Fresh and Easy Vietnamese Noodle Salad (Vegan Bún Chay)

Elevate your taste experience with our Vegan Bún Chay Vietnamese Noodle Salad. It’s a tantalizing fusion of vibrant colors, bold flavors, and refreshing textures that promises a culinary adventure like no other.

Bowl of Vietnamese Noodle Salad.

Hey there, foodie friends! Let me spill the beans on my absolute obsession lately—Vietnamese Noodle Salad. We’re talking a mix of fresh herbs, crunchy veggies, and these silky noodles that just bring it all together. Trust me, it’s become my go-to when I need a burst of tasty goodness. Toss it all up with a zingy dressing, and boom! You’ve got a Vietnamese Noodle Salad that’s light, refreshing, and seriously addictive. If you want more Vietnamese culinary delights, consider trying Vietnamese Pepper Pork in 15 Minutes, Skinny Vietnamese Steak Salad, and Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowl (“Bun”).

Since I made this at home, I was able to keep the dressing/seasoning vegan by using mushroom soy sauce instead of fish sauce. Most of the places around here call this dish “bun chay”. Although I’ve also seen it called Vietnamese rice noodle salad, Vietnamese vermicelli noodle salad, Vietnamese bun recipe, bun Vietnamese salad, Vietnamese noodle salad, and about a thousand other things.

Reasons to Love This Noodle Salad

  • Packed with fresh vegetables and lean proteins, it’s a fresh and healthy nutritious choice that doesn’t compromise on flavor.
  • Packed with fresh vegetables and lean proteins, it’s a fresh and healthy nutritious choice that doesn’t compromise on flavor. If you love veggies, you can explore another Vietnamese dish, my Vietnamese Chicken and Cabbage Salad recipe.
  • It has the perfect blend of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors.
  • Suitable as a light lunch, side dish, or customizable main course, Vietnamese Noodle Salad is a versatile meal that caters to various meal preferences.
  • The combination of soft noodles, crunchy vegetables, and chewy proteins offers a satisfying and diverse texture in every bite.

Recipe Ingredients

Ingredients before plating a Vietnamese noodle salad.
  • Thin Rice Noodles (Vermicelli-style): These serve as the base of the salad which provides a soft and delicate texture.
  • Carrots: Julienned carrots add a sweet and crunchy element to the salad.
  • Bell Pepper: Thinly sliced bell pepper contributes a crisp texture and vibrant color.
  • Cucumber: English cucumber half moons bring a refreshing and juicy crunch.
  • Herbs (Cilantro, Thai Basil, Mint Leaves): These herbs add a burst of fresh, aromatic flavors that are essential to the salad’s flavor.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Vegan Bún Chay in a white bowl.

Variations

  • Brown Rice Noodles: Swap the thin rice noodles with brown rice noodles for a whole grain option that maintains the texture and complements the salad’s flavors.
  • Maple Syrup for Sugar: Replace coconut or date sugar in the dressing with maple syrup for a natural sweetener that blends seamlessly.
  • Tamari for Mushroom Soy Sauce: Use tamari instead of mushroom soy sauce for a gluten-free alternative that keeps the umami flavor intact.
  • Almonds for Peanuts: Substitute chopped almonds for peanuts to add a different nutty crunch without altering the overall taste profile.
  • Lime Zest in Dressing: Add a bit of lime zest to the dressing for an extra citrusy zing, enhancing the existing lime juice component.

How to Make Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Step #1: Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil for cooking the noodles.

Step #2: While the water is heating, whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside to infuse.

Salad dressing being whisked together.

Step #3: After the water boils, cook the noodles according to the package directions; then rinse with cold water, drain well, and divide into four serving bowls.

Step #4: 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 each side.

Tofu cooking in a skillet.

Step #5: While the tofu is frying, stir the mushroom soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar together in a small bowl until the sugar has dissolved.

Step #6: Once you brown the tofu, pour this mixture into the pan. Allow the sauce to cook 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 caramelizes and becomes sticky. Transfer the tofu to the noodle bowls.

Crispy tofu cooking in a skillet.

Step #7: Top the noodle bowls with julienned carrot, sliced bell pepper, cucumber half moons, herbs, and peanuts.

Bun noodle salad in a white bowl.

Step #8: Pour a quarter of the prepared dressing over each bowl. Serve immediately.

Dressing being poured over Vegan Bún Chay Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Expert Tips

  • Don’t Overcrowd the Pan: When frying or sautéing, avoid overcrowding the pan to ensure even cooking and proper browning.
  • Control Heat Wisely: Understand your heat sources; sometimes a low and slow approach is better than high heat.
Vegan Bún Chay Vietnamese noodle salad on a plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari to make this recipe gluten-free.

How do I balance the flavors if the dressing is too tangy?

Add a little more sugar or honey to balance the tanginess.

Is this recipe suitable for a potluck?

Definitely, it’s a crowd-pleaser and can be easily scaled up for larger gatherings.

How can I make the salad spicier?

Increase the amount of bird’s eye chilies in the dressing for extra heat.

Storage Info

For this Vietnamese Noodle Salad, store the components separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. The dressed salad stays fresh for up to 2 days, but it’s best enjoyed fresh for optimal texture. Unfortunately, freezing is not recommended, as it will significantly diminish the quality and texture of the ingredients, especially the noodles and fresh vegetables. If you need to reheat the tofu, do so gently in a skillet over medium heat until it’s warmed through, but be mindful that reheating may alter its texture.

Did you try this recipe? Leave a ⭐️ rating below and share it on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

Vietnamese noodle salad on a plate.

Vegan Bún Chay Recipe (Vietnamese Noodle Salad Recipe)

This Vegan Bún Chay Vietnamese noodle salad recipe is a delicious and healthy dish you can make in 30 minutes.
4.5 from 206 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Diet: Dairy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 654kcal
Author: Linda
Print Recipe

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil for cooking the noodles.
  • While the water is heating, whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside to infuse.
  • After the water boils, cook the noodles according to the package directions; then rinse with cold water, drain well, and 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 each side.
  • 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 you brown the tofu, pour this mixture into the pan. Allow the sauce to cook 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 caramelizes and becomes 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 immediately.

VIDEO

NOTES

Storage Info:
For this Vietnamese Noodle Salad, store the components separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. The dressed salad stays fresh for up to 2 days, but it’s best enjoyed fresh for optimal texture. Unfortunately, freezing is not recommended, as it will significantly diminish the quality and texture of the ingredients, especially the noodles and fresh vegetables. If you need to reheat the tofu, do so gently in a skillet over medium heat until it’s warmed through, but be mindful that reheating may alter its texture.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 654kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 548mg | Potassium: 697mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 7231IU | Vitamin C: 66mg | Calcium: 240mg | Iron: 5mg

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About the Author

Linda

Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

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