This fresh and healthy vermicelli noodle salad is easy to make and packed with flavour and nutrition.
This light and refreshing vermicelli salad features fresh veggies and rice noodles in a delicious sweet and sour dressing. You can make it with tofu for a complete meal or just do the veggies for a lighter main dish or side.
You’ll love the flavours and textures in this fun, easy and delicious dish!
- Vegan, nut-free and can be made gluten-free.
- Perfect for a light and refreshing dinner.
- Customize with different proteins.
- Easy to make with simple ingredients.
- Tofu: If you’re adding tofu, use extra-firm. If you don’t want to do the tofu, you can leave it out or use another protein you enjoy.
- Noodles: Look for rice vermicelli noodles. These may be labelled thin rice noodles or rice sticks. You can also use vermicelli noodles made from mung bean.
- Soy Sauce: Use gluten-free tamari if you need the recipe to be gluten-free, otherwise reduced sodium soy sauce is best.
- Maple Syrup: This can be swapped for agave syrup.
- Sambal Oelek: Use sambal oelek or any chili garlic paste. This is a common ingredient in well-stocked grocery stores, online or in specialty Asian food stores.
- Rice Vinegar: You can use seasoned or unseasoned rice vinegar.
- Lime: You’ll need 1-2 limes for 2 tbsp lime juice, depending on their size and how juicy they are.
- Cabbage or Lettuce: Use sui choy/napa cabbage or iceberg lettuce or a mixture of the two. You can also use prepared coleslaw mix to keep things super quick and easy!
- Nuts: I like peanuts or cashews for serving but they are optional if you can’t do nuts.
Before You Start: If you’re using tofu, press it for 15-20 minutes for best results. You can use a tofu press or fold a dish cloth over the block of tofu and place a heavy object on it.
If you’re not using tofu, skip this step and use any other protein cooked to your preference. You can also leave the protein off all together and just make the noodles, dressing and salad but I enjoy it a lot more with a protein added for a more substantial dish.
Marinate the Tofu: Once you’ve pressed the tofu, slice it into thin rectangles or triangles and add them to a container with the marinate ingredients. This includes maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix well to coat the pieces.
Set the tofu aside to marinate while you preheat the oven to 400 F and prepare the salad dressing.
Prepare the Dressing: Add all of the dressing ingredients to a container and shake or whisk to combine. Set aside while you bake the tofu and prepare the salad and noodles.
Bake the Tofu: Place the sliced tofu on a parchment paper-lined baking tray and bake for 30 minutes. Alternativetly, you can fry the tofu according to this recipe. You could also bake it in an air fryer.
Prepare the Noodles & Salad: Start boiling some water for the noodles and preparing the salad ingredients.
To make the salad, chop the lettuce or cabbage and add to mixing bowl with the carrot, scallions and cilantro. Divide the mixture between 4 plates (or storage containers if making in advance).
Quick Tip: If you want to add fresh mint and/or Thai basil, you can mix it into the salad or sprinkle it on top before serving.
To make the noodles:
- Cook them according to the package instructions. This is usually 2-3 minutes in boiling water.
- When they’re ready, drain and rinse really well under cold water until they’re completely cooled.
- Break the noodles into smaller clumps right away so they don’t settle into one big clump.
- Divide the clumps between the 4 salads.
When the tofu is ready, add that to the salads as well.
When you’re ready to serve, give the dressing another shake or stir then drizzle it over each serving and top with sliced cucumber and peanuts or cashews.
Fresh mint and/or Thai basil and lime is also nice for extra flavour!
Notes & Tips
- For convenience, you can use a bag of prepared coleslaw mix to replace the cabbage/lettuce and carrot.
- The tofu is optional and can be omitted or replaced with any other protein.
- For gluten-free, be sure to use rice vermicelli noodles and tamari.
- To make it easier to eat, consider breaking up the vermicelli noodles beforehand or cutting them before or after adding to the salad (I just cut it up right on top of the salad).
- This salad is best enjoyed fresh but you can make parts of it in advance or store leftovers up to 2 days.
- The tofu can be prepared 2-3 days in advanced and stored in the fridge but it’s best served hot. You can always reheat it in a pan or the oven before serving though.
- The lettuce mixture and noodles can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days but be sure to leave the dressing off until just before serving.
- The dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Shake well before using.
- Tofu Pad Thai
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- Kale Peanut Brown Rice Salad
- Vegan Thai Chopped Salad
- Tofu Poke Bowl
- Tofu Banh Mi
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For the Tofu
- 1 350 g package extra-firm tofu
- 3 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper
For the Dressing
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp water
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and minced (approx. 3 tbsp, or more for extra heat)
- 1 tbsp sambal oelek or chili garlic paste
- 5 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
For the Salad
- 1 small head napa cabbage or iceberg lettuce, chopped (or a mix)
- 2 cups grated carrot
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion
- 7 oz. rice vermicelli noodles (approx. 200 g)
- 1/2 cucumber, cut in half lengthwise then sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped cashews or peanuts or a mixture of both (2 tbsp per serving)
- fresh mint and/or Thai basil, optional
- Press the Tofu: Start by pressing the tofu. Use a tofu press or fold a dish cloth over the block of tofu and place a heavy object on it. If you’re not using tofu, skip this step and use any other protein cooked to your preference. You can also leave the protein off all together and just make the noodles, dressing and salad.
- Marinate Tofu: Slice the tofu into thin rectangles then toss with the tofu ingredients. Set aside while you preheat the oven to 400 F and prepare the dressing.
- Prepare Dressing: Add all of the dressing ingredients to a container and mix well. Set aside.
- Bake Tofu: When the oven is fully preheated, place the tofu on a parchment-paper lined baking pan, allowing space between each piece, and bake for 30 minutes.
- Prepare Salad: While the tofu is baking, chop up the salad ingredients and mix together in a large mixing bowl. Divide the mixed salad between 4 plates.
- Make Noodles: Cook the rice vermicelli noodles according to package instructions. When they’re ready, rinse them thoroughly under cold water until they’re cooled then separate into smaller clump with your hands and divide them between the 4 servings. To make it easier to eat, consider cutting the noodles up before or after adding to the salad (I just cut then up a bit right on top of the salad before eating).
- Add Tofu: When the tofu is ready, divide it between the salads.
- Serve: Top each salad with a few slices of cucumber and a sprinkle of peanuts and/or cashews and serve immediately. For even more flavour, serve each salad with a sprig of fresh mint and/or Thai basil and a wedge of lime. Spoon the dressing over each serving until you’ve used it all up. If you’re storing the salads for later, store the dressing separately and add just before serving.
Noodle amount doesn’t have to be exact so feel free to use the serving size on your packaging to determine how many to use for 4 servings.
The tofu is optional and can be swapped for another other protein or omitted.
For convenience, you can use a bag of coleslaw mix to replace the cabbage/lettuce and carrot.
Nutrition facts include entire recipe (tofu, nuts, etc.). For a lower-calorie/low-fat salad, omit the nuts.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 516
- Sugar: 25 g
- Sodium: 1015 mg
- Fat: 13 g
- Carbohydrates: 82 g
- Fiber: 5 g
- Protein: 19 g
Keywords: vermicelli salad, tofu vermicelli salad