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This authentic Vietnamese dish is known as Bun Ga Nuong, was one of our favorites traveling through Vietnam and is very adaptable. It can be made with your choice of protein, marinated in a flavorful lemongrass paste, then grilled (or use a grill pan or skillet) until hot and crispy.
Vermicelli Noodle Bowls | 60-sec Video
Are Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowls Healthy?
Yes! What I love about these Vermicelli Bowls is how fresh and packed full of nutrients they are. They are also very adaptable.
Sometimes I’ll make chicken for Brian and tofu for myself, by simply dividing the marinade. Vermicelli rice noodles are traditional in the dish, but for an easy low-carb option, try substituting daikon “noodles”. (See below).
The bowls can also be completely vegan, using tofu and Vegan Fish Sauce.
This has become one of my favorite meals– leaving me feeling energized, healthy and light.
It starts with fresh ingredients.
Make the Lemongrass Marinade:
Add the rest of the marinade ingredients and pulse to create a thick paste.
The secret ingredient that really gives this marinade its authenticity– is Chinese Five Spice. Though it’s called Chinese Five Spice, it is often used in Vietnamese Cuisine–for example, it’s commonly in the broth of Vietnamese Pho. I believe it’s because of their proximity to one another…..Southern China borders Northern Vietnam. When it comes to food, there really are no borders.
Prep the protein:
If using tofu, cut tofu into bite-sized pieces.
Toss with the marinade and let sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 48 hours.
Prep all your veggies:
While it’s marinating, prep your veggies.
How do you cook Vermicelli Noodles?
- Place vermicelli noodles in a wide shallow baking dish.
- Bring 8 cups of water to a boil.
- Pour over the noodles and let stand 5 minutes.
- Drain well. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking.
- To keep from sticking, you could toss with a small drizzle of oil.
Are Rice Noodles and Vermicelli the same?
Vermicelli is a type of rice noodle, fine and thread-like. There are many sizes of rice noodles– flat and wide, linguini-shaped, all the way down to Vermicelli which is the thinnest- perfect for bowls and salads. You can typically find Vermicelli in the Asian section of most grocery stores or at a local Asian Market.
Is Vermicelli healthier than rice?
Because rice is considered a whole grain, and the vermicelli noodles are in essence “processed” rice is probably a little healthier than rice noodles.
Can I use Vermicelli Noodles for Pho?
Though Pho, is typically made with rice noodles, Vermicelli rice noodles may be too thin to hold up to the broth without breaking. Vermicelli noodles need only 2-3 minutes to boil. Rinse and set aside.
Low-carb (Keto) Option for rice noodles:
Try using Diakon Noodles or Kelp Noodles.
Grill the Protein:
Heat your grill or grill pan to medium heat, and when hot, sear each side 5-7 minutes until good grill marks appear, then lower heat and cook all the way through. Set aside.
Make the Vietnamese Dressing:
The simple flavorful dressing here is called Nuoc Cham and it is made with lime juice, rice vinegar, sugar (or honey) water, fish sauce and chilies.
**Please don’t let the fish sauce prohibit or scare you, it really is delicious and adds depth and flavor. But if you are vegan and would like to substitute it, see below for a vegan fish sauce recipe. Or sub a little soy sauce!
Assemeble the Vermicelli bowls!
Divide the cooked vermicelli noodles into the bowls.
Divide all the veggies, herbs and grilled chicken or tofu. Spoon the flavorful Nuoc Cham Dressing over top and serve.
Vietnamese Vermicelli Noodle Bowl
- Prep Time: 45 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 55 mins
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Main, chicken,
- Method: grilled
- Cuisine: Vietnamese
- Diet: Gluten Free
Vietnamese Vermicelli Noodle Bowl w/ lemongrass chicken (or shrimp or tofu) served over rice vermicelli noodles, with veggies and herbs & flavorful Vietnamese dressing, called Nuoc Cham.
- 1 –1 1/4 lbs chicken thighs (boneless, skinless), tofu or large prawns
Vietnamese Lemongrass Marinade
- 1/2 cup finely chopped lemongrass ( 3 stalks- white part)
- 1/2 cup shallots, quartered
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground Chinese five spice
- 1/4 cup peanut or olive oil
- 8 oz vermicelli rice noodles, cooked and cooled
- 1 Red Bell pepper -sliced into thin strips
- 1 English cucumber, halved and sliced, or cut into ribbons.
- 1 daikon radish- grated or cut into matchsticks (or sub regular radish)
- generous handful of fresh basil and mint leaves (Thai basil is great here)
- optional additions: cilantro crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, microgreens
Nuoc Cham Dressing:
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (or sub part rice vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (or sub soy sauce, or make vegan fish sauce)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
- 1 red chile- medium spicy
Make the marinade: Chop lemongrass into thin slices and place in a food processor and pulse repeatedly until very finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients- shallot, garlic, salt, sugar, five spice, and pulse until very finely chopped, add the oil and pulse to create a paste.
Massage the chicken thighs ( coat tofu or shrimp) with the marinade. Let marinate 30 minutes, several hours or up to 48 hours for the most flavor!
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water. Or if you prefer your noodles warm, rinse with hot water.
Prep all the Veggies: slice the bell pepper, cucumber, and daikon radishes.
Make Nuoc Cham Dressing– mix lime juice, fish sauce, water, sugar until sugar dissolves then top with a few sliced chilies in a small bowl. Set aside.
Grill Preheat grill to medium-high. Grill the chicken until deep grill marks appear, lower the heat, and cook all the way through. Place in a warm oven until ready to use. Slice. Alternatively, you can cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and cook on a grill pan.
Assemble bowls. Place cooked noodles, fresh veggies, fresh herbs, grilled chicken, grouped together in a wide bowl, and spoon a little of the dressing over the noodles and veggies. Enjoy!!
Feel free to sub tofu or shrimp for the chicken, grilling on a grill pan.
This can be served warm or chilled- I prefer everything chilled, except the chicken, served hot. 🙂
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 564
- Sugar: 8.3 g
- Sodium: 1661.2 mg
- Fat: 16.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 59.6 g
- Fiber: 3.2 g
- Protein: 14.4 g
- Cholesterol: 43.8 mg
Keywords: vietnamese noodles, vermicelli noodles, vietnamese noodle bowl, vietnamese noodle salad, vietnamese lemongrass noodles, lemongrass noodle salad
Perfect balance of fresh, delicious flavors! I love spicy food so I added an extra chili to the sauce…and lots of mint to balance it out!
Sounds perfect Amanda.
Hi tried this with tofu – what’s the best way to incorporate tofu? – overall the flavour was nice but not as strong as I hoped for, thanks
Hi Romy- I would marinate the tofu the same way and pan fry, grill, or use a grill pan. It needs a little extra salt to bring out the other flavors.
One of our absolute favourite recipes. Thank you. Unfailingly good! Made it again last week and will make sure I have the ingredients with me when we head out to the maritime this summer.
We love this one too- glad you are enjoying it!
Thank you for this it’s my favorite at restaurants and now I know how to make it myself.
Tree Trimming Fort Collins
I made this based on the recipe and it was really good. I had cashews though instead of peanuts so used them. The Thai basil makes this dish! My recommendation is to double or triple the sauce but that’s a personal preference though.
Thanks laura! Love your rec! 😉
Sylvia, They absolutely love your recipes. They are so creative and delicious and have never failed me. I do have a question about this one regarding the level of sodium. Is that the amount of sodium per serving? I will probably take steps to reduce it if that is the case. Thanks so much for sharing all that you do.
Most of the salt here is in the dressing- with the fish sauce. You could just use less of the dressing. I’d keep the proportions. You could cut back some in the marinade as well. 🙂
Me and my will have a dinner date tommorow and this one will be an addition to our table. Thank you so much for sharing the tips! Denver Arborist
thanks so much!
I really love this recipe It’s really delicious. Thanks a lot for sharing this! Concrete Boulder Colorado
soooo good with shrimp
Great to hear!
I came across your recipe on Pinterest and made it for my family just now. They loved it! My daughter said that it tasted just like it does at one of the local restaurants and my son just kept saying “omg, yes!”. It’s definitely a keeper.
I loe this one too! Glad you tried it!
My family loves this dish we make it with tofu. even my meat eating husband asks me to make it frequently.
Awww… I love that you shared this..thanks! Nothing makes me happier than knowing that the recipes shared here, bring nurturing to others, thanks so much!!
Thanks for the great recipe. Tried it for the first time, yesterday. Hubby said he would eat it again! I did dilute the sauce as the lime juice was strong. Lovely meal.
So delicious! I made it with grilled prawns.
mmmmm, that sounds good!
Amazingly delicious recipe! I made with tofu. Instead of grilling I fried it in coconut oil to get it crispy. Thank you!
your recipe for nuoc cham was spot on..thanks
These bowls are so colorful and perfect! I love all the different flavors and colors going on. Gorgeous.
I am going to Marseille next week looking up what I was told is a real good Chinese Food Emporium (very hard to find in this part of the world) and I seriously hope to find all ingredients for this so very beautiful dish there.
My fav kind of meal! Love the flavours.
Reading this has been a real education. I will look for the frozen lemon grass next time I go to my Asian market. Thank you.
You are welcome…it does come in pretty handy. Sometimes I’ll thaw the large packages, and divide into smaller packages and refreeze.