What I’ve been craving big time (and eating non-stop): This fresh, bright, flavorful Vietnamese Noodle Salad drizzled with a bold-flavored savory sweet and tangy dressing.
This is a quick and easy Vietnamese inspired salad dish with your favorite Vietnamese ingredients. Rice noodles, carrots, lettuce, mint leaves, cilantro, and shredded rotisserie chicken tossed in an irresistible fish sauce and lime juice based homemade dressing. If you are into gorgeous, complicated flavors and textures, this is the dish for you!
Think of this Vietnamese Noodle Salad as the made-easy version of the more authentic Vietnamese Noodle Bowl often served with grilled meats and nouc cham sauce.
When I am craving those vermicelli bowls and do not have time to make the full-blown traditional version of it, this is my alternative.
But let me tell you, this Vietnamese Noodle Salad is no runner-up/second-choice type alternative that makes you less excited. What you are looking at is a full-flavor, made-easy version that is every bit as tasty as the original. One that you will crave and love every bit as much.
The bowl is made with similar ingredients (rice vermicelli noodles, veggies, herbs), and the sauce is almost the same as the nouc cham sauce that is served with authentic Vietnamese Noodle Bowls.
The main difference is we are not marinated and grilling the meats, as more authentic Vietnamese Noodle Bowls come with smoky grilled meats. Instead we are adding shredded store-bought rotisserie chicken to it.
In other words, much quicker, less work, and perfect for those busy days for when you are craving Vietnamese food but do not have the time to make the authentic version.
So if you haven’t already concluded: I’m pretty obsessed with this Vietnamese Rice Noodle Bowl dish. It’s my new addiction.
Ask my husband. He has witnessed me eating this multiple times a week (or at times, multiple times a day), me raving about how this delicious bowl is speaking to my soul…
Welcome to the life of living with a foodie/ food blogger.
I am a big fan of vermicelli noodle bowls and always order them at Vietnamese restaurants, and I love that I can now make a big batch of it in less than 20 minutes, and have leftovers for the rest of the week.
Yep. It is one heck of a meal-prep-friendly recipe as well and I often would double the recipe so I have leftover lunches for a whole week!
Fresh ingredients and a bold sauce is key to a good Vietnamese Noodle Salad…
Let’s talk about the sauce first. This is inspired by the more classic Vietnamese nouc cham sauce.
It is made with simple ingredients that I believe you can find in most main stream grocery store. If not, Asian grocery stores and online retailers (affiliate links attached below) should have them.
No cooking or heating is involve. Simply measure, add, and shake/whisk to combine!
Here’s what goes into the dressing:
- Fish Sauce – it has a strong scent but don’t be intimidated by it! It produces beautiful complex umami flavors and is the key ingredient for the dressing. Use widely in Vietnamese and Thai cuisine.
- Rice Vinegar – can substitute with white vinegar in a pinch
- Garlic – use fresh and avoid substituting with garlic powder
- Brown sugar
- Freshly squeezed lime juice
- Red pepper flakes – this is what brings the heat so adjust accordingly to your desired spicy level. Measurement in recipe card will yield a mild sauce.
- Vegetable oil
- Water – use to dilute the dressing a tad bit
As for the salad, here’s what I used:
- Vermicelli rice noodles (thin) – dry or refrigerated is fine. Unless you are at the Asian stores, you will mostly only be able to find dry ones. Note that this is different from bean thread noodles, which is more transparent and has a more spring-y texture. I personally prefer rice noodles to bean thread noodles for this if I have a choice, but bean thread noodles will work just fine as well.
- Lettuce – because it is a ‘salad’ after all…. 😉
- Shredded carrots – ready-shredded carrots makes it even quicker and simpler
- Mint leaves
- Rotisserie chicken
However, know that you can add on or substitute with your favorite veggies and toppings. Here are other ingredients that would be great in the salad as well!
- Red bell peppers
- Jalapeño – especially if you like it even spicier!
- Chopped peanuts
- Shredded cabbage
- Other protein: tofu, shrimp, beef, pork, salmon, etc.
- And my personal favorite: Vietnamese Egg Rolls. It’s obviously a lot more work, but oh my gosh it’s amazing. Tip: I sometimes use store bought frozen egg rolls which is much more convenient. Another tip: that dressing is the perfect dipping sauce for the egg rolls.
How to make it
Making this Vietnamese Noodle Salad can quickly be summarized into four large sections, and it all comes together in 20 minutes! EASY PEASY.
- Cook rice noodles based on packaged instruction. It typically doesn’t take more than a few minutes in boiling water. All we are doing is soften the noodles.
- Prepare and chop all the ingredients. I do this which waiting for the water to boil to cook the rice noodles.
- Make the sauce. Add dressing ingredients into a jar, cover lid of the jar, and give it a thorough shake. Alternatively, bring everything into a bowl and whisk it up!
- Assemble. I like to add ingredients to each individual bowl, add sauce and then use a pair of tongs to toss everything to combine. This way everyone can customize his/her own bowls to their liking. Want more cilantro? Add more! Want to go easy on the sauce? Go easy on the sauce! Want to double the amount of chicken because you need the extra protein? GO FOR IT!
Frequently Asked Question
How to store leftovers?
Store the ingredients separately in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and only combine them with the dressing when ready to eat! I find that if you add sauce to it, lettuce, cilantro and mint leaves will wilt and turn yucky pretty quickly.
How do you serve it/ eat it?
I’ve served Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Salad multiple ways!
- Let everyone serve themselves and customize their bowls with their favorite ingredients and the amount of dressing they want in it (note: the flavor of the dressing is bold and concentrated , so a little goes a long way!). Then everyone can toss their own individual bowls to combine everything.
- Toss rice noodles with a little bit of the dressing and then let everyone add veggies and toppings to it. More dressing is served on the side. I always end up adding more dressing to it because I like my veggies coated in the sauce too.
Do you eat this hot or cold?
I would say whatever you prefer! It always becomes a Cold Noodle Salad for me when I eat it the day after because I am lazy and I don’t heat it up. But you can definitely reheat the noodles and chicken, and add the veggies to it before tossing everything the sauce.
The beauty of this recipe is it can be eaten hot, cold, or room temperature! It stays out well for a few hours too if you are serving this at get-togethers or parties.
Fresh, delightful, and healthy…It truly is summer in a bowl! 💛
If you make this recipe, comment below and let me know what you think! Also, don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram, because I WANNA SEE!!
More Asian Inspired Salad Recipes!
- Simple Thai Noodle Bowl
- Asian Salmon Salad
- Orange Ginger Salmon and Noodles
- Asian Peanut Chicken Salad
- Asian Steak Salad (by Christie At Home!)