by Market Chef Heather Hartman
Ingredients1 package rice vermicelli noodles, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes, cooked for 3-5 minutes, rinsed in cool water, drained. Note: some noodles may take more time to cook, some less. Make sure to taste before draining to see if they are done. The cool water rinse will help wash off any residual starch, and will make them more slippery! 2 cups herbs, torn (Thai basil, cilantro, mint, parsley, sweet basil) 1 bunch spinach (I love the heavy leaves of the Malabar spinach from Mhonpaj’s Garden at Mill City Farmer’s Market) washed, and chopped 2 cucumbers, peeled if needed, sliced in half moons 1 head Napa cabbage, or lettuce, washed and chopped 3 carrots, cut in matchsticks ¼ cup rice wine vinegar ¼ cup sugar ½ teaspoon salt
In a small bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, and salt and stir until the salt and vinegar are dissolved. Add the carrots and let stand for at least 20 minutes before serving. If not using right away, cover and refrigerate for up to one week. Drain carrots well before serving.
Dressing:This is a classic Vietnamese salad dressing. Feel free to omit the fish sauce for a vegetarian version, but you will need to add a bit more salt, or tamari/soy sauce. ¾ cup fish sauce (I love the Tiparos brand) 2/3 cup rice vinegar, or white vinegar (or fresh squeezed lemon juice) 1-2 small hot chilies (jalapeno, Thai chilies, etc.) seeded and minced. The heat of chilies can vary; set a slice on your tongue to test the heat. 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/3 cup sugar
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, or jar with a lid, stir/shake until sugar is dissolved. Dressing will keep up to one week.
In a large bowl, add the noodles and dressing. Stir well to combine. Add the rest of the ingredients and serve.
You can make the noodles and dressing a day ahead, but noodles will need a refresher of warm water to revive them.
Other ingredients to use: green beans (can be pickled with carrots, will lose color, but will be delicious!), radishes, tomatoes, peppers (again, pickled is great!), any leftover grilled meat, roasted chicken, or tofu (this can be a great way to throw in leftovers).