Tangy, spicy, a little sweet, crunchy and refreshing – this Garlic Lime Shrimp Rice Noodles recipe is a flavor-packed lunch or dinner meal that’s also super easy, fast and versatile!
Shrimp is such an easy, fast, versatile and delicious option for flavor-packed lunches and dinners. It’s a great seafood canvas on which to build flavors and textures, and this is why I always keep some shrimp in the freezer as a contingency plan.
This Garlic Lime Shrimp Rice Noodles dish is no different. An easy, versatile, flavor-packed lunch/dinner option, I love eating it as a cold shrimp noodle salad in the summer, and eat it warm during the cold winter months.
You can make this dish in two different ways.
- Marinate the shrimp in the garlic lime marinade and cook the marinated shrimp.
- Skip the marinade, and cook the shrimp with just a little salt and toss it in the marinade afterwards.
I prefer to cook the shrimp without marinating, because then the pan fried shrimp can be mixed with other sauces for a variety of recipes and flavors. That’s where the shrimp works its magic as a great culinary canvas!
The garlic and lime sauce is super easy to make too. It’s a simple nuoc cham sauce (a Vietnamese sauce), which I thicken with cornstarch, so it’s great to toss things with. 🙂 Whether it’s shrimp, fish, cooked meat like chicken, beef or pork, or even tofu and other veggie options are great when tossed in this sauce. It’s also a fantastic dipping sauce!
I like to make the garlic lime sauce ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. This way I can simply pour it over the shrimp noodle salad when that’s done, or use it on other salads that I make for lunch.
I also like to cook the shrimp ahead of time and portion it out for our meals. Then on the day, I simply toss the shrimp in the garlic lime sauce and rice noodles, and enjoy the dish in all its glory!
While the noodles and shrimp with the garlic lime sauce is just about perfect, I love serving this with shredded lettuce, carrots and cucumber. This is especially delicious when you’re having this as a cold shrimp rice noodles salad. The garlic lime sauce acts as a dressing for the veggies too.
This shrimp rice noodles dish is perfect as a lunch box meal as well. It’s,
- a little sweet
- and an altogether great pick me up lunch for those busy week days!
Plus, it’s so versatile. You can customize the meal to your taste. We love adding plenty of spice and heat obviously, with lots of sliced Thai red chili pepper. But you’re welcome to reduce the amount of chili pepper or leave it out completely.
I also sprinkled some chopped roasted peanuts over this shrimp rice noodle salad too. It ties everything together with a nutty flavor and texture that complements the tangy sweetness of the rice noodle salad.
Don’t like shrimp?
Substitute with extra firm tofu, or leftover cooked meat like chicken. Or if you happen to end up with some leftover shrimp from this garlic lime shrimp rice noodles recipe, I’ll be sharing another recipe next week that uses the same pan fried shrimp for another flavor-packed lunch or dinner meal!
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Lime Garlic Shrimp Noodles
This rice noodle salad is perfect for lunch or dinner. Fresh, vibrant flavors and easy to make.
Makes 2 generous portions, or 3 standard portions.
- 1 lb large shrimps peeled, de-veined (see recipe notes)
- Generous pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp lime juice
Garlic Lime Sauce (Nuoc Cham Sauce)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 - 3 Thai red chili peppers, sliced deseeded OR 1 tsp sambal oelek
- 7 oz dry rice noodles flat rice noodles or thin noodles
- 4 spring onions sliced thin
- 1 - 2 cups shredded lettuce
- 1 large carrot julienned
- ½ cucumber julienned
- Roasted peanuts chopped
Pat dry the shrimp to remove any moisture. Mix the shrimp with the salt, and set aside.
Heat a large pan with 2 - 3 tbsp of oil on medium-high heat. When the oil it hot, pan fry the shrimp. Cook each side for about 2 - 3 minutes, until there's some caramelization on each side. Cook in two batches to avoid over-crowding the pan.
Toss the cooked shrimp with the fresh lime juice in a bowl. Then keep it in the fridge until needed, OR cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Garlic Lime Sauce
Mix the 1 tbsp water with the cornstarch. Mix it into a slurry and set aside.
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan, EXCEPT for the cornstarch slurry and the sliced red chili peppers. Heat over medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring the sauce to a boil.
Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and add the red chili peppers as well.
Cook the sauce for another 1 - 2 minutes, until it reaches a thick, sauce-like consistency. Taste and season with extra salt or fish sauce if needed.
- Set aside to cool down.
Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Rinse and keep it in the fridge to chill.
When you're ready to serve the salad, wash and prepare the vegetables.
Add one half of the garlic lime sauce to the shrimp and toss to combine. Set aside the rest of the sauce.
Divide the shredded lettuce into three bowls or lunch boxes.
Top with rice noodles, and drizzle the remaining garlic lime sauce over the rice noodles in the three bowls. Divide the shrimp between the three bowls as well.
Add the cucumber, carrots and cilantro. Sprinkle with spring onions and chopped peanuts. Serve.
Note on shrimp - we prefer shrimp with the tail on. But you're welcome to remove the tails if you prefer.
Note on spice level - de-seed the Thai red chili peppers to reduce the heat. Sambal oelek is less spicy than Thai red chili. You can leave it out altogether if you prefer it mild.
You can serve this recipe cold or warm. If you like it warm, gently warm the shrimp with the garlic lime sauce and serve with freshly cooked rice noodles.