Vermicelli Noodle Bowls with Chicken


These vermicelli noodle bowls with chicken combine tender vermicelli rice noodles, marinated pan-seared boneless chicken thighs, fresh vegetables, and a sweet chili dressing all jumbled together into a healthy meal that can be on the table in just 35 minutes. Faster than delivery.

A white plate topped with vermicelli noodles, chicken, and raw vegetables with chopsticks and lime wedges on the side.

Adapted from Elena Silcock | Salads Are More Than Leaves | Hamlyn, 2022

Inspired by my favorite order whenever I get a Vietnamese noodle takeout, I tried to get this as close to the real deal as I could. Using chicken thighs is key so that their juiciness adds a kind of second dressing to the noodles.–Elena Silcock

Vermicelli Noodle Bowls FAQs

What is vermicelli?

In Asia they’re noodles. In Italy it’s pasta. They both reflect separate culinary cultures that developed in parallel – at the same time. We can’t attribute the origination to one location or another.

Rice noodles originated during the Chinese Qin dynasty (259-210 b.c) and have been an integral part of the cuisine there since. At the same time, in what is now Italy and the Mediterranean, people used wheat to make pasta, which is also a staple in those cultures. Vermicelli is an Italian word that means “little worms” but the noodle/pasta is used nowadays in many, many cuisines and dishes – sometimes made with rice, sometimes with wheat.

What else can I make with vermicelli noodles?

Rice noodles are pretty standard fare in Vietnamese cuisine, which is a very good thing. If you love this chicken vermicelli, give this beef and rice noodle salad a try, or this version that’s made with turkey meatballs. Of course, we’d never say no to a small bowl of authentic Vietnamese pho.

Can I boil vermicelli like spaghetti?

Nope. Vermicelli is fine and cooks very quickly. It should be cooked precisely as instructed below, or you’ll end up with a gummy, unappetizing, stuck-together mess.

Vermicelli Noodle Bowls with Chicken

A white plate topped with vermicelli noodles, chicken, and raw vegetables with chopsticks and lime wedges on the side.

These vermicelli noodle bowls with chicken are an easy, healthy, gluten-free meal of seared chicken thighs, fresh vegetables, and rice noodles, all tossed in a sweet nuoc cham sauce-inspired dressing.

Elena Silcock

Prep 20 mins

Cook 15 mins

Total 35 mins

For the sweet chili dressing

For the chicken and vermicelli noodles

Make the sweet chili dressing

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the sweet chili sauce, lime juice, oil, soy sauce, and sugar.

  • Finely grate or crush the garlic into the dressing, and add the fish sauce. Mix to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed. Dressing can be made and refrigerated up to 24 hours in advance.

Make the chicken and vermicelli noodles

  • Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl and rub with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the dressing. Cover and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator while you prepare the noodles, or let the chicken marinate for up to 1 day.

  • Place the noodles into a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Use a fork to gently tease them out of their nests, then set aside until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water until completely cooled. Tip into the large mixing bowl of remaining dressing.

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot, then add the chicken thighs in a single layer and fry until cooked through to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), 4 to 6 minutes per side. Set aside on a cutting board and season with a little salt. Slice the chicken thighs.

  • Add the bean sprouts to the noodles. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the carrots and cucumber into ribbons directly into the bowl of noodles – discard the seedy middle of the cucumber.

  • Finely chop the red chile and add to the bowl along with the leaves from the herbs. Toss really well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.

    Use your hands or tongs to really toss the noodles and vegetables together well.

  • Pile into bowls or on a platter. Arrange the sliced cooked chicken thighs on top. Sprinkle with the remaining fresh herb leaves and crispy onions or peanuts. Serve with lime wedges.

Serving: 1portionCalories: 727kcal (36%)Carbohydrates: 50g (17%)Protein: 41g (82%)Fat: 41g (63%)Saturated Fat: 7g (44%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 19gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 162mg (54%)Sodium: 1378mg (60%)Potassium: 910mg (26%)Fiber: 4g (17%)Sugar: 13g (14%)Vitamin A: 6320IU (126%)Vitamin C: 32mg (39%)Calcium: 70mg (7%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Originally published June 20, 2022

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