Paleo Bánh Mì Bowl


Bánh mì is the sultan of all sandwiches. Don't argue with me. It definitely is.  (For the record, egg salad is the street urchin of sandwiches. But not the diamond in the rough kind of urchin like Aladdin. A run-of-the-mill cartoon urchin with very little potential to save Agrabah from crazy-eyed royal advisors.)

Oh yeah, bánh mìs.

Paleo Banh Mi Bowl via Worthy Pause

The Twin Cities is well-stocked with these Vietnamese sandwiches. We're lucky like that. In fact, there are no fewer than seven places to buy bánh mì within walking distance from my house. #banhmiblessed

While doing some recipe testing for work, I decided to try to make paleo/gluten-free food pile inspired by bánh mì, and it wound up being so, so good. It tastes exactly like the sandwich, minus the sandwich-y part.

I see many of these bánh mì bowls in my future, and yours.

Paleo Banh Mi Bowl via Worthy Pause

Paleo Bánh Mì Bowls

Lemongrass Chicken Marinade

2 tsp freeze-dried lemongrass
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
1.5 T fish sauce (this brand is paleo)
1 T toasted sesame oil
1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Quick Pickle Slaw

2 cups shredded or julienned carrots (use half daikon/half carrot if you have daikon available)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water

Garnishes + Assembly

1 large head's worth of cauliflower rice
sriracha mayo (literally just put mayo and sriracha together to taste)
cucumber, sliced
jalapeño, sliced
fresh cilantro, chopped
fresh lime
optional, but totally encouraged: chicken liver pâté

Marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour. Mix up the slaw and let it hang out/pickle in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes (longer and it'll still taste great, but may lose some color/brightness). Everything nicely marinated and pickled? Now it's time to cook/eat! Preheat the oven to 425 F. Salt and pepper the chicken and place the thighs in a baking dish. Bake (along with the cauliflower rice) for 20-25 minutes (or until the internal temp is 165 F). Let rest, covered, for about 10 minutes before you cut it up into strips. The cauliflower rice can be baked at the same time as the chicken (put it about halfway through and just make sure to keep a close eye on it since it is normally cooked at 400 F). When everything comes out of the oven, assemble your bowl: cauli-rice at the bottom, topped with chicken, quick pickle carrot slaw (drained), cucumber slices, jalapeño slices, sriracha mayo, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. (And pâté, if you planned ahead.)  EAT.


  • Sriracha isn't paleo, but you can make your own if you want to gripe about my generous use of it. Nom Nom has a recipe.
  • You don't want too much of the dried lemongrass stuck to the chicken itself when you you put it in the oven — a little is fine, but it can be a bit straw-like in the mouf.
  • I shoulda/woulda/coulda made some chicken liver pâté for this. It would definitely add some creamy texture and even more authentic bánh mì flavor.
  • You could also do this with pork instead of chicken, if you feel like it.
  • I didn't have any daikon in my fridge, but the pickled slaw would be masterful with half julienned daikon and half carrot.
  • You could easily turn the leftovers into a bánh mì salad the next day by substituting the cauliflower rice for greens. Or a bánh mì fried rice? Yes, that's what I'm going to do.
Paleo Banh Mi Bowl via Worthy Pause

You can thank me profusely in the comments. I'm pretty damn confident about this one.