This Vietnamese noodle salad is a vibrant salad of fresh herbs, vegetables and vermicelli rice noodles tossed in a zesty Nuoc Cham dressing.
This healthy Vietnamese noodle salad makes a quick and easy weeknight meal. Serve it with shredded chicken or prawns, or tofu if you're vegetarian.
The salad is full of fresh vegetables and zesty dressing but the main flavour comes from the combination of fresh mint leaves and fresh coriander.
Traditional vietnamese noodle salad
There are so many types of noodle salad that are traditional in Vietnamese cuisine. Many contain fresh herbs and zesty dressings. This salad is based on a combination of the salad Gỏi gà and the salad Gỏi chay.
Gỏi gà is a chicken salad, made with shredded vegetables, rice noodles, herbs and shredded chicken. It's tossed in a zesty dressing that uses fish sauce as the base.
Gỏi chay is the vegetarian version of this salad. The dressing contains soy sauce instead of fish sauce.
This easy Vietnamese noodle salad is a mix between the two. There is no meat in the salad, leaving it open to add your own options, but the dressing does contain fish sauce. Fish sauce adds umami to the salad which is a wonderful savoury note. Soy sauce does an 'okay' job as a substitute but nothing is as good as fish sauce.
A healthy salad recipe
This rice noodle salad is full of vitamins and minerals from fresh vegetables and herbs. It is a very healthy salad.
Use in-season vegetables for the best benefits. The dressing and the herbs give the main flavour in the salad, so the shredded vegetables that go alongside can be switched up depending on what is in season.
The salad ingredients
The ingredient list for this fresh noodle salad is bursting with colour, textures, vitamins and minerals.
- Carrots - Shredded into thin matchsticks. Carrots add natural sweetness and color.
- Cucumber - Cucumbers add freshness.
- Bean Sprouts - They bring a pleasant crunch.
- Spring Onions - Bring a little bite.
- Fresh Mint and Coriander - These two herbs are a powerhouse of flavor.
- Rice vermicelli noodles, known as Bun - They are quick and easy to cook, fun to eat and soak up the flavor of the dressing well.
- Chopped peanuts - For texture.
Depending on the time of the year, different vegetables are in season. Here are a few substitutions that can be made to stay seasonal or just for personal taste.
- Cucumber - Shredded radish such as daikon, or very finely shredded cabbage can be the substitute for the cucumber when it's not in season.
- Bean Sprouts - These can be substituted with snow peas or microgreens.
- Peanuts - Chopped peanuts can be substitued with other chopped nuts of your choice or sunflower or pumpkin seeds for crunch.
The nuoc cham dressing
Nuoc cham (Nước Chấm) is an ambiguous name for the salty, sweet, umami-packed sauce used in many Vietnamese dishes. It literally translates to 'dipping sauce' but can also be used as a dressing.
The ingredient list is short but each one provides an element of taste to create the perfect dressing. It has sweetness, saltiness, heat, acidity and of course umami.
- Fish Sauce
- Fresh lime juice or lemon juice
- Brown sugar
Preparing the salad
In a large bowl, simply combine all the salad ingredients, pour over the dressing and toss it all together.
Garnish it with chopped peanuts.
Making noodle salad in advance
The salad and the dressing can be made in advance, however, it is best to keep them separate until it is time to serve. Once you are ready to serve the salad, pour over the dressing.
More salad ideas
- 150g rice vermicelli noodles
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 1 cucumber, shredded*
- 4 spring onions, sliced
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh coriander
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh mint
- ¼ cup peanuts, chopped (to serve)
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 2 ½ tablespoon fresh lime juice or lemon juice
- 1 ½ tablespoon soft brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- Cook the rice noodles according to the manufacturer's instructions, then set them aside to cool.
- In a jar, combine the dressing ingredients and shake them together to combine.
- In a large bowl, combine all the salad ingredients, pour over the dressing and toss it all together. Garnish with chopped peanuts. If making the salad in advance, keep the dressing separate and pour it over once serving.
To make this salad vegetarian, the fish sauce can be substituted for soy sauce or vegan fish sauce.
*If cucumbers are not in season, they can be substituted with grated radish
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 168Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1474mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 7g