Grilled Halloumi Banh Mi Bowls
Taking a traditional dish and flipping it on its head is one of my favorite things. Exhibit A: the classic Vietnamese banh mi. It’s a simple sandwich, usually featuring some sort of pork sausage, pickled vegetables, fresh cilantro and perhaps a sauce. Separate out the individual ingredients, and you can easily come up with a million new recipes.
That’s what we did with these Grilled Halloumi Banh Mi bowls, an admittedly loose interpretation of the original. While a banh mi traditionally features pickled cucumbers, carrots and daikon (a winter radish), we decided to go with onions, carrots and jalapeños. Instead of pork, grilled halloumi adds the needed bit of richness. A simple sauce, featuring garlic, gochujang (fermented red chili paste) and hoisin (a sweet + salty Chinese sauce), ties the whole thing together. Easy weeknight dinner comin’ atcha!
Note that you’ll need two 16 oz. glass mason jars for the pickled veggies.
INGREDIENTS - BOWLS
Grain of choice (I used quinoa)
1 - 8.8 oz. package halloumi
1 red onion, sliced thin
2-3 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 jalapeños, sliced
1/4 c. rice wine vinegar, x2
Pinch of salt
Pinch of white sugar
Cilantro, to garnish (optional)
INGREDIENTS - SAUCE
2 T. fresh ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 t. gochujang
1 t. hoisin
1 T. chili garlic paste
1 T. sesame oil
1/4 c. low-sodium soy sauce
1 T. rice wine vinegar
Squeeze of honey
1) The vegetables will need to be pickled the day before. Add the sliced red onions to one mason jar, and add the carrots + jalapeños to the other. Pour 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar into each jar and add a pinch each of salt and sugar. Fill the jars the rest of the way with water. Screws the lids on tightly, and shake the jars well. Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
2) Cook your grains according to package directions and set aside.
3) Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk well to combine.
4) Heat a large pan over medium heat. Slice the halloumi and place the slices in the pan (no oil needed). Grill for a couple of minutes, flipping as necessary, until the halloumi is crispy and golden brown.
5) Assemble your bowls. Start with a layer of fresh spinach, if desired, then add your grains. Drizzle with some of the sauce, then top with pickled veggies and grilled halloumi. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired.