These Banh Mi bowls are my twist on the modern, popular Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches. Banh Mi is Vietnamese for “bread,” but typically these sandwiches feature flavorful meat, pickled vegetables and fresh herbs. There are tons of varieties of this delicacy featuring different proteins and toppings. My Beef Banh Mi Bowls featured marinated, seared shaved beef, quick-picked carrots and shallots, and a flavorful sriracha lime mayo. These bowls are so flavorful and delicious, you will be so impressed that you made these yourself!
What you’ll need to make Beef Banh Mi Bowls
You’ll need the following ingredients for the meat:
- shaved beef
- soy sauce
- fish sauce
- brown sugar
I typically purchase the shaved beef at Trader Joe’s, and from what I’ve heard, they also sell it at Aldi. Some supermarkets also sell the Old Neighborhood brand of shaved beef as well.
You’ll need the following ingredients for the pickled vegetables:
- carrots (either shredded or chips)
- rice wine vinegar
Other ingredients you’ll need to assemble the bowls:
- sesame oil
- sesame seeds
- light mayo
- lime juice
To make my life even easier, I use frozen, pre-cooked brown rice. I always keep a bag of this in my freezer; you can purchase this at Trader Joe’s, or you can find the Bird’s Eye brand at most supermarkets.
Prepping this meal in advance
There are a few things that should be prepped in advance for this meal; don’t worry though, even though this takes a little bit of preparation, cooking the actual meal only takes minutes!
I marinate the meat several hours before I plan on cooking it. You can also marinate the meat overnight. And of course, if you happen to wait until the last minute, you can also put all of the marinade ingredients together with the meat up to 30 minutes before you plan on cooking the meat. Just beware that the longer you marinate the meat, the more flavorful it becomes.
You also should pickle the vegetables before hand. This is super easy to do; it takes under 5 minutes. Again, the longer the veggies sit in the pickling brine, the more flavorful they become. I recommend preparing these at least a couple of hours ahead of time.
Marinating the meat
Let’s make our marinade. It is so simple to do, but packs so much flavor. In the bottom of a mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic cloves. Whisk everything together thoroughly. Note, this does not make a huge batch of marinade. It’s really just a small amount of liquid that will coat and soak into the meat.
Once your ingredients are incorporated evenly, add your meat. Toss it around with tongs (or your hands) to get the meat evenly coated in the marinade. The meat will soak up all of the liquid. That’s what we are looking for.
Keep the meat marinating until you are ready to cook it.
Quick-pickling the vegetables
Don’t be intimidated by this step; it’s super quick and easy.
Start by weighing out 5 ounces of shredded carrots (this is around half of a bag usually). Slice up a shallot.
Next, grab a large mason jar. If you don’t have a mason jar, a bowl will do.
Add the rice wine vinegar and water to the mason jar. Then, add the salt and sugar. Pop the mason jar (without the lid) into the microwave for one minute so that the sugar and salt can dissolve in the liquid.
Next, add the carrots and shallots to the mason jar with the liquid. Pop the lid on, and give the mason jar a nice shake so that the veggies are submerged in the liquid.
That’s all there is to it! Set the jar aside until you are ready to use the veggies. Once the veggies reach room temperature, you can pop the mason jar in the fridge. Or, you can leave them out at room temperature until you are ready to use them in your dish.
How to cook and assemble Beef Banh Mi Bowls
When you are ready to cook and assemble, remove the meat from the fridge. Place a large frying pan over medium high heat. Spray the pan with cooking spray and add the meat. Cook until the beef is cooked through, and slightly crispy on the edges (that’s where the flavor is). This takes no time at all, since the beef is so thin. The beef will be cooked within 10 minutes.
While the beef is cooking, get your other ingredients ready. Thinly slice the Persian cucumbers, and toss them with the sesame oil and sesame seeds. Set them aside to use in the finished bowls.
Combine the sriracha mayo ingredients: whisk the light mayo, sriracha, and lime juice together in a small bowl.
When you are ready to build the bowls, each bowl gets the following:
- 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
- 1/2 cup cooked beef
- 1 Persian cucumber, sliced and tossed in the sesame oil and seeds
- 1/2 cup pickled vegetables
- 1 tablespoon sriracha mayo
- garnished with fresh cilantro
Beef Banh Mi Bowls
- frying pan
- 5 oz shredded carrots
- 1 shallot
- 1 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 lb shaved beef
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon ginger fresh, grated
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup light mayo
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 2 cups brown rice cooked
- 4 Persian cucumbers
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- fresh cilantro
- Weigh out 5 oz of shredded carrots (about 1/2 of a bag) and thinly slice the shallot.
- Add the rice wine vinegar, water, salt and sugar into a large mason jar.
- Microwave for 1 minute or until the salt and sugar are dissolved.
- Add the carrots and sliced shallot to the jar, cover and shake.
- Leave marinating for several hours (or longer) until ready to serve.
- A few hours before cooking (or even overnight), marinate the meat.
- Mince the garlic.
- At the bottom of a mixing bowl, whisk the soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, ginger and garlic together.
- Add the shredded beef and toss to coat - it will absorb the marinade.
- Leave covered in the fridge until you're ready to cook.
- To cook the meat, sauté in a frying pan over medium high heat with cooking spray until cooked to your liking (approximately 10 minutes).
- The meat is paper thin, so it cooks very quickly. I like mine slightly crispy on the edges.
Assembling the Bowls
- Place 1/2 cup serving of brown rice per bowl.
- Add 1/2 cup of cooked beef to each bowl.
- Thinly slice the cucumbers and toss them with the sesame oil and sesame seeds. Each bowl gets the equivalent of one Persian cucumber.
- Add a serving of pickled vegetables to each bowl (suggested serving: 1/2 cup).
- Combine the mayo, sriracha and lime juice in a small bowl.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the mayo mixture to each serving.
- Garnish each bowl with fresh cilantro and extra sriracha, if desired.
- 9 WW points per bowl (as shown) - blue and green plans
- 6 WW points per bowl (as shown) - purple plan