Cold Rice Noodle Salad Recipe

a bowl of cold rice noodles cucumber, cabbage, carrots, green onion and tofu next to a small bowl of soy sauce dressing

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4.5 from 2 reviews

This cold rice noodle salad is a light and refreshing meal tossed with crunchy veggies like cabbage, cucumber and carrots, plus fresh herbs and green onion.  Add tofu or shredded chicken for protein. 

You have the choice of two salad dressings for your noodles. One is a bright and flavorful lemon & soy sauce dressing made with sesame oil. The other is a bold and funky dressing made from rice vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce and brown sugar. 

This recipe was updated on 7/20/23




Units Scale

Cold Rice Noodle Salad

  • 12 ounces rice noodles (you can also use angel hair pasta or thin spaghetti noodles)
  • 1/2 a head green cabbage, chopped or thinly sliced
  • 4 carrots, grated
  • 3 Persian cucumbers, cut into thin rounds
  • 6 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves

Optional Protein

Lemon Soy Sauce Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup OR 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil

Lime Dressing with Fish Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar


Step 1: Cook the protein. Use leftover, shredded chicken breast or make easy weeknight tofu or broiled tofu. If you like the texture of raw tofu, you can just cut tofu into cubes straight from the package.

Step 2: Whisk the dressing. Choose between lemon soy sauce dressing or lime fish sauce dressing. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a boil until combined. 

Step 3: Prep the veggies. Shred the cabbage, grate the carrots, slice the cucumber and green onion. Wash and set aside the fresh herbs. 

Step 4:  Boil the rice noodles. Follow the package instructions to cook the rice noodles. My favorite method is boiling a pot of water, then turning off the heat before adding the rice noodles. Swish the noodles around to separate. Soak the rice noodles for 6 to 10 minutes, until tender but still slightly chewy.  Drain the noodles and rinse briefly under cold water. For detailed instructions, read How to Cook Rice Noodles

Step 5: Toss the salad. Each person can make their own bowl of rice noodle salad, combining the rice noodles, veggies, fresh herbs and protein. Drizzle dressing on top and toss well. 


To keep this salad fresh and crunchy, store each ingredient separately in the refrigerator (dressing, noodles, veggies)  and toss together right before eating. 

Leftover rice noodles taste best if eaten within 1 to 2 days. If the leftover rice noodles become too firm or stick together, rinse them briefly under cold water to bring back a softer texture. 

The lemon soy sauce dressing is fantastic over any type of salad, especially crunchy slaw. Noodle are optional!