Low carb Vietnamese noodle bowls evolved into quite the cooking project. So much of what I make is based off of staples that I have on hand in my pantry, freezer, or fridge. I assess my inventory and Make It Work à la Tim Gunn. As I continue to share recipes on the website, it becomes more and more apparent that I favor minimalist cooking. It makes it easier to plan meals around my macros, keeps my grocery bill down, and saves time in the kitchen. A pinch of this, a sprinkle of that, and dinner is on the table.
This recipe is the farthest thing from that. Consider this your warning if you’ve come to love the quick and easy recipes from me.
There’s a lot going on here. I’m talking not-so-everyday ingredients to track down, multiple cooking techniques, and quite a bit of experimental taste testing to nail the flavor profile.
So why on earth would I do this, you might ask?
Vietnamese food is one of my all-time favorite cuisines, but the sugars and carb-loaded rice noodles have put an unjust barrier between me and some of my favorite foods. I grew up spoiled by my BFFs mom’s cooking and defaulted to local restaurants to satisfy these comfort food cravings as an adult. While Vietnamese noodle salads aren’t unhealthy, they are not low carb by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve been on a mission to create a low carb Vietnamese salad bowl for quite some time. It boiled down to finding a keto work-around or giving into my cravings. Obviously, the latter was not an option.
The dilemma with this specific dish is the rice noodles and sugar-filled sauce. I’ve used shirataki noodles to replace rice noodles in the past (like in my low carb pho recipe), so I knew that they’d work texture wise. But I’ve never used cold shirataki noodles. You see, part of what makes them palatable is that they soak up the flavor of whatever they are cooked in; not cooking them was not an option. I rinsed them (a lot) and boiled them in a water, salt, vinegar, and erithrytol mixture to cut that weird shirataki taste. I drained them and let them cool before mixing them in with anything.
I remember the OG sauce to be sweet and tangy, but occasionally spicy. I used my go-to erythritol sweetener, white vinegar, Red Boat fish sauce, and garlic Thai chili paste to make the sauce to dress the low carb Vietnamese noodle salad with.
Prep your veggies, cook your proteins, mix everything together in one big bowl, and enjoy!