I don’t know if it’s a good thing when someone calls your pasta a salad, but I’ll go with it.
Don’t get me wrong because there is nothing wrong with pasta. As you guys know I am a firm believer in pasta…any day, anytime. But I love loading it up with veggies! Hence, I see Monday as the perfect day for a healthier take on everyone’s favorite Italian pasta dish, carbonara. This pasta is creamy, cheesy, and loaded with squash which I am whole heartedly obsessed with…
I’ve been dying to tell you guys about this recipe for so long now. Or okay, not so long, more like a couple of weeks, but I am just so excited about this recipe because it’s all of my favorite things.
Remember when Jane Fonda told us all about the virtues of eating cantaloupe boats with nonfat cottage cheese for breakfast?
Don’t worry. I do not either, but I also wasn’t born yet. I have an excuse! However, despite Jane Fonda diet era occurring years before my time, the message that she and many medical professionals of her generation shared about the virtues of avoiding fat still linger in our public consciousness. Now, even as the conversation turns to embracing fat instead of hiding it, we still intuitively fear it. And the lack of fat has done dramatic harm to our body, especially in our digestive systems.
I do not eat oatmeal enough. And to be honest, that is a real shame.
I always get in breakfast funks. And it is not predictable about what kind of funk I will be in when. All I know is that 1) I will eat a breakfast item nonstop for about 2-3 weeks without getting tired of it. And 2) almost spontaneously, I will get sick of said food and have to relinquish it from my life for maybe six months.
This might be my new favorite bowl to date.. and that is coming from a self proclaimed food-in-bowl addict. It is loaded with all of these goods like peanuts, rice noodles, a TON of herbs, veggies, and a funky yet delicious Vietnamese vinaigrette. And she is here to say HI BABES! I FREAKING LOVE YA.
She is a bowl of my dreams.
Many of you know this about me, but my favorite food FAR AND AWAY is Vietnamese food. So, here we go. This is my favorite thing to order at a Vietnamese restaurant that I want to share the recipe for ya. Officially, it is called bun. Not like a man “bun” or a hamburger “bun”. Bun is Vietnamese for white rice noodles and I am so smitten with ’em. Especially when they are paired with all of these fresh veggies and herbs.
Also, I always have to say it, because it’s that important for a recipe that features fish sauce: DO NOT SNIFF THE BOTTLE.
Fish sauce is that deliciously mysterious substance that smells deathly but, no, for real – it tastes like magic when combined with the right friends: lime juice, brown sugar, garlic, and the other usual suspects. When I was in college, I threw out a bottle of fish sauce in the garbage and BOY did it stink up the floor. But today is our day to embrace the power of fish sauce, who bring out the best and only the best of the fish sauce, and that means, above all else, do not let the urge to just check if it still smells as bad as it did last time get the best of you. It is made of anchovies and it STILL SMELLS BAD OK!
The herbs, on the other hand, smell better than ever because omg do we need some freshness. And new life! The mint and cilantro and basil together – it’s literal food heaven to combine the cool freshness of that herb trio with the saltiness and tang of the sauce.
So while half of the Internet is sitting here and chowing down on all of the fall veggies, I am loving this little number that can be eaten numerous times a year. And you don’t have to turn on the stove (if you have an electric kettle! EY-YO!). Simply soak the noodles in the hot water. While that is going on, chop the veggies and make the sauce. Then, all you have to do it pile the goods in a bowl, drizzle on the dressing, and you are good to GO.
This makes a great lunch or dinner idea for those busy weekday nights when you are craving something fresh. But aren’t we always craving something fresh? Because we are all fresh to DEATH! Ok I’ll stop now.
1.5 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (see notes if vegetarian/vegan)
1 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup warm water
1 garlic clove, forced through a garlic press
Pickled Carrot Ribbons
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 carrots, peeled and shaved into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
8 oz rice vermecelli noodles, cooked according to the package directions, rinsed and drained
2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
2-3 Persian cucumbers, sliced thinly
1 daikon radish, cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
1/2 c. chopped roasted peanuts
2 eggs, cooked to your liking (optional)
To make the dressing, whisk together all of the ingredients in a bowl. Set aside
To make the pickled carrot ribbons, whisk together the rice wine vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Place the carrot ribbons in the mixture. Allow to sit for 10-20 minutes until the carrots get soft.
To make the bowls, divide chopped romaine and rice noodles into four bowls. Top with cucumber, radish, and marinated carrot ribbons. Sprinkle on mint, basil, and chopped peanuts. Add eggs if desired. Drizzle on dressing. EAT!
If you do not want to buy fish sauce or are a vegetarian or vegan, simply replace it with a "vegan" fish sauce recipe or substitute tamari or coconut aminos.