How to Make Noodle Salad

Two Methods:Making Chinese Noodle SaladMaking Italian Pasta Salad

Noodle salads are a great way to make a nutritious, filling meal while using up leftover dry noodles in the cupboard. Best of all, since many different cultures from around the world use noodles in their cuisine, you have many flavors available to you. In this article, you'll learn how to make two noodle salad dishes: a Chinese salad using chow mein noodles and an Italian salad using spaghetti.


Chinese Noodle Salad

  • 10 ounces chow mein noodles
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2-3 cups raw bite-sized broccoli florets (from about 1 head of broccoli)
  • 4 ounces mung bean sprouts (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 small green onions, thinly sliced white and green parts
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, thinly sliced and cut into 1-inch long pieces
  • 1/4 large purple cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, cut into slivers with a peeler

Chinese Dressing

  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 1 medium clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup canola, rice bran, or vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons dark sesame oil

Italian Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb dry spaghetti (Usually one package worth)
  • 8 ounces pepperoni
  • 5-6 ribs celery
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1 green bell pepper.
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup pitted olives
  • 1 Bottle (8 to 12 oz.) Italian salad dressing.

Method 1
Making Chinese Noodle Salad

  1. 1
    Bring water to boil in a large pot. You want enough water to completely cover your noodles — two to four quarts should be enough. Wait until the water reaches a full, rolling boil before continuing. You can prepare the steamer below while you wait.
    • If using ordinary chow mein noodles, do not add salt (they are usually already salted). If using soba noodles, add a tablespoon of salt to the water.
  2. 2
    Add the noodles. Carefully drop the noodles in the boiling water. Stir them immediately and continue to stir frequently while they cook.
    • Check the noodle packaging for cooking instructions. Most chow mein noodles should be done after about 5 minutes of cooking.
  3. 3
    Drain the noodles. When the noodles have a pleasantly soft texture, pour them into a strainer in the sink. Rinse immediately with cold water to stop the cooking process. Let the noodles drain for several minutes, then spread them out on a paper towel-lined cooking sheet to air dry.
  4. 4
    Steam the broccoli. Place a steamer rack in the bottom of a 3 to 4-quart pot. Add enough water to come up to the level of the rack. Heat until boiling. Add the broccoli florets, taking care not to let the steam burn you. Cover and steam cook until the broccoli is soft (about 4 minutes).
    • When finished, pour the broccoli into a strainer and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
  5. 5
    Toss the noodles with soy sauce. Place the cooked noodles in a large serving bowl. Add soy sauce and stir or shake to coat completely. Let the noodles sit absorbing the soy sauce while you make the dressing in the next step.
  6. 6
    Mix the dressing. Place the ginger, sugar, garlic, and red pepper flakes into a mini chopper or food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Add the vinegar and both oils to the ginger mixture. Pulse again until well blended.
    • If you don't have a food processor, you can simply chop the ginger and garlic into tiny pieces and toss them with the rest of the ingredients. Alternatively, try using a mortar and pestle.
  7. 7
    Add the dressing to the soy sauce infused noodles. Toss the noodles in the dressing to coat completely.
  8. 8
    Mix in vegetables. To the noodles, add the cooked broccoli, sliced green onions, sliced bell pepper, sliced cabbage, shredded carrot, and mung bean sprouts.
    • Congratulations — your noodle salad is ready to eat!

Method 2
Making Italian Pasta Salad

  1. 1
    Boil water on the stove. As with the recipe above, you want to use at least a few quarts so that you can cover the pasta completely. Wait until it reaches a full, rolling boil before proceeding.
    • Add a few pinches of salt to the water for flavor and to get the water slightly hotter.[1] You can also pour in a dash of olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking to each other.
  2. 2
    Cook the spaghetti. Add the dry spaghetti to the water carefully. If it is too long, you can break it in half to get it to fit in the pot.
    • Cook according to package directions. Use the shortest recommended cooking time to leave your pasta slightly firm (or al dente).
  3. 3
    Drain the pasta. Carefully pour the al dente pasta into a strainer in the sink. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Let the water drain out for a few minutes.
  4. 4
    Toss the pasta with dressing. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Pour in the dressing and stir to coat the pasta completely.
  5. 5
    Add the pepperoni and vegetables, chopped. Dice all of the remaining ingredients into 1/4 inch pieces. Add them to the bowl with the pasta. Toss to combine, adding a little more dressing if the dish seems too dry.
  6. 6
    Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight before serving. This dish is meant to be served cold, making it a great summer salad. It will keep up to a week in the refrigerator in a covered container.
    • Congratulations mdash; your salad is ready to eat. If you'd like, you can also add croutons, shaved Parmesan cheese, bacon bits, Genoa salami, or any other ingredients you think would pair well with its Italian flavors.


  • If you are making the Chinese salad more than a day ahead, toss the noodles with the soy sauce and half of the dressing. Prep the vegetables and store them separately. When ready to serve, toss the noodles with the vegetables and the rest of the dressing.
  • For a healthier twist on the Italian salad recipe, use whole grain pasta and fat-free Italian dressing.

Article Info

Categories: Pasta and Noodles