This Thai noodle salad hits your taste buds in all the right places – salty, sour, sweet and spicy all in one bite, with a hint of peanut and pepitas crunch.
I’ve always loved Thai food because of the incredible balance of flavors that the meals deliver – the combination of sour, salty, savory and sweet is so moreish and I never get tired of exciting new noodle dishes! This Thai noodle salad is so easy to pull together in only 45 minutes and you don’t need to spend ages making your own curry sauce or peanut dressing, just pop by your local Asian supermarket or regular grocery store (I got mine at Trader Joe’s).
The chili lime roasted pepitas really are the star of this dish, and once I made a batch I found myself snacking on them throughout the week or throwing them on top of other dishes for a spicy, crunchy kick! Paired with the fresh, garlicky green beans, this recipe makes for a perfect lunch or light dinner and is a great meat-free option.
The flavors in this dish would lend themselves really well to any hardy vegetable so you can try swapping out the beans and kale for other vegetables like carrots, cabbage or snap peas. This recipe is a great opportunity to use whatever is in your fridge! You can use the noodles freshly cooked for a fragrant and warm dish, or use the noodles cold for a refreshing and vibrant cold noodle variation.
Why You’ll Love This Thai Noodle Salad
This meal feels like summer in a bowl – I make it whenever I’m feeling a bit sluggish because the crunch, zing and chili kick seems to just brighten up my whole day and make me feel energized! I also love how quickly it comes together because if I’m feeling a little low on energy then I definitely don’t want to be spending hours in front of the stove! You can also store this recipe in your fridge for 3 – 4 days, for fresh zingy noodles whenever you want them.
Thai Noodle Salad Ingredients
- Thai purple corn and rice noodles: These are a type of stir-fry noodles that cook super quickly but have a really satisfying chewy texture. If you can’t find the purple corn and rice noodles, you can just use plain rice noodles or even try swapping them out for another noodle of your choosing!
- Extra firm tofu: The texture of extra firm tofu is perfect for pan frying, and the marinate will give the tofu a satisfying crispy layer on the outside once it’s fried. If you prefer to use a medium or soft tofu then you can definitely do so, but it won’t retain its shape as well in the pan.
- Red curry sauce: You could definitely make your own from scratch but I prefer to just buy a pre-made red curry sauce from the supermarket – it saves so much time and the results are always delicious! Red curry sauce uses dried red chilis, whereas green curry sauce uses coriander root and green chilies, but you could try each and see which one you like the most!
- Thai peanut sauce: Peanut sauce, also known as satay sauce, is found in a huge range of Thai dishes, and is usually sweet from the peanuts, with a fresh zing from lime juice and rice vinegar – yum! It is typically made by blending or grinding peanuts (or peanut butter) with other ingredients such as soy sauce, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and lime juice.
(Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe card with exact measurements and instructions.)
How to Make this Thai Noodle Salad
- Tofu: Squeeze the excess water out between two paper towels, then cube and marinade. Sear in a hot skillet until crispy and golden.
- Noodles: Simply cook these according to package instructions. Leave warm for serving, or for a refreshing change you can shock the noodles in cold water after cooking for a refreshing cold noodle dish.
- Chili lime pepitas: Coat the pumpkin seeds with lime, oil, salt and chili powder and bake until golden brown.
- Beans: Fry the garlic until golden, then add the beans and toss to coat. Cook for around 3 minutes.
- Plate: Top your noodles with all of the ingredients, toss with the peanut sauce and serve immediately!
Variations and substitutions
- Low carb: As a low carb swap for the rice noodles, you can spiralize zucchini and pan fry until softened or try out tofu or shirataki noodles! They are super low carb and you can just cook them as per the packet directions. Some people find shirataki noodles to have a funny odor but if you rinse them thoroughly first that should get rid of any odd smell!
- Soy free: If you can’t have soy, then you can swap the tofu out for your favorite protein source – chicken, beef, fish or even prawns would work fantastically in this recipe.
- No pepitas: If you don’t have any pepitas on hand, you can swap these out for sunflower seeds or even pine nuts! They will cook exactly the same as pepitas and have a similar texture.
- Storage: You can either keep all of your ingredients separate, and then assemble more fresh bowls later in the week (everything will store for 3 – 4 days), or you can simply toss all of the ingredients together and store in a large airtight container. If you mix all of the ingredients and store them together, the noodles may become a bit softer over the week as they will soak up some of that delicious peanut sauce!
- 1 package Thai purple corn and rice noodles
- 2 cups of Kale
- 1 package of extra firm tofu
- 1 bottle of red curry sauce (I found mine at Trader Joes)
- 1 bottle of Thai peanut dressing
- Chili Lime Roasted Pepitas
- 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 TBS. olive oil
- The juice of ½ of a lime's)
- Green Beans
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 2 cups green beans
- 1 clove of garlic (minced)
- Take the tofu out of its packaging and place between two paper towels (I split mine down the middle first to help speed up the process). Place a heavy object (like a pile of books) on top to squeeze out the excess liquid, and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Then, cube the tofu and add the pieces to a small bowl. Pour in about ⅓ cup of the red curry sauce and gently toss to coat the pieces. Marinate for about 10 minutes. Add the cubed tofu to a hot skillet and sear for about 1 minute on each side.
- Cook noodles according to package instructions.
- Preheat the oven to 350. In a small bowl, combine the raw pumpkin seeds with the lime, olive oil, salt and chili powder. Toss together until the seeds are well coated. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
- In the same pan used to cook the tofu, heat 1 tbs olive oil and minced garlic over a medium heat . Once the garlic has started to turn golden brown, add the green beans and toss together with a spatula. Cook for about 3 minutes.
- Combine all of the components together, toss with the thai peanut dressing and serve immediately!
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