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This vegan Peanut Noodle Salad is loaded with fresh crisp veggies, perfectly al dente noodles, and a hearty drizzle of creamy, tangy peanut dressing. Garnish with chopped peanuts and sesame seeds for some added crunch! The best part is it takes less than 30 minutes to throw together!
You Will Love This
- It's perfect for meal prep. This peanut noodle salad is a tasty make-ahead recipe for a quick and easy lunch throughout the week. Make a big batch on Sunday afternoon and then portion it out into individual lunches for the week. I'd recommend waiting to add the dressing until just before serving if you'll be enjoying it at a later date. If you need some other delicious pasta salad recipes, be sure to check out my Creamy Vegan Cucumber Pasta Salad, Avocado Cilantro Southwest Pasta Salad, or my Street Corn Pasta Salad.
- It's a hearty meatless Monday dinner. If you're looking for more meat-free meals, this is a MUST TRY. It has the familiarity of noodles which will make it more palatable for the picky eaters in your family. And you can customize the veggies to fit your family's taste. You could even do a "build your own bowl" style meal. Allow your family to start with the noodle base and then pick out their veggies and drizzle it with peanut sauce themselves. Getting them involved in the process of making dinner sometimes makes them more inclined to eat it.
- It's something different to bring to a backyard barbecue. Everyone's had the classic Italian rotini salad smothered in oily dressing or the mayo-laden macaroni salad. Switch it up with these peanut sauce noodles! It's also totally vegan so your veggie head friends are going to thank you for thinking of them!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Noodles - You can use your favorite noodle for this salad. I prefer to use spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine noodles.
- Red Pepper - You could also use green, yellow, or orange bell pepper in place of the red pepper in this salad
- Edamame - I love the flavor that edamame brings to this dish. When I don't have it on hand I will use chickpeas in its place.
- Matchstick Carrots - I love the ease of buying already sliced carrots. Feel free to shred your own in your prefer.
- Purple Cabbage - Heads of cabbage are super inexpensive at the grocery store, so I usually chop my own cabbage, but a bag of pre-shredded coleslaw would work as well!
- Chopped Peanuts - If you can find roasted peanuts or flavored peanuts, I highly recommend trying those for a little added punch.
- Fresh Cilantro - Cilantro adds a delicious freshness to this salad that balances out the rich, creamy dressing. Don't omit it!
- Easy Peanut Dressing - My creamy peanut dressing is what MAKES this noodle salad better than the rest! It's quick, easy, and loaded with flavor!
Combine ingredients for the creamy peanut sauce. It's SUPER simple and will take just a couple minutes.
Add cooked pasta, red pepper, edamame, carrots, cabbage, peanuts, and cilantro to a large bowl. Pour half the peanut dressing over it and toss to combine.
Drizzle with more peanut sauce. Garnish with peanuts, sesame seeds, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges.
- Your pasta water should be as salty as the ocean. Yes, really. I’d recommend at least 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt and honestly I probably add closer to a ¼ cup. Add it to the water after it comes to a boil, and just before adding the pasta. If all you have is regular table salt, try 1-3 tablespoons instead. Salting your pasta water is your first chance to season the pasta itself. And you will be surprised at what a difference it makes in the overall flavor of the pasta.
- Cook the pasta just until al dente. Set your timer for 1 minute less than the recommended cooking time. So if your pasta should boil for 9-11 minutes, set your timer for 8 minutes and start testing the pasta then. Once it’s just al dente – tender but still has a bit of a toothsome bite – take it off the heat and strain it.
- Toss the cooked pasta immediately in olive oil and add a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Then allow it to cool to room temp before assembling the salad. If you're in a hurry, stick the pasta in the fridge for a few minutes to cool it down more quickly.
- The dressing will thicken as it sits on the peanut pasta salad, so I recommend waiting to add the dressing until you're ready to eat. If you end up with leftovers that are already dressed, you can add a splash of lime juice or soy sauce to loosen up the sauce and make it smooth and creamy again.
- You may end up with some peanut sauce leftover. If you do, try add it to a veggie stirfry, making your own Vegan Spring Rolls, or drizzle it over this Curry Chicken!
This tasty peanut sauce is made with soy sauce, peanut butter, lime juice, rice vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic powder, ground ginger, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Just mix it all together for a delicious, creamy, tangy peanut sauce!
Pasta Salad Favorites
- Vegan Creamy Cucumber Pasta Salad
- Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
- Greek Chickpea Pasta Salad
- Kale Caesar Pasta Salad
- Vegan Sesame Ginger Cold Noodle Salad
- Southwest Cilantro Avocado Pasta Salad