Thai Rice Noodle Salad With Chili-Lime Vinaigrette

Thai rice noodle salad with chili-lime vinaigrette

The Spruce

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 7 mins
Total: 22 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
326 Calories
8g Fat
56g Carbs
17g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 326
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 14mg 5%
Sodium 1890mg 82%
Total Carbohydrate 56g 20%
Dietary Fiber 11g 38%
Protein 17g
Calcium 423mg 33%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This Thai rice noodle salad is fresh and flavorful, and it's simple to make, too. It features vermicelli rice noodles and lots of fresh summer vegetables—feel free to add or substitute depending on what's available at your local market. You also have the option of tossing in cooked baby shrimp or tofu.

Rice noodles are so much lighter in texture and calories than pasta noodles and yet they're just as fun and satisfying to eat. This healthy dish will prove to be a big hit at your next potluck, picnic, BBQ, or dinner party. This noodle dish makes a great summertime salad, lunch, snack, or side dish that's low in fat but high in flavor.

This salad tastes best when eaten fresh, as rice noodles tend to dry out when left longer than 2 days. Until ready to eat, place in a sealed covered container in the refrigerator.


  • Salad Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup lime juice (juiced)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar (to taste)
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons chili sauce (or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or crushed chili, to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Salad:
  • 6 to 10 ounces dried rice noodles (thin, vermicelli-size)
  • Optional: 1 to 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 2 tomatoes (cut, small slices)
  • 1 carrot (sliced into matchsticks)
  • 4 green onions (finely sliced)
  • 1 small bell pepper (green, thinly sliced)
  • 1 small bell pepper (red or orange, thinly sliced)
  • Optional: 1 can shrimp (cooked, drained, or 1/2 cup deep-fried tofu cut into small cubes)
  • 1 cup cilantro (fresh leaves, roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 cup basil (fresh, roughly chopped)
  • 1/4 cup peanuts (or cashews, dry-roasted, lightly chopped)

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this Thai dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Dressing

  1. In a cup or small bowl, mix together 1/3 cup lime juice, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar, 1 to 3 teaspoons chili sauce, minced garlic, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil until the sugar has dissolved.

    Mixing chili-lime vinaigrette
    The Spruce
  2. Taste test for a sweet-sour balance, adding more sugar if too sour for your taste.

    Seasoning the chili-lime dressing
    The Spruce
  3. Note that the dressing will taste quite strong and salty now, but will be delicious when combined with the salad.

Prepare the Salad

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Thai rice noodle salad ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. Lightly boil rice noodles until al dente, about 7 minutes.

    Boiling rice noodles
    The Spruce
  3. Drain the noodles.

    Drained rice noodles in colander
    The Spruce
  4. Add optional 1 to 2 cups of bean sprouts while noodles are still hot. Gently toss (the residual heat from the noodles will lightly cook the sprouts), then rinse with cold water to keep from sticking. Set aside to drain.

    Bean sprouts and rice noodles in dish
    The Spruce
  5. Place noodles and sprouts in a large salad bowl. Add the tomatoes, carrot, green onion, bell peppers, optional shrimp or tofu, and fresh cilantro. Toss to mix.

    Tofu, vegetables, and rice noodles in dish
    The Spruce
  6. Add half of the dressing plus fresh basil and nuts, tossing well to incorporate. Taste test, adding more or all of the dressing depending on how many noodles you've made. If not salty enough, add more fish sauce or soy sauce. If not spicy enough, add more chili. If too salty, add a little more lime juice. If too sour, add more sugar.

    Dressing the rice noodle salad
    The Spruce
  7. Place on a serving platter or in a salad bowl and sprinkle with fresh basil, cilantro, and nuts. 


  • If you're having trouble combining the noodles with the other ingredients because the noodles are too long and tangled, cut them several times with a pair of kitchen shears or clean scissors.
  • If not eating immediately, do not add the herbs or nuts and cover and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, or until cold.

Recipe Tags: