Served on crunchy bread and piled high with ingredients, Spicy Tofu Banh Mi is a great sandwich to enjoy on a leisurely afternoon. Whether you spice it up or dial it down just a bit, this is a filling sandwich you can really wrap your hands around.
Lunch on the fly
Like most people on any given Saturday afternoon, I’m usually out running around. Sometimes that means I’m off having fun, and other times I’m just running errands. Either way, lunch on a Saturday afternoon is typically a quick pick up while I’m out and about.
The perfect time for banh mi
This last Saturday I was at home. Since I’ve been on a sandwich kick lately, I decided to make banh mi. It was the perfect Saturday afternoon, stay-at-home-and-chill kind of sandwich.
This is a hearty sandwich loaded with perfectly balanced contrasts: the crunchy veggies and the soft tofu; the sweet and tart of the veggie marinade; the heat from the jalapeños and the cool from the cucumbers and cilantro. This banh mi is piled high with ingredients that you can really wrap your hands around and dig into.
Switch it up
Most banh mi are made with pork or some type of meat. Tofu works really well, too, and I used a prepared, Asian-flavored baked tofu. I also swapped the traditional daikon radish for regular red radishes since they were easier to come by and I thought they added great color.
My first version ended up being really spicy because I’m always heavy handed with the garlic chili paste. It was good, but a bit overpowering. I modified the recipe, and you can modify it further if you don’t want a mayo-based spread with quite as much spice.
Recipe for Spicy Tofu Banh Mi Sandwiches:
- 4 ounces baked tofu, cut into cubes
- 1, 12-inch French-style baguette, sliced into two, then sliced in half horizontally (any type of crunchy bread can be used)
- 2 large radishes, sliced thin with a mandolin
- 1/4 cup cucumbers, sliced thin with a mandolin
- 1/2 cup carrot, cut into matchstick pieces
- 1/4 small jalapeño pepper, cut into thin slices
- 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 3 teaspoons honey (or sugar)
- 1/8 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- Juice from 1/2 a lime
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic chili paste (you could use another type hot sauce like a sriracha), or to taste
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk together the vinegar and honey. Add the mixture to a medium-sized sealable plastic bag or container with a lid.
- Place the radishes and carrot into the container or bag, and toss to coat. Allow the vegetables to sit in the marinade for at least half an hour.
- Meanwhile, place the sandwich bread on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 5 minutes or until lightly toasted.
- While the bread is toasting, combine the mayonnaise, lime juice and garlic chili paste and mix well.
- Allow the bread to cool slightly. Drain the marinade.
- Spread the mayo mixture on the bottom half of the bread.
- Add the tofu and top with the carrot-radish mixture, then with the cucumber, jalapeño slices and top with the cilantro.