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Overhead shot of cold Thai peanut noodle salad on a plate with a fork.
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Cold Peanut Noodle Salad with Cucumbers, Spinach & Mint (Gluten Free, Vegan)

This is the ULTIMATE cold peanut noodle salad, made with a creamy Thai peanut sauce and a slew of veggies. It’s easy, vegan & gluten free! Spaghetti noodles are bathed in a peanut dressing and are tossed with spinach, cucumbers, sweet bell peppers, peanuts and mint. It’s crunchy, creamy, vibrant and addictive. Enjoy the noodle salad on its own as a healthy main course, or pack it up for potlucks, barbecues and picnics. Make the peanut dressing while the spaghetti noodles cook.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cold pleanut noodle salad, Thai peanut noodle salad, vegan peanut noodles
Servings: 4 -6 people

Ingredients

Noodles

  • 8 ounces spaghetti (regular or gluten free)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil or neutral vegetable oil

Peanut dressing

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil (such as safflower, grapeseed or canola)
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter, preferably natural
  • 3 tablespoons reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • ½ tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • teaspoon sriracha, or more to taste

For serving

  • 1 cup thinly sliced English cucumber (about ⅓ cucumber)
  • ½ red or yellow bell pepper, very thinly sliced
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
  • Sriracha (optional)

Instructions

Cook the noodles

  • Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions. Be sure to give them a good stir now and then, especially at the beginning, so that they don’t clump up. Drain the noodles, then rinse them in cold water. Transfer the noodles to large bowl, and toss them with the sesame oil.

Make the peanut dressing

  • In the meantime, put the garlic clove in a mini food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the oil, peanut butter, tamari or soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, maple syrup or honey, lime juice and sriracha (feel free to add more if you like it spicy!). Process until smooth. Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss to combine. It will look a bit soupy at this point, but the sauce will thicken as the noodles chill. Refrigerate for 15 minutes (or up to 24 hours).

Assemble the salad

  • Layer the cucumber, bell pepper, spinach, scallions, mint and peanuts over the noodles. At this point, the salad can be covered again and refrigerated for an additional 4 hours, or it can be tossed together with tongs and served right away. Serve the salad with sriracha, for drizzling.

Notes

Do Ahead: The noodles and dressing (without the vegetables) can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. The salad with the vegetables can be assembled but not tossed up to 4 hours before serving.
Tips:
  • You can use gluten-free spaghetti, regular spaghetti, whole wheat spaghetti or soba noodles for this salad.
  • You’ll need a mini food processor for the peanut sauce (a small blender will work as well). 
  • I prefer to use reduced sodium tamari (or soy sauce), which is less salty and a bit more balanced than regular.
  • If you don't have mint, you can use cilantro instead. Also, feel free to swap out the  bell pepper for sugar snap or snow peas!
  • For a picnic (or road trip!), divide the salad into individual serving containers and pack them in a cooler.