19 Cold Noodle Dishes That Are Perfect for Summer

Homemade Spicy Chicken Soba Noodle Salad


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Homemade Spicy Chicken Soba Noodle Salad

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In the heat of summer, the last thing you want to do is eat something hot and steaming. Noodles of all kinds make a chilled and refreshing base for everything from Thai-style peanut sauce to the tuna and mayo salad of your childhood. When you're looking for a cold dish to offset the hot sun, try one of these vegetable- and herb-filled summer noodle salads. 

Related: 23 Light and Easy Comfort Food Recipes for Warm Weather

Kale and Romaine Pasta Caesar Salad

BLT Pasta Salad

Your favorite summer sandwich is fantastic in pasta salad form. If you're using the best tomatoes fresh from the garden, you don't really need any dressing, since they're juicy enough. But a little simple vinaigrette or even some ranch dressing wouldn't hurt if it's too dry. The arugula adds a slightly bitter bite, but you could toss it with chopped romaine instead.

Recipe: Good Housekeeping

Related: 16 Easy Pasta Salad Recipes for Summer

Fresh Spring Roll, Vietnamese Food.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Vietnamese spring rolls are like a noodle salad burrito all wrapped up in delicate rice paper. Pork and shrimp are the typical proteins, but you can leave them out for a vegetarian dish. Don't skimp on the fresh herbs inside the wrap since they add so much fresh flavor. Feel free to add other vegetables like cucumber or carrots — it all tastes amazing dipped in peanut sauce.

Recipe: Hungry Huy

Related: Light Desserts That Are Perfect for Lazy Summer Days

Mediterranean food Pasta orzo with grilled shrimps, feta cheese and lemon close-up on a plate. Horizontal top view

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo

This Greek-inspired salad uses orzo, a rice-shaped pasta. It's incredibly simple, but so tasty with a lemon and olive oil dressing and chunks of rich, briny feta cheese. Cucumber, red onion, and scallions add crunch, while two full cups of chopped dill and parsley add fresh herbiness. If you have some cherry tomatoes lying around, throw them in too.

Recipe: Food Network

Cold Asian Salad with Ramen Noodles

Crunchy Ramen Noodle Salad

A much-needed update to retro ramen noodle salad, this recipe is for those people who prefer their ramen uncooked. Edamame, avocado, and mango all bulk up the standard coleslaw mix, while a honey vinaigrette with nutty sesame oil covers it all.  

Recipe: Gimme Some Oven

Pasta salad with smoked salmon in a white bowl with a fork

Summery Salmon Cold Noodle Salad

Noodle and rice bowls don't have to be hot, especially when seafood is involved. Flaked salmon, cucumbers, fennel, cherry tomatoes, and other veggies get a light dressing of lemon, rice vinegar, and sesame. If you can't find mung bean threads — also called cellophane noodles because they're clear when cooked — you can use rice vermicelli.

Recipe: I am a Food Blog

A serving of beef noodle salad, with spicy fresh ingredients for Asian fusion inspired meal
Adam Calaitzis/istockphoto

Vegan Thai Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce

Orange juice adds a subtle sweetness and fruity quality to the peanut sauce that coats the noodles in this recipe. Bell pepper, cabbage, and carrots are tossed with the noodles, but you can add whatever you have on hand, like snow peas or cucumber. You can use any type of noodle you like, including linguine if that's all that's available.

Recipe: Feasting at Home

Italian pasta salad with spinach ricotta tortellini

30-Minute Pesto Tortellini Salad

Fresh tortellini from the refrigerated section at the grocery store make a typical pasta salad extra hearty. The cheese-filled pasta is tossed with asparagus and artichoke hearts, and there’s plenty of jarred pesto to dress. Fresh arugula adds a sharp bitterness and plenty of vitamins. 

Recipe: Dishing Out Health

Japanese Beef Stir-Fry with Soba Noodles

Cold Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken

Sesame noodles are a takeout classic, but you can make them yourself for a fraction of the cost. The sauce starts out with tahini, a sesame seed paste, though you could use peanut butter in a pinch. Soy, ginger, fish sauce, and rice vinegar make up the rest of the light and creamy dressing. Cabbage and shredded chicken are add-ons, but you can use whatever you have around.

Recipe: Serious Eats

Healthy pasta salads

Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

Grilled vegetables are a summer staple — and they don't heat up the house. Once your squashes, red onion, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes have been grilled, chop them up and toss them with penne pasta. The balsamic vinaigrette is emulsified with a little mayo and Dijon mustard, making it a little creamy and able to coat the salad well.

Recipe: Budget Bytes

Creamy Tuna Pasta and Vegetable Salad

Tuna Pasta Salad

It's always a great idea to have a big batch of tuna pasta salad in the fridge ready for summer snacking or lunches. It's inexpensive and filled with protein, plus plenty of crunchy celery. The dressing is made from half mayo and half Greek yogurt for a lighter version of the classic, but you can use whatever you prefer.

Recipe: Tastes Better From Scratch

A serving of beef noodle salad, with spicy fresh ingredients for Asian fusion inspired meal
Adam Calaitzis/istockphoto

Spicy Rice Noodle Salad

This Asian-inspired salad is substantial and eats like a full meal. The dressing, which is made with fish sauce, chili paste, and rice vinegar, is tossed together with the salad in one bowl and left to rest for a while so the rice noodles soak up all the flavor. Grilled chicken and sliced chiles complete the dish.

Recipe: All Recipes

Bowl of soba noodles with beef and vegetables. Asian food.

Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Grilled Pork Chops

Vietnamese noodle salad, also called bun, is a refreshing combination of rice vermicelli, savory grilled meats, crisp vegetables, and refreshing herbs. It is dressed with nuoc cham, a garlic and lime sauce that's a perfect balance of savory, sweet, and sour. This version includes irresistible fried onions and marinated pork chops.

Recipe: Woks of Life

Healthy Homemade Pasta Salad

Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad

Classic broccoli salad gets carb-ified in this pasta dish that will show off fresh summer produce. The creamy sweet-and-sour dressing is made with mayo, sugar, and red wine vinegar. Chopped pecans give the dish some nutty crunch, while grapes give pops of sweetness. Some people think the crumbled bacon is the best part, but you can leave it out for a vegetarian dish.

Recipe: Southern Living

Homemade Spicy Chicken Soba Noodle Salad

Satay Chicken Noodle Salad

Why not build a noodle salad around satay, the Indonesian grilled meat dish? In this easy recipe, chicken is seasoned with curry powder and soy sauce, then tossed with noodles, carrots, cabbage, and peanuts. It's all dressed with the normal satay dipping sauce made with peanut butter, lime, and coconut milk.

Recipe: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Orzo salad

Easy Orzo Salad

This orzo salad would make an incredibly healthy make-ahead lunch. It's vaguely Mediterranean-inspired and filled with cucumbers, chickpeas, spinach, and feta cheese. The simple dressing includes lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, honey, and garlic which complements the fresh basil well.

Recipe: Two Peas and Their Pod

Pasta salad with salami and dry tomatoes

Italian Pizza Pasta Salad

Pizza as a pasta salad? Sure thing, and your kids will love it too. Think of it as an Italian pasta salad that's filled with things you might find on a pizza, like pepperoni, green pepper, mozzarella cheese cubes, black olives, and banana peppers. There's no tomato sauce though, instead opting for a homemade Italian dressing with garlic, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan.

Recipe: Budget Bytes

Warm backwheat pasta chicken vegetables salad with peanuts

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad

Pepper heads take note of this hot and spicy peanut noodle salad. There's some sambal oelek in the peanut sauce, but it's the jalapenos and Thai bird chiles that'll really pack a punch. Red bell peppers, cucumbers, bean sprouts, and tons of fresh herbs will help cool off your mouth. 

Recipe: Serious Eats

Mexican Corn Salad

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

Mexican street corn, or elote, is popular all over the U.S. It makes a wonderful addition to a summer picnic or potluck in this pasta salad form, especially when you use fresh corn off the cob. Charring the corn in a cast iron skillet is a great way to replicate the roasted flavor, and feel free to increase the chili powder or cayenne for more heat.

Recipe: Lemon Blossoms

Food concept Asian egg noodles stir fry in ceramic bowl on wooden board with copy space

10-Minute Sesame Noodles

These sesame noodles are incredibly fast to make, taking only the amount of time it takes to cook the noodles. While they're boiling, simply mix all the other ingredients together. It's best to toss the noodles in the sauce while hot, but they can be enjoyed at any temperature and are great leftovers.

Recipe: Woks of Life

Related: 50 Easy Salads That Make the Most of Summer Produce