In need of a healthy 30-minute meal? Look no further than this Vegan Bún Chay noodle salad!
Guys, I’m officially over winter weather.
I’ve been roaming around Egypt, Jordan, and Israel for the past few weeks, and now I’m spoiled by fun and sun.
I refuse to accept any more crappy weather.
Ahhhh just kidding, I live in Portland, Oregon so it will be raining until a week after Independence Day.
But that doesn’t have to mean that I have to keep eating soups, stews, and casseroles, right?
I want to eat things that are fresh, and green, and raw, and filled with interesting textures! I have NEEDS.
Needs like this Vegan Bún Chay. Swoon.
We’ve got tender rice noodles, caramelized tofu, raw vegetables, and lots of crunchy peanuts. The whole thing is topped with fresh herbs (cilantro + basil + mint) and a tangy-salty dressing.
What else could a girl ask for?
I’ve mentioned this before, but I live in a small town on the outskirts of Portland and the restaurants around here are… underwhelming.
There are a few great spots, but we’re in serious need of some quality Vietnamese food.
After a particularly disappointing visit to the local pho place, I decided it was high time I made a Vietnamese noodle bowl the way I wanted it!
Instead of greasy, deep-fried tofu I wanted mine to be sticky-sweet and caramelized.
Rather than two sprigs of limp herbs, I wanted handfuls of fresh Thai basil, mint leaves, and cilantro.
In lieu of a few stray slices of cucumber, I prefer a veggie-loaded bowl of color!!
Now, that’s what I’m talking about.
Since I made this at home, I was able to keep the dressing/seasoning vegan by using mushroom soy sauce instead of fish sauce.
One quick note: most of the places around here call this dish “bun chay,” although I’ve also seen it called about a thousand different things so for the sake of argument let’s just refer to it as a Vietnamese cold noodle salad.
Just looking at these pictures is giving me a serious craving! I think it’s time I make my way to the kitchen and properly welcome myself home.
Here’s Your Recipe!
For the Dressing
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 tablespoons coconut or date sugar*
- 2 tablespoons mushroom soy sauce (or low-sodium soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemongrass (white part only)
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1 to 2 bird's eye chilies, sliced (optional)
- 2 to 3 dashes Maggi seasoning
- 1 tablespoon water
For the Bún Chay
- 8 ounces thin rice noodles (vermicelli-style)
- 2 carrots, julienned
- 1 large bell pepper (orange, yellow, or red), thinly sliced
- 1 cup English cucumber half moons
- 1 cup cilantro stems and leaves (remove tough stem ends if desired)
- 1 cup Thai basil leaves
- 1 cup mint leaves
- 1 cup chopped peanuts
- Lime wedges for serving (optional)
For the Caramelized Tofu
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 14 ounces firm tofu, sliced into bite-sized rectangles
- 2 teaspoons mushroom soy sauce, or low sodium soy-sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon coconut or date sugar
- Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside to infuse.
- Cook the noodles according to package directions; rinse with cold water, drain well, then divide into four serving bowls.
- Heat one tablespoon of peanut oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the tofu pieces and fry until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes on both sides. While the tofu is frying, stir the mushroom soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar together in a small bowl until the sugar has dissolved.
- Once the tofu is browned, pour this mixture into the pan. Allow the sauce to cook in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes, until it begins to thicken. Flip the tofu to ensure the sauce coats and sticks to each side. Cook for another minute or so, until the tofu is caramelized and sticky. Transfer the tofu to the noodle bowls.
- Top the noodle bowls with julienned carrot, sliced bell pepper, cucumber half moons, herbs, and peanuts. Pour a quarter of the prepared dressing over each bowl. Serve at once.
*You can also substitute brown or white sugar if needed.
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Nutrition InformationYield 4
Amount Per ServingCalories 765 Total Fat 32g Saturated Fat 6g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 23g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 692mg Carbohydrates 107g Fiber 8g Sugar 78g Protein 22g