Vegan Banh Mi – A Top Contender for Best Sandwich

I’ve always been fascinated by the Banh Mi, but haven’t ever hand the chance to try it, as I always question whether it is really vegetarian friendly or not.  However, I had two opportunities in January on separate occasions to try it at a trustworthy place – the first was at a Google cafeteria, and the second was at a Whole Foods while vacationing in Boulder, Colorado.  Both sandwiches were so flavourful and delicious – I was determined to recreate them at home after my trip.

I started off by baking tofu that had been marinated in soy sauce and freshly grated ginger – I didn’t marinade it for very long, and then baked the thin slices in the oven at 350F for about 30 to 40 minutes.  You could easily skip this step by buying baked tofu at the store, which is one way to turn this into a quick meal.  However, I did all this on a relaxing Sunday, and it didn’t really feel like work.

I marinated the radishes and carrots in a sugar/vinegar mixture and allowed them to sit until I was ready to assemble the sandwiches – the pickled veggies are always my favourite part of the sandwich.

Once I was ready to build the sandwiches, I toasted the bread and then spread a generous layer of vegan mayo/sriracha mix onto all of the pieces – if you aren’t into vegan mayo, mixing some sriracha into hummus would also work well.

Toasted french baguettes with vegan sriracha mayo

I then assembled the sandwich with a layer of baked tofu, leaf lettuce, thinly sliced cucumbers, fresh mint and cilantro, the marinated veggies and sliced jalapeños.Assembled vegan banh mi

Because we had the sandwiches for dinner, I wanted it to be a heartier meal.  Serving pho with banh mi seemed like overkill with the carbs, so I opted to make a simple tamarind soup.  Its quite common to find tamarind paste at the grocery store these days.  I sautéed mushrooms, cabbage and onions and then added vegetable stock mixed with a small teaspoon of tamarind into the pot and brought it to a boil.  Simple and super easy!Tamarind Soup

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