Vegan Banh Mi Sandwiches

Vegan Banh Mi Sandwiches make the perfect lunch or dinner! They are ultra flavourful thanks to the addictive baked tofu and sriracha mayo, and they are ridiculously easy to prepare.

Well, I ran my farthest all winter on Saturday. Eighteen kilometres of slip sliding, sun shining fun along the rivers. It wasn’t fast or pretty, but I did it and it can only get better from here. Running is an interesting beast. In all my years of running, I have yet to figure out how, in a matter of a few months, I can go from being in excellent cardiovascular shape, capable of running a sub-3:30 marathon, to a mediocre runner who struggles to run half that distance at that pace. On the plus side, this very issue continues to teach me the value of patience and putting in the effort required to reach my goals.

I know that in a few more short months, with consistent effort, I will reach that sweet spot once again where running feels effortless and my goals will once again be within my reach.

Speaking of goals, I’m now one step closer to reaching a life goal that I haven’t yet shared on the blog. I can’t say anything about it yet, but stay tuned as I will be revealing it in the next few weeks. I can’t wait!

What does all of this have to do with the recipe at hand? Well, to be honest, not a whole lot. But I did enjoy this Banh Mi after a long run, so there’s that. I always try to include a hearty, macronutrient-balanced meal following any intense workout. Anecdotal evidence has proven that doing so reduces hanger and makes runners much nicer people to be around.

Banh who? Banh Mi!

Have you ever eaten Banh Mi? I hadn’t, until I created this recipe. I’d always wanted to, but I’d never come across a joint that serves it in my city. And then I thought, Why not just make my own?

Banh Mi is a French-influenced Vietnamese sandwich typically served on a baguette and stuffed with savoury ingredients. Non-vegan versions usually use pork as the protein, but I opt for the decidedly more ethical, nutritious, and delicious baked tofu in my version. I also add quick pickled carrots, avocado, a delightfully spicy sriracha mayo, and as many vegetables as you can fit your mouth around for one satisfying sammie! You could serve yours on the traditional baguette, but I actually prefer a more typical sandwich presentation using slices of sourdough bread. You can even use pitas.

You’ll notice that I’ve included beverage pairings in my recipe notes! I’m going to start doing this regularly, because as some of you know, it is my firm belief that a meal is only as good as the drinks that accompany it. I’ll include a beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drink recommendation!

With all that being said, let’s get our Banh Mi on!

Step 1: Slice and marinate the tofu in an addictive mix of tamari, lime juice, garlic, ginger, maple syrup, hot sauce, and sesame oil. Then, bake it.

Step 2: Pickle your carrots.

Step 3: Whip up some sriracha mayo.

Step 4: Gather additional toppings: I recommend thinly sliced cabbage, lettuce, and avocado.

Step 5: Toast some bread.

Step 6: Assemble your sandwiches.

Step 7: Om nom nom.

Vegan Banh Mi Sandwiches

Healthy, delicious vegan Banh Mi with baked tofu, ginger pickled carrots, lots of veggies, and sriracha mayo. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Marinating time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Vegan, Vietnamese
Servings: 4 sandwiches
Author: Allison

Ingredients

For the tofu:

  • 1 block (454 g) firm or extra-firm tofu, pressed if desired
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tbsp reduced-sodium tamari
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sriracha or hot sauce
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp finely minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup

For the Ginger Pickled Carrots:

  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ume plum vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar or pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger

For the Sriracha Mayonnaise:

  • 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise (such as Vegenaise)
  • 2 tbsp sriracha or other hot sauce

Everything else:

  • Lettuce
  • Thinly shredded purple cabbage
  • Sliced avocado
  • Vegan cheese
  • 8 slices sourdough bread, 1 large baguette, or 4 pitas

Instructions

  • Prepare the tofu: Slice the tofu into six equal rectangles (see photo), then slice each rectangle in half to create 12 equal triangles. Place tofu in a 9×13-inch baking dish. 
  • Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over top of the tofu. Marinate tofu for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours, flipping after 30 minutes or halfway through to ensure even marinating. 
  • Prepare the Ginger Pickled Carrots: Place the carrot matchsticks in a 500 mL jar. Combine vinegar, water, coconut sugar or maple syrup, red pepper flakes, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a low boil. Remove from heat and add ginger to the pot. Pour over the carrots, cover jar with lid, and allow them to ‘pickle’ for at least 30 minutes, or longer if you have time.
  • Bake tofu at 375 F for 20 minutes, or until most of the marinade has been absorbed/evaporated.  
  • While the tofu is baking, prepare the sriracha mayonnaise by whisking together the mayonnaise and sriracha in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to use. 
  • If using bread or baguette, toast it if desired (this step is unnecessary if you are using pitas). If using a baguette, slice it in half lengthwise and then cut it into 4 equal pieces. 
  • Gather up additional toppings: I used lettuce, shredded cabbage, and avocado. 
  • To assemble a sandwich: Spread 1 tablespoon of sriracha mayonnaise on a slice of bread. Top with 2-3 triangles of tofu. On a second slice of bread (or on the other half of the baguette section or the other half of the pita), layer lettuce, cabbage, avocado, and pickled carrots. Put the sandwich together and repeat until you have 4 sandwiches. Serve. 

Notes

As always, if you make these Banh Mi (why wouldn’t you?), post a photo on Instagram with #holisticallie and @holisticallie!

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