Bánh tráng trộn, is a popular rice paper salad that is often served in bags on the streets of Vietnam. It’s popular with school kids. The traditional way it is served is with quail eggs, pork, chopped-up beef jerky, and sometimes a bunch of processed components like potato chips. But this version is completely vegan, nourishing, and so freaking full-of-flavor that you will not miss a colon-clogging thing!
My vegan version of this classic dish maintains the traditional charm while embracing the principles of sustainability and compassion. It’s a great introduction to vegan Vietnamese cooking, and like my Che Ba Mau, Mie Xau Xi Dau, vegan Nuoc Mam, and Banh Flan, show how extraordinary flavors can come from simple, natural Ingredients.
Bánh tráng trộn brings a touch of Vietnam's magic to your dining table. It’s mad flavorful, but if you want more, you can always kick it up a notch with a drizzle of homemade vegan Nuoc Mam. Let’s make some rockin’ Vietnamese rice paper goodness already!
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🥰Why you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
✊Vegan AF: This great-tasting rice paper salad forgoes the typically involved processed animal ingredients, making it better for you, the animals, and the planet. No dried squid, Vietnamese chicken, dried shrimp or quail eggs to be found here!
🍚 Finally something easy and fast to make with rice papers! Less finicky than summer rolls, and less complicated than using it as a skin for roasted seitan, this salad is fast, and the rice papers soften directly in the salad dressing.
✅Tested and Approved Worldwide: Like all of the recipes on my blog, this Vietnamese salad has undergone meticulous testing and tweaking to achieve perfection. In addition to my own work on it, a dedicated team of recipe testers who work with me from kitchens all over the planet have given it their stamp of approval.
🌿Notable ingredients and substitutions
Nước Me Chua, or tamarind concentrate, is a sweet, slightly sour ingredient with an almost sour cherry-like flavor. If tamarind concentrate is unavailable, you can mix lime juice with a touch of agave syrup or brown sugar to achieve a similar sweet and sour balance, though it will not be as thick. Otherwise, make your own tamarind paste by pouring a little boiling water over compressed tamarind fruit, removing all the seeds and pith, and processing it in a blender or food processor to make a thick paste.
Vegan Fish Sauce
Nước Mắm Chay is normally made with fish, but now there are a couple of good brands of vegan fish sauce on the market. This stuff is less sweet and thinner than the mushroom-based vegetarian oyster sauce, but if that’s all you can find, you can still make a solid banh trang tron with it. If you can’t get either, use my homemade vegan Vietnamese fish sauce.
I am fortunate that one of my neighbors grows a lot of this herb, also known as Rau Răm, or laksa leaf (thanks for always letting me steal it Sarah 👋). If you are one of those weird people who thinks “cilantro tastes like soap,” well then you are probably gonna hate Vietnamese Coriander. With its vibrant flavor that is a little bit like a more astringent, minty version of cilantro, Vietnamese Coriander contributes some fresh aromatic vibes that bring the salad to life. If Vietnamese coriander is not accessible, you can use regular cilantro.
Rice Paper (Bánh Tráng)
Cut up rice paper serves as a chewy component in the salad, soaking up the dressing and juices from the green mango. Of course the most famous Vietnamese rice paper creation is the spring roll. Outside of Vietnam, a lot of the rice paper contains tapioca. In fact, some of it is 100% tapioca, and it has a softer, gooier mouthfeel. If you can find it, opt for rice paper with little to no tapioca content, as it ensures a smoother, better texture.
Seitan is a vegetarian mock meat made from the pure protein of wheat. I have a killer recipe for homemade seitan on my blog, which is better than anything you can find in stores. If you are gluten-free, you can use soy curls or tender bits of oyster mushroom in place of the seitan.
📖How to make perfect vegan bánh tráng trộn
Grab onto my green mango fingers, and I will walk you through the rice paper forest to the tamarind oceans beyond. Otherwise, just follow along with the easy-to-print recipe card towards the bottom of this page.
In a bowl or jar, combine tamarind, vegan fish sauce, sugar, turmeric, Chinese five-spice, minced garlic, sliced chilies, and salt. Using the tines of a fork, whisk in water. Use a little less water if the tamarind you have is on the thinner side. Set aside the dressing for later use.
Heat cooking oil in a frying pan or wok over high heat. After about 60 seconds, when the oil is sufficiently hot, add the seitan and immediately reduce the flame to medium. Stir-fry the seitan for approximately 5 minutes until it is seared all around and lightly browned all around.
Add the yuba to the pan, continuing to stir-fry for 4 more minutes until it is crisp in some spots.
Pour half of the prepared dressing over the stir-fried seitan and yuba, allowing them to absorb the flavors and caramelize for a few minutes. Set aside this combination for now in a bowl or on a plate.
Peel the green mango and cut it into thin slices or julienne strips, ensuring an enticing texture for the salad. Use tart green mango, sometimes called “raw mango.” I know, I know, all uncooked mango is raw, but it’s what people call it sometimes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the mango, rice paper, shredded cabbage, mint, and Vietnamese coriander. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the mixture, letting the mango juices rehydrate the rice paper for a few minutes. Stir the salad every minute or so to prevent the rice paper from clumping up and sticking together too much.
Assemble individual servings by dividing the salad into bowls or plates. Top the servings with the stir-fried seitan and yuba, and garnish with scallions, fried shallots, and crushed peanuts. If you’d like, you can kick up the heat by adding some of my Nuoc Mam dressing or shatta sauce.
Rice Paper Salad is not only a craveable treat on its own but also an exceptional companion to an array of Southeast Asian dishes.
Pair banh tran tron with Pad Woon Sen, a slammin' Thai glass noodle stir-fry. The salad's refreshing flavors perfectly balance the richness of Pad Woon Sen, creating perfect spicy harmony. It’s also great as an appetizer or side to Khao Suey, a coconut-laden Burmese noodle delight.
The salad's lively dressing complements the sweet umami notes of bami goreng, mee rebus, or mie goreng from Malaysia. If you are on a Southeast Asian salad kick, another couple options for ya are Ketroprak from Indonesia, and ensaladang talaong from the Philippines. Another famous Filipino dish that complements rice paper salad really nicely is Tofu Sisig which brings some extra plant-based protein to the meal.
What about dessert? My wife likes to START her meals here, so you know it's an essential food group. Vietnamese-style Banh Flan, Kem Chuoi (coconut banana ice cream bars), taro pudding, or Che Ba Mau are the obvious choices. Other things that could go great as a dessert after (or before) this meal are kuih dadar and martabak manis, two street food desserts from Malaysia.
1. Freshness and quality are Key: Opt for the freshest ingredients available, especially the rice paper (remember, try to get rice paper with little or no tapioca starch in it) and green mango.
2. Customize Spice Levels: Adjust the amount of bird's eye chilies in the dressing according to your spice preference. Be cautious while adding chilies, as they can pack quite a punch. If you taste the finished salad and want more spice, add some fresh sliced chilies, some of my pickled green chilies, or a drizzle of sriracha.
3. Assemble Just Before Serving: Put the salad together just before serving to maintain the optimal texture.
4. Get Creative: Add more veggies for freshness. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and blanched bean sprouts are all good candidates here. Or you could get wild by adding some of my homemade kimchi, spicy marinated cucumbers, or pickled burdock root.
Simply substitute fried tofu, torn oyster mushrooms bits, or crumbled tempeh in place of the seitan in the recipe and the dish is otherwise 100% gluten-free!
Bánh tráng trộn is best enjoyed fresh and right after it's made. Due to its unique combination of fresh ingredients, including rice paper and green mango, the salad becomes soggy and sorta awful if stored for an extended period.
✌️You might really wanna make these too.
These are some of my favey Vietnamese dishes to serve with this killer salad:
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BÁNH TRÁNG TRỘN (Vegan Vietnamese Rice Paper Salad)
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil canola, peanut, vegetable oil or sunflower oil
- 1 cup seitan torn into bite-size pieces
- ½ cup yuba rough chopped
- 1 green mango
- 5 sheets rice paper cut into thin strips
- ⅔ cups napa cabbage or green cabbage, shredded
- ⅓ cup mint leaves
- ½ cup Vietnamese coriander Rau Răm, or cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- ¼ cup crisp fried thinly sliced shallots
- 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts crushed
- Stir together the tamarind, vegan fish sauce, sugar, turmeric, Chinese five-spice, minced garlic, sliced chilies, salt, and water using the tines of a fork. Set aside
- Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan or wok over high heat. After 60 seconds when the oil is hot add the seitan, and immediately lower the flame to medium. Stir fry for about 5 minutes until very lightly browned all around.
- Add the yuba to the pan, and continue stir frying for 4 minutes, until the yuba is crisp in places.
- Pour half of the dressing onto the seitan and yuba and continue to cook it for a couple of minutes until most of the sauce has absorbed into the seitan, and caramelized around it. Set aside.
- Peel and thinly slice the mango, and then cut the thin slices into julienne strips.
- Mix together the mango, rice paper, cabbage, mint, and Vietnamese coriander along with the remaining dressing. Allow the dressing and juices of the mango to rehydrate the rice paper for a few minutes. It’s a good idea to stir the salad every minute or so to prevent the bits of rice paper from sticking together too much.
- Divide the salad into individual servings and top with the cooked stein and yuba. Garnish each serving with scallions, fried shallots and peanuts.