We eat with our eyes, it’s true! And what a stunner this rainbow of crisp, beautiful veggies is, especially in contrast to the perfectly white vermicelli noodles which are so fun to eat and served with a tangy toasted sesame dressing that requires no prep at all. Finished off with huge, marinated shrimp that are grilled to perfection creates a gorgeous meal that is packed with fresh flavors, nutritious ingredients, and an epic presentation!
Another week is here and being that it’s already mid-July, I feel like summer is ZOOMING by…as it always does. So uncool. The girls kicked off the week with a swim meet that was rescheduled from earlier this summer and they did great! My little fish have a busy week with TWO swim meets and Mark’s parents will be in attendance for Wednesday’s meet. The girls are so excited!
I’ve got a busy week, as well. Both of my book clubs meet this week and with hockey every Wednesday evening, the weeks seem to go ever fast. How is that even possible? I’m reading The Winners by Fredrick Backman and this 688 page book is most enjoyable but most definitely taking me some time to get through. I’ve been saving it (the final book in the 3-part series) and I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait. I’ve enjoyed the first two very much.
We were supposed to have a visitor next weekend, but she had a change in plans and so now we’re just hoping for nice weather and the chance to whip up some blueberry pancakes with the 26 pounds of blueberries we picked yesterday. Yup, TWENTY SIX pounds. One would think they’d last a whole lot longer than they will, that much is true!
With the busy week ahead I’ve got plans for the leftover veggies from this recipe. I prepped a whole bunch when preparing this meal and now I’m going to use the remains to make spring rolls. How’s that for some getting creative? I must say, this meal was a lot of fun to eat all together and deconstructed as I did for my littles. Enjoy!
ROLL CALL FOR THIS RECIPE
- Power Bowl Lovers: I am LOVING these beautiful all-in-one meals. Summertime craves meals like these – this one is kind of like a spring roll noodle bowl but with stunning grilled shrimp. Bonus that I can prep ahead of time AND over-prep for meals ahead. I love outsmarting myself 😉 Bowls are such a fun way to make meals that can be adapted to everyone at the table. Make a “bar” of sorts so that the rainbow creations can be individualized to everyone’s liking.
- Leftover Perfection: You can eat this noodle dish hot, warm, at room temperature, or chilled – whatever is your pleasure. Personally, I love cold or room temperature vermicelli noodles best!
- Kid-Friendly: Kids LOVE fun colors in their food and the rainbow?! Jackpot. Dinner JACKPOT, I tell you. Bowls have quickly become a favorite way to get veggies in my kiddos!
- Weeknight Dinners: This recipe is beyond simple and can ALL be prepped ahead of time. Simple ingredients, simple prep – and if those aren’t the best parts, it’s also nutritious and delicious. This noodle bowl is a complete meal and those sesame shrimp skewers are swoon-worthy!
KEY INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Shrimp: You can purchase frozen shrimp or fresh. I love shrimp that require just minutes of cooking (and thawing!) options that is great for getting meals served fast. You can skewer the shrimp or cook in a grill basket. The cook time will vary based on the size of the shrimp, the temperature you’re cooking at, and the heat source you use. Be sure to use raw shrimp that are peeled and deveined shrimp so that they soak up the shrimp marinade, don’t over-cook, and are the star of this dish (yes, even amongst the rainbow!).
- Toasted Sesame Dressing: Check out the salad dressing aisle of your grocery store and choose one that looks good! Some are labeled as “Asian Toasted Sesame” and some are just “Toasted Sesame”. Some are creamier while others are more of a vinaigrette. I used the organic Trader Joe’s variety, but there’s no going wrong!
- Toasted Sesame Oil: If you don’t have this product, you can use peanut oil or omit it altogether. A little bit goes a long way and the flavor it gives is distinct and delicious!
- Soy Sauce: Choose a low-sodium soy sauce variety, if available. Salad dressings are high in sodium, as is, and the additional salt is not needed. Not all soy sauces are gluten-free, so do be sure to check for gluten or contamination. Coconut aminos would be a great alternative that is naturally gluten-free.
- Vermicelli Noodles: These Vietnamese rice noodles are gluten-free and this run, rubbery texture that hold up well to moisture. If you prefer, soba noodles (also referred to as buckwheat noodles) are a great gluten-free pasta alternative. Any pasta or rice would be great to swap in here. Follow the package instructions to cook and cook until al dente (although these are very forgiving noodles in that way).
- Bell Pepper: Any colors is good here, I just opted for red and yellow to give some color contrast and to offer the red and yellow components to the rainbow of produce I wanted to achieve. That said, any sweet peppers works great!
- Carrot: I love the fun texture and look of matchstick cut carrots and LOVE that they’re available prepared in most produce departments. I keep them on hand for all sorts of things – tossing in salads, soups, smoothies, omelets – there’s no shortage of ways to use them. That said, any carrot preparation is great!
- Cucumber: I love English cucumbers that have a more tender skin and less seeds. They are longer and less seedy than a traditional cucumber. However any cucumber will do! A zucchini could also be used in its place if you like raw zucchini (I do!)
- Snow Peas: Swap in snap peas or edamame, if you wish…or omit, or another green veggie of your preference!
- Red Cabbage: Thinly slice red (purple) cabbage for a pop of color, texture, flavor, and nutrition. Green cabbage can be used in its place or omitted altogether.
Why use raw versus cooked shrimp?
You can certainly use cooked shrimp, however I prefer to use cooked shrimp when simply thawing and serving cold, such as with shrimp cocktail. Cooking pre-cooked shrimp can cause them to get rubbery and tough.
Where can I find coconut aminos?
You can generally find coconut aminos near the soy sauce in the ethnic foods aisle of most major grocery stores.
- Dairy-Free: This healthy weeknight dinner is naturally dairy-free.
- Gluten-free: Use a gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos to make this meal gluten-free.
- High-fiber: With nearly 5 grams of fiber per serving, this meal is high-fiber.
- Colors: Offering loads of colors from the various vegetables, this meal is rich in many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. It is truly eating the rainbow 🙂
- To make this meal vegetarian and vegan, swap in tofu or tempeh for the shrimp and choose or make a vegan dressing/marinade.
VARIATIONS, STORAGE, and TIPS
- If you wish to make your own toasted sesame-esque dressing or sauce recipe, I’d recommend mixing soy sauce or coconut aminos, rice vinegar, lime juice and lime zest, a bit of peanut butter, toasted sesame oil, garlic, and ginger together and thin with warm water, as needed, if using peanut butter to make more of a peanut sauce. The proportions of each based on personal preference. Nearly all of these ingredients are pantry staples, too!
- To make the sauce/dressing or marinade to make spicy shrimp or the meal itself spicy, you can add Thai sweet chili sauce, sriracha, or crushed red pepper flakes.
- You can top these bowls with additional ingredients, as you prefer: green onions, sesame seeds, thinly sliced radishes, avocado, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts.
- Rinse the vermicelli noodles with cold water while draining. If noodles stick together at all, simply rinse again with running water. Store any leftovers in a separate bowl.
- 1 lb large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame dressing
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 12 oz dry vermicelli noodles
- 1 cup toasted sesame dressing
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
- 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1/2 English cucumber, chopped or cut into half-moons
- 8 oz snow peas, halved (about 1.5 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
- Place shrimp in a medium bowl and drizzle with toasted sesame dressing, sesame oil, and soy sauce; toss to coat and refrigerate for 20 minutes or overnight, if time allows.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Add vermicelli and cook for 3 minutes or according to package directions; drain and rinse.
- Skewer the shrimp or place into a grill basket. Grill for 3 minutes per side or until cooked through and slightly charred, about 6 minutes total.
- Serve vermicelli noodles at room temperature or chilled with the prepared veggies arranged in a rainbow (if desired) and drizzle with ~3 tablespoons of toasted sesame dressing, along with 1/5 of the grilled shrimp.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 cup noodles with 2.5 ounces shrimp and veggies, 2.5 tablespoons dressing
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 529Total Fat: 23.8gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 527mgCarbohydrates: 56.5gFiber: 4.7gSugar: 11.3gProtein: 23.5g
Big fan of “bowls” for supper? You’re not alone! 😉
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