This tofu banh mi sandwich recipe is full of 6 layers of flavor! This healthy, gluten-free and vegan dish is perfect for lunch or dinner. Banh Mi sandwiches are a classic Vietnamese dish. This hard to pronounce lunch (bah me), is prized for its layers and layers of flavor, and this version is not lacking in the flavor department. It is packed with 6 layers of flavor.
Let’s get started
First, a good Banh Mi starts with good bread. Choose a baguette from the bakery section of your grocery store. You want it to be crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. Then, layer two gets spread on the bread. It is a Sriracha Garlic Mayo that brings heat and richness to the sandwich.
Then some sliced jalapeños get stacked on to make up layer number 3.
After that the meat of the dish, or… tofu rather comes next. The tofu is marinated in a sweet and savory sauce then it is pan-fried to perfection and coated in nutty and crunchy sesame seeds.
No Banh Mi would be complete without a piling of pickled vegetables. We will take daikon, carrots, and cucumbers and quick pickle them in a sweet and acidic brine to infuse in some fresh flavor.
Then all that is left, is the 6th layer of fresh cilantro and then the top of the baguette. Grab that sandwich and take a bite!
The cool thing about this hard-to-pronounce sandwich is that comes with a few unlikely ingredients that pack a big health punch. Daikon is ubiquitous in Banh Mi sandwiches. It is a long and slender radish with a peppery flavor. This radish can help detox the body, increase digestive health, and help us maintain a healthy weight. Even more, it can prevent cancer, reduce inflammation, and improve respiratory health.
Jalapeños, like other spicy peppers, can boost our metabolism and promote a healthy weight. These spicy peps can also reduce inflammation, clear up a congested nose, and can even be used as a natural pain reliever.
Both these nutritious ingredients also add flavor to our tofu banh mi sandwich, so pile them on high.
These tofu banh mi sandwiches make a delicious lunch or dinner. You can also make all the elements of the sandwich and store them in the refrigerator. They keep well for up to a week (the pickles even longer) and then you can whip up a Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich anytime the craving hits.
These sandwiches stay well without getting soggy, so pack them in a brown sack for a healthy and flavor-packed lunch.
Ingredients for tofu banh mi sandwiches:
For the tofu:
- 1 block extra-firm tofu, cut into squares
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons liquid amino OR soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar (plain unseasoned)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
For the pickled vegetables:
- 2 carrots, sliced into thin matchsticks
- 1 daikon radish, sliced into thin matchsticks
- 1/2 cucumber, sliced into thin matchsticks
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the spread:
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 2 teaspoons – 1 tablespoon sriracha (to taste)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 baguette, cut into sandwich-sized lengths and halved lengthwise
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 2 jalapenos, sliced
Directions to prepare the tofu banh mi sandwiches:
- First, start the tofu. In a bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, liquid aminos, rice vinegar, lime juice, grape seed oil, and sriracha. Submerge the tofu in the marinade and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
- Next, make the pickled vegetables. Add the garlic, rice vinegar, water, maple syrup, peppercorns, and salt into a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add the sliced carrots, daikon, and cucumber to a jar. Once the liquid pickling mixture is simmering, pour it over the vegetables. Let them pickle for at least 2 hours, or place in the fridge overnight while the tofu is marinating.
- Once the tofu and veggies are ready, whisk together the mayo, sriracha, and lime juice. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the tofu, and cook until all of the marinades has evaporated, flipping the tofu several times during cooking.
- Add in the sesame seeds and stir to coat. Remove the tofu from the heat and set aside.
- Take the bottom piece of bread and spread on the mayo.
Top with jalapeño slices.
- Then tofu.
- Pile on some pickled vegetables.
- And last, add on some fresh cilantro.
- Top with the other side of the bread and serve.
Once you have all of the sandwich elements made, whipping up a Tofu Banh Mi sandwich takes just a few moments! This Vietnamese delicacy is worth the effort. Once you bite into the layers and layers of flavor, you won’t bat an eye at the work that made it possible.