This recipe makes me a little homesick for Toronto. Yes…Vietnamese food and Toronto are actually synonymous in my head….but then again, I associate Toronto with all of my best food experiences. My BFF, Nicole of Belly Food Style, and I used to share an amazing loft out on Queen West (back when it was a little scary and before it was cool). We were always in the kitchen together, both for work as well as just for us at home, and one of our favourite staples was this salad. Nicole’s knife skills are pretty dazzling, so she can whip this up in no time at all, but for the rest of us mere mortals, it still shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes or so to throw together.

This dish is also a great budget saver as flank steak is a relatively inexpensive cut of meat that is highly undervalued in my opinion – you simply need to know how to handle it. Firstly, cook it hot and fast so that the juices are sealed in with a good crust; second, let it rest (!) for at least 5 but preferably 10 minutes before you even think about cutting it; and thirdly, cut across the grain – you’ll easily see the striations throughout the meat and you just want to cut across, not with them. Some people insist that you have to marinate flank steak, but I disagree. Don’t get me wrong, it takes to marinades beautifully, but it is also delicious just fresh with a touch of lime, salt and pepper. Try it and see for yourself.

This one’s for you Nic! TOTD2003 forever!

vietnamese noodle salad with how to cook flank steak

Spicy Vietnamese Noodle Salad
Servings Prep Time
4servings 25minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
4servings 25minutes
Cook Time
  • 1package vermicelli rice noodles
  • 1 flank steak, large
  • 1 yellow peppers
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2cups sugar snap peas
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 6 green onions
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2cup coconut sugar
  • 1-2Tbsp. Sambal Oelek
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Place the flank steak in lime juice and let marinate for 5 minutes. Remove from juice and season with salt and pepper. Sear off steak in a large frying pan or on the grill for 5-7 minutes per side or until well crusted and cooked to 'medium'. Set aside to rest.
  2. Cook the vermicelli noodles as per the package instructions - usually you boil a pot of water, remove from heat, place noodles in and let sit for 3-5 minutes or until cooked through. Drop noodles into a bowl of ice water to halt cooking, drain and set aside.
  3. In a small sauce pan, place the water, sugar, and Sambal Oelek. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium - continue to simmer until the sauce has reduced to 2/3-1/2 of a cup. You want it to be about the consistency of thick maple syrup - much thicker than water but still easy to pour.
  4. Chop all of the vegetables into a julienne - thinly cut on the bias. Slice the flank steak as thinly as possible ACROSS the grain. NOTE: If you cut the flank steak in the direction of the grain it will be extremely tough and very unpleasant.
  5. Toss the drained noodles with the steak, vegetables and the cooled dressing. Serve and enjoy or refrigerate until needed.**
  6. **NOTE: this recipe is actually even better the day after mixing when all the flavours have had time to marry, so pack up those leftovers and enjoy for lunch!
Spicy Vietnamese Noodle Salad
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