Shanghai-based foodie and restaurateur Lindsey Fine (aka Veggie Mama) has been creating all sorts of delicious vegan recipes since moving to China eight years ago. You can read all about the perks of eating a plant-based diet via her blog Veggie Mama and sample recipes on this series, Cooking with Veggie Mama. In this edition, Lindsey shares her recipe for a Vegan Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich.
Now that summer is officially upon us, I have been craving fresh and healthy dishes like giant salads, hearty wraps and decked out sandwiches. And this sandwich is one of my go-to recipes for the summer season!
The banh mi sandwich is somewhat of a cultural icon in Vietnam... and there is a good reason. The crusty French bread is always perfectly baked, the ingredients are fresh and the taste is unbelievably unique.
Banh mi are traditionally stuffed with a range of meats from pork to chicken. But the marinated and grilled tofu in this vegan version of this famous sandwich is so good. Plus, you can use the 'steaks' as a main attraction on a bed of rice, quinoa or salad!
Vegan Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich
1 large baguette, sliced into 4 pieces or 4 small baguettes
2 medium round ‘vegetarian chicken’ super firm tofu logs
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon white part of scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 tablespoon ground kaffir lime leaves or 1/2 teaspoon fresh leaves, minced
1/4 tablespoon ground lemongrass or 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemongrass, minced
1 medium carrot, spiraled or cut into matchsticks
1 small daikon radish, spiraled or cut into matchsticks
3 small red chilis, thinly sliced (if you want less heat, remove the seeds and slice lengthwise)
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons maple syrup or agave
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package silken tofu
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice or lime juice
2 tablespoons Sriracha or jarred chili garlic sauce
Salt, to taste
Additional sliced chilies
Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1. Slice the tofu logs lengthwise, about 1/2-3/4 of an inch thick and set aside. Add the soy sauce, water, olive oil, garlic, ginger, scallions, lime leaves and lemongrass to a blender and blend on high until all ingredients are well combined. Add the mixture to a shallow dish and place tofu pieces in the dish. Spoon the mixture onto any parts of the tofu that aren’t in the mixture to ensure all parts of the tofu absorb some of the delicious marinade. Let sit for 20 minutes or more.
2. Start the pickling liquid for the vegetables. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, maple syrup and salt. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Place the prepared carrot, daikon radish and chilies into a glass bowl and pour the heated mixture over them. Gently mix and let sit for 30 minutes, if possible. The longer, the better.
3. For the Sriracha mayo, add silken tofu, Dijon mustard, olive oil, lemon or lime juice, and Sriracha or chili garlic sauce to a blender and blend on low until well combined and no lumps are remaining. Be careful to not over blend as you want it to be a bit thick.
4. Once the tofu is done marinating, heat pan over medium-high heat, add a bit of cooking oil and place four pieces of marinated tofu at a time in the pan. Cook each side until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
5. If desired, toast the baguette. Slather the Sriracha mayo on both sides of the bread and layer on one piece of cooked tofu, sliced cucumber, pickled vegetables and cilantro. Smash that sammie down and open wide. Enjoy!
Read more Cooking with Veggie Mama
[Images courtesy of Veggie Mama/Lindsey Fine]