This Asian-style salad combines glass noodles with fresh herbs, vegetables and shredded chicken with an addictive creamy hoisin dressing that clings to the slippery noodles. The zingy salty lime cashew crumble really makes it, so don’t skip it! Terrific no-cook meal for hot summer nights.
Glass noodle salad
This is one of those summer-time showstopper salads that makes
you me believe you I could become a clean-eating goddess (or god) because even though you’re I’m usually the kind of person who goes ga-ga over fall-apart meat, one bite of this and woah…… How can healthy be so darn delicious???
The star of today’s salad is glass noodles, those delicate thin, transparent noodles that look just like rice vermicelli noodles except they are see-through. Like glasses. Hence, the name!
Combine those with a simple-yet-incredible hoisin dressing that clings rather than slides off the slippery noodles, fresh herbs, vegetables and shredded chicken, to make it a meal (or not!). Then finish with a shower of what I’m calling a lime cashew crumble, a ridiculously easy-to-make finishing touch that elevates this dish from mmmm this is so good thaw holy moly, how can a SALAD be so freakin’ delicious!!
What are glass noodles, and please tell me I can get them at my local shops!
Yes you can! Asian aisle, dried thin white noodle sticks labelled bean thread vermicelli noodles or variations thereof: bean thread glass noodles, glass noodles, or just bean thread. The package I get is pictured above.
Made from the starch of mung beans, they’re also commonly known as cellophane noodles and just require soaking in boiling water to rehydrate.
Typically in Asian cuisines, they’re used in soups, spring rolls, and stir fries. Today I’m using it in a salad because they make for a perfect no-cook satisfying salad for a summertime meal!
Can’t find glass noodles? No problem! Rice vermicelli noodles make a perfect substitute. They’re not seeing through. But that’s ok, we shall survive! 😂
What you need for this Glass Noodle Salad
I’ve made this salad as a meal by adding a good amount of chicken. But feel free to add more vegetables instead of making it a side salad, or a meat-free meal.
Try not to skip the fresh herbs, they bring such a lovely freshness to this salad! Also, don’t skip the lime cashew crumble. Make it once, and you’ll understand why I say that.
Bean thread / glass noodles / cellophane noodles – all the names these noodles go by! See above for a close up photo. Find it in the Asian or noodle aisle of grocery stores. Or, you can substitute with vermicelli noodles in a pinch!
Shredded chicken – It’s ok, you can just buy a roast chicken and shred the meat! 🙂 Otherwise, poach your own chicken breast or use any relatively plain flavored leftover roast chicken or other meat you have. Shred it or slice into batons.
For a meat-free alternative or to make this into a veg-loaded side salad, just skip the chicken and add more vegetables.
Carrot, cucumber and cabbage – The vegetables I’ve opted for. I like to julienne the carrot and cabbage so they jumble up nicely with the noodles. I cut the cucumber a little larger on an angle for some textural contrast – it’s nice to bite into some fresh juicy crunch!
Other vegetable suggestions – bean sprouts (handy no prep!), asparagus (finely slice on angle), crisp lettuce (finely slice), green beans (cook and cool), green papaya (shredded – see here for how), cherry tomatoes (halved), radish (julienned), lightly steamed Asian greens (cut into 7.5cm/3″ lengths), broccolini (cut into thin batons, lightly steamed).
Mint & coriander/cilantro – These herbs bring a fabulous South East Asian freshness to this salad! Really try not to skip these, if you can. But if you don’t have them (or are one of those coriander/cilantro haters) they can be skipped and it will still be a super tasty salad thanks to the dressing.
The Hoisin dressing
Glass noodles are slippery little suckers, so it’s good to make the dressing a little thicker so it clings to the noodles better. To do this, I use a touch of mayonnaise.
Kewpie mayonnaise – Don’t get turned off by the inclusion of mayonnaise in the dressing! It’s just 1 1/2 tablespoons, and as noted above, it makes the dressing a little creamy so it clings to the slippery noodles better. Plus, we’re using Kewpie mayonnaise. Everyone knows this Japanese mayo is the best one around! (But it’s ok, you won’t ruin the recipe if you use another type of mayo but you will do me proud if you get Kewpie).
Soy sauce – Provides the saltiness in the dressing.
Hoisin – flavour, touch of sweetness and also helps thicken the dressing because hoisin is a thick sauce. Love the Chinese five spice flavor in it.
Chinese five spice powder – For more five spice flavor goodness! This is a spice blend available at everyday grocery stores. It’s a spice mix made with star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, fennel and Sichuan pepper that is used widely in Chinese cooking as well as other Asian cuisines such as Vietnamese.
Rice vinegar – An Asian vinegar made out of (wait for it…..) rice! Using rice vinegar is on theme for this Asian flavored salad, but you can substitute with apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.
Sesame oil and canola oil – Sesame oil for flavour, and canola oil to make up the rest of the oil required so the sesame flavor isn’t too strong.
Fresh ginger – The dressing only calls for 3/4 teaspoon of finely grated ginger, for background flavour. I don’t use a lot because there’s plenty of other flavors going on. But feel free to dial it up!
Lime cashew crumble (don’t skip this!)
This is a fabulous, effortless finishing touch that gives this noodle salad that je ne sais quoi! It’s limey, salty and sweet, and makes cashews even better than they already are. Here’s all you need:
Thank you for inventing this Chef JB. We love your clever, simple ideas like this that make food even tastier with such little effort!
How to make glass noodle salad
Far out – what a treat – a 4 step recipe. 😂
Soak glass noodles in boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes until they become transparent and soften. Then drain and when cool enough to handle, loosen the tangle of noodles.
Note: Some packets will say to soak in cold water. Ignore it. Or – try it, get annoyed when it doesn’t work, drain then soak in boiling water. (That would be me.)
Toss lime cashew ingredients in a bowl. They can be used immediately or set aside for a while until needed.
Shake dressing ingredients in a jar.
Toss – Place all the salad ingredients except the lime cashews in a bowl and pour over the dressing. Toss well. Then add half the cashews and toss through. Pour into a large serving bowl or individual serving bowls, then sprinkle over the remaining cashews. Dive in!
How I make this noodle salad ahead
If you’re wanting to get ahead, you can prepare all the components separately ahead of time then toss them together just prior to serving. This is what I do – everything is kept in the fridge. You can just put everything in one large container, just keep them separated:
Noodles – soak, drain, detangle, cool.
Cabbage, carrot and cucumber – slice, store in container.
Shredded chicken – store in container.
Mint and coriander / cilantro leaves – Pick, wash, dry, store in paper towel lined container, covered with paper towel then a lid.
Lime crumble – make and keep in the fridge. If you made it a day+ ahead, give it a fresh spritz of lime juice and zest.
Dressing – shake in jar, store in fridge.
If you do this, the salad can be made up to 3 days ahead (the chicken will dictate the shelf life). Handy for meal prep / work lunches.
Hope you love this as much as I do! – Nagi x
PS In case you’re looking, more salads with substance this way -> Salad Meals recipe collection.
Watch how to make it
Glass noodle salad (cellophane / bean thread noodles)
Preparation: 20 my s
Light mains, Salad meal, Side Salad
Servings3 – 4
Tap or hover to scale
Glass noodles: Place dry noodles in a bowl and cover with freshly boiled water. Leave for 3 to 4 minutes or until transparent and softened. Drain, once slightly cooled untangle. Set aside to fully cool.
Lime cashew crumble: Place ingredients in a bowl and toss. (No marinating time needed)
Dressing: Place ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined.
Salad: Place glass noodle salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour over dressing, toss well. Add half the cashews, toss again.
Serve: Transfer to a large salad bowl or individual bowls. Sprinkle with remaining lime cashew crumble and serve!
Ignore the packet if it says to soak in cold water. It takes “forever” / sometimes just doesn’t work at all.
2. Chicken – Or poach your own, or use leftover cooked chicken or other proteins. To make this a side salad, skip the chicken and increase the vegetables.
3. Kewpie is a Japanese brand of mayonnaise that’s widely available these days, sold in the Asian section of grocery stores. It’s such a small amount it’s fine to substitute with another mayo. To make a mayo-free version, substitute with more canola oil. Tahini would also work as a thickener and double up on lovely sesame flavour.
4. Chinese five spices is a spice blend available at everyday grocery stores. It’s a spice mix made with star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, fennel and Sichuan pepper than is used widely in Chinese cooking as well as other Asian cuisines such as Vietnamese.
Storage: Keep the lime cashew crumble and dressing separate from the salad. Toss just prior to serving. Once dressed, best consumed that day. Lime cashew crumble will keep for a few days but lime flavor fades so best to make fresh. Dressing will keep for 3 days.
Nutrition per serving.
I love noodle salads.
Life of Dozer
Perfectly positioned on the cow hide rug…… a little disturbing, perhaps!!!