These vegetarian Vietnamese Noodle Bowls are topped with lemongrass tofu and are perfect to make when you want a fresh and light healthy meal. This dish is completely vegan, gluten-free and delicious! 

a Vietnamese noodle bowl with lemongrass tofu and a napkin on the side

Bun bowls

Oh Vietnamese food, how I love you so! Especially Vietnamese bowls. THEY. ARE. THE. BOMB. This recipe for Vietnamese Noodle Bowls is inspired by Vietnamese Bun Chay, which is a rice noodle salad made with vermicelli noodles, and usually cucumber, lettuce, carrots and sometimes tofu.

The Lemongrass Tofu in this recipe is inspired by a Bun Ga (basically like a Bun Chay, but with lemongrass grilled chicken.) So basically this is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly version of this dish 🙂

If you don’t want to marinate the tofu with lemongrass (which is more of a traditional style) you can substitute the tofu in this recipe with my quick 15-minute lemongrass tofu. (no marinating, just pan-fried and tossed in a lemongrass sauce and is equally as delicious!)

I love noodle stir fry dishes like my Pad Thai and Lo Mein, but sometimes it’s nice to have a noodle dish that is a bit more fresh and light.

These noodle bowls are made with Asian rice noodles or vermicelli noodles and topped off with some marinated lemongrass tofu that gets cooked up until it’s nice and crispy. The bowls are served with a light sesame salad. 

lemongrass tofu, a lime, rice noodles and salad in a bowl

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • These bowls taste fresh and healthy and take minimal effort to make. They’re perfect for whenever you want a healthy meal that is also delicious!
  • This recipe is naturally vegan and gluten-free. You can also make it grain-free by leaving out the rice noodles and serving it with more vegetables.
  • If you’re not a huge fan of tofu, this marinated tofu will change your mind! It’s full of flavour, crispy and delicious!

Ingredients you’ll need

Ingredients for Vietnamese Noodle bowls

  • Vermicelli or Pad Thai-style noodles: traditionally a bun bowl is made with vermicelli noodles, but you can use any type of rice noodle you love. I personally love a thicker noodle so that’s what I use in this recipe.
  • Lemongrass tofu: marinated and pan-fried to crispy perfection! This gives the bowl some protein
  • Salad veggies: lettuce, carrots, cabbage and cucumber are all traditional. But you can swap or mix these up and use any salad veggies you love.
  • Herbs: cilantro, mint and Thai basil and the top three herbs you can use. Feel free to use just one or a combination of them all!
  • Sesame seeds: I top the salad off with some sesame seeds for flavour and crunch! You can also use crushed peanuts.

How to make a Vietnamese noodle bowl

Vietnamese noodle bowls are traditionally made with rice vermicelli, protein, (traditionally grilled pork or chicken) and some salad. The bowls are typically served with a fish sauce type of dressing, but for this recipe, we’re doing a soy sauce-based dressing to keep it veggie-friendly 🙂

Marinate the tofu in the marinade for at least an hour, or if you have the time let it marinate overnight.

Sautee the tofu in a pan until it’s golden brown and crispy

tofu in a pink pan on the stove

Add the cooked rice noodles, salad and tofu to a bowl and serve.

Two Vietnamese noodle bowls on a marble counter

Tips for making this recipe perfectly

  • Don’t forget to remove the outer layer from the lemongrass and cut the inner layers very finely. The outer layer of lemongrass can be very tough and stalky and isn’t enjoyable to eat.
  • Marinade the tofu for at least 1 hour, though if you have the time I’d recommend letting the tofu marinade overnight. This will really intensify the flavour! If you only marinate it for 30 minutes you won’t get much flavour from the marinade.
  • Use a non-stick pan to cook the tofu and make sure you’re pan is well coated with oil to prevent the tofu from sticking. You can also alternatively bake the tofu if you prefer at 450 degrees F for 25 minutes, flipping it halfway through.

Storage tips

This Vietnamese Noodle Bowl is best enjoyed fresh, but can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Store the tofu, noodles and salad separately and make sure not to dress the salad if you’d like to store it.

Reheat the tofu on the stovetop or in the microwave. Reheat the noodles by adding a splash of water to them and heating on the stovetop or in the microwave. (The water will help the noodles come apart if they start sticking together in the fridge.)

Related recipes to try

A bowl with tofu, salad and rice noodles in it

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a bowl filled with Vietnamese salad, rice noodles and lemongrass tofu

Vietnamese Noodle Bowls with Lemongrass Tofu

  • Author: Jessica Hoffman
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 24 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Cook
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

These Vietnamese noodle bowls are loaded with rice noodles, lemongrass tofu, and salad for a simple healthy and delicious meal!  


Ingredients

Scale

Lemongrass tofu:

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, minced (*remove the tough outer layer and discard.) 
  • 1 block tofu (extra-firm), cut into cubes 
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil for frying 

Dressing: 

Bowls:

  • 1/2 pack vermicelli or rice noodles (approx 6 oz), cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup lettuce, shredded
  • 1/2 cup purple cabbage, shredded
  • 1/4 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup sliced cucumbers
  • 1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Lime, sesame seeds hoisin sauce and sriracha to serve (optional) 

Instructions

  1. Marinade the tofu:  Mix the marinade ingredients together in a shallow dish then add the tofu. Let sit and marinate for at least one hour or overnight 
  2. Cook the tofu: Remove the tofu pieces from the marinade then add to the pan with oil on medium-high heat. Do not discard the marinade sauce. Fry the tofu until golden brown on each side. Once the tofu pieces are browned, discard the lemongrass from the marinate and pour any leftover marinade sauce into the pan with the tofu, and stir to coat. Discard the chunks of lemongrass 
  3. Prep the dressing: Mix the dressing ingredients together. Set aside
  4. Assemble the bowls: Place the noodles at the bottom of the bowl then top with the tofu and salad. Pour the dressing everywhere and garnish with cilantro 

Notes

Don’t forget to remove the outer layer from the lemongrass and cut the inner layers very finely. The outer layer of lemongrass can be very tough and stalky and isn’t enjoyable to eat.

Marinade the tofu for at least 1 hour, though if you have the time I’d recommend letting the tofu marinade overnight. This will really intensify the flavour! If you only marinate it for 30 minutes you won’t get much flavour from the marinade.

Use a non-stick pan to cook the tofu and make sure you’re pan is well coated with oil to prevent the tofu from sticking. You can also alternatively bake the tofu if you prefer at 450 degrees F for 25 minutes, flipping it halfway through.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 250
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Fat: 17g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 16g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 9g

Keywords: Vietnamese noodle bowl, vegan noodle bowl, vermicelli noodle bowl