I can’t believe this is the first rice vermicelli salad and the sixth pasta salad recipe I put on LightOrangeBean. I make many gluten-free pasta dishes every season because my family and I enjoy them so much. Announcing, “We’re having noodles” always gets everybody to the table much faster than just saying, “It’s meal time”.
Rice vermicelli, along with other gluten-free pastas, such as corn pasta, brown rice pasta, and mung bean glass noodles take up a generous amount of space in my cupboards. I try to keep a full inventory of these noodles due to our noodle addiction. Although I like making pasta dishes from my collection of pasta recipes, I will often experiment with different flavors in the sauce for a recipe. When I tell my friends and family that I changed some flavors in the recipe, there’s a subtle air of anticipation in the room for a delightful surprise.
When I made this salad for my family, I had to tell my husband to leave some for me, otherwise he would have eaten all of it. For potlucks, be sure to make an extra large bowl full. Now, let me convince you to make this simple, protein rich, and refreshing and fragrant rice vermicelli salad.
Don’t be intimidated. It is simple! There are two types of rice vermicelli noodles you can use in this recipe: the fresh or the dry type. In most Asian grocery stores you can find fresh rice vermicelli in the refrigerated food section and the dry rice vermicelli at the pasta section. The fresh vermicelli only needs to be cooked in boiling water 1 minute or less with constant stirring, while the dry type needs to be submerged into boiling water for about 2 to 3 minutes with occasionally stirring.
After the rice vermicelli noodles were cooked, I rinsed them with cold running water, drained them well, and used a salad spinner to remove the excess water. I transferred the cooked and drained rice vermicelli onto a plate and let them air-dry for about 10 to 15 minutes while I prepared the other ingredients.
Rich in Protein
Recently, I made a large batch of oven baked tofu and froze them to use for future dishes. This is a good example of where that previously frozen oven baked tofu makes itself useful! I thawed them out and sliced them into 2 inches long strips. Because the tofu is already perfectly baked and seasoned, it won’t be be crumbly or taste bland.
Full of Refreshing and Fragrant Herbs
Summer is the time that herbs thrive. I used three fresh herbs commonly found in grocery stores in this recipe. They are cilantro, basil (I used Thai basil), and mint. The bright green cilantro has a distinctive taste that blends nicely with the fragrant basil. Adding some mint leaves gives the entire salad a cool and refreshing taste. You really don’t need extra seasoning to make this salad shine.
In the end, I added some fresh cucumbers, red onions, Asian wood ear mushrooms, and oyster mushrooms to give some extra color and crunchy texture to the salad. For the dressing, I blended together palm sugar, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, chili oil, and a handful of fresh cilantro, et al. until it is combined. All of these flavors are absorbed into the rice vermicelli noodles. We didn’t have any leftovers this time.
Did I convince you to make this dish yet? Let me know if you liked this salad and what you liked best about it.
- ¼ cup wood ear mushroom
- 6 cups water
- 5 oz (142 g) rice vermicelli (dried)
- 6 oz (170 g) oven roasted tofu (see note)
- ¾ cup fresh oyster mushroom
- 1 medium red onion, sliced
- 1 small cucumber, sliced
- ¼ cups mint leaves
- ¼ cups basil leaves
- ¼ cups cilantro leaves
- 2 teaspoons roasted sesame (white or black)
- 2 tablespoons palm sugar
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (gluten-free if desired)
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ tablespoon chili oil
- ¼ cups cilantro leaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, soak wood ear mushrooms in hot water for approximately 15 minutes until they are soft. Strain and dry with a paper towel.
- Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove the saucepan from heat and submerge the rice vermicelli into the hot water. Stir briefly and cover the saucepan with lid. Let it stand for 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook the rice vermicelli otherwise the noodles will become mushy.
- Drain the cooked rice vermicelli and rinse with cold running water to stop further cooking. When the rice vermicelli is thoroughly rinsed, transfer them into a salad spinner and remove the excess water. Place the rice vermicelli onto a plate and allow it to air-dry for 10 to 15 minutes while preparing the other ingredients. Cut the rice vermicelli noodles into 2-1/2-inch lengths if desired.
- Cut tofu, oyster mushrooms, red onion, and cucumber into desired size (see photos). Coarsely chop mint, basil, and cilantro leaves.
- Put all salad dressing ingredients in a food processor and blend until it is combined.
- Gently toss to combine all ingredients. Serve immediately.