These 5-Ingredient Cold Noodle Bowls Are Fast, Fresh, and Filling
Welcome to Snapshot Cooking, the home of Kitchn’s easiest recipes. These mini recipes are so simple you can practically cook from the before-and-after snapshot itself.
Whether made with soba, ramen, rice noodles, or straight-up spaghetti, cold noodle salads surprise with their range of bracing flavors and textures: crunchy, chewy, bright, spicy, nutty, even sweet. These five recipes are every bit as refreshing when eaten at work, on a picnic, at the beach, or by the lake. They all also use just five ingredients (not including salt, pepper, vinegar, and oil). Use them as templates for your salad salvation, make a batch speedy-quick, and then go chase the ice cream truck.
5 (5-Ingredient) Recipes for Noodle Bowls
- The ingredients: Each recipe calls for just five ingredients, including the noodles. Oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper are not included in the ingredient count.
- The noodles: Each recipe features a different type of noodle: ramen, spaghetti, soba, or one of two varieties of rice noodles. Because each brand of noodle suggests a different cooking method, read the package for optimal results.
- Serving cold noodles: These noodle bowls are meant to be eaten cold! That means you’ll drain the cooked noodles, rinse with cold water, then drain again before tossing with the remaining ingredients.
Steak and Rice Noodle Salad with Mint and Peanuts
Bring a medium pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Pat 1 pound skirt steak dry with paper towels; season all over with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add steak, sear until golden-brown on both sides, 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean cutting board and set aside to rest 5 minutes.
Add 8 ounces dried wide rice noodles to the water, cook according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again. Stir together the finely grated zest and juice of 4 limes and 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a large bowl, taste and season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice steak across the grain. Add to dressing, toss to combine. Add noodles, 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, and 1/2 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts, toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Get the full recipe: Steak and Rice Noodle Salad with Mint and Peanuts
Chicken and Soba Noodle Salad with Red Curry-Almond Dressing
Cook 8 to 10 ounces dried soba noodles in a medium pot of salted, boiling water according to package directions. Stir together 6 tablespoons water, 1/4 cup almond butter, and 2 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Using a vegetable peeler, peel 4 medium carrots into long ribbons.
When noodles are ready, drain, rinse with cold water, then drain again. Add soba, carrots, and 2 cups cooked, shredded or sliced chicken to dressing and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Get the full recipe: Chicken and Soba Noodle Salad with Red Curry-Almond Dressing
Coconut Rice Noodles with Poached Shrimp, Mango, and Thai Chile
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Stir in 1 pound large peeled and cleaned raw shrimp and turn off heat. Cover and let sit until pink and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir 1 (13- to 14-ounce) can coconut milk in the can until smooth, then stir in 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
Transfer shrimp to an ice water bath until cooled, then drain. Bring the pot of water back to a boil, add 20 ounces dried thin vermicelli noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again. Divide noodles among serving bowls, pour coconut dressing over noodles. Top with shrimp, 2 cups diced mango (from 2 large), and 4 thinly sliced fresh Thai chiles or red pepper flakes.
Get the full recipe: Coconut Rice Noodles with Poached Shrimp, Mango, and Thai Chile
Cold Noodles with Salsa Verde and White Beans
Cook 1 pound dried spaghetti in a large pot of salted, boiling water according to package directions. Stir 2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley leaves, 1 grated or minced garlic clove, the finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, and 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil together in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper; stir in 1 (15-ounce can) drained and rinsed white beans.
When pasta is ready, drain, rinse with cold water, drain again. Add to white bean mixture and toss until combined. Serve with lemon wedges.
Get the full recipe: Cold Noodles with Salsa Verde and White Beans
Cold Ramen with Quick-Pickled Mushrooms, Celery, and Ginger
Cut a 2-inch piece ginger into matchsticks. Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just starting to smoke. Add 1 pound sliced mixed mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook undisturbed until golden-brown, 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat, stir in ginger and 1 teaspoon kosher salt, let cool 5 minutes. Stir together 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and 4 teaspoons granulated sugar until sugar and salt are dissolved.
When mushrooms are ready, add 6 thinly sliced celery stalks (reserve the leaves) and vinegar mixture; let sit at least 15 minutes to pickle. Meanwhile, cook 4 (5-ounce) packages dried instant ramen noodles in a large saucepan of salted, boiling water according to package directions (do not use seasoning packets). Drain, rinse with cold water, then drain again. Stir ramen into pickled vegetables (do not drain the brine), and garnish with celery leaves and freshly-ground black pepper.
Get the full recipe: Cold Ramen with Quick-Pickled Mushrooms, Celery, and Ginger