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Thai Pasta Salad

If you’re looking for a quick and refreshing meal that packs a punch of flavor, look no further than this Thai Pasta Salad. This dish is perfect for those warm days when you want something light yet satisfying. This salad combines the bright colors and textures of fresh vegetables with a flavorful peanut dressing, creating a visually appealing and satisfying dish.

One of the highlights of this recipe is its versatility. The Thai vermicelli noodles serve as a perfect base, soaking up the flavors of the dressing while providing a light and chewy texture. Paired with the crunch of thinly sliced purple and napa cabbages, the sweetness of shredded carrots, the crispness of red peppers, and the freshness of cucumbers, each bite offers a delightful mix of textures. Adding edamame and chopped peanuts brings in a nutty crunch, while the cilantro adds herbaceous freshness.

The dressing is where this Thai spaghetti salad truly shines. A harmonious blend of peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and a touch of honey creates a rich, creamy base balanced with the heat of Sriracha and the zing of fresh ginger and lime juice. This combination not only ties all the ingredients together but also elevates the salad with a depth of flavor that is both bold and nuanced.

Pouring dressing over Thai Pasta salad.

This Thai Pasta Salad recipe is also incredibly easy to prepare. With minimal cooking required, it’s a great quick lunch or dinner option. Rotisserie chicken adds convenience, allowing you to assemble this dish in about 25 minutes. Whether serving it for a casual family meal or as a part of a summer gathering, this salad will impress with its vibrant flavors and beautiful presentation.

This Thai Noodle Salad recipe is a delightful fusion of fresh ingredients and bold flavors. It celebrates the best of Thai cuisine in a simple, approachable way. Whether you need to meal prep ahead for busy weeknights or make it for lazy weekends, it’s a recipe you’ll want to keep in your regular rotation. So, gather your ingredients and get ready to enjoy a delicious, healthy, and colorful meal that’s as fun to make as it is to eat.

What’s in this Thai Pasta Salad?

The ingredient list may look long, but chances are you have many of these ingredients in your pantry. Most of the ingredients are easily substituted and substitutions are included with these recipe notes.

Ingredients in Thai Pasta Salad.

Thai Vermicelli Noodles: These thin rice noodles are light and perfect for soaking up the flavors of the dressing. You can find Thai vermicelli in the Asian section of your grocery store. Alternatives for Thai vermicelli noodles are glass noodles (mung bean or sweet potato noodles), soba noodles, rice noodles, or angel hair pasta. For a gluten-free version, opt for mung bean or sweet potato glass noodles, rice noodles, or buckwheat soba noodles.

Rotisserie Chicken: Convenient and flavorful, rotisserie chicken is a great time-saver. Ensure it’s cool before adding to the salad to maintain its refreshing quality. Replace rotisserie chicken with grilled shrimp, tofu, or tempeh for a different protein source or to make the dish vegetarian.

Purple Cabbage: Adds vibrant color and a slight crunch. Green cabbage can be used as a substitute if needed.

Napa Cabbage: Provides a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a tender texture. Regular green cabbage or savoy cabbage can work in a pinch.

Shredded Carrots: These add sweetness and crunch. Pre-shredded carrots can save prep time.

Red Bell Peppers: Add sweetness and color. If red isn’t available, you can use any color bell pepper.

Green Onions: Only the green parts are used to add a mild onion flavor. Chives can be a good substitute.

English Cucumber: Known for its mild flavor and thin skin, which doesn’t need to be peeled. Regular cucumbers can be used, but you may want to peel and seed them.

Edamame: Adds a bit of protein and a unique texture. If unavailable, green peas or snap peas can be used.

Veggies in Thai Pasta Salad.

Cilantro: Adds a fresh, herbaceous note. If you’re not a fan of cilantro, fresh basil or mint can be used as an alternative.

Chopped Peanuts: Adds a crunchy texture and nutty flavor. Chopped almonds, cashews, or sunflower seeds can be used as substitutes.

Peanut Butter: Forms the base of the creamy dressing. Almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter can be used if you have a peanut allergy.

Soy Sauce: Adds umami and saltiness. Tamari or coconut aminos are good gluten-free substitutes.

Rice Vinegar: Provides a mild acidity that balances the dressing. Apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar can be used if you don’t have rice vinegar.

Sesame Oil: Adds a toasty, nutty flavor. A little goes a long way. If you don’t have sesame oil, you can omit it or use a small amount of olive oil.

Sriracha: Adds heat to the dressing. Adjust the amount to your taste, or use another hot sauce if preferred. Sprinkle some red pepper flakes for added heat.

Honey: Balances the flavors with a touch of sweetness. Sugar, white or brown can be used in place of honey as well as maple syrup or any other sugar substitute of preference as well. Maple syrup or agave nectar can be used as vegan alternatives.

Garlic and Ginger Paste: Fresh garlic and ginger provide a robust flavor.

Lime Juice: Adds brightness and acidity to the dressing. Fresh lime juice is best, but bottled lime juice can be used if fresh limes are unavailable.

Water: Helps adjust the consistency of the dressing. Add it gradually to achieve the desired texture.

Thai Pasta Salad in a bowl.

Tips for Success with Thai Pasta Salad!

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: The quality of the ingredients will significantly impact your salad’s flavor and texture. Fresh, crisp vegetables and good-quality peanut butter and soy sauce will make a noticeable difference.
  • Safe Time! If you are in a time crunch or you just don’t feel like chopping cabbage and grating carrots, the pre-shredded tri color angel hair coleslaw mix will work in place of the two cabbages and shredded carrots.
  • Cook Noodles Properly: Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Overcooking can result in mushy noodles, so keep an eye on them and rinse with cold water immediately after draining to stop the cooking process and prevent sticking.
  • Prep Ahead: This recipe can be prepped a day or two in advance by chopping all salad ingredients and making and storing the dressing for later use. Store them in separate containers in the refrigerator. This will make assembly quick and easy when you’re ready to serve the salad.
  • Balance the Dressing: The consistency and flavor of the creamy peanut sauce are crucial. Adjust the amount of water to achieve a smooth, pourable consistency. Taste the dressing as you make it, adding more Sriracha for heat, lime juice for tanginess, or honey for sweetness. If you don’t want to make the dressing or feel you don’t have the time, there are many premade peanut dressings in the local supermarket.
  • Keep Noodles from Sticking: If you’re not using the noodles immediately, keep them in a bowl of cool water after rinsing. This prevents them from sticking together. Drain them thoroughly before mixing with the other ingredients.
  • Customize to Your Taste: Feel free to adjust the salad to your liking. Add more or less of any vegetable, or include your favorites. You can also experiment with different proteins like tofu, shrimp, or beef if you want to change things up.
  • Serve Immediately: For the best texture and flavor, serve the salad immediately after tossing it with the dressing. If you need to store it, keep the dressing separate and mix before serving.
  • Garnish Generously: Don’t skimp on the garnishes. Additional chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges enhance the presentation and add extra flavor and texture.
  • Taste as You Go: Always taste the salad before serving and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You might need a bit more lime juice, salt, or Sriracha, depending on your preference.
  • Creamier Dressing Option: If you want a creamier dressing, you can add coconut milk.
Thai Pasta Salad in a bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find shelled edamame?

You can find shelled edamame in the frozen section of your grocery store. To prepare it, place the desired amount in hot water for a few minutes until thawed and drained.

Why use Napa cabbage?

Napa cabbage is less pungent than other cabbages and has a mild and slightly sweet taste. It’s crisp and tender in texture. It’s very popular in China, Japan, and Korea and is a staple in East Asian cuisine. Most grocery stores have it, but if you can not find it, you can substitute it with green cabbage or double your purple cabbage.

Can I use a different type of noodle for this salad?

Yes, you can substitute Thai vermicelli noodles with other types of noodles, such as rice noodles, soba noodles, or spaghetti. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time according to the package instructions to avoid overcooking.

Is there a vegetarian or vegan option for this recipe?

To make this salad vegetarian, omit the chicken and add more vegetables or tofu for protein. In addition to the previous recommendation, ensure that your peanut butter and soy sauce do not contain animal products, and replace honey with maple syrup or agave nectar for a vegan Thai noodle salad.

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

You can prepare the vegetables and the dressing in advance. Store them separately in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, cook and drain the noodles, then mix everything together. This helps to keep the salad fresh and prevents the noodles from getting soggy.

How spicy is this salad with the Sriracha in the dressing?

The level of spiciness can be adjusted to your preference. If you prefer a mild flavor, start with ½ tablespoons of Sriracha. You can add 1 tablespoon or more for a spicier kick. You can also omit the Sriracha entirely if you don’t like spicy food.

What can I use instead of peanut butter in the dressing?

If you have a peanut allergy or prefer a different flavor, you can substitute peanut butter with almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter. Each tastes slightly different but still works well with the other ingredients.

How long can I store leftovers of this Thai Pasta Salad?

Leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. However, the noodles and vegetables may lose some texture over time. If you plan to store leftovers, it’s best to keep the dressing separate and add it just before serving.

What other vegetables or herbs could I incorporate into this Thai Pasta salad?

Feel free to customize the salad with your favorite vegetables or ingredients. Some great additions include spinach, mango, snap peas, radishes, or avocado. You can also sprinkle some sesame seeds or fried wontons or add a bit of mint, basil, or Thai basil for extra flavor.

Thai Pasta Salad in a bowl.

Thai Pasta Salad

This vibrant Thai Pasta Salad with Noodles combines fresh vegetables, tender chicken, and Thai vermicelli noodles with a rich, flavorful peanut dressing for a quick and satisfying meal. Perfect for warm days, it's a refreshing and nutritious dish that's easy to prepare and full of bold, delicious flavors.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Servings 6
Calories 368 kcal


  • 4 oz Thai vermicelli noodles (half of an 8 oz package)
  • 2 cups shredded or chopped rotisserie chicken breast, cool or cooled
  • 1 ½ cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
  • 1 ½ cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ¾ cup thinly sliced or chopped red peppers
  • ½ cup sliced green onion, green parts only
  • ½½ cup English cucumber, cut into thin quarters
  • ½ cup edamame
  • ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
  • ¼ cup chopped or crushed peanuts, plus more for garnish


  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 ¼ tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ – 1 tbsp sriracha (based on desired spice level)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or grated
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2-4 tbsp water
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges for serving


  • Prepare Noodles: Follow the directions on the package of the noodles. Most will say to boil or heat water in a bowl until hot and place the noodles in the water for 10-15 min to soften. Keep an eye on the noodles as you don’t want them to become mushy from staying in the hot water too long.
  • Prepare Chicken: Shred or chop your cooled chicken breast and set aside.
  • Prepare Vegetables: Slice, chop, or grate all your vegetables and place them in a large bowl (purple cabbage, napa cabbage, carrots, red pepper, green onions, and cucumber).
  • Combine Ingredients: Add roughly chopped cilantro, edamame, and chopped peanuts to the bowl of vegetables and toss until combined.
  • Make Dressing: Whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sriracha (adjust for spice level), honey, pressed or grated garlic, ginger paste, and the juice of one lime. Whisk in 2-4 tablespoons of water to achieve the desired consistency. The dressing should be smooth and fluid, not too thick and not too runny.
    Note: You can use fresh ginger, grated on the smallest grate of a grater, or ground ginger. The consistency of your dressing will be influenced by the type of peanut butter you use, so adjust water accordingly.
  • Drain Noodles: Drain and rinse your noodles with cold water. If you are not using them right away, keep them in a bowl with cool water so they don’t stick together, and drain before use.
  • Assemble Salad: Add the drained noodles to the chopped vegetables, then add your shredded chicken. Pour the dressing over the top and gently mix until combined.
  • Serve: Plate and top with additional cilantro and peanuts. Serve with a lime wedge.


Serving: 1gCalories: 368kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 21gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 476mgPotassium: 699mgFiber: 5gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 4666IUVitamin C: 53mgCalcium: 84mgIron: 2mg
Keyword chicken, Noodle, salad, Thai
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Thai Pasta Salad in a bowl.
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