This easy rice bowl is fresh, vibrant, and oh so delicious! Packed with ingredients like Thai style shrimp, purple cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, herbs, and the best peanut dressing, you’ll love all the flavors of the fresh spring roll. It’s all served with coconut rice for the best complimentary flavor.
Fresh and Easy Rice Bowl
Calling all spring roll lovers! If you’re a fan of the classic Vietnamese spring rolls, but don’t want to spend time rolling them, this is your solution. This quick and easy Spring Roll Rice Bowl has everything you love about the classic fresh spring rolls served over coconut rice. It’s oh so summery, vibrant, and packed with nutritious veggies.
While the veggies, shrimp, and coconut rice are the most notable ingredients here, there’s one more flavorful addition…the peanut dressing! It’s a little salty, a little sweet, tangy, and has the best peanut butter flavor that compliments the brighter ingredients perfectly. One of the reasons I really love serving all of these ingredients over rice is so that the rice can really soak up all of that dressing and ensure that not a single drop is wasted.
This easy rice bowl recipe is perfect for sunny spring and summer days. It works fabulously as a lunch or dinner option. It’s loaded with protein, nutrients, and the rice helps make it even more filling. What’s truly wonderful about this recipe is that it checks all of the right boxes – it’s filling, nutrient-dense, and seriously flavorful!
To Make the shrimp:
- Shrimp – You can use frozen shrimp if you’d like. Just be sure to let them fully thaw prior to cooking.
- Soy Sauce – Either use low sodium soy sauce or tamari.
- Oyster Sauce
- Fish Sauce
- Brown Sugar
- Garlic – always try to use fresh garlic for the best flavor.
- Lime Juice – Freshly squeezed lime juice lends the BEST flavor.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – You can add more or less to control the spice level.
For the Coconut Rice:
- Jasmine Rice – It’s so fragrant, subtly sweet, and incredibly fluffy. It pairs so perfectly with the coconut ingredients.
- Unsweetened Coconut Milk – Unsweetened is the key word here. Sweetened coconut milk should really only ever be used for cocktails.
- Coconut Water
- Lime Juice
- White Granulated Sugar
To Make the Peanut Dressing:
- Creamy Peanut Butter
- Light Unsweetened Coconut Milk
- Rice Vinegar
- Soy Sauce
- Lime Juice
- Ginger – For the BEST flavor and aroma, be sure to use fresh ginger.
- White Granulated Sugar
A note about the peanut dressing: This is very similar to my Peanut Sauce recipe. However, I added a little extra coconut milk to thin it into a more dressing-like consistency. Light coconut milk is thinner than regular, so it makes for a better consistency here. Also, there’s no need to cook it for the dressing.
Veggies in this rice bowl:
- Purple Cabbage – try to slice it very thinly.
- Carrots – They can be shaved or grated.
- Cucumber – The skin of a cucumber is edible and houses the most nutrients, so I recommend not peeling it. Use English cucumber for thinner skin.
- Scallions – Also known as green onions, these veggies lend a ton of flavor!
- Herbs – Fresh mint leaves, Thai basil leaves, and cilantro.
Marinate and cook the shrimp.
Prepare the shrimp as needed (peeling and de-veining).
Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the shrimp. Toss the shrimp to fully soak them, and let them marinate for about 10-15 minutes.
Start cooking the shrimp when the rice is in the last 5 minutes of cook time. Add a little oil to a skillet over medium-high heat, then add both the shrimp and sauce to the pan. Sear the shrimp on each side until just opaque and the tails begin to turn inwards.
Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
Make the coconut rice.
Combine the coconut milk, coconut water, lime juice, sugar, and salt in a pot over medium-high heat. Whisk and bring to a low boil.
Stir the rice into the mixture. Lower the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid.
Let the rice cook, covered, for about 18-20 minutes. Double check the package instructions for more specific times.
Once cooked, remove the rice from the heat and fluff a few times.
Stir together the peanut dressing.
Add all of the ingredients for the peanut dressing in a bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
Assemble the rice bowls.
Prepare all of the vegetables accordingly.
Add the coconut rice to the bottom of the bowl. Top with cooked shrimp, vegetables, and a drizzle of peanut dressing on top.
Can I use chicken instead?
Of course! Use chicken breast or thigh meat and dice it up into small pieces. Marinate the chicken pieces in the same marinade listed in the recipe and cook it over medium heat in a skillet just until it’s fully cooked. Chicken makes a great and delicious substitution in this spring roll bowl if you don’t like seafood, you have seafood allergies, or you’re just craving something different.
What rice should I use?
You can really use any rice in a rice bowl. I always prefer jasmine rice and feel like Coconut Rice gives this bowl the best flavor. Of course, if you want to make it a healthier bowl, you can use brown rice or even quinoa.
Make Ahead Instructions:
You can easily prep this spring roll bowl and make some of the components ahead of time! Rice is a great element to make ahead. Make sure to add a little milk or water when reheating your rice to invigorate it and restore some of the moisture.
If you want to make the protein ahead of time, chicken is a good one to reheat. Shrimp doesn’t reheat very well, so it’s best to make it fresh. The good news is that shrimp only takes about 2-3 minutes to cook.
You can slice the other veggies and store them separately in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
As for the herbs, it’s best to add them fresh since they wilt quite fast.
You can prepare the peanut dressing ahead of time and store it in an airtight glass container with a lid in the refrigerator. Properly stored, it stay fresh for up to 1 week.
- 1 lb uncooked shrimp
- 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce*
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce*
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tsp crush red chili flakes
- 1 1/4 cup uncooked jasmine rice
- 13.6 oz unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/2 cup coconut water or water or chicken broth
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp white granulated sugar
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup lite unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 small garlic clove pressed
- 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp white granulated sugar
- Cooked shrimp from above
- Cooked rice from above
- 1/2 small head of cabbage thinly sliced
- 2 carrots shaved or grated
- 1 cucumber diced
- 2 scallion stalks
- 10-12 mint leaves diced
- 10-12 Thai basil leaves diced
- 2 cilantro sprigs leaves, diced
- Peel and devein shrimp if needed. Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl and add shrimp. Mix to combine and let it marinate for 10-15 minutes.
- When the rice is almost done cooking (last 5 minutes), preheat a large cooking pan over medium-high heat and add a little bit of oil.
- Add shrimp and the sauce to the hot pan. Sear shrimp on each side until just turn opaque. Take them out of the pan and set aside.
- In a cooking pot, over medium-high, combine coconut milk, coconut water, lime juice, sugar, and salt. Whisk it together and bring the mixture to a low boil.
- Add rice, stir just once, lower the heat to the lowest setting and close the pot with a lid. Do not open the lid of disturb rice while it's cooking.
- Cook rice for about 18-20 minutes but check the packaging of your rice for cook time recommendation. Once done, take rice off heat and gently stir and fluff the rice a couple of times.
- Combine all of the ingredients for the peanut dressing in a small mixing bowl and whisk vigorously until completely combined and smooth. Set aside.
- Slice, dice, and shred the vegetables and herbs.
- Arrange cooked rice, cooked shrimp, and vegetables in the bowls and drizzle the peanut dressing over the top. (You can also serve the dressing on the side of you wish.)