Chilled Rice Noodle and Cabbage Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

This peanut dressing has quite a list of ingredients but it’s definitely worth the effort, as its flavor has a delicious and fresh complexity to it that isn’t found in store-bought peanut sauces. Toss in fresh herbs and chopped peanuts to the noodles at the end for added texture.

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  • Servings: 6

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peanut dressing
  • 1 cup creamy unsalted peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon shallot, finely minced
  • 1 jalapeño, with seeds
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons chili pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup water to thin
  • 6 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
  • 3 cups green cabbage, shredded 
  • 2 carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lime cut into wedges, for garnish
  • 3/4 cup peanut sauce
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped

How to make this recipe

  1. Add all of the ingredients for the peanut dressing to the base of a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Taste to adjust for seasonings and transfer to an airtight container and set aside.

  2. Place the noodles in a large heat-proof bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let the noodles soak until tender but not mushy, about 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain well.

  3. Transfer the noodles to a large serving bowl. Add the sliced cabbage, carrots, and half of the cilantro to the bowl and pour in 3/4 cup of the peanut sauce; toss to thoroughly coat. Garnish with cilantro, chopped peanuts, and lime wedges. Serve chilled.

Make Ahead

The peanut sauce can be made in advance up to 5 days.


Coconut milk helps cut some of the peanut butter flavor, but can be replaced with an equal amount of water to achieve similar consistency.

Contributed By Photo © Sarah Bolla Published August 2013

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