Vietnamese Salad Dressing

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Last year, my husband and I snuck away for a long weekend in Vancouver, B.C. On our way to the train station, we stopped and had a quick Vietnamese lunch at a little spot in Seattle’s International District. I can’t remember the name but the food was really good and I made some notes about the salad that I had so I could try to recreate it at home.

Fast forward to last week when I was cleaning out a travel bag I haven’t used for a while and stumbled upon those notes! I was super excited to see that I wrote down the ingredients and flavors in such great detail and decided to recreate the dish for dinner.

Today, I am posting the salad dressing. Next will be the Lemongrass Chicken that topped the salad and finally, the entire Vietnamese Herb Salad as I remember it.

If you love Southeast Asian food as much as me (LOVE!), this dressing will quickly become a summer staple. This dressing is light, free of refined sugar, can be also be used as a dipping sauce for spring rolls and adds a great deal of flavor to Vietnamese style salads!

Vietnamese Salad Dressing from NOTES:

  • I know some of you are thinking, “Is rice vinegar Paleo?”  In my opinion, YES and if you don’t have any reactions to it, I can’t see a reason to exclude it from your diet. Here is another opinion –  Is Vinegar Paleo (from Paleo Magazine).

Adapted From:

5.0 from 2 reviews
Vietnamese Salad Dressing
0 Points Plus Per Serving -- Serving Size is 2 Tablespoons -- Serves 8
Serves: 8
  • ½ cup cold filtered water
  • ¼ cup fish sauce (I like this brand)
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2½ Tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped serrano chile or red birdseye chile
  1. Combine water, fish sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice and palm sugar in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Place lid on and shake vigorously until palm sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add chopped garlic and chopped chile, replace lid, shake again and refrigerate until ready to use. I like to make this at least an hour or two in advance so the acid mellows out the garlic and pepper a bit. Enjoy!

Vietnamese Salad Dressing from




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    • says

      Hi Kat,
      Gosh, for this one that is tough because there is so much of the fish sauce and it really makes the flavor. You could try Tamari with some miso or additional lime juice to sour it but I think it’s going to be off. Truthfully, I would suggest a different dressing. Sorry!

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