Recipe: Vietnamese-Style Chicken & Noodle Salad

updated May 1, 2019
Vietnamese-Style Chicken & Noodle Salad

This Vietnamese chicken salad is mixed with crunchy, colorful vegetables, rice noodles, and lemongrass- and ginger-marinated chicken breast.


Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

One of the tricks to making a salad you’d totally eat for dinner is to riff on something you already consider hearty and filling. That’s the thinking behind this chicken and rice noodle salad, inspired by Vietnamese bún xào.

This version starts with lemongrass- and ginger-marinated chicken that’s tossed with a tangle of rice noodles, a mess of crunchy vegetables and herbs, and an umami-rich dressing. Whip it up at the end of the day, or prep it during your weekend meal prep and enjoy it hot or cold for dinner.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Start with a Double-Duty Marinade and Dressing

I always appreciate a recipe that gives me the most bang for my buck — that’s why this one starts with a lemongrass and ginger marinade that also pulls double duty as the salad dressing. It’s based on nuoc cham, the Vietnamese dipping sauce distinctly flavored with fish sauce that’s tangy, savory, and sweet, with just a touch of warmth from ginger. Whisk the whole batch of the dressing together, spoon out some for the marinade, and stash the rest, to be used as the dressing, in the fridge until it’s time to eat.

Plan to marinate the chicken for at least an hour, although I recommend letting it soak overnight (or even in the freezer for up to several months, if you’re really thinking ahead).

As the chicken cooks, plan to soak the rice noodles and chop the vegetables and herbs for the salad. You can serve it warm right after making it, or prep the components in advance and assemble it cold straight from the fridge.

Vietnamese-Style Chicken & Noodle Salad

This Vietnamese chicken salad is mixed with crunchy, colorful vegetables, rice noodles, and lemongrass- and ginger-marinated chicken breast.

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


For the marinade and dressing:

  • 1/4 cup

    freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 3 limes)

  • 2 tablespoons

    rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons


  • 2 tablespoons

    finely chopped lemongrass or lemongrass paste

  • 1 tablespoon

    fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon

    finely grated peeled fresh ginger

  • 2 cloves

    garlic, minced

  • 1/2 cup

    olive oil

For the salad:

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick strips

  • 2 ounces

    dry, thin rice noodles

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1/2

    medium napa cabbage, thinly sliced crosswise (about 6 cups)

  • 1

    medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced

  • 1 1/3 cups

    shredded carrots

  • 1

    medium English cucumber, thinly sliced crosswise

  • 4

    medium scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced on a diagonal

  • 1/2 cup

    chopped fresh cilantro, divided

  • 1/2 cup

    chopped fresh mint leaves, divided


Make the marinade and dressing:

  1. Place the lime juice, vinegar, honey, lemongrass, fish sauce, ginger, and garlic in a medium jar or bowl and shake or whisk until well-combined and the honey is dissolved. Add the oil and shake or whisk until emulsified.

Make the salad:

  1. Place the chicken and 1/4 cup of the dressing in a shallow container. Stir to coat the chicken. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to overnight. (Alternatively, marinate the chicken in a quart zip-top plastic bag.) Cover the remaining dressing and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  2. When ready to cook, break the dried noodles in half and cook according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water to remove excess starch, then place in a large bowl. Shake the dressing again, add 2 tablespoons to the noodles, and toss to combine; set aside.

  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until very hot but not smoking. Place the chicken in the pan in a single layer, and sear until browned on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the chicken and cook, shaking the skillet occasionally to move the chicken, until the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes more; set aside.

  4. Add the cabbage, bell pepper, carrots, cucumber, scallions, 1/2 of the cilantro and mint, and remaining dressing to the noodles. Toss to combine. Top with the chicken and remaining herbs before serving.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The rice noodles and dressing can be prepared 1 day in advance and stored in separate covered containers in the refrigerator.

Storage: Leftovers will keep for 1 day stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.