Time to make one of the best sandwiches: Vegan Banh Mi! If you never had it before, this is your chance. It’s an absolute experience!
What is Bánh Mì?
Bánh mì is a stuffed baguette usually filled with a source of protein, spices, cilantro, cucumber, and Đồ Chua, the delicious Vietnamese pickle made from carrots and daikon. Also, traditional French ingredients such as pâté or mayonnaise are common ingredients in Banh Mi. The dish originated in the 20th century and fused the traditional taste of Vietnam with dishes from France that were introduced through the Cochinchina campaign.
Today, Banh Mi is a beloved street food snack or a whole meal. There is a range of variations of the dish, one of them being a tasty tofu version, making the Banh Mi vegetarian. Using a plant-based mayonnaise then makes it vegan. The vegan Banh Mi is criminally tasty!
And there we are. Allow me to present my interpretation of this delicious Vietnamese classic: A crispy, airy baguette bread stuffed with flavourful tofu, a spicey sriracha mayonnaise, delicious Vietnamese pickles, crunchy veg and herbs. The combination of flavours makes it easy to understand why Banh Mi is such a loved meal!
Ingredients for Vegan Banh Mi
- Firm tofu
- Soy sauce
- 5 spice powder
- (Coconut) sugar
- Do Chua
- Vegan mayonnaise
Firstly, of course, you will need a baguette. I am using a long french baguette today, and this will serve four people as a good snack. As our choice of protein, we are going with delicious firm tofu. To spice the tofu, you will need soy sauce and spices of your choice. 5 spice powder is commonly used for this dish, and it tastes delicious. Today, I am making my own little spice mix: For this, I am grinding and mixing fennel seeds, garlic powder, cinnamon and ginger powder. Also, I am adding some coconut sugar. For some crunch, you will need a cucumber and one of my favourite pickles.
An essential part of the distinct flavour in Banh Mi is pickled radish and carrot, called Do Chua. It is super simple to make at home. You only need a carrot, radish, water, white wine vinegar, salt and sugar. The pickling takes a few hours, so make sure to make the Do Chua in advance if you don’t have it on hand. I have a recipe to make Do Chua here. Lastly, we need cilantro, which tastes so fantastic in this dish. The fresh herb takes the sandwich to the next level! Finally, a sriracha mayonnaise will bring a little kick to the sandwich.
How to make Banh Mi:
Firstly, if you don’t have the Do Chua on hand, you want to start by pickling the daikon and carrots. For that, julienne the vegetables, salt them to drain out the water and rinse and dry them. In the meantime, heat equal amounts of white wine vinegar and dissolve the sugar and salt. Let the mixture cool, pour over the veggies, and let them pickle for at least 3 hours.
Making Sriracha Mayonnaise:
Next, we can prepare our spicy sriracha mayonnaise. Simply mix your plant-based mayonnaise with the sriracha until well incorporated.
Now, we want to prepare our veggies. I like to cut the cucumber into rather thick, angled slices. That ensures a good crunch in the banh mi sandwich! Lastly, I wash the cilantro, pat it dry, and rip off the leaves. There is no need to be super thorough with this. Some of the small stems are no problem in the sandwich.
The Delicious Tofu Filling:
Next, we want to get the tofu nice and tasty. I mix the spices, sugar and soy sauce and allow the mixture to infuse for at least 20 minutes. Next, drain the liquid from the tofu, and squeeze out as much moisture as possible without breaking up the tofu. Cut the tofu into equally thick slices. I like to go for about half a centimetre in diameter. Then, brush the soy sauce and spice mix onto the tofu. For my liking, marinating the tofu in the soy sauce gives it a too aggressive flavour for this recipe, so brushing it is a great alternative.
Now, you can grill or gently roast the tofu. Add peanut oil to your pan, and gently fry the tofu until some colour develops from both sides.
Assembling the Vegan Banh Mi
And that’s all there is to it, aside from assembling the sandwich. Slice the baguette into pieces. You can adjust the size to be a snack or a full meal. Then, slice the pieces lengthwise, but be careful not to cut all the way through. This will make the sandwich way easier to eat. Give it a spread of sriracha mayonnaise on both sides. Next, add a few pieces of tofu, cucumber, a generous amount of cilantro, and Do Chua.
Do these Sandwiches Keep:
I like to eat them fresh when the tofu is still warm and the veggies still have their delicious crunch. Still, they also make a very satisfying lunch snack if you wrap them and take them to school or to work! I wouldn’t want to prepare them in advance for longer because the veggies will lose their crunch and the baguette gets soggy. What you can do is prepare the tofu in advance and store it in the fridge. The same goes for the sriracha mayonnaise. If you have these ingredients on hand, you can assemble a delicious Banh Mi in just a few minutes.
I hope you enjoy these vegan Banh Mi. Let me know what you think!
Some more Recipe Inspirations:
- Make sure to give these delicious fusion tacos a look. They are amazing!
- Try this vegan Tom Kha soup. It is delicious.
- Vegan Pad Thai won’t get boring.
- Miso glazed tofu is full of umami flavor.
- This easy peanut sauce is a staple of mine!
Vegan Banh Mi SandwichesCourse: Snacks, LunchCuisine: VietnameseDifficulty: Easy
400g firm tofu
4 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
4 tsp sriracha
¾ bunch cilantro
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp fennel seeds +
¾ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger powder
60ml soy sauce
100g Do Chua
Peanut oil for frying
- Mix your plant-based mayonnaise with the sriracha until well incorporated.
- Cut the cucumber into rather thick, angled slices. Wash the cilantro, pat it dry, and rip off the leaves.
- Mix the spices and sugar and soy sauce and allow the mixture to infuse for at least 20 minutes. Next, drain the liquid from the tofu, and squeeze out as much moisture as possible without breaking up the tofu.
- Cut the tofu into equally thick slices. I like to go for about half a centimetre in diameter. Brush the soy sauce and spice mix onto the tofu.
- Now, you can grill or gently roast the tofu. Add peanut oil to your pan, and gently fry the tofu until some colour develops from both sides.
- Slice the baguette into pieces. Then, slice the pieces lengthwise, but be careful not to cut all the way through. Give it a spread of sriracha mayonnaise on both sides. Next, add a few pieces of tofu, cucumber, a generous amount of cilantro, and Do Chua.