Vietnamese Noodle Bowls
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!
Oh Vietnamese food, how I love you so! Especially Vietnamese bowls. 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.
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
- 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
Add the cooked rice noodles, salad and tofu to a bowl and serve.
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.
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
- Vegan Singapore Noodles
- Life-Changing Peanut Butter Noodles
- 15 Minute Sesame Ginger Noodles
- Teriyaki Noodles
If you tried these Vietnamese Noodle Bowls with Lemongrass Tofu or any other recipe on the blog let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below! Be sure to follow along on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook for even more deliciousness!Print
Vietnamese Noodle Bowls with Lemongrass Tofu
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 mins
- Yield: 2–4 servings 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Cook
- Cuisine: Vietnamese
- Diet: Vegetarian
These Vietnamese noodle bowls are loaded with rice noodles, lemongrass tofu, and salad for a simple healthy and delicious meal!
- 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
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
- 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)
- 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
- 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, pour any leftover marinade sauce into the pan with the tofu, and stir to coat.
- Prep the dressing: Mix the dressing ingredients together. Set aside
- 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
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.
- 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
Really liked this and so did my family! Used already spiced ground round so just cut the spices from the recipie a bit.
Happy you all enjoyed the recipe 🙂
Happy you enjoyed it!
It was SO good! I had never cooked with lemongrass before and it’s so flavourful and delicious. Will definetely make this recipe again!
Thanks Audrey! Happy you enjoyed it!
This is delicious, but can I suggest you add marinating time to your recipe intros.
I always look at the prep and cooking time of a recipe to decide when to start cooking, and often get caught out if authors don’t include marinating time in this section.
Happy you enjoyed it, Tracey! And absolutely! I appreciate the feedback 🙂 The marinading instructions are step one in the recipe card, but I’ll makes sure to include that information in the into as well.
The flavor of this sauce is unreal!!! I may try air frying the tofu next time as I’ve gotten pretty obsessed with doing it that way. Can’t wait to eat again. I also added shiitake mushrooms and it was so good!!!
Thanks Janna, happy you enjoyed it! I’m sure it would be delicious with air fried tofu 🙂
How do you remove minced lemongrass?
Hi Emily, when lemongrass is finely minced there’s no need to remove it.
LOVE this recipe. I have the tab saved and everything. Making it for the 4th time. It’s now a frequent dish in our easy meals list!
So happy you love it Chali! It’s one of my personal favourites 🙂
This looks absolutely amazing! Added to my meal plan for the week!
Enjoy it Lea!
This was so good! The flavours were amazing and it was super easy to put together. Served it to my vegan friend and she loved it! Said it was some of the best tofu she’s had!
Happy you enjoyed Sandra!
Great recipie, that’s not bún though that’s phở noodles 😉
Happy you enjoyed the recipe! And yes it states in the blog post that they are not vermicelli noodles but you can use those ones for a more traditional bowl 🙂
Made this with vermicelli noodles for a summer dinner, and everyone loved it! I was looking for something to do with the left over vermicelli in the fridge. I heated it by boiling some water in my tea pot, pouring it over the noodles in a bowl, and then straining them immediately. Worked perfectly. Some edits: added larger quantities of veggies, some fresh , tender, raw asparagus, sliced thin on the diagonal, some thinly sliced red and orange bell pepper as garnish and some arugula. This was the perfect light, tasty meal. Will definitely add this to my “make regularly” list!
Happy you enjoyed the recipe Catherine!Sounds delicious with the addition of asparagus, yum!
My whole family love this recipe and I also personally love this. Thanks for sharing such great food. Keep doing this great work.
So happy you and your family loved it Alina!
Really delicious! Had this with rice and kimchi instead. Was a little confused about the steps involved with removing the minced lemongrass. How can I selectively (and easily) remove the minced lemongrass while keeping the ginger and garlic? I ended up sifting everything in the process. Am I missing something there? Also, does anyone recommend airfrying the tofu?
Thanks Kat! Sounds delicious with rice and kimchi 🙂
very yummy, very flexible, very easy to make pretty much all the components in advance. I always make my tofu in the oven as it is much easier on the clean-up: press the tofu, then marinate, then toss with some cornstarch and throw on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put in a hot oven (425-450) until nice and browned. then I tossed it with the remaining marinade. and every time I make a recipe like this, I double the sauce/dressing ’cause who doesn’t love more sauce?? this is delicious and my family loved it.
Happy you enjoyed the recipe Emily!
Made this last night and it was amazing! I didn’t have lemongrass and so I subbed extra ginger and some chopped coriander. The dressing is wonderful too. Thank you so much for sharing!
Happy you enjoyed it Elizabeth 🙂
Your recipe is awesome! I marinated the tofu in the morning and cooked it at night for dinner. I added an extra teaspoon of coconut sugar and soy sauce to the dressing, and topped with roasted chopped peanuts, sesame seeds and chopped cilantro.
Great marinade, wonderful dish!
Thanks Rahul! That sounds delicious!
Made this yesterday, tweeting it a little. Had it with rice. Omg … absolutely delish. Will definitely making this again. Thank you x
So happy you enjoyed the recipe!
Holy cow, this was delicious! It requires a little more planning than your average recipe with the prep time needed to marinate the tofu, but it’s 100% worth it. My store was out of lemongrass, so I substituted lemon zest and it gave a great flavor. I will be making this recipe many more times!
Woohoo! So happy you loved it Lauren!
So delicious! Added fish sauce sriracha to the dressing and topped with peanuts and it was all perfect. Only got to marinate for an hour and still worked well 😊
Thanks for the review Chloe! Happy you enjoyed 🙂
Oh my God I had no idea it would be this simple and this absolutely amazingly delicious! I added some chopped mint into the salad for an extra special treat. I also was delighted and how the tofu browned after the marinade. That is not an effect that is easy to achieve the way to food is often cooked. This was our Christmas Eve dinner and such a hit that we might make it for lunch tomorrow Since we have all the ingredients. Thank you for a new go-to recipe!!
So happy you loved the recipe Maria! Happy Holidays!
So yummy! Love the variety of textures and how simple it is to make. We’ve made it many times and my kiddos love it too.
Thanks Emily! I’m happy you loved the recipe!
Should the tofu be pressed prior to marinading or is it fine to be moist before? Looking forward to making this!
Hi Catherine, you can press the tofu if you like, but I personally don’t bother.
This tofu marinade is terrific! My husband said he thought it was the best lemongrass tofu he’s ever had, even from restaurants. We used the kind of minced lemongrass that comes in a squeezy tube. I used 1 tbsp, which I guessed to be about equivalent to a stalk, and it was a lovely, balanced sauce. Lemongrass lovers (like me) might want extra 🙂 but my spouse thought it was perfect as is. Thanks for the great recipe!
Happy you enjoyed the recipe Amanda!
It’s this recipe and the whole family loved it. Absolutely delicious! Thank you!
So happy you enjoyed the recipe Catherine!
Absolutely obsessed with the recipe. It was so fresh and yummy and will definitely be making it again!
Thank you so much Betsy! So happy you loved it 🙂
I like salad but, I don’t love salad. I like warm meals that make me feel cozy. This was a game changer. The veggie combo is so good delicious and raw veggies I can’t believe how tasty. The tofu is superb!!! Talk about a burst of flavor and then the dressing it seemed at first it wouldn’t cover such a packed bowl but, it was just enough and brought my bowl of noodles, tofu and veggies to life. The flavors are light and zingy. Perfect for a summers day or warm spring day. My 2 year old toddler hijacked my bowl and ate every last bite and I had to make lots of extra tofu marinated and prepare for today. I’ve tried similar bowls like this in the past but, these recipes are on point 100/100 stars. Also thank you so much for posting calories. Your recipes have help me stay in my range to get closer to my fitness goals ⭐️
Thank you so much for the detailed review Freya! I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe, it’s definitely one of my personal favourites! 🙂
These vietnamese noodle bowls sound absolutely delicious!
Thank you! Hope you enjoy!
Oh, yum! This looks so good I’m salivating at the pictures! Just in case it’s helpful, I know you mentioned this recipe is gluten free but soy sauce usually isn’t gluten free sadly. Sometimes you can find a special gluten free soy sauce, other times you’re better off looking for a gluten free tamari. That being said, I’ll be looking for my gluten free soy sauce/tamari so that I can make this soon!
Hi Tia, use gluten-free soy sauce to make the recipe gluten-free. The one i use is gluten-free!
how gramm this tofu ?
Hi Magda, it would be about 350-400 grams
Do you have to press the tofu first?
Hi Anna, if you’re tofu seems a bit liquidy you can press it. I generally don’t bother because I use a really firm tofu!
These bowls are beautiful, Jess! Love the colors so much. 🙂
Thanks so much Ela!
Seriously the best tofu marinade! I added some edamame and sliced broccoli to the salad and it was delicious!
Thank you Ben! Glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe 🙂
Your lemongrass tofu sounds and looks amazing! Have to make this marinade 🙂
Thanks so much Melanie!