Tasty Vietnamese chicken salad with rice, crunchy green vegetables and toasted cashew nuts coated in a soy, lime and sesame oil dressing. Perfect as an easy healthy midweek meal.
Now that summer is practically here all I really want to eat is easy healthy recipes. This Vietnamese chicken salad with rice is just the kind of healthy spicy recipe that I love. It's not too light either. The rice makes it filling enough to be a main meal salad which is also exactly what I look for in a salad!
I've mentioned this before but I hate getting hungry soon after I've finished a meal! I promise you that with this healthy Vietnamese rice salad you'll not only stay full but you'll feel good too!
What ingredients are in this Vietnamese chicken salad?
This salad is packed full of some of my favourite oriental ingredients. There's rice and chicken of course but also deliciously crunchy vegetables including peppers, mange touts, onions and cucumber. These raw vegetables give the salad a delicious texture. As do the lightly toasted cashew nuts.
The dressing brings it all together. It's sweet and citrusy but also hot from the raw chilli peppers. There's sugar, fish sauce and sesame oil as well as the freshly squeezed lime juice. What else? Well, a fresh summer salad needs herbs and this Vietnamese salad is generously packed with fresh coriander (cilantro) and chives.
How to cook the perfect rice for this rice salad
I have to admit that I usually just boil, rinse and drain my rice. I know there may be better ways but on an average day I'm way too lazy! So, don't feel you have to follow this method but it is a great way of making perfect basmati rice.
If you cook your rice this way you'll end up with the perfect texture rice for a salad. The rice is light, fluffy and not wet as it can be when it's boiled.
- Soak the rice for 30 minutes firs.
- Heat a little oil and stir fry the rice for 30 second
- Cover it with boiling water and add enough water to come 1 cm above the rice.
- Boil it for just one minute
- Leave it to absorb the rest of the water.
It does take longer but you do end up with very good rice.
How can you adapt this Vietnamese chicken salad with rice?
I made this rice salad with chicken but it would be great with prawns instead. If you want to make it vegetarian or vegan then you could use tofu instead of chicken. You'd also need to use a vegan fish sauce alternative.
If you want you could just miss out the chicken and serve this as rice salad side dish.
It would also be delicious made with rice noodles instead of chicken. If you don't have chives then just miss them out and add some extra coriander.
I love the crunchy toasted cashew nuts but you could use peanuts instead. I actually love this with dry roasted peanuts.
Recipe for Vietnamese Rice and Chicken Salad
Vietnamese Rice and Chicken Salad
For the rice
- 300 g Basmati Rice
- 1 tsp sunflower oil
For the dressing
- 2 limes juiced
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 2 shallots or onions finely diced
- 2 birds eye chillies finely sliced
- 30 g bunch of coriander chopped
- 30 g bunch of chives chopped
For the salad
- 120 g cashew nuts roughly chopped
- 300 g chicken cut into strips
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 tsp sunflower oil
- 150 g mange tout (snow peas) sliced
- ½ cucumber cut into thin strips
- 1 red or orange pepper finely diced
- Prepare the rice. Put it in a sieve and rinse under the cold tap. Put it in a bowl and cover with cold water. Leave for 30 minutes.
- Heat a little oil in a saucepan. Stir fry the rice for 30 seconds then pour on enough hot water from the kettle to cover the rice and come 1 cm above it. Stir. Cover with the lid and bring to the boil. Boil for 1 minute then turn the heat off and leave to stand for 13 minutes with the lid still on.
- After 13 minutes remove the lid and fork through the rice to separate the grains.
- Prepare the dressing by mixing together all the dressing ingredients. Use more or fewer chillies depending on how hot you want the salad to be.
- Dry fry the cashew nuts in a wok or frying pan. Keep moving the pan so they don't burn. Take them out when they are looking nicely toasted.
- Add a little oil to the pan and stir fry the chicken along with the garlic.
- Mix all the ingredients together and serve.
More Delicious chicken salads
I love chicken salads. Why not try one of my other chicken salad recipes?
This harissa chicken salad is a real summer favourite of ours!
Or how about this quinoa pesto chicken salad?
I love salad recipes and even have a whole recipe collection for main course salad recipes. Do check it out if you're looking for inspiration!
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Do let me know if you make this healthy Vietnamese chicken salad with rice. I love to get feedback from readers.
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