This Banh Mi Bowl is overflowing with vibrant crunchy veggies, flavorful seasonings, marinades & even more filling ingredients. You have the option to make it vegan, vegetarian, chicken, or beef-based to make the banh mi recipe of your choice!
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Keep in mind this recipe looks excessive.
I promise you it’s very easy! Don’t let the ingredient list scare you!
Is banh mi healthy? Ways to customize it:
The answer is, it depends on who you ask & what you personally need! A traditional banh mi sandwich is usually made up of mostly bread, sugary & salty marinades, & sometimes even red meat. However, it’s vibrantly filled with nutritious veggies & fantastic protein.
For example, if you don’t eat animal products, make this banh mi vegan as it’s SO customizable! We all have different nutritional needs and it’s important to remember that customizing recipes can bring a great variety to our intake of nutrient-dense foods.
Making Your Perfect Nutritionally Balanced Meal:
For the above concerns here are a few tips to make this the perfect meal for you:
Red meat or meat in general. If you feel red meat isn’t healthy you’ll want to choose a vegetarian or vegan banh mi. This includes ingredients such as marinated mushrooms, seitan, tofu, or even vegan meats such as bacon. If avoiding red meat, try my healthy fried chicken as this is delicious in a bowl version.
Sugar in Banh Mi. The sugar content in a banh mi usually isn’t as high as one may think. There may be added sugar in the meatballs or in a marinade. Sugar may also be added to the bread. Even if sugar is not an “added” ingredient, keep in mind it is a carb that is metabolized as sugar.
Carbs: If you’re concerned about the carbs that go into a banh mi, the bowl option has versatility as you can load it with even more veggies without the need for so much carb-loading. There are options to use sushi rice or rice noodles here. Want even more flavor? Use my healthy fried rice as a base!
Salt & Acidity: If you need to avoid salt, it’s essential to keep in mind that pickled veggies do contain salt. My suggestion is to reduce your salt consumption earlier in the day or later in the day based on the salt consumed in this meal. If you are sensitive to acidity, vinegar will contribute to the acid used most in this dish. To reduce the acidity, you can “pickle” the veggies according to my method by using lime which also reduces the amount of salt needed.
What’s In A Banh Mi Recipe?
I have provided the details for both a banh mi bowl as well as a gluten-free banh mi sandwich. The only difference will be the base of either rice or rice noodles for a bowl while the sandwich will be a gluten-free roll. (link to rolls – walmart) (link to rolls – amazon)
The most common ingredients of a banh mi are crunchy flakey white rolls smeared with a banh mi sauce, pickled veggies, cilantro, pork-based lemongrass meatballs, or other savory meats. Jalapenos, cilantro, and other ingredients such as pate and butter are also used.
For this gluten-free Vietnamese sandwich & bowl: We’re using all of the typical fixins’ but we’ll be using beef for our meatballs. I have also added purple daikon, crunchy cucumbers, vinegar-free fermented pickled veggies, and low-histamine mayo called kewpie. Various sprinkled seasonings will also add extra flavor to both the bowl and the sandwich. Both in my opinion are fantastic choices!
Banh Mi Bowl
Lemongrass Meatball Option:
- 1 lb organic grassfed ground beef
- 1-2 tbsp finley minced lemongrass
- 4-6 large cloves lemongrass
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/8 cup almond flour (if you'd like to reheat them) –> This keeps them moist when reheating!
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar, maple, or honey
- 1/2 cup white onion (caramelized first)
- 1-2 tbsp avocado oil (divided)
- 1 egg
- 1/8-1/4 cup liquid aminos or coconut aminos (to deglaze the pan)
- 2 scallions added in when finished searing
- 1-2 tsp toasted sesame seed oil added in when finished searing
Another meat option:
- 1-2 pieces Chef Dee's Healthy ‘fried’ chicken
Banh Mi Base (Sushi Rice or Vermicelli Noodles Option – Choose this or rice noodles)
- 2-3 cups Sushi rice OR 1 packet vermicelli rice noodles
- water as noted on your package
Gluten-Free Banh Mi Sandwich
- 5 gluten-free sandwich rolls
Banh Mi Vegan Marinade: (for mushrooms, tofu, sietan, vegan meat)
- ¼ cup liquid aminos, coconut aminos, or tamari
- 1 inch fresh ginger
- 1 large garlic clove miced
- Shaved or minced lemongrass
- 1-2 tsp maple syrup
- ¼-½ tsp toasted sesame oil
- ½ tsp thai red curry paste
Vegan 'Meat' Filling Choices: Pick 1 or 2!
- 6-8 shitayaki mushrooms thinly sliced
- 1 container extra firm tofu
Low Histamine Banh Mi “Pickled Veggies”
- 2 large carrots
- 2 large cucumbers
- ⅔+ cup lime juice
- ¼ cup + 1 tbsp maple or honey
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅔ cup water
Vinegar-Free Japanese Kewpie:
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tsp dee’s mustard or 2 tsp dijon
- 2 tbsp lemon juice or lime
- 1-2 tsp maple or 2 tsp honey
- 2 tsp tajin
- 1 large garlic clove
- ¼ tsp toasted sesame oil optional
- ⅔ cup avocado oil or neutral oil like grapeseed.
Banh Mi Bowl Toppings: (Highly Suggested!)
- ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Fresh mint leaves
- ½ tsp liquid or coconut aminos
- Nori Komi Furikake seasoning
- Jalapenos or serranos
- Scallions as desired
- Shaved white onion toss in lime juice
- If you would like to prepare your "pickled" veggies one night prior, it's highly suggested! If you'd like to make the marinade for the vegan option this is also a great idea!
Lemongrass Meatball Instructions:
- Start off by chopping all of your ingredients and combine until fully mixed. Next, shape into 12 slightly flattened meatballs.
- Next, pan sear them with avocado oil until they reach an internal temperature of 160F.
Banh Mi Pickled Veggies:
- Start off by slicing your veggies into the desired cut, either thinly sliced or into rounds. Add your remaining ingredients into a sealed container and incorporate the veggies. Add additional salt and lime if needed.
- Let sit for a few hours in your fridge.
Banh Mi Vegan Marinade:
- Combine your liquid and add to a sealed container. Next, thinly slice your mushrooms as if you were fileting a fish. Add them to your marinade & combine. If you want to add tofu be sure to dry it and cut into thicker slices. Sear the tofu if desired!
Low Histamine Kewpie Instructions:
- Add all of your ingredients to a large thick glass cup fit for an immersion blender or add all ingredients to your mini blender. Let chill in the fridge.
Sandwich & Bowl Assembly:
- Using your base, add either rice to a bowl, or add your kewpie to toasted bread.
- Proceed to fill your bowl or sandwich generously and top with additional kewpie, and don't forget he toppings listed above! Eat & Enjoy!