Our Vegan Banh Mi is made with marinated and grilled tofu, quick pickled carrots, fresh cucumbers, fresh cilantro, and mint, fresh chilis, vegan sriracha mayo, and our special touch... mango!
What is Banh Mi?
Banh Mi is a type of Vietnamese sandwich that combines French cuisine and Vietnamese cuisine. The term "banh mi" actually refers to the bread itself, which is a baguette or French-style bread roll.
The traditional Banh Mi sandwich consists of a crusty and airy baguette that is sliced in half and filled with a variety of ingredients. The fillings typically include a protein such as grilled or roasted pork, beef, chicken, or pâté. However, this is our vegan version of the classic Banh Mi, made with marinated tofu.
This traditional Vietnamese sandwich is known for its unique combination of flavors and textures. This street food offers a delicious contrast between crusty bread, savory protein, tangy pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs.
Why you need to try our Tofu Banh Mi
Vietnam is one of our favorite countries to visit and one of the main reasons is the food. Vietnamese food is fresh, packed with flavors, spicy, herby and so so delicious.
We cook many Vietnamese dishes at home. We took a few cooking courses while traveling around Vietnam which were totally worth it and got inspired to make recipes such as our Vegan Pho or Vegan Summer Rolls.
Our Tofu Banh Mi is beautifully balanced and packed with flavors and textures. This recipe is easy to prepare at home and uses fairly simple ingredients that you can find in your local supermarket.
Each bite of this Vietnamese Sandwich comes packed with spiciness, freshness, umami, sweetness, and delicious flavors.
If you are still not convinced, let me tell you that I developed this recipe while pregnant. I was craving Banh Mi for a week, so I made sure everything would be beautifully balanced and I knew that this Vegan Banh Mi had to be P-E-R-F-E-C-T, so trust me, you will love this too!
Our Banh Mi Recipe is:
- Easy to prepare
- Quick to make
- Refreshing (perfect for a summer day)
- Packed with flavor
How to make the best Vegan Banh Mi
Banh Mi is the perfect fusion of Vietnamese flavors combined with a fresh French Baguette. You will need a few ingredients in order to prepare the best Banh Mi:
Banh Mi Ingredients
- Baguette. The most important ingredient for your Banh Mi is the bread. This recipe is at the end of the way a sandwich so don't forget your bread! For a traditional Banh Mi, you will need Vietnamese Baguettes, but they may be difficult to get depending on where you live. We use French Baguettes, and they work perfectly.
- Protein. For our recipe, we use firm tofu. If you already know us and have been following some of our recipes, you'll know tofu is our favorite protein source. You can of course use other proteins for your Vegan Banh Mi such as seitan or tempeh. For a vegetarian option, you can use a fried egg or an omelet. Another amazing option would be using cauliflower, have a look at this recipe from Minimalist Baker.
- Pickled Vegetables. One thing that all the different Banh Mi that we tried while in Vietnam had in common was the pickled veggies. Carrot, cucumber, parsnip of other pickled veggies were added to your Banh Mi. To make our sandwich, we prepare quick pickled carrots.
- Fresh ingredients. For me, the perfect balance of flavors when it comes to your fresh ingredients is something refreshing, something leafy, something sweet, and something spicy. So our perfect combination consists of cucumber, cilantro and mint, mango, and chilis.
- A delicious sauce. When you finish your Banh Mi, your hands need to be covered in sauce, if not, you did something wrong! We prepare a simple but yummy sriracha mayo to go in our tofu sandwich. Another lovely option is using our Bang Bang Sauce for this Vietnamese Sandwich. We've tried it and it was delicious!
Pickle your Veggies
You can buy pickled carrots already made but you can do it yourself and it takes just a few minutes and 4 ingredients. Combine in a small container maple syrup, vinegar, salt, water, and thinly sliced carrots. Leave them aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
The best way to cut the carrots for Banh Mi would be thinly sliced as you want them crunchy but easy to bite into.
Other pickled veggies that are great for your Banh Mi are Daikon radish, red onion, or cucumber.
Marinate and grill the Tofu
To marinate the tofu, combine soy sauce, mirin (optional), and five-spice powder in a shallow pan. Add the tofu pieces and leave marinating for 15 minutes on each side. Our favorite way to cut the block of tofu is by cutting it in three pieces (longwise) and two pieces (lengthwise), so you are left with six pieces from each block.
Once the tofu is marinated, heat a pan and cook the tofu on both sides until it turns a golden color. Leave to cool and cut into thinner slices.
Keep the leftover marinade to add to the bread later.
Other ingredients you can add to the tofu marinade are sesame oil, rice vinegar, sriracha, lime juice, or maple syrup.
Cut and prepare your fresh ingredients
Once your tofu is marinating and your carrots are left aside to pickle, you can prepare the rest of the ingredients:
- Cucumber. Slice the cucumber into thin and long slices.
- Rinse with clean water the fresh mint and cilantro and remove the bigger stalks.
- Cut the mango into thin sticks.
- Finely slice the red or green chilis. We use red chilis from our garden but you can use jalapeños as well.
Prepare the sauce
A key ingredient for a satisfyingly delicious Sandwich is the Banh Mi sauce. For our vegan Banh Mi, we use homemade spicy mayo. For the sriracha mayo, we use vegan mayonnaise from Hellman and Sriracha hot chili sauce. Another great option would be combining the vegan mayonnaise with some Chipotle sauce, Vegan Bang Bang Sauce, or any spicy sauce you love.
Assemble your Banh Mi Sandwich
- Prepare the bread by cutting it lengthwise just on one of the sides. This will help to hold the ingredients inside your sandwich while eating it.
- Add some of the leftover marinade to the bread. Using a baking brush, use the leftover marinade to give your Banh Mi a unique taste.
- Add your sriracha mayo on both sides of the bread. There is no such thing as too much sauce when making a Banh Mi!
- Place your pickled carrots, removing any excess liquid.
- Place three-four pieces of grilled tofu on top of your pickles.
- Add the fresh ingredients: Cucumber, mango, cilantro, and mint.
- Add the chilis, depending on your spice tolerance.
- Close your Banh Mi and enjoy!
Banh Mi Recipe Tips
- Get fresh baguettes when making Banh Mi. The best bread is freshly baked. If you want to make a delicious Banh Mi, make sure to get good quality and fresh bread.
- Choose a firm Tofu. In general, firmer tofu means easier to cut, marinate, and grill. It won't break that easily and it's easier to handle. As well, we find firm tofu to have the perfect texture for Tofu Sandwich.
- Make sure to add enough sauce in your sandwich. You want to get a taste of that delicious sriracha mayo in each bite.
- Don´t leave out the fruit! I promise, even if it sounds a bit weird at first, mango goes amazingly well in your Banh Mi. Get a ripened mango as you want to get all the sweetness from each piece. If you don´t have mango, try using avocado or pineapple.
- Add more or less cilantro and mint depending on your taste. At home, we add more cilantro than mint as we find that mint can be a bit overpowering if you add too many, but it depends on your taste. Another great fresh herb to use would be Thai Basil.
This Banh Mi Recipe is perfect when served as a main dish or a big snack just sure you serve it with some extra sauce on the side!
Once all the ingredients are prepared, make the sandwiches and enjoy them straight away.
A lovely way to serve Banh Mi to a crowd is to have everything ready for the people to assemble their sandwiches to their taste, adding more or less of each ingredient.
You can keep the leftover ingredients to make a salad. Just add some peanut sauce and glass noodles and you will have a delicious Vietnamese salad. Keep any fresh ingredients in an airtight container in the fridge for a maximum of 3-4 days.
If you have any leftover bread, you can freeze it for another day.
FAQ and Tips
Can I use another plant-based protein instead of Tofu?
You can of course use other proteins for your Vegan Banh Mi such as seitan, tempeh, or sotre-bought vegan slices. For a vegetarian option, you can use a fried egg or an omelet. Another amazing option would be using cauliflower or shredded King Oyster Mushrooms.
Can I add other vegetables to my Vegan Banh Mi?
Absolutely! Feel free to add other fresh vegetables like lettuce, sliced tomatoes, or thinly sliced onions for added crunch and flavor to your Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich.
Can I prepare Vegan Banh Mi in advance?
It's best to assemble the sandwich just before serving to keep the bread from becoming soggy. However, you can prepare the rest of the ingredients in advance, such as marinating the tofu, pickling the carrots, cutting the mango, and preparing the spicy mayo. Then, assemble the sandwich when you're ready to enjoy it.
Vegan Banh Mi
- 4 small baguettes
- 4 medium-size carrots
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 4 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup water
- 400 g tofu
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon five spice powder
- 2 teaspoon mirin
- 1 cup mayo
- 3 tablespoon sriracha sauce
- 1 cucumber
- ¼ mango
- A handful cilantro
- A handful mint
- 2 red chilis
- To pickle the carrots, combine in a small container the carrots thinly sliced, maple syrup, vinegar, salt and water. Make sure all the ingredients are perfecly combined and leave them aside.
- Prepare the tofu. With a paper towel, remove any excess of water and cut the tofu into medium-size square pieces. Combine the soy sauce, mirin, and the five-spice powder in a shallow pan. Add the tofu pieces and leave marinating for 15 minutes on each side.
- Combine the vegan mayonnaise and the sriracha to prepare the sauce.
- Thinly slice the cucumber, mango and chilis. Rinse with clean water the cilantro and mint.
- Prepare the bread by cutting it lenghtwise just on one of the sides. This will help holding the ingredients inside your sandwich while eating it.
- Once the tofu is marinated, heat some oil on a skillet or griddle pan and cook the tofu on both sides until it turns a golden color. Leave to cool. Keep the leftover marinade for later.
- Add some of the leftover marinade on the bread, spread some sriracha mayo on both sides, pickled carrots (draining any excess of liquid), 3 tofu pieces, the fresh ingredients and the chilis.
- Close your Banh Mi and enjoy!
|If you tried our recipe, please leave a comment or tag us on Instagram @Sixhungryfeet. We are always happy to see your creations!|