Banh Mi Bowls

This dish is a winner. As I’ve made clear, I love making meatballs. I especially love meatballs that have completely different flavor profiles than your run-of-the-mill italian variety, and this recipe is EVERYTHING I could ever hope for.

As with everything we post here, pretty much all of this recipe is adaptable to whatever you have on hand, though I recommend sticking to the ingredients in the meatball portion of the recipe. The rest, however, is up to you, your hankerings, and your grocery store stock.

Ingredients: (serves 3-4 for dinner)

For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons lemongrass paste
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced or crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste (Sambal Oelek is my preference! Sriracha if not)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Wholesome! coconut palm sugar (worst case, just sugar will do)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the bowls:

  • Rice (white or brown, or quinoa if you’re feeling like a rice hater)
  • Fresh herbs: basil, mint, cilantro, scallions (all of the above!)
  • Roasted peanuts
  • Spicy mayo (mix some mayo with some sriracha or chili paste)
  • 1/2 large cucumber, julienned
  • 1 avocado
  • 3-4 carrots, julienned
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/8 cup sugar (coconut palm from above or just plain)
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation:

First make some quick pickled carrots! I like to julienne the carrots (little match sticks) for texture, but you could also use a peeler to make ribbons which is what the original recipe for these bowls called for (and what I did the first time I made this recipe. In hindsight, I recommend julienne). Mix the rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil and salt in a small bowl. Add the julienne carrots, toss to coat, and set aside in the fridge till ready to assemble the bowls.

Next, mix all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl until well-combined. Roll the mixture into small ping-pong sized balls by hand. I recommend you pop them in the fridge at this point and prep the rest of your bowl ingredients so everything is ready when the meatballs are done cooking. Cook your rice (or quinoa), prep and tear up your fresh herbs. Julienne your cucumber, slide your avocado, crush some peanuts, make your spicy mayo, maybe give those carrots a stir.

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Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet (non-stick works well given the sugar content of these meatballs, which have a tendency to stick as a result). Cook the meatballs, turning and rotating them as they cook, till they are cooked through and have a nice color to them. This can take a varying amount of time depending on the size of your meatballs, but let’s say 7-10 minutes.

When your meatballs are done, hopefully everything else is too! Lay it all out pretty-like…your friends and loved ones will love you for it. Everyone likes an “assemble it yo’ self” bowl of goodness, so let them make it the way they want it. Start with a few scoops of rice, a few meatballs, and the rest is up to you. Enjoy!

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This recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum, found here!

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