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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
- Spicy Honey Chicken and Sweet Potato Kebabs
- Cilantro Basil Shrimp with Mango Salsa – skip the rice and serve the shrimp alongside the noodles!
- Salmon Quinoa Cakes
- 4-Ingredient Easy Potstickers
- Sticky Honey Garlic Butter Shrimp – love these from The Recipe Critic! The sweetness of the shrimp would pair amazingly with this salad.
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.
- 7–8 oz. Asian rice noodles, brown or white
- 3–4 cups fresh cut up vegetables (see note)
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 3–4 Tbsp. thinly sliced basil
- Optional: roasted peanuts or sliced almonds, chopped
- 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
- 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.
- Meanwhile prepare the dressing by whisking all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Combine the drained noodles, vegetables, green onions, cilantro, and basil with the dressing. Refrigerate the salad for 15-30 minutes before serving.
- 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.
Keywords: cold salad, meal prep, noodle salad
Recipe published 9/22/2019. Updated 6/4/2021.