This Vietnamese Noodle Salad (Vegan Bún Chay) with Crispy Sesame Tofu and Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce Dressing is fresh, healthy, delicious and so easy to make with gluten-free glass or vermicelli rice noodles! Perfect for a quick lunch or dinner for any warm spring or summer day!
Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Thai Peanut Sauce
If you’re looking for a fresh lunch or dinner recipe, that is beautiful, refreshing, and satisfying, make this salad! Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite summer salad recipes because it‘s just like the fresh version of vegan pad thai or peanut sesame noodles.
The combination of glass or rice noodles, crispy sesame tofu, and the spicy peanut sauce dressing makes this salad extra special! I love that it’s so colorful and full of so many textures and flavors, making it to an amazing salad that never gets boring!
Plus, it is completely vegan, gluten-free, and also easy to customize so you can swap out the veggies with any you like!
What are glass noodles?
Glass or cellophane noodles (also known as fensi or bean thread noodles) are gluten-free transparent noodles that, are clear like glass when cooked. They’re made from starch (such as mung bean starch, potato starch, sweet potato starch, tapioca, or canna starch) and water and are super easy to prepare because you just need to soak them. They are typically used in Asian soups, stir-fried dishes, salads, spring rolls, and more. However, if you can’t get them, feel free to use vermicelli rice noodles or other noodles you like for this Thai salad recipe, such as soba, udon, ramen, or veggie noodles.
Use your favorite Veggies and Toppings!
I used a mix of lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, rice noodles, scallions, and crispy sesame tofu to add some protein. However, you can also skip the tofu and top your salad with some crispy chickpeas or Chinese eggplants or garlic mushrooms. Of course, you can also mix in your favorite vegetables like spiralized zucchini, soybeans, mungbean sprouts, sautéed broccoli – whatever you love and have on hand will do!
Spicy Vegan Thai Peanut Sauce
The spicy peanut sauce ist definitely the best part of this Vietnamese glass or rice noodle salad so please do not skip it! It’s spicy, tangy, loaded with peanut flavor – so just all of my favorite flavors when it comes to Thai food! You can even use it as a sauce in many other Asian inspired Thai recipes with noodles, vegetables, or tofu!
How to make crispy sesame tofu
Step 1: Press the Tofu
This Vietnamese noodle salad recipe starts with the tofu. First, the tofu has to be pressed to ensure it absorbs the flavor of the marinade better. You can either press the tofu with a tofu press or wrap it in a few layers of paper towels, then place something heavy on top to weigh it down. Once the paper towels become wet, refresh with new ones. See my recipe for crispy baked tofu nuggets for step-by-step photos.
Step 2: Prep the coating & marinade the Tofu
In the meantime mix together all the ingredients for the marinade and prepare the flax or chia egg. Optionally, you could also use just soy milk like I did in my other recipe, but I figured out that the sticky “vegan egg mixture” works a little better. Also, prepare one plate with flour and one plate with sesame seeds. When the tofu is well pressed, cut it into triangles or cubes as desired. Then place it in the marinade and allow it to soak for a few minutes.
Step 3: Coat the tofu & bake!
Once soaked, remove a piece of tofu from the marinade. First, dip it into the flour, then dip it into the flax egg and finally dip it into the sesame seeds to coat. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and continue to coat the rest of the tofu. Spray each tofu piece with a little oil and bake until crispy.
How to make Vietnamese Noodle Salad
While the sesame tofu bakes, mix together the spicy peanut sauce dressing which is just made with:
- creamy peanut butter
- soy sauce (or tamari, if gluten-free)
- maple syrup
- rice vinegar
- sesame oil
- fresh garlic and ginger
- sriracha or sambal oelek
- fresh lime juice
Simply combine all ingredients in a food processor (or jar or bowl) and blend (or shake or whisk) until smooth.
Also, cook or soak the glass or rice noodles as instructed on the package and prepare all the vegetables for your salad.
Once your sesame tofu is crispy, remove from the oven. Divide the salad into bowls. Then add the glass or rice noodles and crispy sesame tofu to each bowl. Drizzle with peanut sauce and top with roasted peanuts and chili peppers as desired. Enjoy!
The perfect salad for meal prep!
I know this is not the fastest noodle salad recipe, but it is worth making it! You can also prep it ahead of time because the undressed Thai noodle salad will keep well in the fridge for a few days. Just be sure to store each component (the salad, sauce, and crispy sesame tofu) separately to be sure the salad keeps fresh. To reheat the tofu, bake covered in a preheated oven for around 10 minutes or until warmed through. Alternatively, reheat in a microwave for a few seconds or enjoy cold!
This Vietnamese Noodle Salad is:
- Vegan (dairy-free)
- Easy to make
- So delicious!
More Asian, Chinese, or Thai recipes to try:
- Vegan Pad Thai with Veggie Noodles and Tofu
- Chinese Eggplant with Chili Garlic Sauce
- Vegan dumplings with vegetable filling
- Scallion Pancakes (Chinese flatbread)
- Asian Peanut Noodles with Crispy Tofu
- Crispy Sesame Tofu with Tahini Peanut Sauce
- General Tso’s Tofu with Sweet-Sour Sauce
- Asian Chili Garlic Noodles
If you try this Vietnamese noodle salad with crispy sesame tofu and vegan peanut sauce, please leave a comment and rating on how you liked the recipe! And if you take a photo of your healthy Thai salad and share it on Instagram, please make sure to tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Enjoy!
Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Crispy Sesame Tofu and Spicy Peanut Dressing
- 8,8 oz firm or extra firm tofu pressed
- 1 tbsp ground flax or chia seeds + ¼ cup water (or sub soy milk, *see notes)
- 2 tbsp flour all-purpose or gluten-free flour, e.g. rice flour
- 4 tbsp sesame seeds I use a mix of regular and black
- oil or cooking spray for greasing
- 7 oz glass noodles or rice noodles
- 17,6 oz lettuce mix shredded
- 2 carrots cut into thin ribbons
- 3 scallions chopped
- 1 cup cucumbers thinly sliced
- 8 radishes thinly sliced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro or parsley roughly chopped
- 4 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari (if gluten-free)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 large clove of garlic pressed
- 1 tsp fresh ginger finely grated
- 2 tsp sriracha or sambal oelek to taste
- 2 tbsp lime juice from 1 lime
- a bit of water optional as needed to desired consistency
- ⅓ cup roasted peanuts
- 1 chili or jalapeño pepper sliced
- *Note: The crispy tofu recipe was originally published here on the blog in 2018. So this is an updated version with step-by-step photos included (see above).
Prep the Tofu
- Drain the tofu and wrap in kitchen paper to press out the excess liquid (see the video in this recipe for visual instruction).
- Combine the soy sauce (or tamari), rice vinegar, maple syrup, sesame oil, and grated ginger in a bowl.
- Cut the pressed tofu into 0.4-inch thick triangles or cubes. Then place in the marinade and allow it to soak for at least 10 minutes (or up to overnight).
- In a small bowl, mix the ground flax or chia seeds with ¼ cup water and set aside for 5 minutes to thicken. (Alternatively, use just soy milk).
- Place the flour on one plate and the sesame seeds on a separate plate.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). (Alternatively, you could also pan-fry the marinated tofu slices as I did in this crispy tofu recipe.)
- Dip one piece of marinated tofu into the flour, then dip it into the flax egg (or soy milk), and finally dip it into the sesame seeds to coat. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and continue to coat the rest of the tofu.
- Spray each tofu piece with a little oil. Bake for about 25 minutes, flipping the tofu pieces halfway through.
- Meanwhile, soak or cook the glass or rice noodles according to the package instructions.
- In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce, carrots, scallions, cucumbers, radishes, and cilantro.
- Combine all ingredients for the peanut sauce in a blender (or jar or bowl) and blend (or shake or whisk) until smooth. Add some water as needed to desired consistency.
Assemble the Salad
- Divide the salad into bowls. Add the noodles and crispy sesame tofu to each bowl. Drizzle with peanut sauce and top with roasted peanuts and chili peppers as desired. Enjoy!
- You can substitute the flax or chia egg with ⅓ cup of soy milk, but I figured out that the sticky "vegan egg mixture" works a little better.
- Please read my blog post for further information on this recipe!
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