Top rice-noodle recipes for healthy weeknight meals in a flash

Rice noodles are the secret weapon for quick healthy dinners. And they're so easy to prep: Simply pour hot water over dry rice noodles and soak them while you prep the rest of the meal. In about 15 minutes, the noodles are tender with just the right chewy bite.

Top them with chopped mixed herbs, lettuce or cabbage, and matchsticks of carrots, zucchini, and fresh jalapeno peppers. Then add grilled chicken, pork, beef, tofu, or shrimp. Sprinkle over some chopped peanuts and add a tasty dressing. With rice noodles on hand, dinner's easy to improvise.

Here are some of our favorite rice noodle recipes:

1. Sukhothai Pad Thai

"This dish can be made with shrimp, chicken or pork instead of tofu," says Nan. "Look for the more exotic items in the Asian foods section at your local grocery store. Adjust the pad Thai sauce ingredients to taste." Dinner's on the table in 30 minutes.

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

2. Thai Rice Noodle Salad

Toss rice noodles with romaine lettuce, red bell pepper, red and green onions, cucumber, garlic, ginger root, jalapeno pepper, and fresh basil and cilantro. "With these noodle bowls, the real clincher is the sauce, and this one is quite good," says Buckwheat Queen. "Delicious."

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

3. Authentic Pho

The key to this authentic Vietnamese noodle pho is the beef broth, which slowly simmers with onions, star anise, ginger, and fish sauce. "If you have a large enough slow cooker you can set the broth going in the morning and have pho for supper after work," says Arlene Preston. "This recipe is great, it tastes just like the pho at my favorite restaurant!"

4. Joe's Fusion Chicken Pad Thai

Here's a quick, creative spin on traditional Pad Thai. "Very easy to make and delicious," says LatinaCook. "A bit spicy due to the cayenne so adjust accordingly if you are sensitive to heat."

Joe's Fusion Chicken Pad Thai | Photo by LatinaCook

5. Pad Kee Mow (Drunkard's Noodles)

This Thai-inspired "drunkard's noodles" dish features colorful, crunchy veggies in a flavorful sauce spiced up with red pepper flakes. "Rivaled the Pad Kee Mow that I order at my favorite local Thai restaurant," raves Christina. "It was quick, easy, and fabulous!"

Pad Kee Mow (Drunkard's Noodles) | Photo by SunnyDaysNora

6. Cao Lau (Vietnamese Noodle Bowl)

"Cao lau is made with noodles, pork, and greens traditionally found only in the town of Hoi An, Vietnam," says Michael Kuhn. "This recipe approximates authentic cao lau with easier-to-find ingredients." It preps in about 20 minutes, and cooks in about 10.

Photo by lutzflcat

7. Vietnamese Rice-Noodle Salad

This is ready in 15 minutes. "A nice light and healthy meal, and very delicious," says BATCAVES. Cooked rice noodles mix it up with carrots, cucumbers, mint, and napa cabage, topped with a snappy dressing of lime juice, jalapeno peppers, fish sauce, and cilantro.

Vietnamese Rice-Noodle Salad | Photo by Caroline C

8. Thai Curry Soup

This Thai-style noodle soup features coconut milk, red curry paste, ginger, shrimp, mushrooms, and spinach. It's also great with chicken instead of shrimp. Either way, I love this soup anytime!" says Kaeli.

Thai Curry Soup | Photo by chrisdwilliams

9. A Pad Thai Worth Making

"The wonderful national noodle dish of Thailand, this is a recipe for those who like it HOT," says Fatty Arbuckle. "It can be adjusted to your taste, add ingredients that you like and make it as spicy or tart as you want to. It is also great as a basis for a stir fry of leftovers." It's ready in 30 minutes.

Related: 9 Top Rice Noodle Salad Recipes, Summer's Perfect Meal

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