This Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad Is an Easy Summer Dinner

Brimming with crunchy cucumbers, yellow squash, peanuts, chiles, and a slew of basil and mint, this salad is light and refreshing.

Yes, you should be eating salad all year long, but we bet you agree that nothing tastes better than fresh, local, seasonal leafy greens and veggies. To help you build a better bowl we asked Nicki Sizemore for a few easy, innovative ideas. The Cold Spring-based chef, cookbook author, and food blogger behind From Scratch Fast focuses on healthy, flavor-packed recipes.

Brimming with crunchy cucumbers, yellow squash, peanuts, chiles, and a slew of basil and mint, this Vietnamese rice noodle salad is light and refreshing. Serve it on its own or turn it into a main course by adding grilled shrimp or chicken.

To make garlicky grilled shrimp skewers, marinate 1 pound of peeled jumbo shrimp in 4 grated garlic cloves plus enough olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Thread the shrimp onto skewers and grill on high about 3–4 minutes per side. Sprinkle the shrimp with fresh lime juice before serving.

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

Course: Salads, MainCuisine: VietnameseDifficulty: Easy


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Cooking time


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This can serve four as a main or six as a side.


  • Dressing
  • ¼ cup lime juice

  • ¼ cup rice vinegar

  • 1 large garlic clove, grated

  • 1 tsp grated ginger

  • 2 Tbsp honey

  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

  • 1 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil

  • 1–2 Tbsp fish sauce

  • Salt and black pepper

  • Salad
  • 12 oz. rice noodles (Pad Thai style)

  • ½ medium English (or Persian) cucumbers, halved and thinly sliced

  • 1 medium yellow squash or zucchini, halved and thinly sliced

  • ½ cup lightly packed fresh mint, coarsely chopped

  • ½ cup lightly packed basil or cilantro, coarsely chopped

  • 1–2 chiles (such as jalapeños or serranos), thinly sliced

  • 2 large scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for serving

  • ½ cup roasted salted peanuts (or cashews), coarsely chopped, plus more for serving

  • Grilled shrimp or chicken (optional)

  • Sriracha or chile sauce, for serving (optional)


  • Make the dressing
  • In a bowl or jar, combine the lime juice, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger. If you have the time, let it sit for 5–10 minutes to let the flavors infuse. Add the honey, sesame oil, vegetable oil and 1–2 tablespoons of fish sauce to taste. Season with salt and pepper and whisk or shake to combine.
  • Make the salad
  • Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. Drain, and rinse them in cold water.
  • Place the noodles in a large bowl and add the cucumber, squash, mint, basil, chiles (to taste), scallions, and peanuts. Pour the dressing over top and toss to coat. Taste and season with salt if needed. Garnish with peanuts and scallions. If you’d like, top the salad with grilled shrimp or chicken. Serve with sriracha or chile sauce.


  • Do Ahead: The dressing can be refrigerated up to 5 days.
vietnamese salad
Vietnamese rice noodle salad. By Nicki Sizemore

Related: Make Chilled Sweet Potato Soup With Maple-Smoked Chile Sauce

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