This salad is one of the few dishes that I really crave. There is something about the combination of the soft noodles, crunchy vegetables, and tangy dressing that makes this Vietnamese dish one of the most beloved. It’s quite simple to make – you can mix up the dressing and cook the noodles in advance and then all you’re left with is a grilling the meat and chopping the accompanying veggies when you’re ready to enjoy it.
This recipe will make a giant salad for sharing, or four good-sized individual bowls of salad (as pictured). Be sure to use plenty of the classic Nuoc Cham dressing on each salad – it really is the key component not only to this dish, but many other classic Vietnamese dishes. If you haven’t yet truly embraced fish sauce as part of your pantry, this is your opportunity.
Lemongrass Beef and Rice Noodle Salad:
*serves 4 as a meal*
For the Nuoc Cham (Dressing):
*can be made several days ahead*
1 clove garlic, smashed to a pulp
3 thai bird chilies, crushed (or a little finely minced fresh chile to taste)
¼ C. fish sauce
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (from about 1 & ½ limes)
3 Tbsp. honey OR ¼ C. sugar
⅔ C. hot water
Shake all ingredients together in a pint jar with a tight fitting lid until sugar has dissolved. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
For the Lemongrass Beef:
1 boneless Ribeye or New York Strip Steak, about 1 pound
1 small shallot, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 stalk of lemongrass, tender inner parts only, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (from about 1 lime)
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
Puree all of the marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender until well combined. Place the steak in a small dish and pour over the marinade. Allow to sit at room temperature for one hour, or covered in the fridge for up to 12 hours.
When ready to grill, preheat your grill over medium-high heat, Shake of any excess marinade and grill the steak for 5-6 minutes per side until done to your liking. Allow the steak to rest for five minutes before slicing into thin strips to serve on the salad.
For the Salad:
1 10 -12 oz. package thin rice noodles (rice vermicelli), cooked according to the package instructions
½ a head of napa cabbage, roughly chopped
½ an English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced
a dozen baby carrots, julienned
a few handfuls of snow peas, cut in half lengthwise (bean sprouts are a great choice, too)
lots of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
lots of fresh mint, roughly chopped
Crushed Peanuts or Cashews
Toss the rice noodles with about half of the dressing to coat. Place the noodles into your serving bowl or bowls. Top with your vegetables, herbs, and meat, and garnish with the friend shallots or crushed nuts if using. Spoon over additional Nuoc Cham dressing and a few squeezes of Sriracha sauce if desired. Lastly, toss the salad ingredients all together and enjoy.