Easy Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles

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!

Easy Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles | cookglobaleatlocal.com

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!


Easy Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles

Easy Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Rice Noodle | cookglobaleatlocal.com
Jeanette Marie
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Prep Time:  30 minutes Servings:  4

This light, refreshing, herby salad is a terrific family-friendly dish to cool you off on a hot summer day. This delicious salad is also a terrific addition to a pot luck or a cold buffet.

  • 275 g rice stick noodles
    For the dressing
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (approximately 3-4 limes)
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (canola may be substituted)
    For the salad
  • 4 Perfect Poached Chicken Breasts, shredded
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into julienne or spiral shredded
  • 1 bunch spring onions (about 100 g), finely shredded
  • 2 mediterranean cucumbers, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c fresh coriander (about 30 g), finely chopped
  • 1/2 c fresh mint leaves (about 30 g), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c fresh basil (about 30 g), thinly sliced (chiffonnade)
  • 2-3 bird's eye chilies, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, roasted and roughly chopped (optional)

  1. Place the rice noodle in a large, glass or ceramic bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave to sit 5-10 minutes, or until softened and pliable (al dente). Drain thoroughly and keep aside.
  2. Place dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. (A blender makes this quick and easy).
  3. Add all salad ingredients to a large bowl, add reserved noodles. Drizzle with dressing and toss to combine.
  4. Serve immediately. Pass red chilies and peanuts at the table to garnish.

Everything but the noodles can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge. Prepare noodles and combine at serving time. If you prefer, you may use 1/2 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled off the bones and finely shredded in lieu of the poached chicken breasts.

Nutrition label for Easy Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles

Loosely adapted from Vietnamese chicken noodle salad, at Taste.com.au.

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