For years I have watched my husband eat Vietnamese noodle bowls in restaurants. They always looked so tasty and a perfect light meal for summer. Unfortunately, as a vegetarian, I had not been able to find one without fish sauce in the dressing.
So you can imagine my excitement when my husband not only decided to try out a recipe at home, but also found a vegan dressing option!
Though I offer the specific vegetables I used in my recent creation, know that you are not limited in your choice of vegetables. Traditionally cucumbers, lettuce and cilantro are included due to their cooling properties. I added Daikon radish but you could use Jicama, bok choy, snow peas or other vegetables that appeal to you.
In general, this is a great dish to cool pitta in the warm season but be careful with how much garlic and chili paste you are using if your pitta is aggravated. Also, the sauce is quite sour containing not only rice vinegar but lime juice and the fermented tamari/Bragg’s and Vegan fish sauce. Based on your needs, you may need to modify or use in moderation.
The light quality of this meal makes it balancing for kapha but reduce the amount of cucumbers, which are high in water content.
The large amount of raw vegetables can be aggravating for vata. Either have a small portion at the mid-day meal when the digestive fire is strongest, or lightly steam the vegetables depending your needs.
Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Tofu
A light main meal perfect for summer
- 10 ounces extra firm tofu
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbsp. Vegan fish sauce or mushroom sauce
- 1 Tbsp. Bragg's Amino Acids or tamari
- 1 Tbsp. sucanat (evaporated cane juice) or 1/2 tsp. agave nectar
- 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp. sunflower oil
- 1 stalk lemongrass white part only, slightly bruised then sliced into pieces
Noodle Bowl Dressing
- 1/8 cup Vegan fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. sucanat
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 clove garlic optional
- 1/4 tsp. red chili sauce or pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp. sunflower oil
- 3-4 ounces vermicelli rice noodles
- 1 carrot julienned
- 1 cucumber julienned
- 1/2 daikon radish julienned
- 2 cups lettuce or spring greens
- 1 cup bean sprouts optional
- 1 Tbsp. cilantro chopped
- 1 Tbsp. mint leaves chopped
- 1 Tbsp. toasted raw peanuts or pumpkin seeds optional
Preheat over to 425 degrees.
Mix the ingredients for the marinade. Drain and gently squeeze the tofu and cut into 1/2" slices. Dip in the marinade and place on a sprayed baking sheet. Continue with all the pieces and pour the remaining marinade over the tofu. Bake for 7 minutes, flip, and bake another 7 minutes.
Combine the Nuoc Cham sauce ingredients. If using sucanat, mix well to dissolve. Adjust to your taste in terms of spiciness, lime and sweetness and set aside.
Prepare the vermicelli noodles according to the package. Do not overcook! Rinse under cold water and set aside.
Prepare all the vegetables while the noodles are cooking.
To serve, place the noodles in a bowl and top with the lettuce, vegetables. and 3-4 pieces of the baked tofu. Drizzle 2-4 Tbsp. of the sauce and sprinkle with the peanuts or pumpkin seeds. Serve with lime wedges and additional cilantro for garnish.
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