Sesame Noodles with Kale and Cabbage


As I struggled up the last hill towards home, the thought of a big lunch dampened the pain on my burning legs.  I was ready for my reward after an overly-ambitious bicycle ride with the boys–lots of food!  I inched along, mentally itemizing the contents of my refrigerator and pantry.  This was one day when carb-loading would be enjoyed guilt-free.  Pasta? Check, but I didn’t want to spend time on the stove to make a sauce.  Then I remembered that I had leftover kale and cabbage from the previous night’s salad; a sesame vinaigrette would be easy to whip together.  What got me up the last quarter mile climb?  The thought of filling my belly with an Asian-style noodle salad.



Normally, a simple plate of noodles tossed in a ginger-sesame vinaigrette is enough to satisfy me but with the joy of completing a ride that I didn’t think I would finish came the motivation to throw in whatever else I could to kick up a notch an otherwise very basic dish.

This may have been the product of odds and bits I had in my refrigerator but after tasting it the first time I wouldn’t make it any other way.  All of these ingredients were meant to be together (well, my husband would like me to omit the cucumber but I happen to like it) but adjust to your liking.  If you don’t like peanuts, use almonds.  If cilantro tastes like soap to you, use parsley.  Omit the chicken if you want this to be vegetarian but in my opinion you can’t have too much kale and cabbage in this noodle salad.  As for the dressing, it’s a simple base of rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger and garlic but I like to spice it up a bit with sambal oelek.  Feel free to add your favorite chili sauce instead.  I’ve served this three or four times in the last couple of weeks…hopefully, you’ll like it as much as I do.



5.0 from 6 reviews
Sesame Noodles with Kale and Cabbage
Serves: 3-4
  • *for about ⅔ cup of dressing*
  • ⅓ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons sambal (or any chili sauce you prefer)
  • 2 Cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger (or 1 tablespoon fresh, grated)
  • 3 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (I use a light olive oil for almost everything but you can use any neutral oil you prefer)
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • *Salad Ingredients*
  • Leftover roast chicken (1 cup)
  • ½ pound cooked spaghetti
  • ⅓- 1/2 head of green cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 6-8 kale leaves, sliced thinly (I use dinosaur kale aka lacinato or Tuscan kale--more delicately flavored than curly kale so it's pleasant to eat raw)
  • Thinly sliced red onion (about ⅓ of a regular-size onion)
  • 2 Persian cucumbers diced (or ⅓ of a regular cucumber)
  • Chopped scallions (2 - 3 stems)
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Roasted peanuts
  1. To prepare the vinaigrette, combine the ingredients from the vinegar to the oil in a bowl and whisk until emulsified. Taste and add a pinch of salt if you feel it needs it. Set aside while you prepare the salad.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the salad ingredients together and add the vinaigrette (in increments until it's the way you like it). Toss together, plate and serve.
Use the proportions as a guide. Add more or less of the salad ingredients that you like.





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  1. I love this salad, Jean! I wouldn’t change a thing either – it’s perfect (cucumber, cilantro, and all!) :).

  2. This salad looks so colorful and delicious with different textures and ingredients!

  3. A scrumptious salad! So refreshing and flavorful. Great combination of textures.



  4. The reward of food would be what would also push me to the finish line. This is a great reward! My husband also doesn’t care for cucumbers and I love them. Thanks for sharing Jean, it really looks mouthwatering and so healthy too:)

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Thanks, Nancy! I guess we’re both married to cucumber-averse guys! Mine asked me, “can you tell me what cucumber is ever good in?” Too funny! Of course, I had a few examples to give him.

      Have a great rest of the week! 🙂

  5. What a feast for the eyes *and* the tummy, post work out. I often find myself craving carb heavy foods after a workout, but what I love about this is that is has so much lightness and freshness, that it won’t sink to the bottom of the belly afterwards. All too often you feel like you cancel out the exercise with the following meal, but in this case, I know I wouldn’t feel guilty!

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Liren, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve returned home from a workout only to cancel out all the calories I burned in one meal! Yes, this one at least doesn’t leave me feeling guilty afterwards!

      Have a great rest of the week!

  6. Yum, I’d race home on my bike too. Probably not on hot dog dudes though, lol. I have some rice noodles in the fridge that I needed something to do with, this sounds great to me. It sounds like you have gotten back out there with your bike. Hope you are having a great week, mine is going way too fast.

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Oh, Gina! You made me laugh! I’m sure hot dude’s bike will get you up our hill, LOL! Seriously, this salad was a nice lunch after a long ride. 🙂

      My week has gone way too fast, too. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  7. Yes, I like! I love how the thought of what delicious food we will be filling ourselves up with helps us make it through the rough patches in life! Many times the thought of an Asian inspired noodle salad has done the trick for me,- even one without noodles-to be honest;-)

  8. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    I would be racing for a plate of this any day of the week. I am always interested new noodle ideas. And also kale ideas. I usually add it to a soup with veggies. This is a delicious recipe I will try very soon.:)

  9. I too would leave out the cucumber as it’s not to my liking but the rest of this would go down very nicely. I love leftover nights because the imagination has to come into play to create something palatable with all sorts of odds and ends.

  10. What a GREAT reward for a hard ride! I just got home from work and now looking at your posting, I am even more hungry! This salad is a winner and I need to make it very soon. Hope your week is going well! 🙂

  11. I have to just minus the kale and that dish would make me so happy. Love sesame noodle! Love the set up of the first photo.

  12. Jean this is my kind of salad, I love all the Asian flavors here!

  13. What an awesome salad. I seriously love everything about it, from the marriage of flavors to your gorgeous presentation!

  14. Oh, you are living such a healthy lifestyle that I am starting to feel like the “bad kid” in school who eats lots of junk! LOL! Your noodles look fantastic! In fact, too fantastic to eat…! So beautifully presented, as usual, Jean!

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Oh, Jen! I never walk away from your blog thinking that your recipes are unhealthy–quite the contrary! To be honest, I’ve been more mindful of my diet lately simply because I haven’t wanted to put on extra pounds before our vacation! Now you know. 🙂

      Have a great weekend!

  15. Gorgeous! Definitely would get me to finish a run! I love Asian flavors and noodle dishes are a favorite.

  16. This looks lovely and full of fresh flavors!

  17. Jen’s comment was funny… I was going to say similar too, and if you eat like this to maintain your slender body I’d follow your path… LOL! I love the dressing. When the noodles are in it, salad becomes very easy-to-feed salad for the kids. This is really a nice little trick to combine healthy ingredients and flavor together. I’m just happy that I have another great kale recipe. 🙂

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Nami, you know I like rich food, LOL! I’ve just been trying to be careful so I don’t put on weight before our trip–I know I’ll gain enough while I’m on vacation! I have a feeling I’ll be needing to eat this salad a lot when I return! 🙂

      Have a great weekend!

  18. This is the kind of noodle salad I could eat all summer long!

  19. Perhaps I will do half chicken for my family and half without for me 🙂 But I promise to load up on the kale and cabbage 🙂 A very delightful salad, and yes I want the cucumbers as well…
    Hope you are having a lovely week Jean

  20. Funny… up until about 15 years ago I couldn’t handle even the smell of sesame oil. Now, however I simply cant get enough of it! Liv, on the other hand has loved it since she was little. I can almost count on any recipe with sesame oil to be a hit with her. And now that she has entered her teenage years, the peer pressure from friends had her trying a salad here and there. Lately she can’t get enough salad either!! I’ve yet to mix the two, salad and the sesame oil, together yet, but I’m going to try this one.
    And on another note… your photos are SO beautiful!!!
    Happy weekend, Jean!!

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