Holy moly. This salad is a summertime flavor showstopper for your mouth, and it’s all thanks to the simple but incredibly lime-and-lemongrass-based sauce that just slips all over the plate, coating every bite and putting flavor into every last delicious corner and crevice.
And as a person who really enjoys big, savory-sweet, nuanced flavor, even though I always always question the fish sauce, I really cannot say enough how much I love this salad.
Like most of us, my favorite kinds of salads are based around noodles. In this case, thin, delicate skinny little rice noodles called vermicelli. Team carb salads!
I also love it when salads are beautiful:
But listen – I also live a real life where I don’t always have time to FIND something to eat for before 3pm much less assemble beautiful salads? Know what I mean?
So I wanted to give you two options for this salad.
- Pretty Method: that’s what’s pictured above.
- Meal Prep Method: that’s what I most often use and it’s what’s pictured below.
With the Meal Prep Method, we cut our losses with a slightly less beautiful bowl, but we embrace some advance assembly and have a really quick way to throw a meal together come lunchtime.
Or breakfast? And I’m not just saying this: I woke up the next day and craved this salad for breakfast.
I hope you love your lemongrass-loaded, sauce-slicked summer showstopper as much as I did.
This recipe was inspired by a conversation about Vietnamese Bun Bo Xao (thanks, Ann!) as well as this fresh new recipe from I Am A Food Blog which is actually what I WANTED to make but then kind of ran out of time due to toddler life and had to find something similar… but also easier. And that’s how we ended up here!
Lemongrass Vermicelli Salad – a summer showstopper! A twirl of vermicelli noodles, pan-fried tofu, fresh herbs and veggies, and a lime-and-lemongrass-based sauce that just slips all over the plate.
- 1–2 tablespoons lemongrass paste, or 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemongrass (white parts only)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup lime juice (3–4 limes)
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2–3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon roasted red chile paste (I used this kind but you can use whatever will give you some heat)
- 1 package vermicelli or thin rice noodles (about 8 ounces)
- 2 large carrots, shredded or julienne cut
- 1 cucumber, julienne cut
- a little bundle of fresh mint
- a little bundle of fresh cilantro
- a handful of chopped peanuts
- cooked tofu, shrimp, or chicken (or whatever protein you like)
- Sauce: Make the sauce by blending in a food processor or shaking together in a jar.
- Noodles: Cook vermicelli according to package directions. Rinse well with cold water to cool and remove starchiness. Drain well. Toss noodles with about half of the sauce.
- Pretty Serving Method: Plate individual servings of noodles in a bowl and top with the tofu, carrots, mint, etc. Spoon extra sauce over the top.
- Meal Prep Serving Method: Toss all the noodles with the tofu, peanuts, and carrots (leave out the cucumber and herbs – they will get soggy). Add a little more sauce as needed and store in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat, serve up your pre-mixed stuff with some fresh cucumbers, herbs, and extra sauce.
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I cooked my tofu by frying it in a skillet with some oil and soy sauce! Other methods for cooking tofu that we love can be found here. Poached or sautéed shrimp or chicken would also be great – just use what you have / what you like.
The sauce can be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge (i.e. prep on Sunday for your dinner on Tuesday).
- Category: Salad
- Method: Chop
- Cuisine: Vietnamese-Inspired
Keywords: vermicelli noodles, vietnamese salad, noodle salad, tofu salad, summer salad, cold noodle salad, pasta salad