Forget cinnamon buns and (plant-based) burger buns. This is about Vietnamese bún, a refreshing rice noodle bowl to beat the summer heat. It’s madly versatile, relying on fresh vegetables and fresh herbs by the handful. so make the most of local summer produce.
Asian rice noodles, vegetables and herbs are tossed with nuac cham, Vietnamese cuisine’s classic brightening chile and lime sauce. Traditionally, nuac cham also contains fish sauce, which provides a funky umami punch. To keep it vegan, I’m breaking with tradition but keeping the funky umami by substituting vegan mushroom sauce. You can also use easier-to-find soy sauce.
Switch out the red cabbage, red pepper and carrots for sturdy summer vegetables and/or zucchini noodles. Add radish and cucumber sliced into matchsticks and fistfuls of fresh, chopped spinach, arugula or other tender green. However you spin it, be lavish with the fresh herbs.
Give it a tropical twist by adding slivers of green mango or green papaya.
Keep it cool and skip the skillet, just toss the tofu and raw vegetables in with the cooked rice noodles.
Double or even triple this recipe for a crowd. Bonus — you can do almost everything in advance and toss it together in a big bowl just before serving. Bún should look like confetti and taste like a party.
Want more vibrant Vietnamese cookery? Andrea Nguyen is your go-to and guide.
Viet Noodles With Fresh Herbs or a Sort of Bún
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice — about 3 juicy limes
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon sambal oelek*
- 1 ½ teaspoons vegan mushroom sauce **
- 4 ounces rice noodles or whole wheat angel hair pasta
- 4 teaspoons peanut grape seed or other neutral oil
- 4 ounces firm tofu pressed, blotted dry and cut into bite-sized cubes
- ½ head red cabbage shredded
- 2 carrots shredded or chopped into matchsticks
- 1 red pepper shredded or chopped into matchsticks
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves
- 1 handful fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 handful fresh Thai basil or other basil chopped
- 1 handful fresh Italian parsley chopped
- for optional garnish:
- 1 handful scallions green parts only, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup roasted cashews chopped
- cilantro chopped
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, garlic, sugar, sambal oelek, vegan mushroom oyster sauce or soy sauce and 2 teaspoons of oil, just until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
- In a large pot of boiling water, cook noodles according to package directions. Give rice noodles a stir to prevent clumping, and take care not to overcook. You want them al dente, not mushy. Drain noodles and set aside.
- In a wok or large skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add tofu cubes and cook about 3 to 5 minutes, until the tofu turns golden and slightly crusty. Very nice. Add the shredded cabbage, carrots and red pepper and turn off the heat. Give everything a toss so the vegetables think about softening.
- Add the drained noodles and pour nuac cham over all. Combine gently with a large spoon.
- Recipe may be covered and refrigerated for several hours at this point. Just before serving, season generously with sea salt, scatter the mint, cilantro, basil, and cilantro, and dance this mess around.
- Garnish with chopped cashews, cilantro, scallions and sesame seeds, if desired.
** Vegan mushroom sauce can be found in the Asian cuisine section of many grocerystores and at Asian and specialty markets.
More Noodle Recipes You Will Love
- Asian Rice Noodles With Chili, Mint and Lime
- Nourishing Noodles — Japchae
- Dorm-Friendly Quick and Healthy Singapore Noodles