Vietnamese tofu and noodle salad

Vietnamese tofu and noodle salad


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About this recipe: An exciting layered salad combining crisp vegetables flavoured with fresh herbs, noodles and marinated grilled tofu. The tofu is best prepared several hours in advance as longer marinating will enhance the flavour.

Maggie Pannell

Serves: 4 

  • 2 x 250g packs firm tofu, drained
  • 250g bean sprouts
  • 200g Chinese mustard greens, Chinese leaves or pak choi, finely shredded
  • 15g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 15g fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • juice of 2 limes (use zest for the marinade)
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 200g mange-tout
  • 250g medium rice noodles
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • ½ cucumber, halved lengthways and cut into sticks
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 6 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
  • grated zest of 2 limes
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp dry sherry

Prep:1hr15min  ›  Cook:15min  ›  Ready in:1hr30min 

  1. Slice the blocks of tofu in half horizontally and lay flat in a non-metallic, heatproof dish. Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade and sprinkle evenly over the tofu. Turn the slices so that both sides are coated, then cover and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the bean sprouts, shredded greens, coriander and basil in a large, deep serving dish. Sprinkle with the lime juice and half the sugar. Add the mange-tout to a saucepan of boiling water. Bring back to the boil and cook for just 1 minute, then drain in a colander and refresh under cold running water. Scatter over the bean sprout mixture.
  3. Refill the saucepan with boiling water and add the noodles. Bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover and leave to stand for 4 minutes or until softened. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water, then tip them back into the pan.
  4. Preheat a hot grill. Drain the marinade from the tofu onto the noodles, toss and set aside. Leave the tofu lying flat in the dish.
  5. Sprinkle half the oil over the tofu, then grill for 4–6 minutes until beginning to brown and form a skin on the surface. Use a large slice to turn the pieces of tofu over. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and oil and grill for a further 4 minutes. Sprinkle the nuts over the tofu and grill for a final 2 minutes or until the nuts are browned.
  6. Tip the noodles on top of the bean sprout mixture to make a separate layer. Slice the tofu into 2cm thick fingers and arrange on top of the salad with the cucumber sticks and toasted nuts. Serve immediately while the tofu is warm.


Instead of tofu, use thin fillets of turkey breast or lean steak. Boil the marinade for 2–3 minutes in a small bowl in the microwave before adding it to the noodles.

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