Move over mayo-drenched pasta salads, this Asian pasta salad is dressed with a sweet-salty sesame vinaigrette and filled with fresh vegetables.
asian pasta salad

Let’s keep this short and sweet savory because after cooking for 48 hours straight, I kind of need a weekend from my weekend and instead I have the most crazy work-packed week.

Didn’t having the day off after Easter used to be a thing? Only in my dreams? Gotcha.


Thankfully this pasta salad comes together in a hot second, because any longer than that and I don’t think I could keep it together.

It’s a boil –> saute –> toss –> eat situation. You could probably do it with one hand behind your back.

You can definitely do it while honing your ability to sleep while standing up. Totally a pasta salad selling point.

As you’ve probably heard me say a gazillion few times before mayo is really not my thang, so I’ve made it my life’s mission to create as many pasta salad variations as possible that don’t use it. This being the latest installment.

With a sesame-honey vinaigrette, it’s a touch sweet, mostly savory and chock full of nutritiousness from peppers, kale, chickpeas, carrots, and cashews. Weeknight friendly, weekend approved.


Asian Pasta Salad
Move over mayo-drenched pasta salads, this Asian pasta salad is dressed with a sweet-salty sesame vinaigrette and filled with fresh vegetables.
Yield: 6 as a main dish, 8-10 as a side dish
  • 1 lb pasta
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, leaves coarsely chopped and stems removed
  • 1¾ cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup sesame sticks
  • 1 cup salted cashews, coarsely chopped
For the dressing
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp sesame oil over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves and ginger to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the carrots and bell peppers. Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until just tender, stirring frequently. Stir in the kale and saute until wilted, another 2-3 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the pasta with the cooked vegetables and chickpeas.
  4. For the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the remaining sesame oil, honey, soy sauce, and white balsamic vinegar. Pour over the noodles and pasta mixture and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  5. Mix in the sesame sticks and cashews just before serving.
An Eats Well With Others Original
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bowl

 More fresh-flavored pasta salads:

mediterranean tortellini salad with red wine vinaigrette

Mediterranean Tortellini Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

roasted string bean, tomato, basil, and mozzarella ravioli salad

Roasted String Bean, Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Ravioli Salad

pesto pasta salad

Pesto Pasta Salad with Roasted Asparagus, String Beans, Cherry Tomatoes, and Olives

From Around the Web:

Grilled Veggie Pasta Salad from Hip Foodie Mom

Pasta Salad with Basil Vinaigrette from Vikalinka

Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad from The Wanderlust Kitchen

Smoky Heirloom Tomato and Grilled Peach Pasta Salad from How Sweet It Is

5 Ingredient Simple Green Pasta Salad from Pinch of Yum


Asian pasta salad
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37 Responses to Asian Pasta Salad

  1. Beth says:

    Mayo is fine in a sandwich, but never in a salad. This is my kind of salad, and you can bet I’ll be trying it out!

  2. Trisha says:

    I’m with ya on the no mayo thing. And who needs it when you can have do much more flavor with a vinaigrette? Sorry you’ve had to work so much. Will be sending positive vibes your way this week. You got this!!

  3. Oh I’m so down with these because mayo = no bueno for me. And yeah, I think other countries get the day off after Easter. But here in America, we are just work work work!

  4. We survived spring break unscathed. Oh wait, that’s right…I’m now sick. The good news is the kids go back to school today and I can rest. Oh wait, there’s no rest! I love mayo, BUT I love a salad without it, too. And you sold me at Asian. I want this…even if I can’t taste it. Sounds amazing.

  5. Joanne, oh my gawd, I love this pasta salad!!!! it’s seriously gorgeous and I want to do a face plant into that first photo. . 48 hours of cooking?! dang girl. . well, hope you get a little R&R today. .
    and eat some of this deliciousness while you’re at it. . thank you so much for the link love! Happy Monday and hope the week goes by fast!

  6. SallyBR says:

    I am part of the mayo-haters club, so your dressing is perfect for me!

  7. Sesame vinaigrette sounds phenomenal! Love the idea of pasta salad without mayo!

  8. Heather says:

    Love alternatives to mayo – I’m not a huge fan and prefer my pasta salads to not be drenched in it. This sounds delicious!

  9. Pam says:

    Mmmm. Great textures and flavors – I am loving this Asian pasta salad Joanne.

  10. Lori R. says:

    This is such a great idea! I can’t wait to give that dressing a try. It sounds so good for any kind of salad!

  11. Love the sesame-honey vinaigrette! Such a great flavor combo!

  12. Loving the sesame sticks and the salted cashews. And I feel ya! I didn’t get off work Friday or today! What happened to Easter holiday, huh?

  13. Julia says:

    Dang girl! I hope you get a little R&R after all that cooking! I love pasta salads that are mayo-free and not drenched in dressing. This looks absolute perfection! xo

  14. I’m not a mayo person either. I use it in scant quantities when it’s absolutely needed but otherwise…… thanks. Another great salad for a patio meal.

  15. This salad looks wonderful, Joanne. I bet it tastes terrific at any temperature too and love those crunchy sesame sticks. Yum!

  16. If I ever did 48 hours of cooking, I wouldn’t even have any power left to boil pasta. You are a super woman! This pasta salad looks awesome.

  17. Erica says:

    This is PERFECT for school! Sesame dressing is the best kind. Thanks for the dinner idea, will be making this in the upcoming weeks.
    Good luck with school/work this week!

  18. Love this, it’s simple and healthy! Mayo is nice sometimes, but can weigh you down. Love how light this is!

  19. I much prefer my pasta salads with this kind of dressing rather than mayo.

  20. Mmmm – love the flavours here – Joanne.

  21. cheri says:

    What a beautiful pasta salad, love everything about it Joanne!

  22. Yum,yum, and more yum! Love this salad !! Bravo Joanne!!

  23. Asha says:

    This is perfect, a great combination of all healthy stuff. I would chose this over mayo anytime. Get some rest sweets and have a great week.

  24. easypeasy says:

    This looks great! I like how you put a twist on pasta salad 🙂

  25. Luckily for us, the day after Easter is a holiday. But I’m in need of a break due to how busy we were 🙂

  26. Kelly says:

    Yikes, hope this week goes by quickly for you. Love this mayo-free pasta salad! The sesame honey dressing sounds perfect!

  27. I am not a big fan of Mayo. There, I said it! And case in point, the salad above. When you do a bit of cooking, it’s easy to imagine how something might taste. And this would surely be divine. It had better be, after 48 hours of cooking. I have done quite a few cooking marathons myself, so I feel your pain!

  28. Cailee says:

    Yum!! This looks amazing! Great recipe girl!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  29. Eileen says:

    Tangy pasta salads like this are my go-to when I need instant lunch! I love the idea of using cashews here — somehow I only think to use them in stir-frys with rice, and never with pasta.

  30. Lynn says:

    I’m trying to steer clear of mayo, too. This salad is the ticket!

  31. I love the colors in this pasta salad.The pasta salad sounds yummy and I love the dressing that goes with it.

  32. Johanna GGG says:

    oh I love your salads – this looks so delicious and I need more of this after easter – the easy meals and the veg packed meals – but am curious about the sesame sticks – never heard of them – though our asian shop might have them

  33. Kate says:

    This seems like a good break after 48 hours of cooking!

  34. elly says:

    This is perfect. I think I’m going to try it with quinoa first. This time of year I love bringing grain salads to work for lunch.

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