This Low Carb Vietnamese Noodle Salad is everything I love about the real thing - even noodles - but without the carbs! Keto friendly, too!
Vietnamese Noodle Salad was my main go-to takeout/delivery food for the bulk of the pandemic.
Sure, I can make it at home - my Curried Chicken Vietnamese Noodle Salad recipe is up on Celebration Generation - but it’s so convenient to just have it delivered - especially when you’re holed up on the couch due to injury!
Also, it’s fantastic - “light”, easy, and loaded with fresh veggies and that amazing cilantro/mint combo.
But yikes, the carb count on it.
Being able to replace that dish was pretty key in being able to stick to low carb in the long term.
I know myself, and really? First sign of stress - or boredom with the diet - and I’ll end up face first into a big bowl of bún gà nư ng.
The main sticking point?
Those noodles. Long, skinny rice noodles, generally served room temp or cold in this dish.
They’re the bulk and base of the dish, and contribute the vast majority of the carbs in the recipe. It’s a sensory thing - this isn’t something that zoodles would be a reasonable sub for, IMHO.
Low Carb Vietnamese Noodle Salad
After experimenting with some options, I settled on one that worked perfectly: konjac noodles.
When handled right - more on that in a bit - these become an INCREDIBLY convincing replacement for the rice vermicelli noodles.
They’re a bit more work than the rice vermicelli, but they’re worth it - because they’re all fiber, they contribute ZERO net carbs to the final dish (6 actual carbs, for those counting!)
Straight out of the package, you’d never know that they could be such a great sub for the rice noodles.
They look kind of bloated, and tend to smell weird. Definitely not the kind of thing you’d want to eat as a room temp / cold dish.
Handled properly, though? Totally reasonable.
My husband actually said that if I hadn’t told them that they were konjac, he would have just assumed it was a different brand from what I usually use when making rice vermicelli noodles!
How to Make Noodle Salad with Konjac Noodles
First off, you have to rinse them really well.
I know this doesn’t really sell it, but you’ve got to rinse the funky smell off as much as you can.
Once they’ve been thoroughly rinsed, drain them really well. You want to get as much moisture off them as possible, to shorten the amount of time the next step will take.
Finally, heat them up in a large nonstick pan, with no oil in it.
You want a pretty large one so that you can spread them out well. It’s not that you’re cooking them, really - the goal here is to dry them out.
So, heat them up over medium, stirring frequently, until all of the visible moisture has dried up.
Then, just set them aside to cool for a bit.
Note: Don’t set them aside for TOO long - they can shrivel and dry up to almost nothing!
You definitely want to rinse, strain, and pan dry pretty close to the time that you’ll be assembling your salad, not hours in advance!
What to Serve on Keto Vietnamese Noodle Salad
As written, this is how we’ve been serving it lately:
Lettuce (Usually romaine)
Jalapeno slices (sometimes!)
While I usually would have carrot ribbons on my salad in my pre-low carb days, I tend to skip it now. I just don’t really have carrots in the house!
If you do want to use carrots, either use a vegetable peeler to create long thin ribbons, or cut match stick sized julienne carrots.
Other items to consider:
Fried garlic chips
Thinly sliced radishes
As I tend to avoid beef, I generally order chicken on my noodle salad.
When making the full carb version, I usually make the curried chicken version I linked to at the beginning of this post.
Because this version has less noodle bulk than the original, I changed it up and did a simple Asian inspired marinade.
This marinade would work great on beef, pork, or shrimp as well... so if you’re not feeling the chicken, go ahead and use whichever meat you’d like.
Just aim for bite sized pieces!
Also, there’s the matter of fish sauce.
I love fish sauce, and would routinely just drown my noodle salad in it. There is a small amount of sugar in it, so I’m going easier on it these days.
It’s super pungent stuff though, so a little does go a long way!
How to Make Low Carb Vietnamese Noodle Salad
Full recipe follows, here's the pictorial overview:
Whisk together cilantro, fish sauce, olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, sugar substitute, and garlic.
Slice chicken breast, place in a small plastic zip baggie. Pour marinade over chicken, seal baggie, and chill for 1-3 hours.
Rinse and strain konjac noodles. Place in a dry nonstick pan, cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or so - stirring frequently - until most of the visible moisture has dried up. Remove from pan and set aside.
Chop cilantro and mint together, set aside.
Peel and seed cucumbers, cut into match sticks. Rinse bean sprouts with cold water, allow to drain well. Set aside.
Saute chicken in olive oil until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
Divide lettuce between bowls. Place a mound of cooled noodles on top of the lettuce.
Divide cilantro/mint mixture, cucumber, jalapeno (if using), and bean sprouts among servings, arranging in sections on top of each.
Add cooked chicken to each bowl, sprinkle chopped peanuts over each serving, and serve with fish sauce.
More Keto Noodle Dishes
Low Carb Shanghai Noodles
Keto Chicken Pasta Primavera
Chicken Enchilada Zoodles
Keto Spaghetti and Meatballs
Pesto Shrimp Palmini
Keto Pad Thai
Singapore Mai Fan Zoodles
Keto Chicken Parmesan
Easy Keto Ramen
Chicken Piccata Zoodles
Keto Pad Thai
Peanut Chicken Zoodles
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Low Carb Vietnamese Noodle Salad
- 1 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
- 1 tablespoon Finely chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon Fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Soy sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoon Lime or Calamansi juice
- 1 teaspoon Ginger puree
- ½ teaspoon Sugar substitute
- 2 Garlic cloves pressed or finely minced.
- 1 package Konjac noodles
- ⅓ cup Fresh Cilantro
- ⅓ cup Fresh Mint Leaves
- ¼ Cucumber
- ½ Small Carrot
- ½ cup Bean Sprouts
- Thinly sliced jalapeno (optional)
- 1 cup Chopped Lettuce
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- Slice chicken breast, place in a small plastic zip baggie.
- Whisk together cilantro, fish sauce, olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, sugar substitute, and garlic. Pour over chicken, seal baggie, and chill for 1-3 hours.
- Rinse and strain konjac noodles. Place in a dry nonstick pan, cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or so - stirring frequently - until most of the moisture has dried up. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Chop cilantro and mint together, set aside.
- Peel and seed cucumbers, cut into match sticks and set aside.
- Rinse bean sprouts with cold water, allow to drain well. Set aside.
- Saute chicken in olive oil until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Divide lettuce between bowls. Place a mound of cooled noodles on top of the lettuce.
- Divide cilantro/mint mixture, cucumber, and bean sprouts among servings, arranging in sections on top of each. Top with jalapeno, if using.
- Add cooked chicken to each bowl, sprinkle chopped peanuts over each serving, and serve with fish sauce.