This Asian noodle salad is packed with flavor from the fresh herbs, crunchy veggies, honey soy dressing, and broiled crispy chicken thighs. We have been eating it for lunches for the past couple of weeks and couldn’t be happier. Not only can you make it in advance (yay!), I think it gets better after a day in the fridge when the noodles really have time to soak up the dressing. The recipe itself originally was inspired by fresh Vietnamese spring rolls and then took on a mind of its own from there.
The base started with rice noodles (soba noodles would work as well), lots of fresh crunchy veggies, and fresh herbs, which are key to a good spring roll. The dressing is a simple Asian inspired dressing with fresh lime juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and a Thai chili pepper for a bit of spice. Then to add some protein, I broiled up some boneless skinless chicken thighs with Hoisin sauce. It’s a delicious and fairly simple meal.
For a vegetarian version of the salad, there are a few different options. The first is to broil tofu in place of the chicken. Start by slicing the tofu into horizontal planks and pressing it to remove some of the excess moisture. From there, brush it with the hoisin and follow the same steps as the chicken. Consider placing it on a wire rack to prevent sticking. If you don’t want to use tofu, you could also add some edamame, chickpeas, seitan, or tempeh. Or if you aren’t worried about protein, just leave it out completely.
If you are on Weight Watchers, you may be wondering if you can use chicken breast to reduce the number of points. You absolutely can but I wouldn’t broil the chicken since it can quickly get dry. Instead, chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and quickly cook it in a skillet with coconut oil or cooking spray until cooked through. Then toss it with the hoisin sauce. Shredded rotisserie chicken breasts tossed in hoisin would work as well. If you go this route, the salad only has 5 Freestyle Smartpoints per serving.
What noodles are used in an Asian Noodle Salad?
Honestly, you can use almost any noodle to make an Asian noodle salad. For Vietnamese salads, vermicelli or rice noodles are usually used. I love this option since they are no cook and just need to be soaked in hot water. Soba noodles are another popular choice and add a hearty texture since they are normally made with buckwheat, which adds some texture and bite. If you can’t find Asian noodles, you can use any regular pasta noodle. Look for a whole wheat or high fiber option to make things healthier.
How to Make Vietnamese Salad Dressing
- 4 tbsp. lime juice
- 2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce (or a combination of fish sauce and soy sauce)
- 2 tbsp. honey (or agave, brown sugar)
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 Thai red chili pepper (or 1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced)
- Instructions: Stir everything together and taste. You can add some olive oil or sesame oil to thin the dressing out as well or make the flavor milder. Keeps in the fridge 3-5 days.
How to Meal Prep Asian Noodle Salad
This is one of my favorite salads for meal prep. The best way to pack up the salads is to use a mason jar. Place the noodles in the bottom of the jar and pour in the dressing. Then pile the veggies on top of that and finish with the chicken. This ensures that the veggies stay nice and crunchy. Plus it gives the noodles time to absorb all that yummy flavor. When ready to eat, mix everything together in the jar or on a larger plate.
This recipe was originally published in 2014 but has been updated with new photos and information.
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