gluten-free soba noodles
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Cold noodles don’t automatically equal pasta salad; try these cold noodle recipes for easy summer meals when it’s too hot for soup.

Much like revenge, noodles can be a dish best served cold (or room temperature). Paired with the right protein(s), veggies and zestful seasoning, you’ll have a scrumptious make-ahead meal (perfect for a workday lunch) or a big batch of a filling entree, snack, or side that’ll last for days.

While we’re certainly fans of picnic-bound pasta salads, the globe-spanning dishes highlighted below are exclusively of the noodle variety (and virtually mayo-free) that are ideal for your summer spread.

Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Picnicking

Sesame Noodle Salad with Tofu

Sesame Noodle Salad with Tofu

Chowhound

A satisfying blend of textures and flavors makes this salad shine. Soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles) and pan-fried tofu bring the chewiness while cucumber and bell pepper take care of the crunch. A dressing of ginger, soy, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes provides notes of salty, sour, and spice while a dash of sesame oil adds a pronounced nuttiness. Get our Sesame Noodle Salad with Tofu recipe.

Hakubaku Authentic Japanese Buckwheat Noodles, $5.43 from Amazon

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Vietnamese-Style Summer Rolls

Vietnamese summer rolls with shrimp, vermicelli, and peanut dipping sauce

Chowhound

Rice noodles join forces with fresh herbs and veggies in these seasonally inspired packages of cool bliss. Stuff with shrimp or opt for tofu if you want to keep things vegetarian. A salty, sweet peanut sauce is the perfect dipper. Get our Vietnamese-Style Summer Rolls recipe.

Related Reading: 11 Simple Shrimp Recipes for Summer

Soba Noodles with Swiss Chard-Miso Pesto

gluten-free soba noodles

Chowhound

This easy-to-prepare vegetarian Japanese-Italian fusion is bound to become a staple of your weeknight dinner roster. Swiss chard and red miso swap spots with basil and pine nuts for a full-throated pesto while soba takes on the noodle role. Get our Soba Noodles with Swiss Chard-Miso Pesto recipe.

Zaru Soba

Take a dip with this classic Japanese preparation. The chilled soba noodles topped with shredded nori may be simple but the accompanying sauce which blends sake, mirin, soy sauce, dried kelp, and bonito flakes is anything but. Get the Zaru Soba recipe.

Related Reading: Beyond Ramen: 9 Japanese Noodle Recipes to Know Right Now

Asian Peanut Noodles

Chowhound

Peanut butter anchors the multi-faceted dressing for this Chinese takeout favorite. Choose between soba or heartier udon noodles. Toss with herbs and vegetables and serve cold or at room temperature.

Related Reading: This Pork Dumpling Recipe Is Inspired By My Favorite Takeout Restaurant

Japchae (Korean Stir-Fried Sweet Potato Noodles)

Japchae (Korean Stir-Fried Sweet Potato Noodles) recipe

Chowhound

How these dry, grey tuber-derived noodles (also known as Korean vermicelli) turn crystal clear in hot water is a mini-marvel in food science. Even more miraculous is how good they taste when paired with a delicate soy sauce, sesame oil, and brown sugar vinaigrette and an assortment of chopped veggies. Get our Japchae recipe.

Surasang Japchae Sweet Potato Noodles, 4 packs for $11.96 from World Market

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Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Ramen)

If you’re a ramen fanatic, you’ve probably had every version under the sun…shoyu, tonkatsu, shio, the list goes on. But served cold? That may be uncharted territory. If it’s a scorching hot day, chill out with this refreshing, soup-less bowl of chilled noodles, vegetables, ham, and eggs with a double dose of dressings (soy and sesame) plus an array of garnishes. Get the Hiyashi Chuka recipe.

Related Reading: 9 Recipes for Ramen Noodles That Go Way Beyond Soup

Mul Naengmyeon

Even though it’s served chilled, this Korean favorite brings the heat courtesy of a heavy dash of mustard powder. Buckwheat naengmyeon noodles take a cold bath in a dongchimi (radish water kimchi) brine-spiked beef broth for the ultimate summer slurper. Get the Mul Naengmyeon recipe.

Related Reading: I Recreated the Jjapaguri Ram-Don Noodles from ‘Parasite’ & You Should Too

Bubbe’s Luchen Kugel

Jewish noodle kugel

Chowhound

It’s tempting to eat kugel while it’s fresh from the oven. But if leftovers remain, you’re in for a real treat. The sweet, eggy Eastern European noodle casserole is arguably at its best enjoyed straight outta the fridge. Get Bubbe’s Luchen Kugel recipe.

David is a food and culture writer based in Los Angeles by way of New York City. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, CBS Local, Mashable, and Gawker.
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