I haven’t shared this recipe with a single soul until now, but these are, without a doubt, the best meatballs ever. My family asks for these weekly, they freeze well, and are every mom’s dream – a quick and easy dinner that’s mess-free.
March. It’s a long month, am I right? It’s not quite winter, and it’s not quite spring. It’s the time of the winter when I start to lose my stamina for complicated, multi-step cooking, and want to pull out my tried and true foolproof recipes…
If you’re anything like me, I love making a big batch of flavorful, nutrient dense protein to have in the fridge for a few days. I tend to eat mostly protein, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates like potatoes or legumes for the majority of my dinners and that’s mostly what you’ll see here. I allow dairy, and sometimes gluten, but only when it’s really worth it. I simply feel better that way.
I’m always looking for different ways to prepare and serve some of my favorite slow-cooked meats to keep things interesting, it’s a challenge I quite like. I enjoy playing around with flavors from different regions and representative of various cultures.
This dish is based off of the classic Vietnamese sandwich Banh Mi, where a baguette hosts flavorful meat and pickled vegetables in the perfect savory, tangy complimentary way. I’ve taken these flavors and applied them to dinner, and what you’ve got is a really flavorful, easy, Whole 30 compliant and paleo dinner. I will be posting a lot of dinners within this nutritional profile (check out this one here), because it’s what is authentic to my everyday lifestyle. None will be short on satisfaction, I can promise you that.
A batch of this spiced, tender pork comes in so handy, it can be repurposed from your dinner into anything from tacos, to a salad, or even a nutrient dense breakfast. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, and as a busy mom of two I so appreciate that. Doesn’t everyone?
Slow Cooker Banh Mi Bowls
3-4 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt 3 garlic cloves, smashed
1⁄4 cup coconut aminos or soy sauce
1⁄4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
3-4 scallions, for serving
Quick pickled veg:
1⁄2 English cucumber
1 teaspoon salt
Vinegar – apple cider, white, rice wine… almost any kind other than balsamic
Make the pickled vegetables the day before, or at least the morning before, by slicing the carrot and cucumber into thin discs and mix with salt in a glass jar. Cover with vinegar and place in the fridge to serve with the pork.
Heat a large pan over medium high heat.
Cover the pork shoulder generously with salt and rub with olive oil.
When pan is hot, sear the pork for 3-5 minutes on all sides until deeply browned all over. Remove from heat. In slow cooker, add all of the sauce ingredients and whisk briefly to distribute. Place the pork on top of the sauce and cook on high for 5-6 hours until meat is very tender and begins to fall apart.
When done, remove meat and set aside. Using a spoon, skim extra fat off of the cooking liquid, then add the meat back in and shred with two forks.
Serve meat in shallow bowls topped with sliced scallions and along side pickled vegetables and white or cauliflower rice.