Cold sesame noodles with chicken and vegetables makes a delicious warm weather entree, and is perfect in a lunch box or for a picnic.
I love a dish that not only serves as a meal, but makes great lunch box leftovers. My 14 year gets tired of sandwiches and salads, and loves Asian food. Sesame Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables, from Cook’s Illustrated, is the perfect dish that falls into the “cook once, eat twice category”.
Now that my older daughter is in college, I still cook the same amounts as before, but we’re able to eat twice, and usually have enough for one or two lunches. The only “exotic” ingredients are sesame oil and Asian style noodles, which most large grocery stores carry. I use rice noodles to make this gluten free. If you can’t find Asian noodles, regular pasta noodles are an acceptable substitute. Because it’s served cold, it makes a nice change-of-pace lunch or a picnic dish too.
Here’s the recipe for the cold sesame noodles salad. Enjoy!
Chilled Sesame Noodles Chicken Salad
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds (divided)
- 1/4 cup peanut butter chunky
- 3 cloves garlic minced, about 3 teaspoons
- 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger minced
- 5 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce sriracha sauce (or more if you like)
- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar lightly packed
- hot water as needed
- 1 1/2 pounds cooked chicken breast shredded
- 1 pound Asian-style rice noodles or 12 ounces dried spaghetti fresh or dried
- 2 Tablespoons Asian sesame oil
- 4 green onions sliced thin on the the diagonal
- 2 carrots grated
- 2 cucumbers peeled, seeded and diced
- Toast sesame seeds in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently until golden and fragrant
- Reserve 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds for garnish
- In a blender or food processor, puree remaining 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, soy sauce vinegar, hot sauce and brown sugar until smooth. Add hot water 1 Tablespoon at a time until sauce has the consistency of heavy cream.
- Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil, salt water and cook noodles, 4 minutes for fresh and 10 for dried.
- Drain and rinse noodles with tap water until cool to touch.
- In a large bowl toss noodles with 2 Tablespoons sesame oil until evenly coated.
- Add shredded chicken, green onions, carrots, cucumbers, and sauce and toss to combine.
- Garnish with remaining sesame seeds
Some of the items used in this post are available at no additional cost. (I receive a small commission which helps maintain this website. Thank you!)
This is beautiful! I could eat this 3 times a day!
Thanks Mimi! We nearly did eat it that much! Lol!
Paul Anderson says
My son is mildly allergic to peanuts so I’ll substitute almond or cashew butter, but this looks great – and I too am thinking about school lunches. This will certainly break the monotony ! !
I’m sure either of those would be a great substitute paul. My youngest could eat this and sushi every single day for lunch!
Carol Smith says
So glad to hear that cashew or almond butter would also work! Since we are at the time of year when salads become our dinner of choice since it gets so hot in Clovis/Fresno, this is getting printed right now! Thanks
Seriously loving this right now! Especially the idea of serving it up cold…there is nothing better than having leftovers.
Tammy, we couldn’t stop scarfing it down. I was surprised at how much it made and how many meals we got out of it!
Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom says
I love simple cold noodle dishes. I actually usually will make a big batch just for the sole purpose of lunches. Looks great.
kristen, if you have a kid who loves asian food as much as mine do,this is a great lunch!
She doesn’t like to worry about heating stuff up in the micro at school.
This looks so good! I think I would eat way too much.
Lol. That could be a problem, because it’s one of those dishes that fools you into believing that because it’s
healthy, you can eat twice as much!
allie @ Through Her Looking Glass says
Dear Cynthia, I love to making big batches that cover more than one meal. A cold salad like this fits the bill. Would also make a great picnic main dish. Easy to pack and keep cold! This salad is a keeper and looks so flavorful.
Totally Allie! We were eating it when the temps were in the 100’s so it was great for hot evenings when no one wanted to
eat anything hot.
Looks delicious, very tasty and rather easy to prepare! Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Wish you a beautiful Sunday!
I’ve made this twice in the last week–once as a “dry run” and once for a casual dinner. I love the flavor combination! I used pasta the first time and rice noodles the second. My advice: use the rice noodles. Much better texture. The pasta version was a bit gummy (and the pasta wasn’t over cooked). I also used shredded cabbage (e.g. cole slaw mix) instead of grating carrots. Added some nice crunch and way easier than shredding carrots! I think this could also be a great side dish without the chicken. Definitely a keeper!
Perfect for a warm weekend! Instead of shredded carrots, I use coleslaw mix (red and green cabbage and shredded carrots). Give a little extra color and crunch.
love it! Extra veg is always good!