Vietnamese beef and noodle salad

SmartPoints® value per serving
Total Time
29 min
20 min
9 min
Use thin noodles, called rice sticks or rice vermicelli, for this delicious beef recipe. Keep in mind that it isn't necessary to cook the rice noodles; simply stir them in boiling water. If you've never used them before, they're available in Asian markets and some supermarkets. Some varieties are thin and round, resembling capellini, while others are flat and long, resembling fettuccine. Many of the ingredients for this salad can be prepared ahead of time. You can cut up the vegetables and store in separate zip-top plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to one day. The meat can marinate and the dressing can sit in the refrigerator for up to four hours. Bring all the components together for a quick, low-maintenance weeknight meal.


Fresh lime juice


Vegetable oil

4 tsp

Garlic clove(s)

4 medium clove(s), crushed

Black pepper

tsp, freshly ground

Uncooked lean beef round

16 oz, top, 1 pound, trimmed of all visible fat and cut into 2 x 1⁄8-inch strips

Uncooked vermicelli

7 oz, package, rice sticks

Boston lettuce

1 head(s), small, torn into bite-size pieces

Uncooked carrot(s)

3 medium, coarsely grated

Fresh tomato(es)

1 large, seeded and chopped


1 cup(s), fresh, lightly packed leaves

Mint leaves

¼ cup(s), sliced

Fish sauce

3 Tbsp, Asian (nam pla)


1 Tbsp

Hot pepper sauce

1 tsp

Unsalted dry roasted peanuts

cup(s), chopped


  1. Combine 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, the oil, three-fourths of the garlic, and the pepper in a zip-close plastic bag; add the beef. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag; turn to coat the beef. Refrigerate, turning the bag occasionally, at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  2. Plunge the noodles into a large bowl of boiling water; let soak until soft, about 3 minutes. Drain well, rinse under cold running water, and put in a large bowl. Add the lettuce, carrots, tomato, cilantro, and mint to the noodles; toss until mixed. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add one-third of the beef and cook until browned along the edges, about 2 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate. Repeat in two more batches with the remaining beef.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the remaining lime juice (about 1⁄4 cup), the fish sauce, sugar, the remaining garlic, and the pepper sauce in a small bowl. Pour over the noodle-salad mixture; toss until evenly coated. Mound the salad on a platter, then top with the beef. Sprinkle with the peanuts just before serving. Yields 2 cups salad with scant 1⁄2 cup beef and scant 1 tablespoon peanuts per serving.