Easy Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles
This refreshing, herb-packed Vietnamese chicken salad is an easy, light meal for a summer weeknight. It’s as delicious as it is nutritious. As an added bonus, it makes a pretty addition to a cold buffet.
It seems as if October and November go by in a whirlwind. The kids are winding down the school year and prepping for exams. Businesses are racing to finish work before the December holidays. If your family is anything like mine, the pace can leave you breathless.
Thankfully, the days are getting longer and warmer, which lends itself well to lighter, easier meals. Whether refreshing salads or meats from the braai, this busy time calls for easy, straightforward food.
At my house, I trend towards Southeast Asian flavors as the weather warms up. Ever since our years in India, I somehow associate the fresh herbs and light citrusy flavors with hot weather. Of course, the perverse cooling effect of chilies’ welcome heat doesn’t hurt either!
Vietnamese Chicken Salad
This Vietnamese chicken salad can easily be pulled together after a long day at the office. It’s on the table in under an hour and will leave your family begging for more.
This salad is a terrific way to use leftover chicken. Personally, I like to stock Perfect Poached Chicken Breasts in the fridge. However, healthy boneless, skinless breasts poach quickly enough to be made at the last minute while you’re preparing your salad ingredients!
Best of all? The only unusual ingredient in the recipe is Vietnamese fish sauce. If you don’t have a bottle of this salty, funky sauce sitting around your house already, it’s about time you picked one up. You’ll be glad you did.
Fish sauce is a fermented condiment from Southeast Asia. It is terrific for adding a bit of saltiness and umami flavor to a wide variety of dishes. It’s also a delicious addition to marinades. You’ll find it’s a versatile and tasty condiment to have in your pantry.
Since summer is not about hanging around in a hot kitchen, I’m suggesting you leave the cooking to your grocer and buy a rotisserie chicken for this recipe. However, smoked or poached chicken breasts would also be a tasty option.
You could prepare all the ingredients in advance if you wish — except the noodles. Just make the noodles and assemble everything at the last minute. Knowing this, you might even multiply the recipe and add it to a cold buffet over the holidays!
Finally, as always, I hope you’ll use this recipe as a point of departure for your own creativity. It is a roadmap, nothing more. You can switch up the veg and the herbs, depending on what’s fresh and attractive at the market. Bon appétit!
Loosely adapted from Vietnamese chicken noodle salad, at Taste.com.au.