Tofu Banh Mi with Quick Pickled Veggies

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Banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich, typically made with pork but since I was pescatarian for a few years before becoming vegan I’d never had the “real thing”. And yeah, it’s pictured with kimchi which is Korean, not Vietnamese, but I’ve been on a real kimchi kick after going to Franchia Vegan Café in the city. I could have very well served it with a simple salad, but to be honest I’m a vegan who doesn’t like salad. If you ever dare to make me one, it better be the best damn salad I’ve ever had. But I digress. You can serve this banh mi with fries, or whatever floats your boat. This can be made GF, so I will asterisk substitutes. And honestly, if you want to change anyone’s mind about tofu, this is the perfect recipe.

 

Prep time: 35 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Serves: 4-5

INGREDIENTS

For the pickled veggies

  • 2 large carrots, peeled and julienned or cut into small matchsticks
  • 6 red radishes, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and cut into matchsticks
  • Optional: sliced jalapeño
  • 1/4 C rice wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 and 3/4 C water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 C white sugar or 3/4 C agave

For the tofu

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari*
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/8 tsp  black pepper

For the spread

  • 1 C vegan mayo
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce – my best friend is gluten free and I made this for her party. Hoisin is not gluten free, so I stumbled upon this gem at the supermarket: shiitake stir fry sauce

Additional ingredients

  • Baguette (typical baguette is 26 in but two 12 in. will do)
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sriracha

PREPARATION

  1. Begin by mixing the vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a pint sized jar or large bowl, then add the veggies . You may want to do this an hour or so earlier than you want to make the sandwiches so it has enough time to absorb the vinegar. Set aside.
  2. Next, press your tofu for about 15 to 20 minutes. I don’t have a fancy tofu press, so I use two clean dishtowels and my John Lennon record box set. You can use a textbook or something else that’s flat and relatively heavy.
  3. Combine your tofu marinade ingredients, then lay the tofu in a shallow dish or pan and pour your marinade on top, ensuring all surface area is covered. Of course the longer your marinate, the more flavorful it will be.
  4. When your veggies are adequately pickled and your tofu is pressed and marinated, begin to sear your tofu. Each piece should be brown and relatively crispy on both sides.
  5. While your tofu is cooking, slice the entire baguette horizontally and grill or toast it in the oven on broil (pay close attention, it could burn!)
  6. Finally it’s time to assemble to banh mi. Slather both of the cut sides of the baguette with the hoisin mayo. Next, add the tofu, pickled veggies, sriracha and top with a generous amount of cilantro. I think the cilantro is what really ties the banh mi together, but if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like it, skip it. Place the top of the baguette on the sandwich.
  7. Since this is like a wedge (sub, hoagie, hero, whatever), evenly space four tall toothpicks and slice the sandwich, or just cut it in half twice.
  8. Serve warm

And that’s that. If you make this or any other recipes featured here, use #killertofublog on social media!

Author: Amanda Spinosa

Amanda Spinosa is a vegan illustrator, animal rights advocate and mother to two adopted dogs, Ludo and Sasha. She is born and raised in the Hudson Valley of New York where she spends much of her time hiking, foraging, experimenting with plant-based recipes and volunteering at the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. Amanda is also an avid gardener and grows her own food during the summer months.

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