Packed with vibrant herbs and a Vietnamese dipping sauce, nuoc cham, these meatballs are filling and served over refreshing rice noodles in less than thirty minutes. Winning.
I could very well eat Vietnamese food — or food, like this, here, that approximates Vietnamese food, for nearly every meal. It’s unfailingly satisfying yet somehow light on the tummy no matter how many rice noodles you pack into yo’ bells. Maybe it’s those fiercely verdant herbs — licoricey basil, cool mint, inexplicably polarizing cilantro — that intoxicate me so. Or the sweet and salty tang of fresh veggies dressed in a vinegary fish sauce. Without a doubt the candied umami of tiny, charbroiled meatballs adds to the allure of this particular dish. And the simplicity with which it all comes together.
A takeout-worthy meal in under 30 minutes? YZ PLZ.
For the Meatballs
- 1 lb ground beef or pork
- 3 T minced lemongrass
- 3 T basil finely chopped
- 2 T fish sauce
- 2 T coconut sugar
- 1 T soy sauce
- 1 T sriracha
- 1 T sesame oil
- 3 cloves minced garlic
For the Nuoc Cham
- See the link above for recipe.
- 3-4 bundles of bún rice vermicelli or any thin-to-medium rice noodle
- 1 english cucumber
- 1-2 medium carrots
- mung bean sprouts
- Preheat broiler. Bring large pot of water to boil and cook noodles according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, combine all meatball ingredients and shape into bite-sized meatballs (about 20). Arrange meatballs on a broiler pan or rimmed baking sheet and broil 5-7 mins, until cooked through and browned on top. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
- While meatballs cook and cool, whisk together nuoc cham ingredients and set aside. Halve cucumber and scrape out seeds, then slice into thin strips. Peel carrots, then continue to use peeler to pare carrots into long, narrow strips. Wash and dry herbs. Thinly slice jalapeno.
- Rinse cooked noodles under warm water to remove excess starch and drain briefly. Divide noodles among bowls; top with meatballs, carrots, bean sprouts, jalapenos and herbs. Just before serving, dress bowls with nuoc cham. Enjoy!
Emily Stoffel (Em) is the voice behind The Pig & Quill, a food blog featuring original, (mostly) mindful & real food-based recipes -- plus salty scribblings about life, love and all the miscellany that falls into that goofy little crack between the fridge and the cabinetry. When she's not in the kitchen, you can find Em (pretending to enjoy) running, nerding out over marketing, chatting with Momma and planning elaborate vacations that sometimes work out. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Chris, and their three bicycles.