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Vietnamese Rice Noodle Bun Bowl with Shrimp

When you have the desire for a meal that is fresh, clean, and healthy, as well as one that is easy to make, this Vietnamese shrimp bun bowl is the perfect choice. This cold noodle salad was one of my go-to choices when eating out at Vietnamese restaurants until I realized how insanely easy it was to make at home. I have started ordering more complicated dishes at Vietnamese places now because it’s just so simple to whip up a bun bowl at home in about 15 minutes.Quite truthfully, it tastes every bit as good as the bun bowls in restaurants . . . and I can have seconds at home without paying for another meal. 

For the bowls:

8 oz. rice vermicelli noodles

1 English cucumber, sliced

4 cups mixed greens

½ c. Thai basil leaves

½ c. cilantro

½ c. mint leaves

½ c. peanuts

Sliced lime, for garnish

Sambal Oelek (chili paste), if desired

Shrimp ingredients:

16 large shrimp, deveined

1 Tbsp. cornstarch 

1 tsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 green onions, sliced

Salt and pepper

Sauce ingredients: 

½ c. water, room temperature

3 Tbsp. honey or agave

¼ c. lime juice, fresh squeezed

2 jalapenos, finely diced

1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

⅓ c. fish sauce

Cook vermicelli according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until noodles are cold themselves.

In a small bowl, mix together the water, honey, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce and jalapenos. Stir thoroughly to ensure the honey or agave mixes in completely. Set aside for later.

On a plate, mix together the cornstarch, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Dredge the shrimp until it is coated on all sides. Then, heat up the oil and cook the shrimp on medium high heat until cooked through. Add the green onions and garlic and cook for about one more minute.

To assemble the bowls, place a large handful of greens, along with a generous amount of basil, cilantro, and mint leaves in each bowl. Then, add about ¼ of the noodles to each bowl. Place the cucumbers on top of the rice noodles. Place 4 shrimp on top of each bowl. Then, add peanuts to the top.

Serve the bowls with the sauce and if desired, additional lime and Sambal Oelek.

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