Vietnamese Banh Mi Bowl with plant based quinoa meatballs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
For the plant based quinoa "meat"balls:
  • 1 cup (200g) of uncooked dark quinoa
  • a thumb-sized piece (20g) of of fresh ginger
  • ½ a red onion
  • 1 - 2 cloves or garlic
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup (50g) of ground almonds or pecans
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds + 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of sambal oelek or ½ teaspoon of chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt
  • a pinch of black pepper
For the banh mi bowl:
  • 50g of rice noodles
  • two handful of spinach, rocket or green leaves of your choice
  • ½ cucumber
  • ½ cup of pickled carrots (see below)
  • ¼ cup (20g) of red cabbage
  • a few chopped peanuts
  • cilantro to garnish
For the pickled carrots:
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or coconut sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • a pinch of salt
For the avocado mayonnaise:
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sambal oelek
  • ½ lemon
  • sea salt and back pepper to season
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (360°F).
  2. For the pickled carrots, simply spiralize the carrots and place them into a sealable glass container with all the other ingredients. Let sit for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
  3. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. Mix the flax seeds and the water in a small bowl and let thicken for 10 minutes.
  4. For the quinoa balls, finely chop the ginger, red onion and garlic or pulse them in a food processor. Then place 1½ cups (300g) of the quinoa into a food processor or blender with all the remaining ingredients and the flax seed egg. Pulse until a sticky dough forms. Use about 1 tablespoon of dough for each quinoa ball. I like them smaller so they get cooked through more easily. Place the balls on a baking sheet aligned with baking paper and a bit of gluten free flour, and bake them for about 35 - 40 minutes. They should be crunchy from the outside but still soft in the inside.
  5. For the bowl, simply wash and slice the veggies and the green salad leaves. Finely slice the red cabbage, if using. Place the rice noodles in a bowl with boiling water and let soak for 10 minutes until tender. Drain and add equally to the two bowls with all the other ingredients. The amounts may be too much for two bowls, so just keep the remaining ingredients for next day's lunch.
  6. For the avocado mayo, simply add the avocado flesh and all ingredients to a food processor and blend to a fine sauce.
  7. Place about 4 to 6 quinoa balls on top of each bowl, add the remaining quinoa and drizzle with the avocado mayo. The bowls can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
Recipe by Heavenlynn Healthy at