Tofu Banh Mi
Fellow Foodies, let me introduce you to the PERFECT sandwich. This is no exaggeration; every bite of this sandwich is like a party in my mouth. It’s got freshness from the cucumber and cilantro, spice from the sriracha and jalapeno, sweetness and tang from the pickled vegetables, and saltiness from the soy sauce marinated tofu. I’ve never eaten another sandwich with such well-balanced, or should I say perfectly balanced, flavors.
Years ago, as a major foodie and dedicated fan of Food Network, I saw a Banh Mi sandwich for the first time on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” Ever since then, they’ve been on my radar and I’ve been dying to try them, but never got the opportunity. Then the other day, as I was browsing through Instagram, I came across a photo that someone posted of a vegan Banh Mi from what appeared to be a vegan sandwich shop somewhere in California, I believe. After seeing that photo, I decided I had to have one immediately. Since I don’t know of any good Vietnamese restaurants near me, and certainly not any with vegan options, I just had to make my own. The flavors of this sandwich may not be completely true to an authentic Banh Mi as it was inspired by the one I saw years ago and caught a quick glimpse of the other day, but it does contain most of the traditional elements. Nevertheless, it's phenomenal in my book and I could probably eat one every day, ugghhhh, but I won't...
One more thing, this sandwich requires preparation the day before you want to make it. The pickled vegetables require soaking in liquid overnight (well, you could soak them for just a couple hours, but I strongly suggest you let them rest overnight) and the tofu should also marinate in soy sauce overnight for optimal flavor. Don't let this deter you though! I promise, it’s a quick and easy sandwich to make!
|Servings||Prep Time||Cook Time||Total Time|
|4||15 mins. + 24 hrs.||6 mins.||21 mins.|
- 1 baguette
- 1 14 oz. package of extra firm tofu
- 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and julienned
- ½ cup radishes, julienned
- ½ cup beets, peeled and julienned
- ¾ cup water
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper seeds
- 2 tablespoons Vegenaise
- 3 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
- 1 cucumber, peeled
- Bunch of cilantro
- 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
- Pickle the vegetables by placing the carrots and radishes in a 16 ounce sealable jar with 2 garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Place the beets in an 8 ounce jar with 2 cloves of garlic, ½ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Combine water, sugar, vinegars and salt in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar and salt have dissolved. Distribute vinegar mixture over the vegetables in the 2 jars. It should fill both, covering the vegetables in each jar. Refrigerate over night.
- Prepare the tofu by removing it from the package, rinsing and draining it. Cut it in half crosswise, essentially butterflying it. Then cut in half crosswise again, until you have 4 thin filets. Sprinkle both sides of each piece with remaining black pepper and garlic powder. Then arrange tofu in a large, shallow Tupperware and fill with soy sauce. Alternatively, you can arrange tofu filets next to one another flat in a large Ziploc bag and carefully fill the bag with soy sauce. Flip the tofu at some point while marinating, to marinate both sides.
- The next day, cut baguette into four equal pieces. Cut each piece open, and toast each piece in a toaster oven on low setting.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat and coat with olive oil. Place the tofu in the pan and sear each side for 3 minutes, until browned and a crispy skin has formed.
- Use a vegetable peeler to slice cucumber into thin strips, peeling all sides until seeds are reached.
- Prepare sriracha-mayo by combining Vegenaise and sriracha.
- Open the baguette and spread sriracha-mayo over the top and bottom. Top with tofu, cucumber slices, pickled vegetables, cilantro leaves and jalapenos.
- Serve and Enjoy!