Cold rice noodle salad with fresh veggies and insanely delicious chili garlic dressing.  It’s a versatile salad as you can switch up the veggies to your own liking.

It makes an amazing simple side or healthy lunch paired with Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup .

Rice Noodle Salad Recipe

When in need of a veggie packed, yet filling lunch…make this Chili Garlic Rice Noodle Salad!

It’s a combo of rice noodles, fresh vegetables, green onions, cilantro, and basil. Tossed in garlicky chili dressing!

It’s fresh, healthy and full of flavor. Best part? It’s incredibly versatile as you can switch up the veggies. Plus leftovers hold up in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

So you can enjoy it for lunch the next day or even dinner topped with some grilled shrimp. 

close up cold rice noodle salad

What are Rice Noodles?

Rice noodles are noodles made from rice and water. They have a slightly chewy texture and are great for soups, salads, and stir-fry. Plus they are naturally gluten-free

You can find them at most grocery stores in the Asian section of the store. I love to use them in cold salads as they hold up well in the fridge. Plus their taste is very mild so you can pair them with just about anything.

How to Cook Rice Noodles?

I found the easiest way to cook the rice noodles is to soak them in hot water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove the pot off the heat and add the noodles.

Soak for about 5 minutes, while stirring the noodles every few minutes so they don’t stick. When done, they should be tender with a slight bite to them. Immediately drain and rinse under cold water.

Or you can always check the back of the package for directions. There’s usually two types of directions for cooking the noodles to use in hot and cold dishes. You want the directions for cold dishes.

Ingredients for Cold Rice Noodle Salad

  • Rice Noodles – I used brown rice noodles but white noodles work just as fine. Just make sure to get the thick noodles and not the super thin/vermicelli noodles. 
  • Fresh Vegetables – Carrots, snow peas, and red cabbage. You can certainly switch up your veggies to include cucumbers, bean sprouts, bell peppers, napa cabbage, sugar snap peas, and edamame. If planning on making this salad ahead, use harder vegetables as they stay crisp longer.
  • Green Onions – feel free to use more green onions than what the recipe calls for.
  • Herbs – I love the combination of cilantro and basil in this salad. Mint is another herb that goes well here. 
  • Optional – something crunchy such as roasted peanuts or sliced almonds.
ingredients for rice noodle salad

You’ll also need ingredients for the chili garlic dressing:

  • Neutral Oil – such as avocado oil.
  • Soy Sauce – I like low sodium soy sauce.
  • Honey – also maple syrup works here.
  • Sesame Oil – look for toasted sesame oil for the best flavor.
  • Chili Garlic Sauce – coarsely blended sauce with chili peppers, rice vinegar, garlic, salt, and sometimes sugar. It can be found in the Asian section of the store. It has a very distinct texture and flavor. 
  • Fresh Lime Juice – from about 1 lime.
  • Ginger – use a microplane to grate the ginger.
  • Garlic – finely mince or grate the garlic. You can also use a garlic press.

How to Make Chili Garlic Rice Noodle Salad

Step 1 Cook the noodles: Cook the noodles according to package directions or see above how I like to cook my noodles so they don’t break or stick. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water. 

Step 2 Prepare the dressing: While the noodles are cooking, prepare the dressing by whisking all of the ingredients together in a bowl or add to a mason jar and shake until combined.

chili garlic dressing in a bowl

Step 3 Combine together: Add the noodles, vegetables, green onions, cilantro, and basil to a large bowl. Pour dressing over the salad and toss until combined.

Refrigerate the salad for 15-30 minutes before serving.

brown rice noodle salad with vegetables

Tips for Making Noodle Salad

  • Slice all the vegetables into thin matchsticks or bite-sized pieces
  • Cook the rice noodles just until they’re tender and still have a little bite. 
  • If using watery vegetables like cucumbers, avoid the core, and saltthem before tossing them with the salad. This will help prevent it from becoming mushy! 
  • Allow plenty of time for the salad to chill so the dressing soaks into the salad and all the ingredients blend together.

Noodle Salad Recipe Variations/Substitutions

  • If you can’t find rice noodles, use soba noodles or shirataki noodlesinstead. 
  • Add frozen edamame for extra nutrients and plant-based protein. 
  • Mix and match any vegetables you like best or have on hand such as carrots, cucumbers, red bell pepper, bean sprouts, napa cabbage, sugar snap peas, snow peas, red cabbage, or scallions. 
  • Include pickled red onion or ginger for a hint of tang. 
  • Make it a meal by adding cooked shrimp, ground turkey, chicken, or tofu. 
  • Replace the dressing with any homemade or store-bought dressing you like best.

Make a Meal Out of Cold Rice Noodle Salad

Say you make this salad and you want to serve it as a main dish for dinner? Well, it’s very easy to do.

Load it up with more veggies, crispy egg, avocado or pair it with some of these amazing protein options:

rice noodle salad with vegetables and chili garlic dressing

How to Store Asian Noodle Salad Recipe

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. If the salad becomes a bit dry, add an extra splash of dressing before serving to freshen it back up! 

I do not recommend freezing this recipe.

Love cold noodle salads? Try our Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing or Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad.

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chili garlic rice noodle salad

Chili Rice Noodle Salad Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.7 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Katya
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Chop
  • Cuisine: Asian

Description

Cold rice noodle salad with fresh and crisp veggies smothered in chili garlic dressing. It’s a perfect salad to keep in the fridge for quick lunch or simple side. 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 78 oz. Asian rice noodles, brown or white
  • 34 cups fresh cut up vegetables (see note)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 34 Tbsp. thinly sliced basil
  • Optional: roasted peanuts or sliced almonds, chopped

Dressing

  • 3 Tbsp. neutral oil, such as avocado oil
  • 3 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, about 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or grated

Instructions

  1. Cook rice noodles according to package directions or see above how I make mine so they don’t break or stick. Immediately drain and rinse under cold water. Set over a colander to drain.
  2. Meanwhile prepare the dressing by whisking all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.
  3. Combine the drained noodles, vegetables, green onions, cilantro, and basil with the dressing. Refrigerate the salad for 15-30 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Noodles: I used thick rice noodles for this salad. I find that they hold up better than the thin/vermicelli ones.
  • Vegetables: You can switch up the vegetables to include cucumbers, bean sprouts, bell peppers, napa cabbage, sugar snap peas, and edamame. I used a variety of carrots, snow peas, and red cabbage. Harder vegetables will stay crisper.
  • Chili Garlic Sauce: It’s a red coarsely blended sauce usually found in the Asian section of most grocery stores.
  • Serving/Leftovers: Once the salad is plated I love to add a tiny drizzle of sesame oil and a squeeze of lime. It makes the flavors pop. Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 267
  • Sugar: 11.4 g
  • Sodium: 568.8 mg
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Carbohydrates: 42.5 g
  • Protein: 1.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Recipe published 9/22/2019. Updated 6/4/2021.