Vietnamese-Style Beef Salad with Mint

Vietnamese-style Beef Salad

Yesterday, my company had its first Iron Chef-style food competition. The secret ingredient: Mint.

Now I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of cooking with mint. To me, its the red-headed step-child of herbs that I’m likely to buy for savory dishes. Blame it on too much mint-chocolate chip ice cream, but in my mind, mint belongs in desserts, toothpaste and chewing gum alone.

However, since I am unable to resist a challenge and am addicted to the adrenaline rush of a good workplace culinary competition of any kind, I decided to participate.

And oh boy was I glad I did! Turns out, mint really isn’t so bad- it nicely complements so many different flavors, including sweet, savory and spicy, with a crisp, refreshing taste.

We had a wide range of different dishes brought in for the competition- including mango-mint sushi, israeli couscous salad, pea-ricotta-mint crostini, Vietnamese-style chicken salad, minty brownies and cookies, and watermelon-feta salad (the eventual winner of the contest, brought in by my work wife Andrea- so proud)

Converseon Iron Chef Eps01 - Mint!

photo credit: Jeff Lin

Here’s a look at my contribution:

Vietnamese-Style Beef Salad with Mint

Serves 4
from Epicurious


  • 1 seedless cucumber
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound fresh pineapple chunks (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 pound deli sliced roast beef, cut into ribbons
  • 12 sprigs fresh mint, chopped coarsely


1) Halve cucumber lengthwise, then slice diagonally 1/4 inch thick.

2) Stir together lime juice, water, fish sauce, sugar, red-pepper flakes, and shallot in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved.

3) Arrange pineapple and cucumber on a platter and drizzle with some of dressing. This can be done an hour (or more) in advance- allowing the flavors to meld.

4) Drape roast beef slices on top and sprinkle with mint. Serve with remaining dressing on the side or over top.

Converseon Iron Chef Eps01 - Mint!

photo credit: Jeff Lin

This was a really fun idea for the workplace, and not only do I have a new-found appreciation for mint, but I am really excited for next month’s secret ingredient: Ginger! What do you think I should make?

Happy Eating 🙂

2 thoughts on “Vietnamese-Style Beef Salad with Mint”

    1. Whoa… that looks awesome Vincci! And being a chocolate lover, I already have most of the ingredients at home 🙂 Thanks- I think you just found my contender!

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