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      Vegetarian Tofu Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich)

      If you love banh mi but are trying to cut back on your meat intake or would prefer a vegetarian version, you are in the right place. This is the perfect sandwich for a light lunch, a picnic or at the beach. 

      tofu banh mi

      This plant-based take on banh mi is based on the classic Vietnamese sandwich which is a popular street food in Vietnam. Instead of using pork or lunch meat, I replaced it with char siu tofu which is super flavorful.

      Ingredients for Tofu Banh Mi

      Before making this recipe, make sure you have all the ingredients you need. All of the ingredients are listed down below next to possible alternatives. For the best results, stick with the original ingredients. 

      IngredientsSubstitutions
      Super-firm or extra-firm tofuTempeh, seitan
      Char siu sauce (or make your own)
      Soy sauceTamari, liquid aminos, coconut aminos
      French baguette or Vietnamese baguetteSubmarine rolls, other sandwich rolls
      Cilantro
      Cucumber 
      Pickled carrot and onion (recipe down below)
      JalapenosOther chili peppers

      To make the pickled carrots and onions, combine the ¼ cup sugar with ¾ cup hot water and stir to dissolve. Add ½ cup of rice vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon of salt and ½ cup of shredded carrots and ½ cup of sliced yellow onion (about ¼ of an onion). Stir to combine. 

      Where to find

      You can find char siu sauce at your local Asian market. If you live in an area with a high Asian population, you may be able to find it at your local grocery store. 

      How to make Tofu Banh Mi

      In a small bowl, add the char siu sauce and add soy sauce until it reaches the consistency of honey. Cut your tofu into thin slices and coat each side in char siu sauce. Place in a shallow dish and let marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for half an hour.

      While the tofu is marinating, prepare the pickled vegetables. Combine the white sugar, salt and hot water in a bowl or mason jar. Stir until dissolved, then add the carrots, onions and rice vinegar. Cover and set aside.

      Air fry or bake the tofu at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes (air fryer) or 425 degrees Fahrenheit 10-12 minutes (oven). Cut the baguette in half lengthwise. Spread kewpie mayo on one side if desired. Add the cilantro, cucumber, pickled carrots and onions and jalapeno slices. Then layer the tofu slices. Close the sandwich, then enjoy!

      vegetarian banh mi

      How to store the leftovers

      If you have any leftovers, I recommend storing the vegetables, tofu and baguette separately. If you store them all together the baguette may become soggy. Store the tofu in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should stay good for about 2-3 days. 

      Is tofu healthy? 

      Though this is a widely debated question, there is plenty of research to support the healthfulness of tofu. It’s a great source of protein, calcium, iron, selenium and zinc. Plus, it’s low in saturated fat.

      There are some who are concerned about the hormonal effects of tofu due to the phytoestrogens. Despite these concerns, there is little evidence to suggest that tofu has a meaningful impact on hormone levels.

      The general consensus around tofu is that it is a very healthful plant-based source of protein that is safe to consume for both men and women. High soy consumption can even reduce risk for breast cancer.

      vegetarian banh mi

      Vegetarian Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich)

      This banh mi filled with fresh and pickled vegetables and a savory bbq tofu.
      Prep Time 15 minutes
      Cook Time 10 minutes
      Total Time 25 minutes
      Course Main Course
      Cuisine Vietnamese
      Servings 2 servings

      Ingredients
        

      • 2 French or Vietnamese baguettes
      • 1/2 block super-firm or extra-firm tofu cut into slices
      • 2 tbsp char siu sauce
      • soy sauce low sodium
      • 1 handful cilantro
      • 1/4 cucumber thin slices
      • 1/2 jalapeno sliced
      • kewpie mayo optional

      Quick Pickled Carrots and Onions

      • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
      • 1/4 white onion sliced
      • 1/4 cup white sugar
      • 3/4 cup hot water
      • 1/2 tbsp salt
      • 1/2 cup rice vinegar

      Instructions
       

      • In a small bowl, add the char siu sauce and add soy sauce until it reaches the consistency of honey.
      • Cut your tofu into thin slices and coat each side in char siu sauce. Place in a shallow dish and let marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for half an hour.
      • While the tofu is marinating, prepare the pickled vegetables. Combine the white sugar, salt and hot water in a bowl or mason jar. Stir until dissolved, then add the carrots, onions and rice vinegar. Cover and set aside.
      • Air fry or bake the tofu at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes (air fryer) or 425 degrees Fahrenheit 10-12 minutes (oven).
      • Cut your baguette in half lengthwise. Spread kewpie mayo on one side if desired. Add the cilantro, cucumber, pickled carrots and onions and jalapeno slices. Then layer your tofu slices. Close the sandwich, then enjoy!

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      ABOUT ME

      tia glover rd

      My name is Tia and I am a registered dietitian and content creator.

      My goal is to help young people learn how to eat a nutritious, balanced diet without restriction or giving up cultural foods. 💛

      Hapa/Japanese American 🇺🇸🇯🇵

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