This meatless version of the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich is blow-your-socks-off good. The banh mi sandwich is nearly the perfect food because it marries together foods from two very different culinary empires: Vietnam and France. Rumor has it that the French introduced Vietnam to the baguette long ago when Vietnam was part of French colonial territories. Over the years, the Vietnamese embraced the baguette and eventually, these sandwiches were created and became very popular street food. This amazing sandwich later landed here, where we now know and love them.
While traditional banh mi sandwiches are packed with pork, this version showcases marinated tofu. And it’s delicious. It might even be better than the original version. Try it for yourself, and let me know what you think!
½ block extra firm tofu
1 inch knob of ginger, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 tsp lemongrass paste
2 carrots, julienned or thinly sliced
1 cucumber, julienned or thinly sliced
½ c. apple cider vinegar
½ c. rice wine vinegar
½ c. water
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. sesame seeds
Salt and pepper
2 demi baguettes
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
Vegan mayo (or regular if you’re not vegan)
Mix all of the ingredients for the pickled veggies together and let them marinate for at least 30 minutes (or even for several days).
About 30 minutes before cooking, drain the tofu, wrap it in a kitchen towel and press it. You can do this by placing a plate on top of the tofu, and then a heavy item, like a stock pot, on top of the plate for about 10 minutes. This will help remove excess water from the tofu.
Slice the tofu into ½ thin inch pieces that are long and flat. Mix together all of the other ingredients for the tofu in a bowl. Add the tofu carefully and let it marinate for 15 minutes. Place it on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Turn the oven to broil (low) and broil for 8-10 minutes. Flip over and broil the other side for 8-10 minutes, or until browned and crispy on both sides. Set the tofu aside to cool.
To assemble the sandwich, split the baguettes lengthwise. Spread one half with vegan mayo and the other half with sriracha (if you like it). Add the tofu, topped by the pickled veggies. Place the jalapenos, cilantro, and green onions on top. Close the sandwich and tear into it!