Rainbow Sesame Rice Noodle Bowl - Vegan + Gluten-Free

Cold Sesame Rice Noodle Bowl with Rainbow Veggies – Pack a Plant-Based Lunch (vegan + gluten-free)

Rainbow Sesame Rice Noodle Bowl - Vegan + Gluten-Free

This rainbow-hued rice noodle bowl is the perfect quick dish to pack for work or school. In less than a half hour you can have several healthy plant based lunches ready to grab and go on those busy mornings. This crunchy cool noodle salad is packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants, and flavor, and will keep you feeling light and energized all afternoon.

Rainbow Sesame Cold Rice Noodle Bowl

When I was working full-time, I rarely packed my own lunch. I was just too rushed in the morning to bother with it. I’d end up piecing something together at the employee cafe or hurrying to a nearby eatery for something to go. In either of these scenarios, I was spending quite a bit of money, and often not coming up with the healthiest options. When I was creating this noodle salad, my goal was to make a lunch that was inexpensive, quick to throw together, nutritious, easy to pack, and didn’t require re-heating. Not only is this a great lunch to take to work, but it’s an easy and tasty lunch for the kiddos to take to school, and an easy meal for college kids tired of cafeteria offerings.

To pack an easy, and no-cook protein punch, I used this super-convenient pre-marinated and baked tofu from Nasoya. It’s organic and gmo-free, and all you have to do is slice or cut into cubes and eat! One package has four small blocks, which got me four lunches worth. The teriyaki flavor went perfectly with my sesame dressing.

rainbow veggie noodle bowls

Feel free to experiment with different veggies, noodles, and even protein sources. If you don’t eat soy, try organic canned chickpeas. If you already have 8 lbs of organic spaghetti in your house because there a was a great deal at Costco that you couldn’t pass up, use spaghetti! I loved using the rice noodles, because all you have to do is add hot water to them and let them sit for about 10 minutes and drain. For a thicker sauce, try adding a few tablespoons of almond or peanut butter, or use my delicious Easy Peanut Sauce, for another yummy variation.

Rainbow Sesame Rice Noodle Bowl

Keep things easy breezy for back to school or busy workdays and whip up this delicious plant-based sesame noodle bowl!

Cold Sesame Rice Noodle Bowl with Rainbow Veggies

Makes 3-4 servings

Prep time 30 minutes or less

  • 4-5 oz. of rice noodles, I used about a half package of these rice sticks (soaked in water method)
  • 1 package Nasoya organic teriyaki tofubaked, cubed (or omit to make it soy free)
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 cup of purple cabbage sliced thin
  • 1 small cucumber, quartered and sliced

Sesame Vinaigrette 

  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp low sodium tamari or coconut aminos (for soy-free) or more to taste
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2-3 tsp pure sesame oil
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger (or a couple pinches of ground ginger)
  • optional: pinch of red pepper flakes

Toppings: Sesame seeds, cilantro, extra dash of tamari or coconut aminos


Prepare noodles according to package directions. If using noodles that need to be cooked in boiling water, rinse them with cold water and drain.

Add all prepared veggies and tofu (or chickpeas) to a large bowl. Mix up dressing ingredients in a small bowl or glass measuring cup, taste and adjust ingredients to your liking.

If eating right away, simply toss everything together and serve. If planning to pack in lunches for later, toss the noodles with about 1 tsp of sesame oil (this will help the noodles keep from sticking together) and then toss with the veggies and tofu. Divide the salad into 3 or 4 glass lidded containers. Put the dressing into little jars with lids. Store everything in the fridge. Pack the salad and dressing in your lunch bag and when ready to eat, pour a little dressing over the noodles and top as desired.

Notes and Variations:

  1. You may want to double the dressing recipe, especially if you plan to divide the salad and dressing and take this to work for lunch.
  2. Try making the dish with other veggies you like:
  • Blanched broccoli
  • thawed frozen peas
  • fresh snap or snow peas
  • green cabbage
  • bean sprouts

3. Add 3-4 tbsp of almond or peanut butter, or tahini to the dressing for a thicker sauce.

4. Try it with my Easy Peanut Sauce


Do you pack your lunch for work or for your kiddos? What’s your favorite easy plant-based lunch on the go?


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