Vietnamese Bun: Refreshing Noodle Salad with Vegetables, Chicken & Herbs
A light, refreshing salad perfect for spring and summer produce. Can be made entirely ahead for a stress-free dinner. Feel free to use whatever vegetables are fresh from the garden or farmers' market. The marinade as written produces an intensely meaty, savory flavor that works well when contrasted with the rest of the dish. If you or your children prefer a mild, sweeter taste, replace 1 Tbsp of fish sauce with coconut sugar. Finally, for the Dipping Sauce, use the larger amounts in parenthesis if you already know you like lots of sauce.
Recipe type: Gluten Free, Dairy Free
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 4
  • ~1 lb organic or pastured chicken thighs
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce (check label for gluten; I prefer Red Boat)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar or Rapadura or Sucanat (I like Nutiva coconut sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 8 ounces rice vermicelli
  • 1 small head nutritious lettuce like butterhead or romaine, thinly sliced
  • 2 handfuls bean sprouts (see tutorial here for making your own), washed
  • 3 small carrots, julienned (I like this julienne peeler)
  • 1 seedless cucumber, julienned
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, especially Thai basil, optional
  • ¼ cup crushed roasted peanuts, optional
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
Dipping Sauce:
  • 4 Tbsp (or 6 Tbsp) lime juice
  • ½ cup (or ¾ cup) water
  • 2 Tbsp (or 3 Tbsp) fish sauce (Red Boat is my favorite)
  • 2 cloves (or 3 cloves) garlic
  • 4 Tbsp (or 6 Tbsp) coconut sugar (Nutiva brand is excellent)
  1. Combine chicken thighs and all marinade ingredients in a dish and leave in refrigerator for at least several hours, and preferably overnight.
  2. Prepare vermicelli according to package instructions. (Can be done ahead, refreshing noodles in warm water before serving.)
  3. Prepare dipping sauce by mixing the lime juice, water, fish sauce, garlic, and coconut sugar together until well combined. (Can be made ahead; chill until serving time.)
  4. Heat broiler on high. Shake marinade off chicken, place on broiler-safe pan, and broil for 3-4 minutes per side, watching closely to avoid burning. Allow to cool slightly and cut into slices.
  5. Assemble the salads by dividing noodles, lettuce, carrots, cucumber, green onions, herbs, and chicken among 4 large bowls. Top with crushed peanuts and lime wedges if desired.
  6. Sauce can be served in 4 small bowls for dipping, or poured over the top of each salad.
  7. Enjoy!
Recipe by The Nourishing Gourmet at