Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad made with rice noodles, carrot, cucumbers, basil, and cilantro with a quick homemade dressing using soy sauce, lime juice, and rice vinegar. It's all topped with crunchy peanuts and will keep in your fridge for meal prep.

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This veggie-packed Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad is so fresh and delicious. Packed with tons of veggies and tossed in a sweet and savory dressing, this salad is the perfect thing to break a salad rut. Add chicken, shrimp, or tofu for protein. Under 200 calories and only 5 Weight Watchers Smartpoints. Consider serving it with these Asian Broiled Chicken Thighs or Slow Cooker Sesame Tofu.

Today I want to talk about rice noodles for a moment. They are your best friend on nights that it’s too hot (or it’s just too hard, we’ve all been there) to turn on the stove since all it takes to prepare them is a simple 15-minute soak in cold water. That’s it. Now you may have heard that you can boil them, which you can, but according to a recent Thai cooking class I attended, rice noodles should actually never be boiled because it ruins the integrity of the noodle and creates a gummy texture. So soaking it is!

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad in a beige bowl with a dark wood background.

Now onto today’s salad recipe. All we are going to do is make a quick dressing with some classic Vietnamese flavors – lime juice, fish sauce (or soy), brown sugar, rice vinegar, garlic, and chilis. Then that yummy dressing is combined with the noodles, crispy veggies, and some chopped peanuts. It couldn’t be easier. Feeling especially pressed for time? Pick up all the veggies at the salad bar and then you don’t even have to chop anything. That means the only prep is soaking the noodles and making the dressing.

Vietnamese Salad Dressing

I am pretty obsessed with this Vietnamese dressing. It is spicy, sweet, and savory all and adds a yummy twist to any salad, but especially ones with a Thai or Vietnamese slant. Here is the basic recipe. Just combine everything and taste. You can adjust to make it sweeter or spicier. The dressing will keep in the fridge for 5-7 days.

  • 4 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce (or mixture of half soy and fish sauce)
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar (or honey)
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Thai red chili pepper (or 1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced)
  • Optional: Add some fresh or dried cilantro, mint, and basil
  • Creamy version: Add 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter or almond butter

What to serve with this Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad?

If you want to serve this salad as an entree I recommend adding some chicken, shrimp, steak, tofu, edamame, or chickpeas. Basically, anything that will add some protein to keep you full. If you are serving it as a side dish, you can serve it alongside all kinds of dishes. Usually, I look for something with similar flavors like Grilled Honey Sriracha Chicken, Teriyaki Flank Steak, or Salt and Pepper Tofu.

Healthy Vietnamese Noodle Salad on a polka dot napkin and wood table.

This salad will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Store the salad dressing separately and toss right before serving for the crispiest veggies.

The Recipe
Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

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  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup cucumber, julienne or slice thin
  • 1 red pepper, julienne or slice thin
  • 1/2 red onion, slice thin
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil (or Thai basil), chopped
  • 4 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce (or mixture of soy and fish sauce)
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar (or honey)
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Thai red chili pepper (or 1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced)
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped

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Cover the rice noodles in cold water and soak for 10-15 minutes until tender OR prepare according to package directions.


Meanwhile prepare the vegetables and make the dressing by combining the lime juice, fish/soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, garlic, and chili pepper.


When the rice noodles are ready, drain them well, removing any excess water.


Toss together the noodles with the vegetable and dressing. Top with peanuts.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1.25 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 183
Calories from Fat 30
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 368mg
Total Carbohydrate 34g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 8g
Protein 4g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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1 Comment
On Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad
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Jaime J
May 21, 2018 - 19:27
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I loved this recipe! So fresh and refreshing. The flavors blended perfectly. I'm on a low FODMAP diet so I substituted the red onion for scallions and left out the garlic in the dressing, and it was still so full of flavor. I served this with some tofu that was marinated in a little soy sauce and sesame oil and then fried until crisp. Delicious summer salad and one that I will definitely make again and again.
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