Vietnamese "Spaghetti" + Meatballs
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Vietnamese “Spaghetti” + Meatballs

Fresh herb-studded meatballs are piled on a bed of rice noodles then topped with quick pickled veggies, peanuts and chili sauce.

Is Meatball Monday a thing? Because it totally should be. No disrespect to the Meatless Monday movement, of course.

But I made these on a Monday and WOW did they hit the spot!

Vietnamese "Spaghetti" + Meatballs

I love the contrast of the cold noodles with the warm meatballs, and cool pickled topping. These meatballs are jam packed with fresh flavors, and they come together pretty quickly.

You can bring the pasta water to a boil and make the quick pickled veggies while the meatballs are baking. Then once the meatballs come out, drop the rice noodles in and get your garnishes ready.

This should serve 3-4 easily, but me and my husband gobbled up quite a few meatballs each, so there were only a few leftover for lunch later in the week. Dang.

Vietnamese "Spaghetti" + Meatballs

Thai basil would be great here, but I can’t always find that easily here, so I used a combination of basil and mint instead. But by all means, if you can get your hands on Thai basil, use that!

This is a light and refreshing, yet satisfying meal that’s bursting with flavor. We thoroughly enjoyed every bite of this one!

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Plate of rice noodles topped with meatballs, fresh herbs, and lime.

Vietnamese “Spaghetti” + Meatballs

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop/Oven
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese


Fresh herb-studded meatballs are piled on a bed of rice noodles then topped with quick pickled veggies, peanuts and chili sauce.



For meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground beef (I used 85% lean grass-fed organic)
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated or minced

For pickled veggies:

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated or minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced into ribbons with a julienne peeler, vegetable peeler or spiralizer (about 1 1/2 cup total)
  • 4 carrots, sliced into ribbons with a julienne peeler, vegetable peeler or spiralizer (about 1 1/2 cup total)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

For serving:

  • 1 pound dried rice noodles

For garnish:

  • Sriracha chili sauce
  • Peanuts, roughly chopped
  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • Fresh parsley, roughly chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a baking sheet with oil.
  2. Gently crumble ground beef into a large bowl. Add remaining meatball ingredients (hoisin through ginger) and blend it all together with your hands, being careful not to overmix.
  3. Form into 1 1/2-inch balls, rolling gently with slightly wet hands, and place in rows on the oiled baking sheet. Leave a little space in between each meatball – don’t crowd them together. Bake meatballs for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through to your liking.
  4. While the meatballs are baking, in a medium bowl, whisk together honey, rice vinegar, lime zest and juice, fish sauce, ginger and sesame oil. Add in the cucumber, carrots and green onions and toss to coat.
  5. Fill a large pot with cold water and bring to a boil. Cook the rice noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles, rinse with cold water and drain well. If you still have some time before the meatballs finish cooking, you can place the noodles back into the pot and toss a little sesame oil in with them to keep them from sticking together.
  6. To serve, place a pile of noodles on each plate. Top with meatballs and pickled vegetables, pouring extra pickling liquid over the tops of each plate, if desired. Garnish with Sriracha sauce to taste, a sprinkling of peanuts, lime wedges and more fresh herbs. Enjoy!


You may need to use a spatula to get the meatballs to come off of the baking sheet easily. I haven’t tried lining the baking sheet, but that may help if you have problems with them sticking.

I used a scoop to get equal-sized meatballs and got 17 from this recipe.


  • Serving Size: 3-4
  • Calories: 681
  • Sugar: 17.2 g
  • Sodium: 542.1 mg
  • Fat: 8.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 116.2 g
  • Fiber: 4.6 g
  • Protein: 29 g
  • Cholesterol: 114.5 mg

Keywords: rice noodles, ground beef, meatballs, Asian style

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Ashley Covelli is a food photographer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor based in Ossining, New York. She loves helping people become enthusiastic and adventurous in the kitchen so that they can build skills and confidence to cook for themselves and their loved ones. She can almost always be found with at least 3 different beverages within arm's reach.


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