Vietnamese Inspired Salad

After the richness of the holidays and new year, nothing is more refreshing than this Vietnamese inspired salad! There is lots of veg to go around here: napa cabbage, carrots, green onion, cucumber, and jalapeño peppers all chopped small so you can get a lil bit of everything in every bite. With half a cup of cilantro and half a cup of mint leaves, the herbs did not come to play any games! Even sans dressing, this base provides tons of flavor and a wide variety of textures. 

To bulk it up and provide some healthy fats, I topped the salad with sliced avocado. I love the flavor and crunch of sesame seeds – so I included a tbsp. of them per serving. You could use less or more depending on your taste. I do find sesame seeds stand out better in higher amounts, plus they have a lot of health benefits! So I really embraced them here. 

The dressing is inspired by nước chấm, which is a staple Vietnamese condiment. It is so good! To make it more salad-esque and add more healthy fats, I added plenty of extra virgin olive oil (my go to salad oil) in liue of the water that is usually added to nước chấm. I think this also helps it to cling better to the salad ingredients. 

This salad kept me full and satisfied at work all week. The veg keeps well so you can pack everything (minus the avocado) in containers and store in the fridge ready to go all week. In the morning, simply add the avocado, bring a side container of dressing, and you are good to go. I recommend dressing right before serving. When I tried adding it and then packing it, it made the salad watery and was muted in flavor – therefore pack the dressing separately and add when ready to eat for the most delicious results. And it is so, so delicious my friends!


Vietnamese Inspired Salad

Servings: 4 (about 2.5 cups each)

Time: 20 minutes from chop to eat

Salad Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of shredded napa cabbage
  • 2/3 cup of sliced green onion
  • 1.5 cups of shredded carrots
  • .5 cup of cilantro leaves, packed
  • .5 cups of mint leaves, packed
  • 1.5 cups of chopped cucumber (seeds removed)
  • .5-1 cup of deseeded and sliced jalapeño (depending on spice preference)
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 4 tbsp. black sesame seeds

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce (see note)
  • 1.5 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic

How-to: 

  1. To make dressing, combine all ingredients and whisk or shake in a jar until emulsified. 
  2. For the salad, combine all ingredients except avocado. Pour over dressing (see note) and toss to distribute evenly.
  3. Top with avocado slices and additional black sesame seeds (optional) and serve. 

Notes:

  • The flavor and sodium content of fish sauces vary so, so much. It is critical to taste as you go to get a balance right for your fish sauce and your taste buds. I suggest starting with 1 tbsp. and adding 1 tsp. at a time until you strike the right balance. 
  • This may make more dressing than you need so pour some, toss, taste, and pour more as needed to dress it to your liking.  

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