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Sesame Cabbage Rice Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu ( or chicken)

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8
  • Category: Main Salad- Vegan, Gluten Free
  • Method: Tossed
  • Cuisine: Asian


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!


  • 2 ounces vermicelli rice noodles
  • ½ head purple cabbage- finely sliced
  • 4 scallions, sliced at a diagnol
  • ¼ cup finely sliced red onion
  • 12 ounces baked or seared tofu ( see notes) or shredded chicken
  • 1 bunch cilantro ( chopped)
  • 23 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts ( optional)
  • handful sunflower sprouts ( optional)

Sesame Dressing:


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.

Keywords: noodle salad, asian cabbage salad, asian noodle salad, vegan noodle salad, tofu noodle salad, crispy tofu