Hello, frenz! Welcome to my new recipe series, Lovely Lady Lunch! I teased this idea a few weeks ago, and I am so excited to share it with you guys! Basically, my plan is to carve out a little time, once a week, to make myself lunch, actually sit down and enjoy it. Once a week doesn’t seem like it would make an impact, but it does! and it makes this whole plan low-pressure, which is exactly what I want it to be. Casual, effortless, and enjoyable. I plan to read a chapter of a book, or magazine, or whatever else I feel like doing that isn’t checking emails. Just something I enjoy that I usually don’t do in the middle of a weekday. When the weather gets better, I plan on taking my lunch outside because I live for patio dining. I’m also always looking for lunch inspiration because, frankly, I’m terrible at weekday lunches. All too often I’m inhaling hummus over the sink or scraps from Casper’s lunch–sad, mindless lunching for the sake of sustenance. I know you’ve been there too, we’re busy ladies (and dudes)!
I’ll be sharing my weekly lunch with you guys because this is a food blog, obvs. The recipes will be easy to put together come lunchtime, with ideas on how to prep fussier components the night or even days before. Being prepared always helps me make better choices in the middle of the day and I rarely make the time to think about the midday meal–weekend breakfast, yes, dinnertime, always, but lunch just gets ignored. Since I work from home, I have my whole kitchen to use but, I’m super lazy during the middle of the day! So I will try to make all of these lunches work for people who work in spaces that don’t have access to a full kitchen. I plan on using the hashtag #lovelyladylunch on the social medias and would love it if you did too! I wanna see your lunches (I need your inspiration, too!) and how you take a minute out of the week to enjoy it.
This week’s lunch is an easy and quick Vietnamese-inspired noodle salad. Eat it cold, room temp, or warm it up in a skillet. Pack it to-go or eat it from real-deal dishes. It’s fast, fresh, filling, and packed with flavor. Make the pickles well in advance (I keep a few jars of these in my refrigerator at all times), shred up some cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken to the rescue!), and stir up an easy sauce to coat the noodles. I love to top this salad with tons of mint, scallions, and peanuts for lots of fresh texture and contrast. I ate this lunch on the couch from a bowl (my favortite thing EVER), during Casper’s naptime, while watching a Jaclyn Hill make-up tutorial (is it appropriate to wear false lashes while I’m at home all day?). It was basically my version of a lazy girls dream lunch.
- 1 serving of dried rice vermicelli noodles (as recommended on the package)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sriracha (more or less depending on preference)
- ½ teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 clove garlic, smashed but left mostly whole*
- 4-6 ounces shredded rotisserie chicken
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped, salted and roasted peanuts
- 1 tablespoon torn, fresh mint leaves
- pickled daikon and carrots**
- Prepare the noodles according to the package instructions (mine directed to soften the noodles in cold water for 15-20 minutes). While the noodles soften, whisk the lime juice, honey, soy, sriracha, and fish sauce together. Add in the garlic clove. Set the sauce aside while the noodles soften. Drain the noodles, discard the garlic clove, and toss the noodles with the sauce. Top with shredded chicken, scallion, peanuts, mint, a generous helping of the pickled vegetables. If you want, you can partially or completely assemble this salad the night before, the noodles will marinate in the sauce which is totally okay and extra delicious--I prefer to add the peanuts right before eating so they retain their crunch.
**You can make quick and easy Vietnamese-style pickles at home, well in advance (I'm talking days or even a week or more), here is my go-to recipe for Easy, Vietnamese-Style Pickles. You can also find pickled daikon and carrots at most large Asian markets.
This salad is great cold or at room temperature. If you want a warm salad and have access to a kitchen during lunchtime, toss the noodles and chicken, along with the sauce, in a hot skillet for a few minutes to warm through.