Vietnamese Vermicelli Salad

This is an extremely refreshing salad and a classic Vietnamese dish.  The very low-fat preparation and amount of fresh herbs makes this an extremely healthful dish. Our proteins of choice are tofu and coarsely chopped edamame.

Our favorite noodle is Lotus Foods’ millet and brown rice ramen noodles.

Makes 4 servings, meal-sized



  • 7 oz dried thin vermicelli rice noodles (or other thin noodle)
  • 3 cups cucumber, julienned (about 2 cucumbers)
  • 3 cups carrots, shredded, (about 3 carrots)
  • 3 cups finely sliced Napa cabbage
  • 2 1/2 cups mixed fresh herbs (your choice of basil, cilantro, mint, scallions), packed tightly
  • 2 jalapeno peppers (optional), cut into thin rounds
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Crushed peanuts, for garnish
  • Cubed tofu, edamame, or other protein, warmed (optional)


  • Garlic paste equal to 2 cloves (or 2 cloves pressed)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili paste or a pinch of red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2/3 cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice with pulp (scrape as much pulp as you can from the rind after squeezing)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive (or other neutral flavored) oil


  1. Rehydrate thin rice noodles by soaking them in boiling water for about 3 minutes or until completely soft. If using other noodles, follow the package directions. Do not overcook.
  2. Prepare the vegetables and herbs.
  3. Place all of the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. (Makes about 1 cup.) Bring to room temperature.
  4. Place the noodles in a large bowl and top with the cucumbers, carrots, basil, cilantro, and any other fresh herbs. Add the jalapenos at this time (if using). Add enough dressing to coat and toss to combine. (Alternatively, the ingredients can be kept separate as shown in the photo. In this case, you will mix the cabbage and herbs together with enough dressing to coat and then place the other ingredients in a circle around the bowl and drizzle with the dressing.)
  5. Top with your choice of protein and sprinkle with crushed peanuts. Serve with lime wedges and additional red pepper flakes (if desired) on the side.

Note: because this dish usually gets its fat (to balance the acid) from the addition of meat, you may desire to add an extra drizzle of olive oil at the finish to achieve balance.