Recipe: Cold Sesame Chicken and Noodle Salad

updated Jan 29, 2020
Cold Sesame Chicken and Noodle Salad
This crowd-pleasing chilled noodle salad brings bright and savory flavors to the potluck along with chicken and a rich sesame ginger dressing.

Serves6 to 8

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I have a radical idea that will shake things up, turns some heads, and wow tastebuds all around at your next cookout: Pass on the pasta salad in favor of this sesame noodle number. It’s inspired by the noodle bowls I love for make-ahead lunches and easy dinners, but it goes bigger. Chewy rice noodles are right at home in this cold summer salad for a crowd, bolstered by fresh veggies, tender strips of chicken, and a creamy sesame-ginger dressing that clings to every last bite. It’s quick and easy to pull together and totally satisfying without being too heavy.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

A Tip for a Better Cold Noodle Salad

When making this recipe, I want you to take what you know about preparing pasta and noodles and forget it for a while. After the rice noodles are finished cooking, you’ll want to thoroughly rinse the noodles immediately. Let the cool water run over the noodles and move them around the colander to remove all of the excess water and starch. It’s a small but significant step that prevents the noodles from sticking and clumping together.

Fresh Salads for Your Next Party, Potluck, or Backyard BBQ

This summer go beyond the classics and wow the crowd at every potluck with an impressive party-worthy salad. This week we’re sharing five recipes to give you plenty of fresh salad inspiration. Easy enough to pull together any day of the week, these salads go big to serve the whole crowd, and each one has a fun twist to make it stand out among a sea of sides.

Cold Sesame Chicken and Noodle Salad

This crowd-pleasing chilled noodle salad brings bright and savory flavors to the potluck along with chicken and a rich sesame ginger dressing.

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info


For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup

    rice vinegar

  • 2 cloves

    garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon

    grated fresh peeled ginger

  • 2 tablespoons

    white or red miso paste

  • 2 tablespoons


  • 2 tablespoons

    tamari or soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon

    toasted sesame oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes (optional)

For the salad:

  • 8 ounces

    dried wide rice noodles

  • 2 cups

    finely shredded red cabbage

  • 1/2

    medium English cucumber, julienned

  • 1 cup

    frozen shelled edamame, thawed

  • 2 tablespoons

    black sesame seeds, divided

  • 2

    cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound), sliced into 1/4-inch thick strips

  • 4

    medium scallions, green part only, thinly sliced on the diagonal


  1. Make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, garlic, ginger, miso, tahini, and tamari or soy sauce together in a small bowl. While whisking, slowly pour in the oil and whisk until emulsified; set aside.

  2. Make the salad: Break the dried noodles in half and cook according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water to remove excess starch. Set aside until completely cooled.

  3. Place the cooled noodles, cabbage, cucumber, edamame, 1 tablespoon of the sesame seeds, and about 1/4 of the dressing in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Top with the chicken, scallions, and remaining sesame seeds. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and toss together.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dressing can be made up to 1 day in advance and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. The salad can be prepared and assembled up to 4 hours in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until serving.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.