Thai-Inspired Pork and Peanut Meatball Rice Bowls

Serves 4.

Note: Each element of this flavorful bowl is quick and easy, making the entire dish doable in under 45 minutes. Fish sauce and curry paste can be found in most grocery stores in the global aisle, but an Asian grocery will likely have a larger selection to choose from. Panko is larger and lighter than the traditional breadcrumb, which could be substituted. From Meredith Deeds.

Pickled vegetables:

• 1/2 c. rice vinegar

• 3 tbsp. sugar

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1 medium seedless cucumber, thinly sliced

• 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced

Meatballs:

• 1 lb. ground pork

• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 1/4 c. panko breadcrumbs (see Note)

• 3 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro

• 1 tbsp. fish sauce (see Note)

• 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger root

• 2 tsp. Thai red curry paste (see Note)

• 1 egg, lightly beaten

Peanut sauce:

• 1 c. canned unsweetened coconut milk

• 1 tbsp. lightly packed light brown sugar

• 1 tbsp. Thai red curry paste

• 1 tbsp. fish sauce

• 1/3 c. crunchy peanut butter

Rice bowls:

• 4 c. cooked jasmine rice

• Sliced Fresno or jalapeño chiles

• Cilantro leaves

• Lime wedges

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cucumber and carrots. Toss to coat. Let stand for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Set oven to broil. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

To make the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the pork, garlic, breadcrumbs, cilantro, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, ginger root, 2 teaspoons curry paste and egg. Roll the meat mixture into 16 (1-inch) balls and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Broil the meatballs 6 inches from the broiler, turning them over once, for 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked through.

To make the peanut sauce: Meanwhile, in a 10-inch skillet, combine the coconut milk, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon curry paste and 1 tablespoon fish sauce. Bring to boil, stirring constantly, over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk in the peanut butter. Add meatballs and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until hot.

To assemble: Divide the rice among 4 serving bowls. Top with meatballs, pickled vegetables, chile slices, cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 760 Fat 40 g Sodium 1,230 mg

Carbohydrates 69 g Saturated fat 18 g Added sugars 8 g

Protein 35 g Cholesterol 125 mg Dietary fiber 4 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 2 starch, 2 carb, 4 medium-fat protein, 4 fat.