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.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 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)
  • 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, or other protein, warmed (optional)

Dressing:

  • 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 canola (or other neutral flavored) oil

Instructions:

  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 the dressing and toss to combine.
  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.