Favorite cold noodle salads
August 7, 2017 11:48 AM   Subscribe

I want all of your recipes for cold noodle salads!

I want to make some kind of cold noodle salad that will hold up well in the fridge over the course of a few days. I'm planning to make one Friday evening for my game group on Saturday, but I'd also like to make them occasionally on Sundays to take for lunches during the work week.

The one I normally make includes pasta, red onion, cucumber, tofu, olives, and a red wine vinaigrette but it's getting old, so hit me with your favorites! I'm especially interested in Asian cold noodle dishes, such as those with rice noodles. Restrictions: I don't like peppers (bell or hot) and generally have a hard time with spicy foods. I just started occasionally eating beef again after many years of not, so I'm not so good at cooking it. Thanks!
posted by skycrashesdown to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 102 users marked this as a favorite
I am a big fan of this cold Asian noodle salad, I don't find it overly spicy, but you could definitely cut back or omit the chile-garlic paste if you're worried. The vegetables are very swappable -- I have added cucumber and avocado, and I bet snap peas would be good too.
posted by rainbowbrite at 11:52 AM on August 7, 2017

My lunchtime salad place makes a Caprese that is great and you could just leave out the lettuce: shredded mozzarella, diced tomato, chiffonaded basil, farro, balsamic dressing. Diced chicken would also go well in this.
posted by soelo at 11:55 AM on August 7, 2017

Hiyashi Chuka is cold ramen salad and it is amazing. I've subbed sweet potato noodles for ramen before and it worked ok - rice noodles might not hold up.
posted by theweasel at 11:56 AM on August 7, 2017

I like the sesame noodles with cucumber recipe from Smitten Kitchen a loooooooot. In fact, I need to go to the grocery later today, so I will pick up the ingredients so I can have delicious lunches this week!
posted by minsies at 11:56 AM on August 7, 2017 [5 favorites]

Crunchy Cole Slaw:


2 cups shredded cabbage
2 shredded carrots
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 pkg beef ramen noodles

½ cup canola oil
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup sugar
Beef ramen flavor package

Mix all ingredients in base
Mix all ingredients in dressing
Mix all together, chill for two hours

This holds up for about 3 days.
posted by deezil at 12:06 PM on August 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm a fan of Ottolenghi's Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:37 PM on August 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

The main thing to remember is: Pasta salad is not salad. It's pasta. Some good techniques and recipes in the above article as well as this article.
posted by slkinsey at 1:00 PM on August 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I use this dressing with soba noodles:

Juice of 2 limes (about 1/3 c)
2Tbsp tahini
1 tbsp honey
2tsp sesame oil

Then do soba noodles and whatever crispy vegetables you fancy --- I like a mix of carrots, cucumber, baby spinach, snow peas and scallions. (And peppers, but you don't like those.) Sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds. Can easily add tofu, grilled chicken or shrimp if you want some protein.
posted by Diablevert at 1:23 PM on August 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

This Otsu salad from 101 Cookbooks is sooooo good.
posted by grapesaresour at 1:32 PM on August 7, 2017

This is my all-time favorite cold noodle recipe: Takeout-style Sesame Noodles.
posted by saladin at 1:44 PM on August 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

I like this creamy, Greek-inspired pasta salad a lot -- I usually swap the artichokes for kalamata olives when I make it.
posted by kylej at 1:53 PM on August 7, 2017

Hyashi chuka is my summer jam as well, and I reduce the carbs but only using a small proportion (or none) of noodles and padding with spiralized cucumber, zucchini, and daikon if I get a hold of some. Serious Eats has a good breakdown of the process - and there's a ton of stuff you can put in.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:28 PM on August 7, 2017

Pasta tomatoes and parmesan

Take a pleasing amount of each:

Boiled pasta
chunks of tomatoes/ halved cherry tomatoes,
(- lot of) capers, olive oil, crushed garlic and sliced pitted olives and a
generous amount of grated Parmesan cheese.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Combine everything and taste first, capers add quite enough salt most of the time.


I prefer to mix everything else while the pasta is boiling. I drain the pasta and rinse in cold water so it is still a little warm and add to the other ingredients. Especially if the tomatoes were stored in the fridge the warmth helps to develop the flavours. I like to add some of the juice from the capers instead of vinegar.

To add more veg shallow fried courgettes are nice. If you wanted to add protein I could see sliced chicken breasts being tasty.

This would keep a few days if it wasn't so nice as to encourage overeating.
posted by koahiatamadl at 2:29 PM on August 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

And as you actually asked for something with noodles ...

Pour boiling water over rice noodles. Set to one side for a few mins, drain.

Take stir fryable vegetables of your choice and stir fry, remove from heat. If ease and speed are important a bag of frozen stir fry mix works.

Take protein of choice and stir fry and also remove from heat. Chicken, prawns and tofu are all nice but it's also yummy without added protein.

Deglaze with soy sauce and a bit of vinegar, balsamic works. Season to taste including a touch of flavourful oil like sesame.

Combine with other ingredients. Adjust seasoning to taste. If you want crunch I could see peanuts being nice. Tasty warm or cold. Enjoy.
posted by koahiatamadl at 2:48 PM on August 7, 2017

Myy favorite is an Asian Noodle Salad.
posted by gloturtle at 4:19 PM on August 7, 2017

One of my favorites is to grill or roast a bunch of veggies (eggplant, zucchini, or whatever is in season) and whole, unpeeled garlic cloves. Add to freshly-boiled pasta (you can pretty much squeeze the garlic out) and mix it together with olive oil, Parmesan, and maybe a little bit of butter. Add some leftover chicken or other meat if you want protein. Good hot or cold.

You can also make a salad version of the classic Vietnamese bun dish. Prepare some rice vermicelli. Add to it: thinly-sliced meat that you've previously marinated in a mix of fish sauce and hoisin and then sautéed or grilled, fresh basil and/or mint, julienned carrots and jicama. Use seasoned rice vinegar with a dash of the fish sauce as your dressing. This is not at all authentic but it's good.
posted by lunasol at 6:02 PM on August 7, 2017

The Oh She Glows cookbook has an excellent noodle salad with peanut sauce (adapted version here); the recipe calls for a bell pepper but you can easily omit it, since there's lots of veggies in there to start with. The sauce is much more tart than most peanut sauces I've had before (and have never been crazy about until now!).
posted by Paper rabies at 6:26 PM on August 7, 2017

Somen salad. I make the somen and leave it in the fridge overnight with the dressing. You would think the dressing would "soak" into the noodles, but if they were sufficiently rinsed with cold water after cooking, they'll be ok. The rest of the ingredients I store separately and mix together right before eating. Those ice-cold slippery noodles are the best on a hot day.
posted by dogmom at 7:21 PM on August 7, 2017

Sorry if this is a repeat, but the northern China classic is julienned cucumber, some kind of cold noodle (I use buckwheat), Chinkiang vinegar, sesame paste, minced garlic, sesame oil, and salt.
posted by batter_my_heart at 8:05 PM on August 7, 2017

I make a peanut sauce by mixing peanut butter, grated ginger, minced garlic, tamari, lime juice, sometimes a little rice vinegar and a dash of hot sauce in a mason jar. Shake til blended, then toss with cold noodles - buckwheat soba are good - peeled seeded cucumber chunks, red onion and grated carrot. You could add cold fried or roasted tofu too, and this is the same sauce I use for chicken or tofu satay. Mmmmm now i'm going to make it tomorrow!
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:13 PM on August 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

You may find inspiration in the recipes in Bowl by Lukas Volger (there's a whole section devoted to cold noodles).
posted by amillionbillion at 9:40 PM on August 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

One pasta salad to rule them all. (Smitten Kitchen)
posted by athirstforsalt at 5:33 AM on August 8, 2017

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