Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad

This is a simple take on a Vietnamese beef noodle salad. I make this quite often because it’s  easy to make and doesn’t take much time, and we love the flavors!

I’ve simplified it by using ground beef instead of steak, which means I don’t need to worry about marinating the meat. I’m also using an oil-based salad dressing instead of the more typical Vietnamese dipping sauce (nuoc cham), but I’m sticking with the same tangy/sweet/salty/zesty flavors in the dressing.

Because many of the same ingredients are used in multiple places in this dish, save time by chopping everything at once, then setting aside the unused portion for later. For example, garlic, ginger and lime juice are used both in cooking the meat and in the dressing, so chop/juice enough for both at the same time. Cilantro is used in the meat, the salad dressing and as a salad topping, so chop enough cilantro for all three parts at the same time.

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad

1 tablespoon oil (butter/ghee/coconut oil)
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 pound grass fed ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
½ cup shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped (optional)
1.5 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari)
1 tablespoons fish sauce
½ teaspoons Sucanat/coconut palm sugar
1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Thin rice noodles (cooked according to packet directions)
Lettuce, chopped/shredded

Dressing (makes 4 servings):
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari)
1 tablespoon Sucanat/coconut palm sugar
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
Red chili flakes

Salad topping suggestions:
Bean sprouts
Chopped peanuts
Grated carrot
Scallions
Chopped cilantro
Fresh mint leaves, torn

1. Heat oil in a pot.
2. Add the sliced shallot and sauté for a minute or two.
3. Add the ground beef and lightly brown, breaking up the chunks.
4. Add the garlic, ginger, shiitake mushrooms, lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce and Sucanat/coconut palm sugar.
5. Simmer on low for 10 minutes or so, until the meat is cooked through.
6. Stir in the chopped cilantro.

7. While the meat is cooking, mix up the salad dressing and prep the salad toppings – grate the carrot, chop up the scallions etc, and lay the toppings out on a plate so that each person can help themselves and dress their own salad.

To assemble the salad:
1. Place a serving of rice noodles in each bowl
2. Place lettuce on top of the noodles.
3. Spoon ground beef mixture over the bed of lettuce in each bowl.
4. Add salad toppings according to personal preference.
5. Pour over the dressing.

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