slow cooker bahn mi bowls with pickled vegetables and cauliflower rice

Happy Tuesday Friends! I hope all of you have been enjoying your Summer so far. I, for one, am freakin' over it. Don't get me wrong, my summer has been fantastic. But I just so GD tired of the MF heat. Excuse my abbreviated French but I really am MF OVER IT!

To be fair, Atlanta has had a pretty mild summer in comparison to others. Especially last summer, that one was brutal. We have had a lot of rain which I actually have been loving because it cools it down. But now the rain has stopped, the heat is still up, it's humid as all get out and these mosquitos are REAL Y'ALL. And they love me. Probs because I'm so sweet. At least that's what my mom tells me :)

I have Mondays off since I work weekends and all I wanted to do yesterday was something outside. I wanted to go on a walk, lay out, sit on my porch and work on design, journal on a patio somewhere with a lovely glass of wine, go lay in the park and read my book, etc. But I can't. It's too hot. So then I decide that I will just be productive in other ways and clean my house or read my book on the couch or paint furniture, but I want to do all of this with the windows and doors open because I want to at least *pretend* like I'm being outside. But I CAINT. Too hot. Even if I suck up the heat, I get eaten alive within 3 minutes. So I decided if I had to be inside with the AC, I would at least make something delicious. 

I was inspired to make this when I saw a post from one of my favorite food bloggers, Skinny Taste. She made these Bahn Mi bowls over brown rice and they looked so fantastic, I wanted them in my mouth immediately. I switched up the recipe though and changed a good bit, so I wanted to share with you how I made them.  A few of the things in this recipe I switched up: I made the cabbage more an actual slaw, I pickled the carrots differently, I made a sauce for the cucumbers and I used cauliflower rice instead of brown rice. 

If you're wondering why I chose cauliflower over brown rice, lemme just tell ya real quick. I recently discovered within the past year that I might have a sensitivity to something that I have been eating. I found this book called Clean Skin from Within that is a 2 week elimination diet to figure out what triggers inflammation. It's really cool and she dives into all sorts of different skin categories. I, for example, have Rosacea and Seborrheic Dermatitis. So I fall into a certain category and should eat certain things and avoid others. 

After the two weeks I learned the following things:
-I do not need coffee every day (I know, this ones crazy and was V unexpected)
-my skin does not like gluten (I say my skin because I personally LOVE gluten)
-my skin does not like rice, especially wild rice (apparently wild rice is a grass, and I'm very allergic to grass, so I found this interesting)
-smoothies every morning help me to make healthier decisions throughout the day

I am not giving up rice and gluten entirely, I don't have a full blown allergy to it. But it was very interesting to see how my skin reacts to it after not having it for two weeks, so I am trying to limit these when I can. Plus, in my PERSONAL opinion and no offense if you love it, but I honestly hate brown rice. It's bland AF. I would literally eat white rice any day over brown KNOWING it's not the healthy choice and not even caring. Buuut, cauliflower rice is DELICIOUS and the healthier alternative over the two. So cauli rice it is. 

I started by getting the pork into the crockpot so that it could slow cook.

Jalapenos, lime zest and juice, garlic and brown suga' for the pork sauce.

A few of my favorite Asian goodies help to round out the sauce. 

Stir the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

I seared the pork on both sides before putting in the crockpot but this is optional. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the sauce. Cook on low for 6 hours, shred the pork, and then add back into sauce once it's done. I didn't get it in early enough so I did 2 hours on high and 2 on low.

For the carrots, cut them into matchsticks. I used two orange and one white carrot. You could also do a mix of carrots and daikon radish.

Mix the water, sugar, and salt into a jar and add the carrots. Cover and refrigerate for two hours.

For the cucumbers, I used small Persian ones because A, they're super cute and B, delish.

For the cucumber sauce mix the rice vinegar, tamari, water, sesame oil, lime juice and salt. Add the cucumbers and shake it all together (please note my fancy tupperware bowl). Refrigerate for two hours.

I got some pretty purple and white bagged cabbage. You could leave this plain as well as the cucumbers, but I enjoy the extra pop of flavor. For flavors on this I mixed together in a bowl cilantro, basil, chili pasted, lime juice, salt, brown sugar, water, rice vinegar and fish sauce. I left this in the fridge with the other veggies for 2 hours.

Last but certainlyyyy not least, cauliflower.

Chop the cauliflower into pieces and pulse in a food processor until riced. Once the pork was ready, I sauteed the cauli rice in a pan with some coconut oil, a couple dashes of salt and pepper and cooked it for 3-4 minutes.

Once everything is ready, assemble your bowl!

Additional toppings include but are most certainly not limited to: jalapenos, cilantro, basil, or chili paste.

 

Pickled vegetables are perfect for summer heat. P.s. Def top with crockpot juices. Enjoy :)

RECIPE:

For the pork:
-1lb pork tenderloin
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/8 tsp pepper
-3 cloves minced garlic
-1 diced jalapeno
-1/4 cup tamari
-1 tblsp brown sugar
-1 tsp sesame oil
-zest and juice from half of one lime
-1 tsp ground ginger
-few dashes of fish sauce
-1 tsp ginger
-1 tsp olive oil

For the carrots:
-3 large carrots cut into matchsticks
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 tsp salt

For the Cucumber:
-4 sliced persian cucumbers
-1 tsp rice vinegar
-1 tsp tamari
-2 tsp water
-1 tbslp sesame oil
-1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
-pinch of sea salt

For the cabbage:
-one prebagged cabbage
-1 tblsp chopped fresh cilantro
-1 tblsp chopped fresh basil
-1/2 tsp chili paste
-juice of half one lime
-1 tsp salt
-2 tblsp brown sugar
-2 tblsp water
-2 tsp rice vinegar
-few dashes of fish sauce

For the Cauliflower:
-1 head cauliflower
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 tsp coconut oil

Extra Toppings:
-cilantro
-jalapenos
-chili paste

1. In a bowl, mix garlic, jalapeno, tamari, brown sugar, sesame oil, fish sauce, lime zest and juice, and ginger. Set aside.
2. Heat some olive oil in a pan until pan is very hot. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper and sear pork for 2 minutes on each side or until a little bit brown.
3. Add pork to crockpot and cover with sauce. Skinny Taste suggests that if your crockpot runs hot, add 1/4 cup water. Mine does so I did this. I suggest this anyway to make more of a sauce. Cook on low for 6 hours; or hight for 2/low for 2. Once pork is done, shred with a fork and add back into the sauce and keep on warm while you cook cauliflower.
4. For the carrots, cut into matchsticks. In a jar, mix water, sugar and salt. Add the carrots, cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.
5. For the cucumber, in a bowl mix together the vinegar, tamari, water, sesame oil, lime juice, and salt. Add sliced cucumbers and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.
6. For the cabbage, mix together the cilantro, basil, chili paste, lime juice, salt, sugar, water, vinegar and fish sauce. Toss with the cabbage and set aside in the fridge. This can be done with the other vegetables or right before for crunchiness. 
7. Once the pork is ready and vegetables are pickled, chop up the cauliflower and pulse in a food processor until riced. Saute in a pan with some coconut oil over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes. 
8. To prepare bowls, add cauliflower rice, shredded pork, pickled vegetables and extra toppings if you like. Spoon some of the pork sauce from the crockpot on top for extra mmm mmm goodness!