Who says a salad has to be just lettuce? All of the greens in this salad are tons of fresh herbs (literally more than 2:1 herbs to noods). The multitude of textures—crunchy, slippery, and crispy—make each bite more enjoyable than the next, all coated with a zingy sauce packed with bold flavors like garlic, fish sauce, and red jalapeños (which can be a little spicier than the younger green ones). If you have the time, try making your own crispy shallots. You can buy a tub of them at your local Asian market, but the homemade ones are thinner, crispier, and can be made in the microwave—no deep-frying required—so you can eat them by the handful before topping your salad. So, yeah, maybe make a double batch… and buy some mints because you’ll have onion-y breath for dayyyys. Worth it!
- 1 cup thinly sliced shallots
- 1 cup canola oil
- 8 ounces thin rice noodles
- 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sambal oelek or chili garlic sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- ½ cup sliced scallion greens
- ½ cup thinly sliced mint
- ½ cup thinly sliced basil
- 1 red jalapeño, sliced (optional)
- ½ cup chopped salted peanuts
Make the Crispy Shallots:
Scatter the shallots evenly over the surface of an 8×8-inch glass dish. Pour the oil over the shallots and microwave on high until the shallots are browned and crisp, 6–8 minutes. (Begin checking them at 6 minutes, as they can darken quickly). Remove, strain through a fine strainer, drain the shallots on a paper towel, and season with salt. Reserve the shallot oil for another use.
Make the Rice Noodle Salad:
Place the noodles in a large bowl, cover with boiling water, and soak for 4 minutes. Drain very well, pat dry with paper towels, return to the bowl (make sure you dried them out) then toss with 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil.
Combine the remaining tablespoon sesame oil in another bowl with the rice vinegar, sambal oelek, lime juice, and fish sauce. Toss the noodles with half the dressing, then toss with most of the cilantro, scallions, mint, basil, and jalapeño, if using. Toss with the rest of the dressing, then top with the remaining herbs, crispy shallots, and peanuts. Toss and serve immediately.