, this Crunchy Thai Noodle Salad is loaded with fresh veggies. Crisp peppers, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, cilantro and crunchy peanuts are all tossed together with rice noodles and a spicy Thai-style peanut sauce!
This recipe for Crunchy Thai Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce has been hiding out on the archives here on the blog. I've tweaked it, added new photos and I'm sharing it with you because it's just SO good!
It's a long-time favourite of ours. It has vibrant colours, contrasting textures, and it's easy to make it as spicy or as mild as you like. I made a big bowl for our family dinner on the weekend and served it with my Easy Thai Chicken Skewers.
Crisp peppers, cabbage, carrots, cucumber and crunchy peanuts are all tossed together with rice noodles and a spicy Thai-style peanut sauce. Adjust the amount of chili sauce in the recipe if you like it spicier!
This salad is healthy enough for a weeknight family dinner and elegant and interesting enough for a dinner party. It's a popular potluck offering because everyone loves it!
Not only that, it's gluten-free and it can be paleo too, if you replace the peanut sauce with cashew cream or avocado cream or a dressing of your choice. This Crunchy Thai Noodle Salad is simple to prepare and you can make most of it in advance.
Ready to get started?
Ingredients for Thai Salad with Peanut Sauce
- rice noodles: your choice--white rice noodles, brown rice noodles, vermicelli, or try it with well-drained zucchini noodles!
- green cabbage: Savoy or Napa
- red cabbage: aka purple cabbage
- bell peppers: 1 red, 1 orange, 1 yellow
- cucumber: I used a Long English cucumber
- green onions and radishes
- peanuts: you can substitute cashews if you're following a paleo diet
- sesame seeds: either white or black
To make homemade spicy peanut sauce, you'll need
- peanut butter: substitute almond butter if you're avoiding peanuts or on a paleo diet
- canned coconut milk
- soy sauce (or coconut aminos for paleo diet)
- rice vinegar
- garlic: fresh is always best!
- ginger: again, fresh is always best. Fresh ginger has much more flavour than powdered ginger.
- sweet chili sauce
- lime juice
Tips for Making the Best Thai Noodle Salad
Just break down the recipe into these steps:
- Make the Spicy Peanut Sauce first. Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Save the remaining part of the can of coconut milk for another use, or toss it in your morning smoothie. You can make the peanut sauce a few days in advance as it keeps well in the refrigerator. You'll have extra, so store leftovers it in a small jar in the fridge or freezer.
- Cook the rice noodles. Put the rice noodles or vermicelli in a large pot of boiling water and cook according to package directions, stirring once after 2 minutes to break up the noodles. Drain, rinse thoroughly in cold water, and set aside.
- Chop the vegetables. Use a julienne cutter or very sharp knife to slice the cabbage, peppers, and green onions and radishes. If your cucumber has lots of seeds, remove them by scraping the length of the cucumber with a spoon. Seeding the cucumber will help to avoid having too much water in the salad.
- Toss the salad, garnish and serve! Toss the vegetables and the rice noodles together until well combined. You may need to give the rice noodles another rinse if they are starting to stick together. Add the peanut sauce and toss again. Garnish with chopped cilantro, coarsely chopped peanuts and sesame seeds just before serving.
Super Crunchy Thai Noodle Salad
Spicy Peanut Sauce
- 1 12-ounce package rice noodles
- 3 cups Napa or Savoy cabbage very finely sliced
- 1 cup purple cabbage very finely sliced
- 4 large carrots julienne cut or shredded
- 2 red bell peppers very thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper very thinly sliced
- 1 orange bell pepper very thinly sliced
- 1 long English cucumber seeded
- 8 green onions chopped
- 4 radishes thinly sliced
- ½ bunch fresh cilantro chopped
- ½ cup peanuts or cashews, chopped
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds optional
- Prepare the Spicy Peanut Sauce first. This can be made up to a few days in advance. Blend all peanut sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside if using right away, or refrigerate (or freeze) if making it in advance.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add rice noodles to water and let stand for 8 - 10 minutes (or follow package directions, depending on the type of noodles you're using), stirring after 2 minutes to break up noodles. Remove from heat, drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Set aside.
- Prepare all vegetables and transfer to a large bowl with the cooled, rinsed and drained noodles.
- Just before serving, toss with the peanut sauce and garnish with cilantro, peanuts, and optional sesame seeds.
And if you love Thai-inspired salads, you might also like this Thai Shrimp Salad with Grapefruit and Mint.
Kitchen tools I used to make this Super Crunchy Thai Noodle Salad
Do you have a herb keeper like this one? I am continually amazed at how long it keeps herbs fresh! I used to buy a bunch of cilantro for a recipe, use half of it and find the other half turned to slime in the refrigerator a few days later. This herb keeper has paid for itself several times over. (affiliate link)