This Vietnamese beef noodle salad is packed full of flavour. It's easy to prepare, so colourful and is a delicious meal!
Usually we eat really simple, classic meals like spaghetti bolognese, cheesy mince pasta or ribs for dinner and my truck driving husband is the happiest man out. And then other days I make him strange exotic things like Vietnamese beef noodle salads. I like to keep him on his toes! Do you know what though? He still eats it and enjoys it and says all the right things. How lucky am I?! But you know he is so happy when we have sausages, mashed potatoes and peas the next night!
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What we both love about this meal is that it's substantial enough with the beef and noodles to be filling - there is nothing worse than eating a salad for dinner, only to be left starving 30 minutes later. And you know that's not going to sit well with Josh!
The thing that makes this dinner so much more interesting than just beef and noodles is the dressing. The beef is marinated in lemongrass, ginger, fish sauce, brown sugar and lime juice and is then cooked in the marinade which gives you a delicious sticky coating thanks to the brown sugar. The dressing for the salad and noodles is pretty similar, only without the lemongrass and ginger.
The ingredient list might look a little long and daunting but I promise it's not! They are all ingredients that you can buy at the supermarket - no trips to specialty stores needed! I like to make up the dressing and the marinade at the same time and split it in half before adding the lemongrass and ginger for the marinade which makes it easier!
I also like to quickly pickle the salad ingredients in a bit of rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt while I'm cooking the beef. This step is optional but I think it adds a great tang to the salad!
Add chili flakes if you like a bit of heat, or leave people to add their own if you are feeding kids too.
Serve it all up on rice noodles. You can use the 5mm thick pad thai noodles or vermicelli - whichever you have or can find. I prefer the thicker noodles but have had it with both and they are both great!
This is a super easy dinner for 1, 2 or for feeding a crowd. If you are feeding a group of people, try arranging the noodles on a large serving platter with the vegetables and meat all in separate bowls. That way everyone can add what they like and it is like a build your own bowl party!
Other 30 minute meal ideas you might like:
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Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad
- 500 grams beef schnitzel, thinly sliced (see recipe note 1)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemongrass or lemongrass paste (just for marinade - see instructions)
- 1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger (just for marinade - see instructions)
- 1 carrot
- 1 red pepper
- 1 cucumber
- ½ cup herbs (mint, thai basil, coriander)
- 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 250 grams rice noodles, cooked according to package directions (I like using the 5mm thick pad thai noodles but vermicelli is fine too)
Make the dressing and marinade the beef
- Mix up the brown sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and chili flakes in a small bowl. Split it evenly into 2 small bowls, putting one bowl aside for the salad dressing. Once you've taken what you need for the dressing, add the lemongrass and ginger to the marinade bowl.Add the beef to the marinade and toss to coat. This can be done up to 8 hours in advance and left in the fridge, or just leave it marinating on the bench for 15 minutes while you are preparing the salad ingredients.
- Thinly slice all salad ingredients and place in a medium sized bowl along with the chopped fresh herbs. Add the rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt and combine. Leave sitting on the bench until ready to serve.
Cook the beef
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil or sesame oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Pour in the beef and marinade and cook for about 5 minutes until the beef is cooked through and the marinade has been soaked up by the beef.
Assemble the salad
- Add the noodles to a large bowl or serving platter and either stir through the vegetables and herbs or arrange them on the side. Top with the beef and serve!
- I use beef schnitzel sliced into thin pieces because that's what we have in the freezer. You can use stir fry beef or rump steak sliced thinly if you prefer.