Lemongrass Vermicelli Salad Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Lemongrass Vermicelli Salad

19 reviews / 5 average

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.

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!

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I also love it when salads are beautiful:

Vermicelli salad in a bowl with tofu and herbs.

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.
Vermicelli salad mixed up in a bowl.

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!

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A picture of Lemongrass Vermicelli Salad

Lemongrass Vermicelli Salad


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x

Description

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.


Ingredients

Units Scale

Lemongrass Sauce:

  • 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)

Vermicelli Salad:

  • 1 package vermicelli or thin rice noodles (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 large carrots, shredded or julienne cut
  • 1 cucumber, julienne cut
  • 1 cup fresh mint
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 lb. cooked tofu, shrimp, or chicken (or whatever protein you like)

Instructions

  1. Sauce: Make the sauce by blending in a food processor or shaking together in a jar.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Equipment

Notes

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).

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Chop
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese-Inspired

Keywords: vermicelli noodles, vietnamese salad, noodle salad, tofu salad, summer salad, cold noodle salad, pasta salad


Time To Show You Off!

Instagram images of lemongrass vermicelli bowls.

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47 Comments

  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am curious if you have a vegan replacement for the fish sauce? I would love to be able to try this!!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Here to ask this same question! Strict vegetarian here, I usually just omit fish sauce from stir fries, but this is quite a bit more than most recipes so I think it would need a replacement. This looks amazing!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        hi Morgan/Maggie – I’m not from POY, but here’s what I use for fish sauce:
        —-
        When flavor-boosting nucleotides are paired with glutamates, the perception of umami is significantly increased. Sure enough, a salty broth made with dried shiitake mushrooms (rich in nucleotides) and soy sauce (glutamates) provided just the right meaty punch as a 1:1 substitute for fish sauce. Here’s how to make it:

        In a saucepan, simmer 3 cups of water, ¼ ounce of dried sliced shiitake mushrooms, 3 tablespoons of salt, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce over medium heat until reduced by half.
        Strain, cool, and store in the fridge for up to three weeks.

        A combination of dried shiitake mushrooms and soy sauce create a vegetarian substitute for fish sauce.


        https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/6610-making-a-vegetarian-substitute-for-fish-sauce

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      I don’t know if your stores stock it near you, but the brand Ocean’s Halo makes a really good vegan fish sauce. 🙂 I’ve seen it at Whole Foods and Kroger in my area. You can probably order it online as well.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    made this for lunch today! was so quick and easy and very tasty, fried up some shrimp to put on top, added basil because I didn’t have mint but a perfect lunch for my family!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love everything about this salad – how tasty it looks, how simple it is, and how quickly it can come together. Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I bought lemon grass from store, because they did not have paste. It was really dry and made only a small amount I could use. Is there a substitute/something I could add instead of the lemongrass?

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Looks great! You mention that sauce can keep several days in fridge. How long have you kept the meal prep method stored? (Noodles with sauce, peanuts and protein). Thanks

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made this last night – it is outstanding, as were the leftovers for lunch today. My husband had an insight – I made the “pretty” version and he said he liked being able to pick and choose what flavors he had in each bite, rather than a blended thing where each bite tastes the same. I mean, right?! As for the tofu, I used Budget Bytes honey-lime glazed tofu from her Mango Coconut Tofu bowls recipe (also outstanding). Thanks for such a yummy recipe!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    This was a huge hit with my family! Added sliced snap peas for some extra crunch. Will DEFINITELY make again, such a great summer recipe.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I will be the first person to buy your cook book. Please make one !! I love your recipes. I used to be overwhelmed by food blogs because they were always a lot. I instantly loved your style of simple recipes, that have great ingredients, very diverse recipes, and all the videos give me a quick idea of what will go into it. I really don’t use other food blogs and pinch of yum is my go to. I thank you for all of your inspiration.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Very tasty and special! Thank you! The fish oil is very smelly in the sauce, so I might try leaving that out next time or using less (while sacrificing authenticity).

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made this and ate it for lunch, then dinner, and then breakfast the next day. No joke. It’s amazing!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    This recipe has such amazing and unique flavor! It was my first time cooking tofu and vermicelli rice noodles and it was an absolute success. I used the directions for cooking tofu she has linked and it turned out great. I kept the ingredients separated like she suggested and it was delicious for lunch still two days later.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    oh my god this SALAD!! i’ve been getting bored of cooking in shutdown, scrolled your blog for inspiration (as I do daily) and convinced myself I had the energy to make this…. WOW the flavors were so complex and bright, everything came together easily and beautifully. 10/10 recommend, especially since the ingredients are all ones I tend to have on hand. definitely a new favorite!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Have you made this with an oil besides vegetable? I want to make this but don’t have that kind of oil on hand. I love your recipes BTW!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    This was delish!!!! Hubby and two teens gobbled it up. Next time I will double it. I forgot the lime juice in the sauce and it was still fabulous!!! Thank you. This is a keeper.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Forgot to add: my husband threw a fried egg on these and it was a great addition!

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wow! This was excellent. Also pretty straightforward prep wise. I made it with shrimp and it was enough for several lunches. Will absolutely be making this again.

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hey Lindsay, First of All I want to thank you for sharing such a fantastic recipe with us. I tried cooking it yesterday and it turned out really good. I have started cooking in these quarantine days and was unsure about my skills but the way you explained everything made it quite simple for me.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    You are a food angel flown down from heaven and this dish is, without a doubt, THE BEST THING TO EVER GRACE MY TASTEBUDS!!! Seriously packed with flavour….it’s a zingy, crunchy, fresh and healthy joy-of-a-dish to eat. I would happily eat this everyday of the week!!

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made this tonight so easy. Dressing was delicious. Was a better salad than the cactus club version. I made 2 servings and kept half dressing for tomorrow. This is my new go to salad! I used chicken panfried with some soy and chili paste. To switch it up tomorrow I will top with some sliced mango which will offset the spice . So happy to find this.