Vegan Thai Larb with Konjac Noodles

March 12, 2019 (Last Updated: April 6, 2020)

Larb is a Thai salad that is refreshing, flavorful and takes only minutes to make. Although traditionally made with ground meat, this vegan Thai larb recipe uses konjac noodles instead, so it’s suitable for all vegans and vegetarians!

a plate of Thai vegan larb (laab) with konjac noodles on a table

Vegan Larb

WHAT IS LARB?

Larb, sometimes spelled laab, is a very popular and much loved dish from the Northeastern part of Thailand. It’s simply another variation of the sour and spicy Thai salad. But it’s made a bit more special with toasted rice powder (khao khua or ข้าวคั่ว). Not the only does the toasted rice powder add a nice subtle, popcorn-y smell to the salad, but it also absorbs all the flavors and coats all the main ingredients with those. This makes every bite in your mouth a burst of flavor.

Traditionally, larb is made with a type of ground meat. This can be anything from pork to beef, duck or chicken. Along with your chosen type of meat, you can also include a few pieces of pork liver in larb. As larb is a meat-based dish, it’s usually enjoyed with sticky rice and fresh vegetables such as yardlong beans, cabbage and basil leaves. Eaten in moderation, larb is no doubt one healthy Thai dish.

HOW DO I MAKE VEGAN THAI LARB?

You wouldn’t think this would be possible, right? But actually, you can still enjoy this sour and spicy Thai salad even if you’re a vegan or vegetarian. Last week, I checked out some meatless Monday recipes and felt like trying a meatless meal. So, I picked up some konjac noodles when I last did my shopping. As konjac noodles have *absolutely* no taste, I knew I needed to use them to make something flavorful. So…I flicked through some old photos on my phone and BAMMM! Larb it was.

a plate of Thai vegan larb (laab) with konjac noodles on a table

WHAT ARE KONJAC NOODLES?

In case you’re not familiar with konjac, it’s an Asian plant and we use its corm to make food. Here in Thailand, konjac is usually sold in different shapes as a carb or meat substitute or included as part of diet products. The reason is that it’s filling and it’s a no-carb, no-fat, no-protein, no-whatsoever food, making it zero-calorie!! Fiber is the only thing you can expect from it. Unfortunately, this is also why it’s blander than bland.

But don’t be put off by the fact that konjac is bland. The good thing about it is that it pairs well with strong, flavorful salad dressings and soups. Besides, its texture is fun to eat. It’s a little chewy and a bit like that of gummy. I enjoy its texture a lot and it’s why I eat konjac noodles at all. If you like chewy foods (gummy chewy, not crazy chewy), I think you’ll love konjac noodles.

WHAT SHAPES DO KONJAC NOODLES COME IN?

Many! You get everything from long thin noodles (Shirataki) to noodles tied in knots or even rice (which is technically not noodles, but this stuff appears to be very popular among the keto community). Although you won’t have guessed this, the konjac I’m using in this salad by the brand Moki is actually supposed to resemble “tripe.” To be honest, I think they’re pretty smart there. First, the product does resemble tripe. Second, tripe does have a gummy-chewy texture similar to that of konjac. Still, it’s considered “noodles” here. But hey, they’re about the same size as penne and you can eat them with chopsticks! Surely I can call them noodles, right? 😂

INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING VEGAN THAI LARB

The ingredients you need for this vegan larb are pretty simple and as follows:

  • 3 teaspoons of granulated sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons of lime juice
  • 3 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of toasted rice powder
  • 1 tablespoon of roasted Thai chili flakes
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • 3-4 culantro leaves, roughly chopped (This is not the same as cilantro!)
  • 7 ounces of konjac noodles, strained

NOTES

If you want to make this vegan larb really good, I highly recommend you make your own toasted rice powder and roasted Thai chili flakes, which I have written how-to guides for and linked up in this post already. Quality ingredients do make a BIG difference for larb! Please also note that culantro is not the same thing as cilantro! However, it might be less common in other parts of the world so you can use green onions instead if you can’t find it.

a plate of Thai vegan larb (laab) with konjac noodles on a table

HOW TO MAKE VEGAN THAI LARB

1. Add the lime juice and soy sauce to a salad bowl. Then, add the sugar and use a spoon to stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.

2. Add the toasted rice powder, chili flakes, shallots, culantro, and konjac noodles and toss to combine.

3. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately with your preferred fresh vegetables.

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Vegan Thai Larb With Konjac Noodles Recipe

a plate of Thai vegan larb (laab) with konjac noodles on a table

Larb is a Thai salad that is refreshing, flavorful and takes only minutes to make. Although traditionally made with ground meat, this recipe uses konjac noodles instead so it’s suitable for vegans and vegetarians!

  • Author: Cooking with Nart
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Thai
Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted rice powder (buy this here or learn how to make it from this post)
  • 1 tablespoon roasted Thai chili flakes (buy these here or learn how to make them from this post)
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • 34 culantro leaves, roughly chopped (This is not the same as cilantro but if you can’t find it, you can use green onions instead)
  • 7 ounces konjac noodles, strained

Instructions

  1. Add the lime juice and soy sauce to a salad bowl. Then, add the sugar and use a spoon to stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  2. Add the toasted rice powder, chili flakes, shallots, culantro, and konjac noodles and toss to combine.
  3. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately with your preferred fresh vegetables.

Notes

  1. If you want to make this vegan larb really good, I highly recommend you make your own toasted rice powder and roasted Thai chili flakes, which I have written how-to guides for and linked up in this post already. Quality ingredients do make a BIG difference for larb!
  2. Please also note that culantro is not the same thing as cilantro! However, it might be less common in other parts of the world so you can use green onions instead if you can’t find it.

Keywords: larb, laab, vegan larb, vegan laab, vegan thai salad, vegan salad, konjac noodle salad, vegan spicy Thai salad

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Carrie Robinson
    April 4, 2020 at 5:46 am

    I have never heard of this before, but now I am totally intrigued! 🙂

    • Reply
      Nart
      April 5, 2020 at 8:53 pm

      Try it, you’re gonna love it!

  • Reply
    Cookilicious
    April 4, 2020 at 6:04 am

    This is such an interesting recipe..\never had this..but am tempted to try now

    • Reply
      Nart
      April 5, 2020 at 8:51 pm

      Give it a go and you won’t be disappointed hehe 🙂

  • Reply
    Kushigalu
    April 4, 2020 at 8:48 am

    This is something new to me. Looks so delicious and flavorful too.

    • Reply
      Nart
      April 5, 2020 at 8:51 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    Tara
    April 4, 2020 at 9:06 am

    Yum! I have had larb with ground meat, but never a vegan version before! This looks incredible and I love those spices.

    • Reply
      Nart
      April 5, 2020 at 8:51 pm

      Thank you! This vegan version is still just as flavorful!

  • Reply
    Jill
    April 4, 2020 at 10:31 am

    I actually traveled to Thailand in February for a friend’s wedding. I’ll have to try this salad to reminisce about our time there.

    • Reply
      Nart
      April 5, 2020 at 8:50 pm

      Please do and enjoy!

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