Hey you! Let me introduce you to my new favorite go to New Year salad. That really should be the alternative title of this post
To be honest, salads can often be, well, so boring. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I pretty much eat a salad every day of my existence. And I love them so much. But I find most renditions of a salad to be completely lacking in flavor and/or heartiness. Have you ever shown up to a restaurant and get a bowl of sad iceberg lettuce, two (why is it always two?!) cherry tomatoes, and maybe a sliver of red onion?
Most people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I personally get most excited about lunch. People who say “I was too busy, I forgot to eat lunch”… I don’t get you. I am always waiting for my clock to tick down to 1:30 PM, for me to bust out my prepacked Tupperware, and shout, “YES! LUNCH TIME!” But maybe I’m the only weirdo who eats breakfast and then immediately starts counting down the hours ’til lunch?
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.
And yes, a BALT is a BLT with avo. And it should totally not be optional.
I mean, bacon is bacon…it comes from a pig…it’s bacon. And to be honest, I think it’s a little overhyped.
Now, I liked bacon as a kid… well because we did not have pork in our house, it was mostly turkey bacon. But I always looked forward to summertime, when the tomatoes from our garden are so juicy, they are about to burst. That meant my mom popping out BLT sandwiches like it was no one’s business. We would bake bacon in the oven (the crisp factor is INSANE), and make sandwiches of the juicy tomato, bacon, lettuce, and real deal mayonaise.
LEt’s be real, BBQ season is probably my favorite kind of season. It is the time of year when bread, cheese, grilled vegetables, and wine can come together for an acceptable sort of meal. That’s kind of why I like meals in bowls. It makes snacking feel acceptable. Plus, who doesn’t want to curl up with their snacks on the couch?
If you try dong that with a plate, I can tell you from experience it will not end well.
Picnics are the kind of things that we all wish we could have more of, but we never pursue. People think, at the end of a long day, who wants to go get all the stuff to craft a picnic. I personally am a huge believer in picnics. And it does not have to be complicated to have a picnic. Wine and cheese can always suffice as a picnic.