Vegan Bun Chay (Vietnamese Noodle Salad)

Vegan Bun Chay

This Vegan Bun Chay has a base of tender rice noodles, with lemongrass tofu, pickled carrots and radishes, fresh vegetables, roasted peanuts, fresh herbs and dressed with a salty-sour-tangy dressing, A fresh and comforting meal in just 20 minutes.

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Happy November! It’s been raining all week and I am so over the cold dark weather already. When it’s dark out my heart either craves a steamy hot bowl of soup or something colourful and fresh. Total polar opposites, I know but my theory is that when its dark outside, my eyes just want to see some bright colourful things. But, I also don’t want to be eating a cold light salad. So this is where my huge cravings for Bun Chay come in. Bun Chay is a warm, but fresh noodle salad from Vietnamese cuisine.

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Whats inside Bun Chay? First, we start with some tender rice noodles as the base. Then choose your favourite protein and marinade (my favourite is my lemongrass marinade) and pan fry it to it becomes crispy and caramelized. Add in some pickled carrots and radishes along with your favourite fresh vegetables. Make a dressing that is tangy and salt and let the rice noodles soak it up! Lastly, to take it to up a notch, throw in some crushed roasted peanuts and fresh herbs like cilantro, mint or thai basil. If you like spicy, you can add in some thai red chilis too but be warned… they’re SPICY.

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I only know one place that offers vegan bun chay because it typically includes chicken broth and fish sauce, so when I tried to make it at home and it came out this good, it become a weekly craving. I love to load my bowl with vegetables. Everything about this bowl is absolute deliciousness because of all the different flavours and textures. This dish tastes so complex, in the best way possible yet to easy to make.

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Are you convinced to try Vegan Bun Chay Yet? 😉I hope so, because this Vegan Bun Chay is:

  • comforting, with tons of lively intense flavours

  • loaded with fresh vegetables and is customizable

  • a healthy and satisfying meal

  • meal prep friendly

  • and SO DELICIOUS!

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Tips and Tricks to making Vegan Bunchay

  • Press the tofu before marinating, this will allow more flavours to soak up.

  • When cooking the tofu, allow each side to caramelize on a lower heat so they become crispy.

  • DON’T OVER COOK YOUR NOODLES! Once their tender enough to bite into, quickly rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking process.

  • Pour over the dressing and let the noodles soak up the dressing (SO GOOD!)

  • For a DIY quick fish sauce: Soak 2 dried shiitake mushrooms in 1/4 c of hot water for 20 minutes. Then combine: 2 c water, 2 cloves grated garlic cloves, 1.5 tbsp peppercorns, ¼ c soy sauce, 1 tsp kombu dashi powder and the shiitake mushroom liquid.

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If you recreate this Vegan Bun Chay please share it and let me know what you think by tagging me on Instagram @lisakitahara, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!

Method

  1. Take the tofu out of the package and press out excess liquid. In a shallow container dish, combine the tofu and marinade. Let it soak for 1 hour-overnight.

  2. For the pickled carrots and radish, slice the carrots and radish into match sized sticks. Nuke the carrots and radish for 1 minute in the microwave. Combine the water, rice vinegar, sugar and salt into a glass bowl and heat until sugar is dissolved. Add in the carrots and daikon and let it pickle in the fridge.

  3. For the dressing, combine all the ingredients and mix.

  4. Once the tofu is ready to be cooked, pat the tofu dry with a paper towel. Pan fry with a little sesame oil on medium heat until slightly crispy and brown on each side, around 5 minutes per side.

  5. To make the Bun Chay bowls, add a layer of rice noodles as the base. Add on the tofu, pickled veg, and the rest of the vegetables. Serve with the dressing and herbs of choice.

Notes

  • SERVINGS: 2

  • PREP TIME: 10 minutes + marinating time

  • COOK TIME: 10 minutes

  • INGREDIENTS: 16

  • DIFFICULTY: EASY

Ingredients

TOFU: 

  • ½ lb extra firm tofu

  • 1 recipe of lemon grass marinade

PICKLED CARROTS AND RADISH

  • 2 carrots (150g)

  • 1/2 daikon (150g)

  • 1/4 c water

  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1/3 c rice vinegar

DRESSING:

  • 4 tbsp lime juice

  • 4 tbsp fish sauce (See tips or replace with soy sauce)

  • 1/4 c water

  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar

  • 2 tbsp sugar

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 

  • thai chili 

NOODLE BOWL:

  • 2 servings of rice noodles (around 6 oz)

  • ½ cucumber moons

  • 1 c bean sprouts

  • ½ bell pepper bell pepper

  • 2 c shredded lettuce

  • 2 spring onions, sliced

  • lime wedges

  • handful of the herbs: thai basil, mint, cilantro, chili