Thursday, May 30, 2013

Goi Bi Soi Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Salad)

Goi Bi Soi Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Salad) 2

I wanted vegetables to serve alongside my Memorial Day luncheon of Thit Heo Nuong Xien (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Skewers) and this Goi Bi Soi Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Salad) was the perfect complement. Crunchy, light, and flavorful. The spaghetti squash strands stay crispy even heavily doused with a fish sauce dressing. The Vietnamese vinegared onions provide a nice tart contrast.

If you cook the spaghetti squash ahead of time and have the vinegared onions already marinating, the whole salad comes together in minutes. In fact, I deseeded the spaghetti squash, separated the strands, sliced the cabbage and herbs, and dressed the salad while Jin of Seeking Food skewered the meat. She finished her task, turned around and wondered when I had made the whole thing.

Ha! Cooking with me is magic. :P

Goi Bi Soi Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Salad) 1

Goi Bi Soi Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Salad)

For about 4 servings, you'll need:
1 spaghetti squashed, cooked with strands separated
1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 small onion made into Hanh Dam (Vietnamese Vinegared Onions)
1 loosely packed cup cilantro or Rau Ram (Vietnamese Cilantro) or other herb of your choice, roughly chopped
1/2 cup or more Nuoc Mam Cham (Vietnamese Fish Dipping Sauce)

I've boiled, baked, steamed, and microwaved spaghetti squash and prefer the last two methods. Baking takes too long. Boiling needs watching and is a bit soggier. Steaming is best if you have an electric steamer. And microwaving is fastest.

Cut off the ends of the spaghetti squash to allow it to breathe so it won't explode while cooking. Steam the spaghetti squash for 20 minutes or put it into a shallow bowl so it won't roll around and microwave for 10 minutes, turning the squash halfway so it cooks evenly.

Slice in half length-wise and remove the seeds and insides.

Goi Bi Soi Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Salad) 3

Then separate the strands of the spaghetti squash. Once cooked, the strands will separate quite easily so I just invert the rind and pull it out by hand.

Goi Bi Soi Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Salad) 4

Beautifully separated strands of spaghetti squash.

Goi Bi Soi Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Salad) 5

Thinly slice about a cup of red cabbage for color. Drain the small vinegared onion and add it to the bowl. Add chopped herbs of your choice.

Goi Bi Soi Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Salad) 6

Add about 1/2 cup of Vietnamese fish sauce dipping sauce and toss. (Use vegetarian fish sauce if you want this to be truly vegetarian.) Taste and adjust fish sauce or lime juice if necessary.

Goi Bi Soi Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Salad) 7

Plate and serve with the meat of your choice.

Goi Bi Soi Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Salad) 8

Vietnamese grilled pork skewers if you wish.

Goi Bi Soi Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Salad) 9

My friend liked the spaghetti squash salad so much that I gave her some to take home.

Goi Bi Soi Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Salad) 10

For dessert, my friend wanted to check out Fosselman's Ice Cream Co. - Alhambra. Specifically because I told her I noticed signs for sweet corn and horchata ice cream flavors in the window when I had driven by.

Fosselman's Ice Cream Co. - Alhambra 12

After she left, I packaged up the leftover pork skewers and spaghetti squash salad to bring over to cousin Q's older brother's barbecue later that evening. Even though he had just come back from vacation, he sent a last-minute invite to the cousins. I guess my guilt-tripping him into throwing Memorial Day barbecues a few years back worked since he's been hosting since 2009. It's tradition! :P

He grilled organic beef burgers.

Memorial Day Barbecue 1

Sooo good!

Memorial Day Barbecue 2

He also smoked awesome ribs. So tender.

Memorial Day Barbecue 3

Everyone I know who has kids starts drinking more... My brother says it eases the tensions of dealing with them. Ha! No one took him up on his offer to raid his liquor cabinet.

Memorial Day Barbecue 4

But we did all place orders for an after dinner coffee on his fancy new machine.

Memorial Day Barbecue 5

Other Vietnamese salads:
Goi Bap Cai Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Cabbage Salad)
Goi Bi Soi Tom Thit Heo (Vietnamese Spaghetti Squash Salad with Shrimp and Pork) 
Goi Buoi Tom (Vietnamese Pomelo Salad with Shrimp)
Goi Cu Sen Non Tom Thit (Vietnamese Young Lotus Root Salad with Shrimp and Pork)
Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Salad/Spring/Summer Rolls)
Goi Du Du Kho Bo (Vietnamese Papaya Salad with Beef Jerky)
Goi Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Salad)
Goi Ga Bap Cai (Vietnamese Chicken Cabbage Salad)
Goi Mit Non Tom Thit Heo (Vietnamese Green Jackfruit Salad with Pork and Shrimp)
Goi Xoai Xanh (Vietnamese Green Mango Salad)
Xa Lach Thit Bo (Vietnamese Steak Salad)
Xa Lach Thit Bo Rau Muong (Vietnamese Steak and Water Spinach Salad)

1 year ago today,
2 years ago today,
3 years ago today, Memorial Day weekend barbecue.
4 years ago today, Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland Classical Chinese Garden) - Portland - Oregon.
5 years ago today, a gift of a case of mangoes.
6 years ago today, Cucumber Salad.


  1. oh this recipe is so timely, spaghetti squash is everywhere at the farmer's market! i've been eating it simply with just olive oil + crush garlic. i can't wait to try your dressing instead.

  2. Mmm, sounds tasty and your photos make it look even tastier. Love all the cilantro in it. I'll probably add some other herbs too like rau ram and peppermint.

  3. Lan,
    I sub it for regular pasta in Italian dishes too so olive oil and garlic sounds about right. My dressing is just nuoc mam cham! :p

    It's the purple cabbage. It makes everything look nicer. I wish I had some rau ram because that would have been perfect.

  4. Yum yum yum! It looks delicious and not a little bit like bun tau. A great base for whatever meat you have, too. Thanks!

  5. Nikki,
    After writing this up, I totally thought of making bun thit nuong and using this as the "bun." Must try when I find spaghetti squash in the market again.


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