This is a refreshing noodle salad that is quick to make and super healthy at only 170 calories per serving. It goes perfectly with a simple grilled main such as Vietnamese Grilled Pork Cutlets or Grilled Miso Glazed Eggplant to make a complete meal. The dressing is made with traditional Asian ingredients and is very neutral so will suit most Asian cuisines, including Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, and even Korean.
When I am planning the menu for an Asian BBQ, the part I always struggle the most with is the side salads. The marinades I like for my meat have strong flavours (“flavor explosions” as my mother calls them) so I need my sides to be light and refreshing. I also like to keep my sides simple, because when I’m entertaining, I invest my time on mains and dessert.
Asian cuisine doesn’t really have the equivalent of Western “go to” side salads like Coleslaw, Rocket and Parmesan, or Garden Salads. So I made up my own, and I think this is a great simple, refreshing salad to accompany Asian grills. It’s made with vermicelli noodles, which helps fill out the meal instead of having rice on the side, plenty of crunchy fresh vegetables and a refreshing dressing.
Most Asian dressings are a dark colour from the soy sauce. I make this dressing using light soy sauce because the colour is lighter (but in fact, light soy sauce is saltier than normal dark soy sauce – confusing!). That way when the salad is tossed with the dressing, the noodles don’t turn a brown colour which I think makes the salad look brighter and fresher.
The dressing of this salad is really neutral so this salad goes with pretty much any South East Asian cuisine – Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese. You can also substitute the vinegar in the dressing with lime juice to give it more of a Thai spin. It’s a great salad to add to your Asian repertoire!
- 4oz/100g dried vermicelli noodles
- 2 cups white or green cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2 shallots, finely sliced
- ¼ cup coriander leaves
- Fried Asian Shallots, to garnish (optional)
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil (or any other neutral oil)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 birds eye chilli, finely minced
- Combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine. Set aside for the flavours to infuse.
- Soak vermicelli in boiling water for a few minutes (or per packet instructions), then drain and rinse under cold water (this stops them cooking further and also from sticking together).
- Combine vermicelli noodles with remaining salad ingredients.
- Just prior to serving, toss through dressing. Garnish with Fried Asian Shallots if you wish.
2. The rice wine vinegar can be substituted with lime juice for more of a Thai / Vietnamese spin.