The Vegan Banh Mi

By Alexandra Caspero on June 11, 2019
Vegan Banh Mi Sandwich stuffed with lemongrass tofu, spicy slaw, fresh herbs and sriracha mayo. 
I love hotels. Really love them. Few things make me more giddy than the opportunity to head out of town for a few days, exploring new surroundings and indulging at hotels. Besides the fact that I don’t have to make my own bed, I love nothing more than curling up in an oversized, overstuffed bed and getting lost in cable TV for hours.

I’m a firm believer of not having a TV in our bedroom, and since BL and I haven’t had cable in years, it’s a welcome change of pace when we get to fall asleep to syndicated shows or cheesy made-for-tv movies.

Since I travel quite a bit for work, I relish coming back to the hotel after a long day of meetings to binge watch the Food Network with takeout dinner in tow. Because if there is one thing I miss by not having cable, it’s the Food Network. I can get lost for hours following Giada, Ina and my personal favorite- Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives.

It was during a recent marathon viewing of triple D that made me fall in love with this sandwich- the banh mi. You know those foods that you’ve never actually had, but you know it would be love at first sight bite? That’s how I felt about the Banh Mi.

Who knows where Guy was eating this one, but all I could think about was racing home to make my own version. And for a sandwich to make me want to leave my hotel room, you know it had to be good.
vegan banh mi

So a few days later, back home in St. Louis, I got to work on creating my own version — the vegan banh mi.

Since tofu is my favorite meat swap, we’ll start there. Slabs of tofu marinated in a fresh soy and lemongrass sauce, then seared to perfection. Topped with quick pickled cucumber, carrots, slathered in spicy mayo and fresh cilantro.

Also, side-bar– make sure to make extra mayo. The combination of sriracha + mayo is a powerful one. Make sure you have lots of items handy for dipping. (Like french fries. French fries and sriracha mayo is pure bliss.)

While it might not be the most authentic Banh Mi out there, I’m pretty confident that this vegan banh mi will win over any purist. Don’t be intimidated by the few steps and ingredient list. It actually comes together fairly quickly and the most of the ingredients are  pantry staples you may already have in your house. If you can’t find fresh lemongrass, I like the freeze-dried lemongrass from Litehouse.

lemongrass tofu for vegan banh mi

vegan banh mi

Another great thing about this vegan banh mi? It packs easily! I am always on the hunt for take-with-me-to-work sandwiches and this one totally fits the bill. As long as your bread is crusty, there is no need to worry about soggy-sandwich-syndrome. I’ve been making this for packed-lunches all summer long. If you do end up with leftovers, keep them in separate containers to assemble throughout the week.

Enjoy!

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

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vegan bahn mi sandwich

The Vegan Banh Mi

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: sandwich
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese, Vegan

Description

Vegan Banh Mi Sandwich stuffed with lemongrass tofu, spicy slaw, fresh herbs and sriracha mayo


  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: sandwich
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese, Vegan
  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: sandwich
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese, Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

Lemongrass Tofu: 

  • 1 lemongrass stalk, outer layers peeled, bottom white part thinly sliced and finely chopped.
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chopped Thai bird chili (or other chili)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 large lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 12 ounces tofu, drained, pressed and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Quick Pickled Vegetables: 

  • 2 large carrots, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Sriracha Mayo:

  • 3 tablespoons vegan mayo
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

4 French rolls
Cilantro Sprigs 

Instructions

  1. Combine the lemongrass, soy sauce, chili, turmeric, lime juice and sugar together in a shallow bowl. Add the tofu slabs and turn to coat them evenly. Marinate for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Place the carrots, cucumbers, rice wine vinegar and sugar in a jar, then shake to cover. Let sit while you prepare the mayo and cook the tofu.
  3. Whisk together the mayo, Sriracha and lime juice together. Set aside.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over moderate-high heat. Add the tofu, draining as much marinade as possible before placing on the hot pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown and crispy.
  5. Assemble! Slice the bread in half lengthwise and liberally spread with Sriracha mayo. Layer with cooked tofu, pickled vegetables and cilantro.

Notes

1. To press the tofu, remove the tofu from the container. Drain and rinse. Wrap with paper towels and place a heavy object ontop. I use my cast-iron skillet with a few bean cans. Let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the paper towels and pat dry. Now slice!

2. For a better filled sandwich, remove some of the bread filling before serving. This will make a nice crevice for the toppings to rest in! Also prevents the entire sandwich from falling out on your lap after the first bite.

3. For easy matchsticks, I use this peeler. Way faster!

did you make this?

Tag @delishknowledge on Instagram and hashtag it #delishknowledge

More delicious vegan sandwich ideas: Cashew Cheese Veggie Sandwich, Vegan Egg Salad, Vegan Panini, Curry Tempeh Salad, Avocado Chickpea Salad, Avocado Chickpea Salad

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Dayna
      July 2, 2019 AT 5:50 am

      These sandwiches were fantastic! My whole family loved them. I used shredded cabbage instead of the cucumber and made the veggies and sriracha ahead of time. It all came together really quickly. Such an interesting combination of flavors and textures. Definitely making these sammies again. Thanks so much for the recipe!

      1. Alex
        July 2, 2019 AT 6:48 pm

        So glad you liked it!

    2. Rodger Williams
      July 20, 2014 AT 7:59 pm

      Alex, I didn’t know you enjoyed meatless meals. This sounds delicious! I would love to try one of yours to know exactly how it should taste but, I guess I’ll have to make it from your recipe myself 🙂

      1. DK
        July 20, 2014 AT 9:12 pm

        Thanks Rodger! Glad you found my site 🙂