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Banh Mi Meatballs w/ Napa Cabbage Lettuce Cups

January 5, 2019
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Need a Low Carb option for your Banh Mi Addiction? these keto Banh mi meatballs served on Napa cabbage are a great alternative to the classic baguette.

All the Flavor of a Banh Mi Meatball Sandwich without the Carbs and Sugar

If you want a satisfying meatball with fresh herbs, unique flavors and rich fatty deliciousness then this is the meatball for you. Banh Mi is a traditional Vietnamese sandwich served on a light airy French baguette filled with a variety of different ingredients. Most have a type of meat like sliced pork, chicken or beef along with herbs such as mint, cilantro and basil stuffed into the baguette with veggies veggies like diakon, carrots, sliced jalapeño, cucumber and many others. Pate is often spread on the baguette and different Aiolis may be used to enhance the sandwich. There’s no right or wrong version and ingredients can be substituted to your taste.

Napa Cabbage is a great substitution for Bread

To make this low carb version I’ve substituted Napa cabbage leaves for the baguette. I decided to make a pork meatball as my protein of choice. I know that pate can be a little intimidating and if you’re not feeling adventurous. Just replace with additional ground pork. Pate comes in many varieties and can normally be found in the cheese area of higher end grocery stores. Look for a brand that has minimal carbs because some types will contain added sugars. I actually found a very mild pork/chicken pate that had an amazing creamy texture with a silky richness. Folding the pate into the meatball is a great way to introduce extra fat, flavor all in one ingredient. You'll find that this combination of flavors really work well together in this recipe.

banh mi meatball recipe keto friendly

Just to take this dish up another notch we added some pickled diakon radish and carrots along with a spicy creamy sauce that really takes the meatballs to another level. The crunch of the pickled veggies and the creamy spice from the sauce are the perfect condiments to make this a complete meal.

Need More Meatball Recipes??

banh mi meatball recipe keto friendly

Banh Mi Meatballs W/ Napa Cabbage Lettuce Cups

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Course: Condiment, Main Course, Meal Prep
Cuisine: asian, Vietnamese
Keyword: bahn, cups, lettuce, Meatballs, mi
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 365kcal
Author: Culinary Lion


Pickled Diakon & Carrot

Super Secret Sambal Sauce


  • Chop and mince mint, cilantro, scallions, ginger and garlic. Add to mixing bowl
  • Add coconut aminos, fish sauce,ketchup, asian zing, Sambal and Dijon. Whisk to combine.
  • Add in pate, ground pork and pork sausage. Combine all ingredients by hand or using paddle with a stand mixer until you have mixture is fully combined. Don’t over mix into a paste.
  • Ball up into about 16 meatballs and place on a sheet pan. Bake at 400 for about 25 minutes until meatballs have reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

Pickled Diakon & Carrot

  • Julienne carrots and diakon and place in a bowl, toss with remaining ingredients and store in the fridge.

Super Secret Sambal Sauce

  • Mix ingredients until combined.


Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 680mg | Potassium: 376mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2020IU | Vitamin C: 7.5mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1.6mg

Nutrition Facts
Banh Mi Meatballs W/ Napa Cabbage Lettuce Cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 365 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Fat 28g43%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Cholesterol 68mg23%
Sodium 680mg30%
Potassium 376mg11%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 16g32%
Vitamin A 2020IU40%
Vitamin C 7.5mg9%
Calcium 28mg3%
Iron 1.6mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Recipe Rating

2 comments on “Banh Mi Meatballs w/ Napa Cabbage Lettuce Cups”

  1. 5 stars
    Oh. My. Gosh. Currently eating these while writing the post. Everything is very flavorful. You could serve this to your non keto friends and they wouldn’t have a complaint! I didn’t have cabbage so used lettuce wraps. I also added some fresh jalapeños to the garnish but there is plenty of deep flavor and heat from the Sambal Malek. Not overly hot but if you prefer a more mild taste you’d probably want to scale it back a bit. Maybe Frank can chime in on this. I was thinking you could even modify to work as an appetizer plate. Thanks again for your creativity for us keto peeps, Frank!

    1. Thanks again for trying this recipe. I have always loved these flavor combinations. You can definitely serve these meatballs as an appetizer.Meatballs are always a hit!!

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