This 30 minute spring rice noodle salad is loaded with fresh and crisp vegetables, flavourful herbs, a simple and punchy dressing, and crunchy spicy-sweet peanuts. This vegan and gluten-free dish is a satisfying side for any protein that you’re serving up.
I remember eating celery sticks filled with peanut butter as a kid, and I still really love that combination. Something about crisp and watery celery with that intense peanut flavour that just works. This childhood snack was the inspiration for the flavour profile of this rice noodle salad! Naturally I wanted to bump up the veg, add some heat, and aim for a variation in textures.
I start by making chili maple glazed peanuts for the garnish/crunch factor. I cheat by getting the roasted and salted ones at the store that already have a good level of seasoning. They get quickly caramelized in a pan with the maple and ground chillies (I use Diaspora Guntur Sannam). Once they cool, we chop them up fine.
I dress the salad with a punchy but simple dressing of coconut aminos, lime, rice vinegar, chili oil, avocado oil, black pepper, and a hint of sweetness. The dressing on its own will taste slightly unbalanced. Maybe too acidic and possibly too salty for some tastes? I’ve learned that this is an ideal strategy for noodle salads! It all balances out in the end.
Celery is the main focus of the veg here, but I couldn’t resist some other Spring-y add-ins like peas, chopped snap peas, and radishes. A heavy hand with the green onions, mint, and cilantro is also a major contributor to the success of this salad.
Any protein that you like would be a great companion to this recipe. I recommend my Crispy Sesame Garlic Tofu, my Crispy Coconut Tofu or this Marinated and Grilled Tempeh. Hope you give this rice noodle salad a go soon! :)
Spring Rice Noodle Salad with Chili Maple Peanuts, Celery & Peas
Chili Maple Peanuts (makes extra)
- 1 cup roasted and salted peanuts
- 2 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon ground chillies
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- ¼ cup avocado oil or other neutral oil
- ½ – 1 teaspoon chili oil
- 1 teaspoon cane sugar/agave nectar/maple syrup
- ground black pepper, to taste
Rice Noodle Salad
- 16 oz Brown rice noodles
- avocado oil
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 sticks celery, finely sliced
- 1 heaped cup snap peas, chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed (could also use fresh shelled peas)
- 4-5 radishes, chopped
- 3 green onions, sliced thin
- ⅓ cup mint leaves, chopped
- ⅓ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- Make the chili maple peanuts. Preheat a dry, medium skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the peanuts, maple syrup, and chillies. It's going to really sizzle! Cook, stirring frequently, until syrup is caramelized/clinging and the peanuts are toasted, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer the peanuts to a plate and scatter them out in a single layer with a spatula. Let them cool completely.
- Make the dressing. In a sealable jar, combine the coconut aminos, lime juice, rice vinegar, avocado oil, chili oil, sugar, and black pepper. Close the lid tightly and give it a vigorous shake to combine. Set aside.
- Cook the rice noodles according to package directions and drain. As soon as you drain them, run some cold water over the noodles to cool them down and to wash off excess starch. Then, drizzle a bit of avocado oil over the drained noodles and give them a toss with your hands to coat.
- Transfer the cooked rice noodles to a large bowl and toss them with half of the dressing and some salt and pepper.
- Roughly chop the cooled chili maple peanuts.
- To the noodles, add the celery, snap peas, peas, radishes, green onions, mint, cilantro, and remaining dressing. Give everything a good toss to combine. Check the salad for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Then, garnish the rice noodle salad with more herbs and the chopped chili maple peanuts. I like to reserve some of the peanuts for topping individual servings.
- You can use Tamari instead of coconut aminos. I do find that Tamari has a deeper, much more salty flavour, so I would cut the amount back to 1/4 cup or even 3 tablespoons if you’re sensitive to salty flavours.
- I use the ground Guntur Sannam Chillies from Diaspora Co. for the peanuts. They are incredible here!
- The chili maple peanuts can go from perfectly glazed and golden to burnt really fast. I recommend keeping an eye on them the entire time and stirring constantly.