Banh Mi Sandwich
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  • Food: Banh Mi Sandwich
  • Writer: Nicolas Wilson
  • Content-type: Food Blog

Instead of using meat, I use zesty seasoned tofu to pack this banh mi sandwich. Pickled veggies and cilantro leaves take it over the top.

I used to get a tofu banh mi sandwich from two different Vietnamese eateries as often as I could when I lived in Austin.

The sandwiches were robust and comfortable, yet still refreshing, with sweet and acidic pickles, herbs, creamy mayo, and more.

Just thinking about them makes my mouth swim! Since we’ve relocated, I’ve been on the hunt for a fantastic banh mi in Chicago (please let me know if you have any recommendations!). Until I find one, I’ll satisfy my hunger at home with this delicious banh mi recipe.

What is a banh mi sandwich?

Banh Mi Sandwich Easy
Food: Banh Mi Sandwich (Source: Square)

Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches are a popular street snack in Saigon. They’re a delightful combination of French and Vietnamese food, served on soft French baguettes.

Pickled carrots, daikon, chiles, cucumber slices, cilantro, mayo, and protein are common ingredients. Marinated pig, chicken, and paté are popular proteins, but I make this recipe vegetarian by using tofu.

Ingredients in a Banh Mi Sandwich

To create this recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Baguette – Choose a baguette that is soft on the inside and crisp on the outside. The fillings will squish out of the sandwich if it’s too chewy or crusty!

The “meat” of this sandwich is seared marinated tofu. Tamari or soy sauce, lime juice and zest, garlic, ginger, and black pepper are used to marinate firm tofu. It’s flavorful and vibrant at the same time. Yum!

Pickled vegetables — These guys are responsible for the sweet and tangy flavor of a banh mi. Carrots, cucumber, jalapeo, and daikon are pickled in white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, salt, and sugar.

If you can’t get daikon, red radishes work well as a substitute. If you’re sensitive to heat, keep the jalapeo to a minimum.

Mayonnaise is a must-have for any banh mi! It gives this fresh sandwich a great creaminess. Make your own vegan mayo or use store-bought vegan mayo to make this recipe vegan.

Sriracha — For more spiciness.

Cilantro is a great way to add freshness to any dish.

After the tofu has marinated, sear the tofu on both sides in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Stuff it onto the baguette with the pickled veggies, cilantro, mayo, and a spritz of sriracha when it’s golden brown and caramelized. Enjoy!

Recipes for Banh Mi

Make preparations ahead of time. You should create the pickles ahead of time for the optimum sweet and tangy flavor. After an hour in the fridge, they’ll taste fine but even better the next day. If possible, prepare them a day or two ahead of time for this dish!

Don’t throw away the pickled vegetables! This recipe will almost certainly result in leftover pickles. Refrigerate them for up to two weeks.

More sandwiches can be made later, or they can be piled into rice bowls, topped on avocado toast, or stuffed into spring rolls!

Switch things up a little. This vegetarian banh mi dish is delicious as-is, but feel free to experiment. Avocado and sautéed shiitake mushrooms, as well as extra cucumber slices, would be fantastic additions. Let me know what you come up with!

Banh Mi Sandwich

Time to Prepare: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Time allotted: 40 minutes

Serving: 4 servings

This delicious vegetarian banh mi recipe is based on the classic Vietnamese sandwich. Seared tofu, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumbers, jalapeos, and more are stuffed inside!


  • 1 (14-ounce) package of extra-firm tofu (see notes)
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan
  • 4 baguette pieces, sliced in half
  • Good quality mayo, or vegan mayo
  • A few sprigs of cilantro per sandwich
  • Sriracha

Pickled Veggies:

  • 1 small daikon, sliced into matchsticks
  • 2 small carrots, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1/2 small cucumber, seeded & sliced into matchsticks
  • 1/2 jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, more as needed
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar, more as needed
  • Pinches of sugar
  • Pinches of salt

Tofu Marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • Juice of 1/2 lime + a little zest
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Banh Mi Sandwich Yum
Food: Banh Mi Sandwich (Source: Square)
  1. Prepare ahead of time: Combine the daikon, carrots, cucumbers, and jalapeos with the white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a medium jar. If the liquids aren’t enough to cover the vegetables, add 2 tablespoons of water and more vinegar as needed. Refrigerate for up to a week after chilling for at least an hour.
  2. Drain and slice the tofu into 1/2-inch slices. To remove excess water, place it on a towel and gently wipe it dry.
  3. Whisk together the olive oil, tamari, lime juice and zest, garlic, ginger, and pepper in a small bowl.
  4. In a small pan, place the tofu and pour the marinade over it. To properly coat the tofu, flip it and apply additional tamari if necessary. Allow at least 15 minutes for the tofu to marinade.
  5. Preheat a medium-high nonstick skillet. Working in batches if required, add a little oil to the pan and place the tofu pieces with enough space between them so that they don’t get too crowded. Allow the tofu slices to cook for a few minutes per side, without moving them around too much, until they’re thoroughly golden brown and caramelized around the edges. Remove from the fire and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Assemble the sandwiches with the baguette, mayonnaise, tofu slices, pickled vegetables, and cilantro, with sriracha on the side.


  • I like to use West Soy Extra Firm Tofu for seared tofu. It’s a little less watery (and simpler to work with) than other firm tofu kinds.
  • If you can’t get daikon, substitute a few red radishes or leave it out entirely. If you’re sensitive to heat, use less jalapeos.