This spring roll salad is totally brought to you by the fact that 1) my laziness extends to not being bothered to roll individual spring rolls and 2) I heard and wept over the vicious rumor that even those “tapioca” spring roll wrappers apparently have grains of some kind in them at all times.
While I cannot confirm the latter, I can definitely proudly claim the former, because honestly boiling a pot of noodles is waaaaaay easier & less time consuming than making spring rolls.
Now, before you all freak out on me, those are sweet potato starch noodles in the photo. (For the record, the same noodles that I used in my obnoxiously over-titled Nightshade Free Saucy Summer Yellow Curry Noodle Bowls.)
Most people know these sweet potato starch noodles & come across them in the Korean stir fry dish japchae. They’re often marked as “japchae noodles” on the package and you can find them in international markets. They can also be called Korean vermicelli, dangmyun or glass noodles. You can buy them online, but they’ll be much more expensive, which goes double for people marking them up as “paleo”! The only ingredients should be sweet potato starch and water. (Like these suckers. But like I said, they’re more expensive online.)
So, instead of me cussing the kitchen air turquoise with my spring roll rollin’ frustrations, I boiled me up some noodles and used those as the base of this Vietnamese inspired spring roll salad shenanigans.
And because you can’t have Viet any-dang-thing without fish sauce, I based my dressing idea on the traditional fresh spring roll dipping sauce and condiment of the breath-mint-gods, nuoc cham. And I regret nothing. The dressing does knock you over when you get a whiff of it on its own, but tossed together with the noodles, crispy veggies and tender shrimp, the end result is delightfully refreshing and doesn’t overpower its seafood cousin.
I added mango for the brightness and hint of aniseed-laden sweetness that contrasts so nicely with all the bright, fresh herbs. I say “a handful” in the ingredients list of this spring rolls salad, but you can pack a whole cup each of mint and cilantro if you like. Mo’ herbs, mo’ happiness.
(And if the fish sauce really scares you, yes you can swap it out for some coconut aminos, should you choose. But if you know you like Viet food, you should totally go for it! Fish sauce forever! Or, something.)
The wee dusting of toasted coconut – I keep these in the pantry for this kind of sitch – on top is totally optional, but it helps give you a nice bit of crunch that is lovely against the chewy noodles. And if you’re not avoiding nuts on the AIP or similar, some toasted peanuts would be delightful here!Print
Vietnamese Spring Roll Salad with Noodles, Shrimp & Mango
This light & bright spring roll salad takes all the hassle – no more time spent rolling! – out of the classic dish and keeps all the delicious fillings.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4
- Category: almost no cook, salad
- Method: stovetop
For the spring roll salad dressing:
- 1 medium shallot, minced finely
- 3 tbsp / 45 ml fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp / 30 ml avocado oil or other neutral oil, I like this one
- 1 tbsp / 15 ml raw honey
- 1 tbsp / 15 ml gluten free fish sauce, I like this one, see notes
- 1 tbsp / 15 ml coconut vinegar, I like this one
- 1 tsp / 2 g ground ginger
For the spring roll salad:
- 12 oz / 340 g deveined shrimp
- 6 oz / 170 g sweet potato starch noodles (see notes)
- 2 – 3 medium carrots
- 1/2 an English cucumber
- 2 – 3 medium radishes
- 4 green onions
- handful of fresh cilantro leaves
- handful of fresh mint leaves
- 1 medium mango
- 1/4 cup / handful of toasted coconut, optional garnish, I like these
SHAKE: Add all of the dressing ingredients to a Mason jar, pop on the lid tightly and shake until the dressing is combined. Alternatively, whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set the dressing aside for later.
BLANCH: Fill a saucepan large enough to fit your noodles into about 2/3 full with water. Fill a bowl large enough to fit the shrimp easily with ice and top off with water – set the ice bath aside. Bring the saucepan to a boil and add the shrimp, cooking until the shrimp are opaque and just firm, about 30 seconds – 2 minutes, depending on the size of your shrimp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked shrimp to the ice bath and let them cool.
BOIL: Bring the water back to a boil and add a splash of oil, a pinch of salt & the sweet potato starch noodles. Follow the instructions on the package to give you an idea of cooking time, which will vary according to the size & thickness of the noodles, but will be in the range of 6 – 10 minutes. You want to boil them until they are translucent and just cooked through without any hardness in the middle, but not for so long that they get mushy. They should be a little chewy with some bounciness to their texture. Stir them often and lift them up with tongs to help them from clumping.
RINSE: Drain the cooked noodles in a colander and then run them under cool water for a minute or so, using your hands to separate them as you rinse. Let them sit in the colander to drain but not dry out as you make the salad.
CHOP: While the shrimp and noodles are cooking, get your veggies ready. Peel the carrots then either grate them or use a julienne peeler to shred them. Use a mandoline to thinly slice the cucumber and radishes. Roughly chop the green onions and, if you like, the herbs, too. Peel and thinly slice the mango.
DRESS: Add the drained noodles and about half of the dressing – give it another shake to combine again, if needed – to a large bowl. Use tongs to toss the noodles until they are evenly coated in the dressing. Drain and pat the shrimp dry, then add them to the salad bowl. Add the carrot, cucumber, radishes and green onions, then the rest of the dressing. Toss to coat and add additional salt, to taste. If you like, add more fish sauce for umami, lime juice for brightness, honey for sweetness or vinegar for kick.
SERVE: Just before serving, add the fresh herbs and sliced mango. Without the herbs and fruit, the salad base can sit, dressed, overnight in the fridge if you like. If you like, you can top the spring roll salad with slivers of toasted coconut for crunch.
You can swap the fish sauce out for coconut aminos, if you like.
Sweet potato starch noodles are used in the Korean stir fry dish japchae, so they’re often marked as “japchae noodles” and you can find them in international markets. They can also be called Korean vermicelli, dangmyun or glass noodles. You can buy them online, but they’ll be much more expensive, which goes double for people marking them up as “paleo”! The only ingredients should be sweet potato starch and water.
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