This Cold Peanut Noodle Salad is the perfect meal prep for summer! No need to reheat, it’s light but filling, and the flavors are oh so fresh. It’s topped off with a homemade tangy, sweet, and creamy Peanut Lime Dressing to make everything finger-licking good. So have a salad for lunch this week, and enjoy it.
The meal prep containers and dressing containers shown above can be found in my Amazon Shop.
Where’s the Protein?
I didn’t include a “dedicated protein” ingredient in this salad, but that doesn’t mean the meal is void of protein. The vegetables, nuts, and pasta all contain protein, even if in smaller amounts (see 5 Easy Sources of Plant Based Protein). The whole wheat spaghetti alone provides 7 grams of protein per serving. But, if you want to go heavier on the protein you can add some shelled edamame or rotisserie or grilled chicken.
How to Store Cold Peanut Noodle Salad
I suggest keeping the dressing separate from the salad and adding it just before serving, not because the vegetables will get soft, but because the pasta will likely absorb the dressing and it might get dry. I always suggest keeping your meal preps no longer than 4-5 days because textures and flavors tend to go down hill quickly after that. The ingredients in this recipe are all very sturdy and refrigerate extremely well. If anything, you might have a little color bleed from the purple cabbage onto the pasta, but that will not affect the flavor.
How to Use Leftover Cabbage
Cabbage is tricky. No matter how small of a head you get, you always have some left over. So, if you don’t want your leftover red cabbage to go to waste, I suggest trying these recipes: Vinaigrette Slaw with Feta, Sweet Crunch Winter Salad (this will also use your leftover carrots and green onion), or Braised Red Cabbage.
See This Recipe in Action
Cold Peanut Noodle Salad
Peanut Lime Dressing
- 3 Tbsp natural-style peanut butter ($0.21)
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.04)
- 1 clove garlic, minced ($0.08)
- 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger ($0.05)
- 1 medium lime, juiced (2 Tbsp juice) ($0.69)
- 2 tsp soy sauce ($0.08)
- 1/4 cup neutral oil* ($0.82)
- 8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti ($0.55)
- 4 cups finely shredded red cabbage ($1.12)
- 2 carrots ($0.22)
- 1/2 bunch cilantro (about 1/2 cup chopped) ($0.75)
- 4 green onions (about 1/2 cup sliced) ($0.45)
- 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped ($0.24)
- To make the peanut lime dressing, combine all the ingredients in a bowl or blender. Whisk or blend until smooth. Set the dressing aside.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil for the whole wheat spaghetti. Break the spaghetti in half to make it easier to stir into the salad ingredients later. Once the water is boiling, add the spaghetti, and continue to boil until the pasta is tender. Drain in a colander and rinse it briefly with cold water to cool it off. Let the pasta drain well.
- Meanwhile, shred the cabbage as finely as possible using either a knife or the shredding attachment of a food processor. Shred the carrots using a large-holed cheese grater. Roughly chop the cilantro and peanuts. Slice the green onion.
- Combine the cooled and well drained pasta in a large bowl with the cabbage, carrots, cilantro, green onion, and peanuts. Toss the salad until the ingredients are evenly combined.
- Serve the salad and peanut lime dressing immediately, or divide the undressed salad between four containers (about 2 cups each) and divide the dressing between four smaller containers (about 2 Tbsp or slightly more each). Refrigerate up to 4-5 days.
Eat the rainbow! 🌈
Step by Step Photos
To make the peanut lime dressing, combine 3 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, one minced clove of garlic, 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger, 2 Tbsp lime juice, 2 tsp soy sauce, and 1/4 cup neutral oil (any mild-flavored oil) in a bowl or blender.
Whisk or blend the ingredients until smooth. Set the dressing aside.
Next, bring a pot of water to a boil for the noodles. You’ll need 8 oz. of whole wheat spaghetti for this recipe. I always break my spaghetti in half when I know it’s going to be stirred into other solid ingredients. It helps them combine more evenly instead of creating one big clump of pasta in the middle. Boil the pasta until tender, then drain in a colander, and give it a brief rinse with cold water to cool it off. Let the spaghetti drain well.
Finely shred about 4 cups of red cabbage. Making sure the cabbage is shredded VERY finely is key here. Thick pieces of cabbage are not good in this recipe. 4 cups is roughly equivalent to 3/4 to 1 pound of cabbage whole. So if you have a 2 lb. cabbage, use about half of it.
Shred two carrots using a large-holed cheese grater. Or, if you used the shredder attachment on a food processor to shred the cabbage, you can switch to the grating attachment to do the carrots.
Roughly chop about 1/2 bunch cilantro and slice about 4 green onions. You’ll want about 1/2 cup of each, but it’s extremely flexible. Also roughly chop 1/2 cup peanuts.
Combine the cooled spaghetti, cabbage, carrot, cilantro, green onion, and peanuts in a large bowl.
Toss the salad ingredients together until evenly combined.
Either serve the cold peanut noodle salad with the peanut lime dressing immediately, or divide it between four containers. I suggest leaving the dressing separate and adding it just before serving. These meal prep and dressing containers can be found in my Amazon store.
That dressing, crunchy cabbage, and cold noodles is just magic together! SO FRESH.