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Flatlay wide view of Thai noodle salad with colourful veg on green plate with green napkin

This Thai Rainbow Noodle Salad grabs you with its veritable rainbow of colours, and holds you with its hot, sour, salty, sweet taste. Cool and crunchy, too. Make more of the loose, peanutty sauce than you need to drizzle on any likely dish over the next few days.

Thai rainbow noodle salad with green napkin to side and peanuts in coconut shell bowl on concrete backgroundBe warned: you will want to make this everyday throughout the summer. Not that this is a bad thing, but, you know, variety.

If you do wish to make this everyday, it is easy to change-up this colour-saturated salad with other nutritious, radiant ingredients. Sour, sweet, salty and hot, this Thai-inspired salad is a zesty tangle of crunchy, vibrant vegetables, noodles, herbs and nuts. So, even if you just slightly tweaked it you would be getting the benefit of some powerful phytochemical synergies. Just keep it largely whole food and you really can’t go wrong. I’ll give some pointers further on down.

portrait image of thai noodle and vegetable salad with peanuts and peas as garnish in bowlsAnd the dressing – the dressing! – is nigh on drinkable. Although it is peanut-based, in keeping with tradition, can I be slightly heretical and announce that I prefer it with sunbutter and roasted sunflower seeds? Either way, it is glorious. Dredge leftover sauce with bought or homemade summer rolls, or even cassava chips.

And, this is THE summer recipe to make with a spiraliser. You know, that thing cluttering up the back of the pantry cupboard? Go get it out and give it a rinse cos we are going to be making some noodles. No spiraliser? No matter. Just grab your chef’s knife and slice up your vegetables as thin as you dare.

What’s in this Thai Rainbow Noodle Salad?

I’ll start with the ‘drinkable’ dressing. 😉 Ooh, you are going to love this.

Bird’s eye chillies (as much as you like), garlic (ditto), limes, a touch of toasted sesame oil, peanut butter AND peanuts, soy sauce (or coconut aminos), a little oil and a smidge of date syrup, brown sugar, maple or honey – your call. You bung it in a blender and pulse to leave just a soupçon of crunch. If you are feeling it, add a thumb of ginger for extra zest. This you can make ahead and keep in the fridge.

ingredients for Thai rainbow noodle salad on concrete backgroundFor the salad itself:

Courgette (zucchini) noodles

Carrot noodles

Actual noodles (if you want, and I always do) – white or brown rice, thick or thin

Red cabbage, cut into the thinnest of slivers (easiest on a mandoline but I only trust myself with a knife)

Sugar snap peas (raw and sliced) or green beans, cooked just until crisp-tender then cooled in ice water

Thai basil, or, in an absolute pinch, ordinary basil. It doesn’t have the same aniseedy taste that is pretty essential, but it will taste great. If using regular basil maybe add in some coriander leaf/ cilantro as well. Or some mint. I like the pure taste of Thai basil on its own for this so I didn’t include the other usual suspects. You do you though. 🙂

Red onion, shallots, or spring onions if you wish.

and lastly, this is the kicker perhaps – cherry tomatoes. I pinched this idea, and the rough bones of this recipe, from Meera Sodha’s recipe in her recent Guardian column. You cut and smash the tomatoes and saturate it in the dressing, absorbing its intense flavours. I forgot to cut, but I did smash, making a bit of a mess of my apron (thank God for the apron) and countertop. Do the cutting and smashing to avoid seeds and juice firing in all directions.prepped Thai salad ingredients of smashed tomatoes, sliced red cabbage and sugar snap peas

So, you see, this isn’t a hugely complicated dish. It takes a bit of time and patience to slice up the veg, but once you taste the salad, like childbirth, you forget the labour.mixing up the salad

building the Thai Rainbow Noodle Salad with peanut dressing and herbs

You can either pour the dressing on each serving (neater) or toss it thorough and then serve (messier but more dressing adheres)


In the US and further south, why not add crispy batons or shreds of juicy, crisp jicama? We don’t get this vegetable in the UK but I do love it a lot. A fibre-rich, root vegetable, native to Mexico, it is mild and usually eaten raw with just a little lime juice and chilli powder to enliven it.

Peppers of any hue. Sliced and raw, these are a colourful, nutritious addition.

Fruit! I make a Tangy and Twisted Thai Fruit Salad with a different – non-nutty – dressing that you may want to try. But feel free to add slivers of sweet mango, (green) papaya or pineapple to this veg-centric salad if you feel so moved.

Avocado! For healthy fats and a contrasting creamy texture, there is nothing like the good old avo.

Swede, beets, rutabaga, salsify – sturdy root vegetables make this salad completely do-able in the depths of winter.

More protein: I added sesame-baked tofu to ours (see it in the mixing bowl below), but sizzle up prawns or marinated tempeh if that suits you better.adding tofu to the thai salad

Isn’t this Thai Rainbow Noodle Salad the most perfect way to get your 5+ a day? Let me know what you think below in the Comments. However you tweak it, keep it colourful, whole food and zesty!

More like this on Food To Glow:

Twisted and Tangy Thai Fruit Salad

Thai Avocado and Cashew Salad

Summer Ramen Zoodle Salad

Spicy Peanut Butter Parsnip Noodles

Vietnamese Salad with 10-Minute Sticky Marinated Tofu

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close up of Thai noodle salad

Thai rainbow noodle salad close up on green handmade plate
5 from 6 votes

Thai Rainbow Noodle Salad with Tangy Peanut Dressing

This Thai-style salad grabs you with its veritable rainbow of colours, and holds you with its hot, sour, salty, sweet taste. Cool and crunchy, too. Make more of the loose, peanutty sauce than you need to drizzle on any likely dish over the next few days.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai, vegan
Keyword healthy recipe, noodles, rainbow diet, vegetables
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 341 kcal
Author kellie anderson


Tangy Peanut Dressing

  • 3 bird's eye chillies chopped; deseeded if liked
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
  • 4 limes juiced
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tsp date syrup or maple syrup or honey
  • 8 g fresh gingerroot optional; peeled and chopped
  • 30 g roasted peanuts unsalted preferred

The Salad

  • 250 g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 80 g sugar snap peas or blanched green beans
  • 100 g purple cabbage
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 75 g rice noodles optional; cooked, cooled and lightly oiled to prevent sticking
  • 20 g Thai basil
  • 200 g tofu optional


  1. Finely chop about 10 grams of the peanuts and set aside. This will be a crunchy garnish.

  2. First of all, make the dressing. Add everything listed into a blender or mini food processor bowl/mini chopper. Pulse until well-blended but with still some texture. Of course you can make it smooth if you wish. Taste it and adjust to your liking; you might want it a bit sweeter. I sometimes use a bit of mango to sweeten instead of the syrup.

  3. If you wish to add tofu, lightly press it of its liquid then cut into cubes or slabs. Slick with a little toasted sesame oil then bake in a 180C/350F oven on a tray for 12 minutes. Or you can sauté in a pan until golden with some rapeseed oil.

  4. Now it is just a matter of cutting the vegetables and assembling the salad. Or rather mixing. To really get the tangy, peanutty flavours into all the nooks and crannies it's really best to mix it rather than compose it.

  5. Start with the tomatoes. Crush them with the flat of your hand (or halve and crush), place them in a serving bowl and pour over the dressing. Let them sit to absorb the flavours while you julienne or spiralise the courgette and carrot. Slice the sugar snap peas (no cooking), or blanch cut green beans until crisp-tender then cool under cold water. Finally, slice the cabbage very thinly and cut into mouth-sized lengths for easier eating. Now add in the cooled noodles, if using, and tear in most of the Thai basil.

  6. Toss everything together with your hands or salad forks and slide onto plates, topping with chopped peanuts, more Thai basil and sesame tofu, if using. Dig in!

Recipe Notes

This salad will expand to fit whatever you fancy adding - sliced yellow summer squash, ribbons of mooli, broccolini, red peppers - anything summery and light. 


This salad is easily grain-free by eliminating the noodles and upping the courgette noodles - zoodles/courgetti and/or red cabbage slivers.


Because the courgette will be really watery if it sits, this salad is best eaten straight away. But if you need to make a few hours ahead, keep out the dressing and courgettes and toss just before eating. The dressing can be made a day or so in advance and kept in the fridge, bringing out to get to room temperature, or just-cool.


If you need this to be nut-free, it will still taste great. Just take them out of the dressing. It will be looser, but that's not an issue when there is all that taste to be had in the meal itself. You could also use sunbutter and roasted sunflower seeds if these are okay in your diet.

Nutrition Facts
Thai Rainbow Noodle Salad with Tangy Peanut Dressing
Amount Per Serving
Calories 341 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Sodium 894mg39%
Potassium 759mg22%
Carbohydrates 43g14%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 14g28%
Calcium 165mg17%
Vitamin C 120mg145%
Vitamin A 4066IU81%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Thai Rainbow Noodle Salad for Pinterest



26 thoughts on “Thai Rainbow Noodle Salad with Tangy Peanut Dressing

  1. Looks perfect for me.

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Thank you 🙂

  2. Colorful and Yummmmm! 🤗

  3. Mr A says:

    Brilliant, beautiful and bags of flavour!!!!!!

  4. Miche says:

    Wow, this looks like a fantastic salad!

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Thank you, Miche. It is pretty versatile too 🙂

  5. Delightful salad and I cannot wait to taste that dressing!

    1. kellie anderson says:

      The dressing always makes the salad to me 🙂

  6. What a glorious recipe for these hot days. It sounds so flavoursome and wonderfully crunchy. I cant wait to make this, perfect!

    1. kellie anderson says:

      It’s kind of got something for everyone. One of my favourites for a long time but only just now taking snaps and sharing 🙂

  7. Richard Lucas says:

    We made this yesterday. WOW!
    a taste sensation and explosion. A brilliant recipe which we will enjoy again.

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Thank you so much for letting me know, Richard. That’s fantastic. Did you customise it with any other veg or protein? Sorry, I’m just nosey 😄

    2. kellie anderson says:

      I’m thrilled, Richard. Thanks so much for letting me know! Yay!

  8. Sounds just my sort of thing (but not too spicy). My problem i that my daughter has a peanut allergy and so I try not to cook with peanuts – I know I can try other nuts but I really miss peanut dressings. But I really want a big serve of it!!!! On a more positive not, I am really into purple cabbage lately – it is just so good thinly sliced with anything!

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Can she have sunflower seeds? My fave is using homemade sunbutter in the dressing, and loads of roasted sunflower seeds. The purple cabbage is just the right kind of bitterness to balance it all. That’s what this kind of salad is about – delicious balance. 😊

  9. Great minds think alike! Just the other day I made a similar salad, using leftover Pad Thai noodles as a base. The dressing was different, though, and now I wasn’t to try yours – looks terrific, Kellie!

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Dolly, was your dressing nut-free? Tell me how you normally dress it? I mostly make this kind of salad with a “purer” dressing but the creaminess of the sunbutter and crushed seeds is so good for clinging to all the salad bits 🙂

      1. My dressing consists of roasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, agave, a pinch of wasabi powder, yellow mustard seeds, and black sesame seeds. I am going to try yours, Kellie; it sounds yummy!

      2. kellie anderson says:

        Gosh that sounds DELICIOUS to me. All that hotness and the double sesame is right up my street!

      3. Thank you, Kellie!

  10. Sally says:

    Saving that dressing recipe – sounds addictive. I’m not a big fan of peanuts except in a savoury dish like this.

  11. kellie anderson says:

    I actually prefer it with sunflower butter I make in my blender. I know you have a Vitamix so sunbutter would be an easy, tastier option for you maybe. Although I guess in Dubai you can get everything, including sunbutter! And yeah, the dressing is pretty nice. And easily tweaked to one’s tastebuds 🙂

  12. Rachel says:

    Food to Glow asian recipes always rock!

  13. helen portas says:

    Got half a red cabbage kicking about and I’m going to turn it into something tasty – could I sub a lemon for a lime as I need to use that up too? Any thoughts?

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Hi Helen. I hope I”m not too late, but yes do use a lemon. It’s the pop of acidity and fragrance more than the specific taste of lime that is important. Although limes are what would of course be traditional for this kind of salad. Enjoy!

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