This Sesame Cabbage Noodle Salad is eighty percent cabbage and twenty percent rice noodles. To make it a meal, add a little protein. The tofu is optional and can be switched out for shredded chicken if you prefer. Crunchy, flavorful and healthy, this is one of my favorite summer salads, not only because it tastes delicious, but because it can be made ahead and keeps well over several days – perfect for meals on the go or weekday lunches.
I like the vibrant purple cabbage, but feel free to use any cabbage of your choosing. Here I’ve used half a head which translates to about one pound of cabbage. If short on time, use store-bought, pre-shredded cabbage to save time. And yes, of course can embellish and add other summer veggies too, but I wanted to keep this simple.
In the recipe, I only used 2 ounces ( dry) vermicelli rice noodles– which seems like nothing, but it was just enough! I really wanted to highlight the healthy cabbage. When cooking the rice noodles, add to hot boiling water ( turn heat off) and soak only for 1-2 minutes, just until just soft and pliable, then rinse in cold water. You want them al dente, so try not to over cook these or they will disintegrate into the salad.
If adding tofu, you can purchase pre-baked tofu, or either pan-sear or bake your tofu at home.
If baking the tofu, I use a marinade of equal parts soy sauce and either sesame or olive oil. Bake on parchment in a 400F oven for 25-35 minutes.
To sear, just sauté in a large pan, with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until golden.
If using chicken, leftover rotisserie would work great here, shredded into small bites.
Top with sesame seeds, scallions & cilantro. Add crunchy roasted peanuts!
Give a good toss.
Serve it up in bowls.
How simple is that?
Cold Sesame Cabbage Rice Noodle Salad
A healthy delicious recipe for Sesame Cabbage Noodle Salad with Tofu ( or chicken) that can be made ahead- perfect for meals on the go or workweek lunches!
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6-8 1x
- Category: Main Salad- Vegan, Gluten Free
- Cuisine: Asian
- 2 ounces vermicelli rice noodles
- ½ head purple cabbage- finely sliced
- 4 scallions, sliced at a diagnol
- ⅛–¼ cup finely sliced red onion
- 12 ounces baked or seared tofu ( see notes) or shredded chicken
- 1 bunch cilantro ( chopped)
- 2– 3 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts ( optional)
- handful sunflower sprouts ( optional)
Set water to boil for the noodles.
Decide what tofu or chicken option you want to use and start that process. ( see notes)
Thinly slice the cabbage and add it to a big bowl. Add the scallions, red onion and cilantro and toss.
Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and toss with the cabbage.
Soak the noodles in the hot water ( turn heat off) for 1-2 minutes, stirring until just pliable. Do not boil the noodles! Just let them get tender and pliable. Al dente is perfect, they will get softer in the salad. Rinse with cold water, until they feel very cold. Drain well and add to the cabbage salad. Toss.
Add your choice of protein. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and roasted peanuts and sprouts if using.
If adding tofu, you can purchase pre-baked tofu – or either pan-sear it or bake your tofu at home. If baking, I use a marinade of equal parts soy sauce ( or GF liquid Amino) and either sesame oil or olive oil. Cut into cubes. Toss lightly with marinade. Bake on parchment in a 400F oven for 25-35 minutes, until a little crispy. Add a little sriracha or chili flakes to the marinade if you like, for heat.
To sear, just sauté in a large pan, in a little hot olive or peanut or coconut oil – seasoned with salt and pepper – sear until most sides are golden. Sometimes I’ll add a a smashed garlic clove to the hot oil, to infuse it before cooking the tofu. If you like extra crispy tofu, coat it in cornstarch first.
If using chicken, leftover rotisserie would work great here, shredded into small bites. Or simple seared chicken breast.