Friday, November 20, 2015

Vegan banh mi sandwich

After my delicious bahn mi lunch at Mono, I returned from Scotland determined to make bahn mi at home. This led me to look up the dish and learn that bahn mi really just means bread. To be specific, baguette made with rice flour as well as wheat flour. A bahn mi sandwich, on the other hand, refers to the complete dish: a filled Vietnamese baguette with meat or tofu, picked vegetables, chilli, and coriander (cilantro).

My version used a standard wheat baguette, but I tried to stay true to the spirit of Vietnamese sandwich fillings. Online information suggested I could pickle the vegetables quite briefly - for an hour or so - rather than needing an extensive pickling process. I used carrot, cabbage and radishes but cucumber and daikon would be authentic additions to the mix. Fresh coriander isn't in season here, but if you can find it, it would be a great finishing touch. As it is, I used the dried variety in my tofu marinade.

I've shared a few recipes lately with the note that you don't really need to press your tofu. Here, you do. Allow time to press it in advance and then marinate it for 30 minutes or so before cooking. The result is crispy thin slices that really make the sandwich.

Vegan banh mi sandwich
An easy, vegan version of this classic Vietnamese meal
Serves 2

Author: Bite-sized thoughts, but with inspiration from many online sources

For the pickled vegetables -
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 head cabbage, roughly chopped
Bunch radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup mirin or rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

For the tofu -
200g - 300g firm tofu, pressed and thinly sliced
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin or rice wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp maple syrup, agave or liquid sweetener of choice
1 tsp sriracha sauce
1 tsp dried coriander (or equivalent fresh)

Sesame oil, for cooking

To assemble -
Fresh crusty baguettes
Extra sriracha or mayonnaise
Fresh chopped coriander, if available

In a large bowl, cover the chopped carrot, cabbage and radishes with the white wine vinegar, mirin / rice wine vinegar, salt and sugar. Set aside and allow to stand for at least an hour, but up to several days.

Combine the tofu marinade ingredients (ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, sriracha, coriander) in a shallow dish. Add the tofu and allow to stand for at least 30 minutes.

Heat a non-stick pan over high heat and spray or coat with sesame oil. Cook the tofu strips until browned and crispy, turning every few minutes.

When the tofu is cooked, drain the pickled vegetables and assemble the sandwiches. Divide the tofu and vegetables between the baguettes and top with sauce/s of choice, and coriander if available.

Submitted to Healthy Vegan Fridays.

Do you have a favourite version of banh mi?


  1. I haven't had a banh mi sandwich before, but it seems to be everybody's favourite sandwich at the moment! I can totally see why though - that combo of pickled veg and crispy tofu sounds awesome :D thank you for including directions on how to quickly pickle vegetables too, that sounds so easy :D

  2. I am totally addicted to banh mie. I just love it. Kari I cant imagine coriander being seasonal. I wouldn't be able to live without it all year.

    1. The plus side is getting fresh cranberries and the like ;)

  3. Bahn mi seems the lunch of the moment - I can't say I have got into it though I have had a few - but I have read of places in Melbourne that do amazing bahn mi - are there places in London doing them? I am impressed you have made your own bahn mi and I like the idea of being able to pickle the vegies in an hour

    1. I am sure there are some excellent versions in London but I confess I've not tried any, or searched very hard! That sounds like a nice thing to rectify though :-)

  4. I do enjoy bahn mi, and yours sounds really good.

  5. So glad you posted this! The sandwich you had out sounded so good, I'm glad you replicated it and are sharing the awesome recipe with us =)

    1. And thanks for sharing at Healthy Vegan Fridays - I'm pinning & sharing this =)


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