Cashew Crunch Salad with Sesame Dressing Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Cashew Crunch Salad with Sesame Dressing

99 reviews / 4.9 average

This Cashew Crunch Salad is loaded up with crunchy veg, chow mein noodles, edamame, and roasted cashews and it’ll make you ACTUALLY WANT TO EAT A SALAD. And the sesame dressing – OMG!

This post was originally published in 2018, but our love for this salad runs DEEP and it’s the perfect crunchy hot-weather treat. Here’s to fresh, colorful, texture-perfect summer food. ✌🏼

What’s it called when you want something that tastes really, really good… but is also basically a high pile of fresh, vibrant, feel-good-in-your-body vegetables? You call it Cashew Crunch Salad, that’s what you call it.

This Salad Is Checking All The Boxes

Lunch rolls around and my internal conversation goes like this:

  • I’m hungry.
  • What would taste awesome right now?
  • No, wait, what would be super healthy right now? Because…mocha peanut butter pie?
  • No, but what would actually fill me up?
  • WAIT WAIT WAIT what about that salad with the sesame dressing that is awesome-tasting AND healthy AND keeps me full because it’s full of so many friendly fats and good stuff?
  • Yes! I love salad!
  • I love vegetables!
  • I love life!

That’s an actual transcript of my internal dialogue. These are the terms I think in: tastes amazing, mostly healthy, still fills me up.

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Cashew Crunch Salad in a bowl with a spoon.

Let’s Discuss This Sesame Dressing

The dressing might be my favorite part of this mix-up.

It’s an oil-and-vinegar dressing that you can shake up in a jar, sweetened up with a little sugar, seasoned with a little sesame oil, and… if you are me… creamified with a dollop of Greek yogurt or mayo. I don’t know, for me, a vinaigrette-drenched salad just isn’t going to keep me full. I need a little more creaminess happening in my salads, so I just took my favorite retro dressing (shout out to Kim Harcey of my old First Baptist Church cookbook ♡) and creamied it up a teensy bit.

Pouring dressing on Cashew Crunch Salad.

Make This Salad Your Way

For the vegans – leave out the creamy stuff!

For the gluten-free-ers – leave out the crunchy chow mein noodles!

For the protein-lovers – add some grilled chicken! Or shrimp! Or… I don’t know, tofu?! This quickly becomes a dinner entree salad with juicy grilled chicken sliced across the top.

Cashew crunch salad in a bowl with a spoon and a bowl of cashews in the background.

I would not be sad if this was my lunch for the rest of the summer.

Gooooo team vegetables!

Cashew Crunch Salad: FAQs

This looks great! Can I prep any of this salad ahead of time?

Yes! If you are making this ahead, you can definitely chop and prep all the veggies in advance and even mix them together. I would just hold off on mixing in the chow mein, cashews, and dressing until just before serving.

What kind of edamame should I buy for this?

I buy edamame frozen, already shelled, and just boil them for a few minutes like you would boil peas.

I’m going to add some protein to this. Any suggestions for how to prepare it?

If you want to grill some chicken or shrimp to go on top (yummy), I recommend marinating it in soy sauce, honey, and garlic for a bit to give even more flavor.

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Cashew Crunch Salad-3

Cashew Crunch Salad with Sesame Dressing

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x


This Cashew Crunch Salad is loaded up with crunchy veg, chow mein noodles, edamame, and roasted cashews and it’ll make you ACTUALLY WANT TO EAT A SALAD. And the sesame dressing – OMG!


Units Scale

For the Salad:

  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1/2 head of purple cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 cups carrots, matchstick-cut or shredded
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 2 cups cooked edamame (see FAQs)
  • 12 cup roasted cashews (see notes)
  • 2 cups crunchy chow mein noodles (optional)
  • chicken, shrimp, or any other protein you like


  • 1/4 cup olive oil (you can use any other oil as well)
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oilvery important for flavor!
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • a few shakes of garlic powder
  • optional: 1/4 cup Greek yogurt or mayo (more or less to taste – this changes it from a vinaigrette to more of a creamy dressing)


  1. Shake the dressing ingredients up in a jar until smooth. Add the Greek yogurt or mayo (if using) and shake again until smooth. YUM.
  2. Toss all the salad ingredients together. Drizzle with dressing and serve!


Cashews: I like this salad with regular roasted cashews – I also love it with those hot, flavor-loaded Thai-spiced cashews from ALDI!

Dressing: You can easily omit the Greek yogurt or mayo to keep this a vegan / dairy free salad! The dressing will be a little less thick (more like a vinaigrette), but it’s still totally delicious. For a creamy dairy-free alternative, you could try miso! To make this gluten free, leave out the chow mein noodles.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Chop
  • Cuisine: Asian-Inspired

Keywords: cashew crunch salad, asian salad, sesame dressing, cashew salad

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Lol, your internal dialogue is perfect! Mine usually ends with “but healthy is boring, go for the pie!” Glad that healthy doesn’t have to be boring and can be really vibrant and flavorful with this. Excited to try!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Sounds delicious! Do you cook the chow mein noodles or do you just put them straight to the salad? Thanks.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        You dont have to cook chow mein noodles. Matter of fact they’re nice and crunchy and I love to snack on them!

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This salad is just screaming my name! I found gluten free crunchy chow mein noodles and was so excited to add them to salads. Can’t wait to make this!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        There’s a local company in the upper midwest that sold them at the gluten free allergy expo! Called Down In The Valley Bakehouse

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Terry D

      This salad was perfect for the first warm night in MN 2020! I had to add some regular lettuce also, because my family is not cabbage fans. So yum, Lindsay! Thank you!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hey…ooh…what if you put some of your awesome looking cashew sauce in the dressing to add creaminess but keep it vegan? Would that even work? It just seems like there really needs to be a way to incorporate that sauce here

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks like a great salad recipe. My wife has been telling me ‘no salads for meals’ a while now and I think I am gonna try to change that. This looks like it is just the remedy.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Where does one find crunchy chow mein noodles? Are they in the international foods aisle with soy source, etc?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      jenn in GA

      yes, jill, they’re usually in the Asian section at my store, and they come in either a can (weird, I know) or a clear cellophane bag. if you’re unfamiliar with them, i’d only add them to the salad when you serve each portion. they’ll get super soggy if you mix them in and then don’t eat all the salad.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Now that looks “awesomely” delicious, Lindsay. I did my cardio today on the treadmill at the gym. I think in my last few comments, I was talking about how you inspire me to eat healthier. And I am now. I cooked mom today mixed veggies in a wok with seasoned Tofu and went light on the salt. I hadn’t cooked for her in a good while so i figured after the gym today, I’d do something nice for her. And I never thought of Cashew salad with Sesame dressing. I might try this someday! 🙂

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Susan Best⁹

      I made this tonight and it was delicious! So, so delicious ! My husband loved it too! Thankyou for the fantastic recipe!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    just pinned this and cannot wait to make it this summer!!! i love salads, but i find myself making the same ones over and over again, which gets kinda boring. i love all the crunch and flavor in this one!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Made this last night and it was so good that I had it again for lunch today. The perfect summer salad!!!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Okay hopefully this isn’t silly question…or at least if it’s silly you get to laugh out loud. What do you mean by “crunchy chow mein noodles”? Do you mean uncooked or are there actually crunchy noodles?

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Where do you get your chow mein noodles? Do you have a specific brand you typically use? I always have trouble finding them.

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This salad is delicious! It is, in fact, way better than I thought it would be. Left the yogurt out due to a lactose problem in the family and did not add any meat or seafood, and it was very satisfying. Thanks for a great recipe!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was so good! Made it last night. Sautéed tempeh after marinating it in a batch of the dressing to give it some flavor and added it after it cooled. YUM!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I can’t say I’ve ever left a review for a salad. A brownie recipe? Of course! But a SALAD? Nope. But this deserves so much praise. I quadrupled the dressing and made a huge batch to last the whole week. Paired it with some grilled chicken marinated in soy sauce and honey (as suggested) and it was seriously the most satisfying salad I’ve probably ever had.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Experimented with this on a potluck dinner crowd and it was a big hit. I didn’t have the chow mein noodles, chose not to use chicken or fish and didn’t use the yogurt. I thought it was great.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Making it for tonight – looks so good!
      Have you ever added peanut butter to the dressing for a little added peanut flavor?