What’s up foodies, Chef here and I’m thrilled to share with you one of my all-time favorite Vietnamese dishes, the Lemongrass Beef and Onion Noodle Salad or Bun Bo if you want to go full-on Vietnamese. This dish is an explosion of flavors and textures that will transport you straight to the busy streets of Hanoi.
Think about tender and juicy lemongrass-scented beef served on a bed of fresh greens, chilled rice noodles and features sweet and sour vinaigrette dressing lightly tossed with crunchy veggies like bean sprouts, carrots, English cucumbers, fragrant basil and mint leaves. It is topped off with crushed peanuts for that extra crunch factor.
First popular in southern Vietnam, this Bun Bo dish has gained universal acclaim as a national dish around the world. And trust me when I say, it’s not hard to see why. Whether you’re a big fan of Viet cuisine or just someone looking to expand your palate into new territory, this Lemongrass Beef and Onion Noodle Salad recipe will never disappoint!
So, let’s get started on creating one heck of a salad bun to impress your loved ones or indulge yourself when dining solo (not gonna judge).
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Are you ready for an explosion of flavors in your mouth? This Lemongrass Beef and Onion Noodle Salad (Bun Bo) recipe is going to take your taste buds on a ride of a lifetime. Trust me when I say, this dish is like no other.
This bun bo recipe combines the best beef, fresh herbs, and spicy Vietnamese noodles to create a fragrant and spicy meal that you can’t resist. The star ingredient, lemongrass, brings an irresistible aroma and a unique flavor that will leave your taste buds wanting more. The juicy beef combined with crunchy vegetables creates the perfect balance in texture and taste.
But wait, it gets better! This noodle salad bun can be enjoyed hot or cold, making it the perfect meal for those hot summer days or as a light dinner option. It’s a versatile dish that can be served as a main course or a side dish. The combination of flavors will keep you coming back for seconds.
And let’s not forget about the health benefits – this dish is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients. The fresh vegetables like bean sprouts and lettuce provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals, while the lemongrass has anti-inflammatory properties that aid digestion.
So what are you waiting for? Give this exciting and savory Vietnamese beef noodle dish a try and transform your taste buds into exotic flavors you won’t believe you’ve been missing out on all this time!
Let’s dive into the ingredients for this flavorful Vietnamese noodle salad! Here’s what you’ll need:
For the Lemongrass Beef:
- 500g beef, thinly sliced
- 3 lemongrass stalks, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
For the Salad:
- 500g rice vermicelli noodles
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 English cucumber, julienned
- 1 large carrot, julienned
- 2 cups lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- Fresh mint leaves and Thai basil
- Crushed, unsalted dry roasted peanuts
For the Dressing:
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 fresh chili pepper, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- The juice of 2 fresh limes (about 4 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup water
This recipe requires quite a few unique ingredients but trust me, they all come together perfectly to create a harmonious taste that will transport your taste buds straight to Vietnam!
The Recipe How-To
Before beginning this recipe, gather all of your ingredients and equipment. The beef should be thinly sliced and the onion chopped into thin slices. The carrot should be grated using a grater or a julienne peeler. Measure out the fish sauce, sugar, minced garlic and lemongrass, diced chili pepper, minced shallot or red onion, fresh squeezed lime juice and the rice noodles.
- Begin by boiling water in a pot.
- Once the water is boiling, add the rice noodles and cook for approximately four to five minutes until just tender.
- Drain the noodles and run them under cold water to cool.
- After you have set aside the rice noodles in a bowl, heat cooking oil in a wok or larger frying pan.
- Once heated over high heat, add lemongrass, garlic cloves and red onions to the pan.
- Keep stirring for approximately one to two minutes until fragrant.
- Then add the sliced beef and keep stirring for about three to four minutes until it is cooked evenly.
- Add sugar and oyster sauce, then keep stirring for another minute or so before adding chopped chili peppers in.
- Once everything has been thoroughly mixed together, take off from heat.
Now that all of your components are ready, begin assembling your noodle salad in a serving bowl or plate.
- Start by placing lettuce at the bottom of your dish.
- Add the cooled vermicelli noodles on top of the lettuce bed.
- Place grated carrots over vermicelli noodles, followed by bean sprouts.
- Next comes cucumber slices on one side of the bowl or plate.
- On top of cucumber slices add thinly sliced onion rings
- Now scoop out your cooked beef along with scallions on top of cucumber slices smooth out the topmost layer to let the onion and cucumber show just a little.
- Add fresh mint and Thai basil on top of the beef, covering it like a blanket.
- Finally, sprinkle unsalted roasted peanuts generously over your finished noodle salad.
If you want to make this salad ahead of time, you can prepare each of the components separately and store them in individual containers in the fridge. This recipe keeps well for up to two days when stored correctly and can be reheated easily.
Enjoy your Lemongrass Beef and Onion Noodle Salad (Bun Bo) Recipe!
Substitutions and Variations
Being able to customize a dish to your liking is what makes cooking so exciting! Here are some substitutions and variations you can make when preparing this lemongrass beef and onion noodle salad (bun bo) recipe:
1. Adjust the Spiciness: If you prefer a bit more or less heat in your dish, you can adjust the amount of chili pepper used accordingly. You can also use serrano or jalapeño peppers instead of Thai chili peppers.
2. Change Up the Protein: This recipe calls for beef, but you can also use chicken or shrimp instead. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, try using tofu or tempeh and replace the fish sauce with soy sauce or tamari.
3. Mix Up the Veggies: In addition to the vegetables listed in the ingredient list, you can add sliced bell peppers, shredded cabbage, or even sliced mango for a tropical twist.
4. Use Different Noodles: Rice vermicelli noodles are traditional for this dish, but you can also use egg noodles or soba noodles as well.
5. Experiment with Herbs: This recipe calls for fresh mint leaves and Thai basil, but feel free to mix it up with cilantro, parsley, or even dill.
No matter how you choose to modify this dish, remember that it’s all about making it your own and enjoying the flavors that appeal to you. Have fun experimenting!
Serving and Pairing
Alright, now let’s talk about how to serve and pair this delicious Lemongrass Beef and Onion Noodle Salad (Bun Bo) Recipe that you have just whipped up. Trust me when I say that the perfect pairing will take your dining experience from good to great!
In terms of serving, I recommend placing the beef, onion and noodle mixture on top of a bed of fresh lettuce, bean sprouts and sliced cucumbers in a large salad bowl. Mix everything well so that all the flavors can come together. Then, add some unsalted dry roasted peanuts and fresh herbs like Thai basil and mint leaves for an extra pop of flavor.
As for pairing, this noodle salad goes exceptionally well with a refreshing glass of iced tea or lemonade. Some people prefer to pair it with light beer or white wine as well. It all comes down to your personal preference.
But wait, there’s more! If you are feeling adventurous, try serving this dish with some traditional Vietnamese sides such as spring rolls, egg rolls or crispy fried wontons. These savory bites will complement the tangy and sweet flavors of the noodle salad perfectly.
Finally, always remember that food is meant to be shared among friends and family. So why not invite your loved ones over and enjoy this delicious Lemongrass Beef and Onion Noodle Salad (Bun Bo) Recipe together? I guarantee it will be an unforgettable dining experience for everyone involved.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Listen up foodies! One of the best parts about this Lemongrass Beef and Onion Noodle Salad (Bun Bo) Recipe is that it can easily be made ahead of time. That’s right, you can prep it in advance and have it ready in your fridge when you’re busy or when guests suddenly show up at your home.
If you’re looking to prep this salad beforehand, I recommend that you keep the dressing stored separately in a tightly sealed container. You should also store the noodles, beef, and veggies in air-tight containers to ensure that they stay fresh for an extended period. This way, you can rest easy knowing that all of the ingredients will retain their texture and flavor.
As for storing and reheating the dish, it’s the perfect recipe for leftovers because it tastes just as delicious on day two! You can store any salad leftovers in a covered container in the fridge for up to 2 days as long as it stays cold at a consistent temperature below 40°F.
When reheating leftovers, make sure you heat them thoroughly until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F. You can warm them up by microwaving them or by reheating them on top of the stove in a frying pan with some oil.
So what are you waiting for? This make-ahead, storing and reheating tips will make your life so much easier when prepping meals. Go ahead and give this Vietnamese Lemongrass Beef and Onion Noodle Salad (Bun Bo) Recipe a try today!
Tips for Perfect Results
Now that you’ve got all your ingredients prepped, it’s time to start cooking. With years of experience in the kitchen, I’ve discovered a few tips and tricks to help you achieve the perfect Lemongrass Beef and Onion Noodle Salad (Bun Bo). Follow these suggestions for the best results.
1. Use quality beef
The key to any beef dish is using high-quality meat. For this recipe, I suggest using thinly sliced flank steak or sirloin. Opt for grass-fed beef if possible since it has more flavor and is healthier.
2. Marinate overnight
To infuse the beef with plenty of flavor, make sure to marinate it for at least six hours but ideally overnight. This allows the lemongrass, garlic, fish sauce, and sugar to penetrate the meat and give it a delicious umami taste.
3. Don’t overcook the beef
When stir-frying your marinated beef, make sure not to overcook it as it can become tough and chewy. Cook only until it’s no longer pink then immediately transfer it to a plate to prevent overcooking.
4. Use fresh herbs
Fresh herbs such as mint leaves and Thai basil are essential in this dish since they provide an aromatic flavor that complements the lemongrass beef perfectly. Make sure you get them fresh from a Vietnamese or Asian market near you.
5. Toasted peanuts add crunch
Unsalted dry roasted peanuts are perfect for adding texture and flavor to this dish. When adding them, make sure they are well-toasted to bring out their nutty aroma.
6. Serve chilled
This noodle salad is best served chilled since it’s refreshing and perfect for warm weather days. Keep everything chilled before serving so that all the flavors come out well.
Remember, cooking is an art form, so don’t be afraid to experiment with new ingredients or techniques along the way that you think will complement this dish best.
Now that you have read through all the sections of this article, I hope that you’re convinced to try my recipe for Lemongrass Beef and Onion Noodle Salad. Not only is it a delicious and satisfying meal, but it’s also easy to make and has ingredients that are readily available in most grocery stores.
This dish is perfect for those who love Vietnamese cuisine or anyone looking to impress their guests with a unique and flavorful salad. You can easily customize it to suit your taste buds by using different herbs or adding more chili peppers for an extra kick.
One thing I guarantee is that this dish will satisfy your craving for something fresh and spicy, while also giving you energy to power through your day. So what are you waiting for? Head to the kitchen, gather the ingredients, give it a try, and let me know how it turns out in the comments below!
Lemongrass Beef and Onion Noodle Salad (Bun Bo) Recipe
Nuoc cham dipping sauce
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 red fresh chili pepper, seeded
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 5 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons grated carrots
- 3/4 lb dried rice vermicelli, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes
- 4 cups finely shredded lettuce
- 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and finely julienned
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely grated
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh Thai basil
- 1/2 cup finely shredded fresh mint leaves
- 1 lb flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
- 2 stalks lemongrass, very finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped unsalted dry roasted peanuts
- fried shallots, for serving
- To make the dipping sauce: In a mortar, pound together the garlic and red chili with a pestle until pureed (or pass the garlic clove through a garlic press). Mix in the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and water and add the carrot. Set aside.
- Noodles: Drain the noodles in a colander, then pour boiling water over them. Let them sit in the hot water for about 5 minutes until tender. Drain, rinse thoroughly with cold running water and drain again. Set aside.
- Salad: To make the salad, in a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, cucumber, bean sprouts, carrot, basil and mint.
- Beef and onions: In a mortar and pestle, pound together the lemongrass, 3 garlic cloves and sugar until it is well combined. Add fish sauce and pepper to produce a paste. Add one tablespoon of the oil, mix well and add the meat; cover and set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat a wok or deep-fry pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and the remaining 3 garlic cloves and stir-fry until light golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and stir-fry until the layers separate, about 30 seconds more. Remove the onion and garlic from the pan.
- Add additional oil if the pan is dry (it shouldn't be). When the oil is hot, add a batch of the beef mixture and spread it over the bottom of the pan. Cook until the beef is nicely seared on the bottom, about 1 minute. Turn the beef over and sear the other side, about 1 minute more. Transfer the beef and onion to a plate. Fry the remaining beef mixture in batches.
- When all of the beef is seared, return the beef and onion to the wok and toss for a few seconds to reheat if required.
- To assemble: Divide the salad and noodles evenly among 4 shallow bowls or plates. Spoon one quarter of the beef-onion mixture over each salad. Garnish with the peanuts and fried shallots. Pour the dipping sauce into individual bowls and encourage diners to toss the salad to their liking, and add their own nuoc cham to taste.