Thai Rice Noodle Salad With Chili-Lime Vinaigrette

Thai Rice Noodle Salad With Chili-Lime Vinaigrette

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 7 mins
Total: 22 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
326 Calories
8g Fat
56g Carbs
17g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
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 quick 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 two days. Until ready to eat, place in a sealed covered container in the refrigerator.

"This crowd-pleasing dish is packed with tons of summertime flavors and comes together in no time. I used three limes, plus more for serving (which I think were very necessary for flavor). On that note, the dressing tasted sweet to me, so I wanted more heat and salt." —Lauryn Bodden

Thai Rice Noodle Salad With Chili-Lime Vinaigrette Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • Salad Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup lime juice (about 3 limes, plus more for serving)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar, to taste
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons chili sauce, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Salad:
  • 8 ounces dried rice noodles (thin, vermicelli-size)
  • 1 to 2 cups bean sprouts, optional
  • 2 tomatoes, cut, small slices
  • 1 carrot, sliced into matchsticks
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red or orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • Optional: 1 can shrimp, cooked, drained
  • 1 cup cilantro, fresh leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, 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. Gather the ingredients.

    Thai Rice Noodle Salad With Chili-Lime Vinaigrette ingredients for the dressing

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. In a cup or small bowl, mix together lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, chili sauce, minced garlic, and sesame oil until the sugar has dissolved.

    Mixing chili-lime vinaigrette

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Taste test for a sweet-sour balance, adding more sugar if too sour for your taste. Note that the dressing will taste quite strong and salty now, but will be delicious when combined with the salad.

    Seasoning the chili-lime dressing

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prepare the Salad

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Thai Rice Noodle Salad With Chili-Lime Vinaigrette ingredients for salad

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Lightly boil rice noodles until al dente, about 7 minutes.

    Boiling rice noodles

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Drain the noodles.

    Drained rice noodles in colander

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Add 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 / Maxwell Cozzi

  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 / Maxwell Cozzi

  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 / Maxwell Cozzi

  7. Place on a serving platter or in a salad bowl and sprinkle with fresh basil, cilantro, and nuts. 

    Thai Rice Noodle Salad With Chili-Lime Vinaigrette in a bowl

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Tip

  • 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 Variation

  • Substitute 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or crushed chili for the chili sauce, or to your taste.
  • Use dry-roasted, lightly chopped cashews in place of the peanuts.
  • Instead of shrimp, try 1/2 cup deep-fried tofu cut into small cubes.

Why are my rice noodles sticky?

After cooking rice noodles, drain in a colander and gently run cold water over them; this will keep them from clumping together and being sticky.

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