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Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls Recipe

Imagine the perfect blend of savory and tangy flavors delivered in a hearty rice bowl. This slow-cooker banh mi rice bowls recipe takes the classic Vietnamese sandwich and turns it into an easy-to-make, satisfying bowl meal. With tender pork, pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs, it's a brilliant mix of textures and flavors that will wow your taste buds. This recipe is perfect for a unique and delicious dinner at home.

Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls Recipe
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Photos of Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls Recipe

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A few ingredients that may not be commonly found in your pantry include pork tenderloin, jalapeno, and soy sauce for the main dish, and distilled white vinegar, radishes, and English cucumbers for the pickled vegetables. When shopping, make sure to purchase fresh produce and spices for the best flavor. The pork tenderloin, in particular, should be lean and fresh for the best result. Also, consider using low-sodium soy sauce to control the saltiness of the dish.

Ingredients for Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls

Pork tenderloin: This is the star of the dish. Tender and lean, pork tenderloin cooks beautifully in a slow cooker, absorbing all the flavors of the seasonings.

Kosher salt: Adds flavor to the pork and enhances the overall taste of the dish.

Pepper: Adds a touch of heat and enhances the other flavors.

Garlic cloves: This adds a pungent, savory flavor to the pork.

Soy sauce: This provides a salty, umami flavor to the marinade.

Brown sugar: Adds a touch of sweetness to balance the salty soy sauce.

Distilled white vinegar: Acidity in vinegar helps to pickle the carrots and radishes.

Carrots: Adds a sweet, earthy flavor and a pleasant crunch to the dish.

Radishes: Provides a peppery flavor and a crunchy texture.

Brown rice: A wholesome base for the bowl, adds a nutty flavor and chewy texture.

Red cabbage: Adds a beautiful color, crunch, and slight peppery flavor.

English cucumbers: Provides a refreshing, crunchy contrast to the savory pork.

Jalapeno: Adds a spicy kick to the dish.

Cilantro leaves: These add a fresh, citrusy note that complements the other flavors.

One reader, Bevin Atkins says:

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This slow-cooker banh mi rice bowls recipe is a game-changer! The pork is incredibly tender and flavorful, and the pickled carrots add a delightful crunch. The combination of ingredients creates a burst of flavors in every bite. It's a must-try for anyone looking for a delicious and easy-to-make meal.

Bevin Atkins

Techniques Required for Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls

How to pickled carrots: A technique for preserving carrots in a vinegar and sugar solution, enhancing their flavor and texture. This process involves combining vinegar, sugar, and salt, and allowing the carrots to sit in the mixture for about 30 minutes before draining and refrigerating until ready to use.

How to shred pork: Shredding pork involves using two forks to pull the cooked pork apart into small, thin pieces. This technique is used to create tender, flavorful strands of pork for the banh mi rice bowls.

How to assemble rice bowls: This technique involves layering the cooked rice, shredded pork, pickled carrots, shredded cabbage, sliced cucumber, jalapenos, and cilantro in individual serving bowls. Drizzling the assembled ingredients with the reserved sauce adds flavor and moisture to the dish.

How To Make Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls

This flavorful Banh Mi is inspired by the classic Vietnamese sandwich, packed with tender pork, pickled carrots, and crunchy veggies served over warm rice.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 6 hours
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total: 6 hours 45 minutes



For Pork:

  • 1lbpork tenderloin
  • ¼tspkosher salt
  • tspfreshly ground pepper
  • 3garlic cloves,crushed
  • 1jalapeno,sliced
  • ¼cupsoy sauce,reduced-sodium
  • 1tbspbrown sugar

For Pickled Carrots:

  • 6tbspdistilled white vinegar
  • ¼cupsugar
  • ¼tspkosher salt
  • 1cupcarrots,shredded
  • 2radishes,cut into matchsticks

For Rice Bowls:

  • 3cupsbrown rice,cooked
  • 1cupred cabbage,shredded
  • 1cupEnglish cucumbers,(about ½ small cucumber), thinly sliced
  • 1small jalapeno,thinly sliced
  • ¼cupcilantro leaves


  1. Season the pork with salt and pepper, then place it into the slow cooker.

  2. Combine the garlic, jalapeno, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Stir to dissolve, then pour over the pork. If the slow cooker runs hot, add ¼ cup of water.

  3. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours until the pork is very tender, turning once halfway through, if desired.

  4. When the pork is ready, shred the meat. Reserve the sauce.

Pickled Carrots:

  1. In a medium glass bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Stir until dissolved.

  2. Add the carrots and radish, and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Drain well and refrigerate until ready to use.

To Assemble:

  1. Place ¾ cup of rice in each bowl, top each with about 2 ½ ounces of pork, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the reserved sauce.

  2. Top with ¼ cup of shredded cabbage, ¼ cup of pickled carrots, ¼ cucumber, sliced jalapenos, and cilantro.

  3. Serve, and enjoy!


  • Calories: 751.23kcal
  • Fat: 8.10g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.15g
  • Trans Fat: 0.04g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 2.95g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.12g
  • Carbohydrates: 131.00g
  • Fiber: 6.79g
  • Sugar: 17.87g
  • Protein: 36.45g
  • Cholesterol: 73.71mg
  • Sodium: 972.28mg
  • Calcium: 94.05mg
  • Potassium: 1135.09mg
  • Iron: 4.37mg
  • Vitamin A: 275.14µg
  • Vitamin C: 24.33mg

Helpful Technique for Perfecting Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls

When shredding the pork, it's best to use two forks. Place the cooked pork on a cutting board or a large plate and hold one fork in each hand. Use one fork to hold the meat in place and the other to pull it apart. Shred the meat along the grain for the best texture. This method will give you perfectly shredded pork that's ideal for your banh mi rice bowls.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls

Prep ahead: Marinate the pork and prepare the pickled carrots the night before to save time on the day of cooking.

Use pre-shredded cabbage: Save time by purchasing pre-shredded cabbage from the store instead of shredding it yourself.

Multitask: While the pork is cooking in the slow cooker, use that time to prepare the rice, pickled carrots, and other toppings to maximize efficiency.

Invest in a mandoline: Use a mandoline to quickly and uniformly slice the cucumbers and radishes for the pickled vegetables, saving time on slicing by hand.

Batch cooking: Make a larger portion of the pork and rice, then store the leftovers for quick and easy meals throughout the week.

Substitute Ingredients For Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls Recipe

  • pork tenderloin - Substitute with chicken thighs: Chicken thighs are a flavorful and tender alternative to pork tenderloin, and they work well in slow-cooker recipes.

  • kosher salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt has a similar texture and flavor profile to kosher salt and can be used as a substitute in this recipe.

  • garlic cloves - Substitute with garlic powder: Garlic powder can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic cloves, providing a similar flavor with the convenience of a dried spice.

  • jalapeno - Substitute with serrano pepper: Serrano peppers have a similar heat level and flavor profile to jalapenos, making them a suitable substitute in this recipe.

  • soy sauce - Substitute with tamari: Tamari is a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce and can be used as a substitute in this recipe.

  • brown sugar - Substitute with coconut sugar: Coconut sugar can be used as a substitute for brown sugar, providing a similar sweetness and caramel-like flavor.

  • distilled white vinegar - Substitute with apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar can be used as a substitute for distilled white vinegar, providing a slightly fruity and tangy flavor.

  • sugar - Substitute with honey: Honey can be used as a natural sweetener in place of sugar, adding a touch of sweetness to the pickled carrots.

  • kosher salt - Substitute with Himalayan pink salt: Himalayan pink salt can be used as a substitute for kosher salt, providing a similar mineral-rich flavor.

  • carrots - Substitute with daikon radish: Daikon radish can be used as a substitute for carrots in pickled vegetables, offering a mild and crunchy texture.

  • radishes - Substitute with turnips: Turnips can be used as a substitute for radishes, providing a similar crisp texture and a slightly peppery flavor.

  • brown rice - Substitute with quinoa: Quinoa can be used as a substitute for brown rice, offering a nutty flavor and a protein-rich alternative.

  • red cabbage - Substitute with green cabbage: Green cabbage can be used as a substitute for red cabbage, providing a similar crunchy texture and mild flavor.

  • english cucumbers - Substitute with persian cucumbers: Persian cucumbers can be used as a substitute for English cucumbers, offering a similar crisp texture and mild flavor.

  • jalapeno - Substitute with serrano pepper: Serrano peppers can be used as a substitute for jalapenos, providing a similar level of heat and flavor.

  • cilantro leaves - Substitute with flat-leaf parsley: Flat-leaf parsley can be used as a substitute for cilantro, providing a fresh and herbaceous flavor to the rice bowls.

Best Presentation for Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls

  1. Elevate the pork: Present the shredded pork in a neat, compact mound, using a ring mold for a clean and professional appearance. Ensure the pork is evenly distributed and tightly packed for a refined presentation.

  2. Artful drizzling of sauce: Utilize a squeeze bottle to delicately drizzle the reserved sauce over the pork, creating elegant and precise lines that add visual appeal to the dish.

  3. Meticulously arranged pickled vegetables: Arrange the pickled carrots and radishes in a visually appealing manner, using tweezers to carefully position each piece for a polished and refined look.

  4. Symmetrical placement of rice: Use a ring mold to shape the brown rice into a perfect round, placing it precisely in the center of the bowl for a visually striking and balanced presentation.

  5. Garnish with precision: Add the shredded cabbage, cucumber, sliced jalapenos, and cilantro with meticulous attention to detail, ensuring each component is placed thoughtfully and with purpose for an aesthetically pleasing final touch.

  6. Attention to negative space: Embrace the concept of negative space on the plate, allowing the vibrant colors and textures of the dish to shine through while maintaining a clean and sophisticated presentation.

Essential Tools for Making Banh Mi Rice Bowls in a Slow Cooker

  • Slow cooker: A kitchen appliance used for cooking food at a low temperature over a long period of time.
  • Knife: A sharp tool used for cutting and slicing ingredients.
  • Cutting board: A flat surface used for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Utensils used for accurately measuring ingredients.
  • Garlic press: A tool used to crush and mince garlic cloves.
  • Grater: A utensil used to grate or shred ingredients like cheese or vegetables.
  • Mixing bowl: A bowl used for mixing and combining ingredients.
  • Glass bowl: A bowl made of glass, often used for marinating or mixing ingredients.
  • Tongs: A kitchen tool used for gripping and lifting hot or delicate items.
  • Saucepan: A deep cooking pan with a handle, used for making sauces or heating liquids.
  • Whisk: A utensil used for blending and mixing ingredients together.
  • Serving bowls: Bowls used for serving and presenting the finished dish.
  • Fork: A utensil with prongs, used for shredding or mixing ingredients.
  • Measuring spoons: Utensils used for accurately measuring small amounts of ingredients.
  • Slow cooker: A kitchen appliance used for cooking food at a low temperature over a long period of time.
  • Spatula: A kitchen tool with a broad, flat, flexible blade, used for lifting and flipping ingredients.
  • Cutting board: A flat surface used for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Mixing spoon: A spoon used for stirring and mixing ingredients.
  • Grater: A utensil used to grate or shred ingredients like cheese or vegetables.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Utensils used for accurately measuring ingredients.
  • Knife: A sharp tool used for cutting and slicing ingredients.

Storing and Freezing Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls

Here are the storing and freezing guidelines for slow-cooker banh mi rice bowls:

  • Refrigerate leftover pork and rice separately in airtight containers for up to 4 days. Store the pickled carrots in a separate container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  • To freeze the pork, transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag along with the cooking liquid. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
  • Freeze leftover rice in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or reheat directly from frozen, adding a splash of water to help rehydrate the rice.
  • It's not recommended to freeze the pickled vegetables, as their texture will become soft and mushy upon thawing. It's best to make a fresh batch when needed.
  • To reheat the pork and rice, microwave in short intervals, stirring in between, until heated through. Alternatively, reheat the pork and rice in a skillet over medium heat, adding a splash of water or broth to prevent drying out.
  • Assemble the reheated pork and rice bowls with fresh vegetables and pickled carrots just before serving for the best texture and flavor.

How To Reheat Leftover Banh Mi Rice Bowls

  • Reheat the pork in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally. Add a splash of soy sauce or water if needed to prevent drying out.
  • Microwave the rice in a microwave-safe bowl, covered with a damp paper towel, for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Fluff with a fork before serving.
  • For the pickled carrots and other fresh toppings like cabbage, cucumbers, jalapenos, and cilantro, it's best to keep them cold and crisp. Remove them from the refrigerator just before assembling the bowls.
  • If you prefer your toppings slightly warm, quickly sauté the cabbage in a hot skillet for 30 seconds to 1 minute until just wilted.
  • Assemble the reheated components in bowls, starting with the warm rice, followed by the heated pork, and finally the fresh and pickled toppings.
  • Drizzle with any remaining sauce from the slow cooker or a touch of soy sauce for added flavor.
  • For a crispy texture, you can also reheat the pork under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until the edges start to caramelize. Watch closely to prevent burning.
  • If you have any leftover jalapenos from the slow cooker, you can chop them up and add them to the bowls for an extra kick of heat.

Interesting Fact About Banh Mi Rice Bowls

Banh mi is a Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread.

Is Making Banh Mi Rice Bowls at Home Cost-Effective?

This slow-cooker banh mi rice bowls recipe offers great cost-effectiveness for a household. The use of affordable ingredients like pork tenderloin, carrots, and brown rice makes it a budget-friendly option. The versatility of the dish also allows for ingredient substitutions based on availability, further enhancing its cost-effectiveness. The overall verdict for this recipe is 9/10, considering its balance of flavors, nutritional value, and ease of preparation. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $20, making it an economical and satisfying meal choice.

Is This Banh Mi Rice Bowl Recipe Healthy?

The slow-cooker banh mi rice bowls recipe is a relatively healthy dish with a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables. The use of lean pork tenderloin and brown rice provides a good source of protein and complex carbohydrates. The inclusion of vegetables like carrots, radishes, cabbage, cucumbers, and jalapenos adds fiber, vitamins, and minerals to the dish.

However, there are a few aspects that could be improved to make the recipe even healthier:

  • Reduce the amount of sugar in the pickled carrots and the sauce for the pork to lower the overall sugar content of the dish.
  • Use low-sodium soy sauce to decrease the sodium content.
  • Increase the portion of vegetables in the bowl to boost the fiber and nutrient content.

To make this recipe even more nutritious, consider the following suggestions:

  • Swap the brown rice for quinoa or cauliflower rice to increase the protein and fiber content while reducing the carbohydrates.
  • Add more colorful vegetables like bell peppers, edamame, or cherry tomatoes to enhance the vitamin and antioxidant profile of the dish.
  • Include a healthy fat source like sliced avocado or a sprinkle of chopped nuts to provide heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
  • Use a leaner cut of pork, such as pork loin, to further reduce the fat content of the dish.
  • Experiment with different herbs and spices, such as mint, basil, or lemongrass, to add flavor without relying on salt or sugar.

Editor's Opinion on This Slow-Cooker Recipe

This slow-cooker banh mi rice bowls recipe is a delightful fusion of flavors and textures. The tender pork, infused with garlic, jalapeno, soy sauce, and brown sugar, creates a savory and succulent centerpiece. The pickled carrots and radishes add a refreshing crunch, while the red cabbage, cucumbers, and jalapenos provide a vibrant contrast. The combination of these elements atop a bed of brown rice offers a satisfying and wholesome meal. The recipe's balance of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors, along with the convenience of the slow-cooker method, makes it a winning choice for a delicious and fuss-free dinner.

Enhance Your Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and a hint of butter
Grilled Asparagus: Tender asparagus spears grilled to perfection with a sprinkle of sea salt
Fruit Salad: A refreshing mix of seasonal fruits tossed in a light citrus dressing

Similar Recipes to Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls

Spicy Beef Stir-Fry: This spicy beef stir-fry is a quick and easy dish that's packed with flavor. The tender beef is cooked with a delicious blend of vegetables and spices, creating a satisfying and spicy meal.
Mango Chicken Salad: This refreshing mango chicken salad is the perfect combination of sweet and savory. The juicy mango pairs perfectly with the tender chicken and crisp vegetables, creating a light and flavorful salad that's perfect for a summer meal.
Coconut Curry Shrimp: This coconut curry shrimp is a creamy and flavorful dish that's perfect for a cozy night in. The tender shrimp is cooked in a rich and fragrant coconut curry sauce, creating a delicious and satisfying meal that's sure to impress.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Banh Mi Rice Bowls

Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a flavorful mixture of cheese, herbs, and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden and crispy for a delicious start to any meal.
Caprese Skewers: Impress your guests with these elegant and refreshing skewers featuring fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil. Drizzle with balsamic glaze for a burst of sweet and tangy flavor.
Chocolate Lava Cake: Indulge in a decadent, rich chocolate lava cake that oozes with molten chocolate when you dig into it. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of warm and cold textures.
Tiramisu: Create a classic Italian tiramisu with layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers and creamy mascarpone cheese. Dust the top with cocoa powder for a touch of bitterness that complements the sweetness of the dessert.

Why trust this Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls Recipe:

This recipe offers a tantalizing fusion of flavors and textures, ensuring a delightful dining experience. The succulent pork tenderloin is infused with aromatic garlic and jalapeno, creating a harmonious blend of heat and savory notes. The pickled carrots and radishes provide a refreshing crunch, while the vibrant cabbage and cucumbers add a burst of color and freshness. The slow-cooking process allows the soy sauce and brown sugar to permeate the pork, resulting in tender, juicy meat. With its meticulous attention to detail, this recipe promises a delectable and satisfying rice bowl experience.

Want to share your experience making these Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls or discuss the recipe further? Join the conversation in the Recipe Sharing forum!
Can I use a different cut of pork for this recipe?
Yes, you can use other cuts of pork, such as pork shoulder or pork butt. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure the meat is tender and flavorful.
Can I make this recipe without a slow cooker?
Absolutely! You can achieve similar results by cooking the pork in a Dutch oven or a low-temperature oven (around 300°F) for 3-4 hours until the meat is tender.
Can I make the pickled carrots ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the pickled carrots ahead of time. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, allowing you to prepare them in advance for convenience.
Can I substitute the brown rice with white rice?
Certainly! You can use white rice if you prefer. Just adjust the cooking time and method according to the specific type of rice you choose to ensure it's cooked to perfection.
Can I adjust the level of spiciness in this recipe?
Of course! You can control the spiciness by adjusting the amount of jalapeno used in the recipe. For a milder flavor, remove the seeds and membrane from the jalapeno before adding it to the dish.

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