Tofu Banh Mi Recipe

Have you ever tried a banh mi sandwich? We'll admit that we love them. There are so many possible renditions of this traditional Vietnamese dish. We've tried a chicken banh mi, a red snapper banh mi, but today we bring you a vegetarian version: a tofu banh mi. If you are not a frequent tofu eater, don't worry. Vegetarians and omnivores alike love this sandwich. With pickled veggies, marinated tofu, dressed with sriracha and mayo, what's not to love?

Recipe developer and health coach Miriam Hahn tells us that this is one of her go-to sandwiches because of the depth of flavor. Hahn notes that she typically makes this tofu banh mi sandwich "for a big weekend lunch" or dinner, adding that "it pairs well with a big pot of soup." With an hour of prep time and only six minutes to cook, this sandwich could not be easier to make — so let's dive right in!

Gather your ingredients for a tofu banh mi

To make this tofu banh mi sandwich, you will need to gather the right ingredients. You'll need daikon radish, carrots, English cucumber, a jalapeño, rice vinegar, sugar, salt, super firm tofu, olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, ground ginger, black pepper, ciabatta bread, mayonnaise, sriracha, and cilantro. The first step involves pickling some veggies. You may end up with leftover pickled veggies, but Hahn notes "you can toss them in a salad, use them for avocado toast or add them to a wrap."

Pickle the veggies

The first step to make a good banh mi, vegan or otherwise, involves pickling vegetables. In this recipe, Hahn recommends pickling the daikon radish, carrots, cucumber, and jalapeño by placing these vegetables in a large mason jar. Once the veggies have been added to the jar, add the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Then secure the lid and give the jar a good shake. This will allow the pickling liquid to coat all the vegetables. Then place this jar in the fridge to pickle for at least one hour.

Slice the tofu and make a marinade

Next up, we need to slice the tofu. Because Hahn recommends using vacuum-sealed tofu, most of the moisture has been removed. This allows us to avoid pressing the tofu which can take some time. Remove the tofu from the packaging and slice into half inch slices. Then, we need to mix the marinade. In a small bowl, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, along with the soy sauce, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, ginger, and black pepper. Stir to combine.

Marinate the tofu

In a shallow glass bowl, add the tofu slices, then cover with marinade. Place this shallow bowl in the fridge to marinate for at least 20 minutes. Hahn tells us, "If you want to prep some of this ahead of time, you can pickle the veggies ahead and have the tofu marinating in the fridge a day or two before." We love the idea of prepping this the night before, which makes it all the more easy to whip up a tasty sandwich in a flash.

Cook the tofu

Once the tofu has been marinated, remove the bowl from the fridge. Add the remaining olive oil to a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the tofu slices in a single layer. Cook for three minutes and then flip each slice of tofu. Cook on the other side for three minutes. Both sides of the tofu slices should be golden brown. Once the tofu slices are done cooking, remove them from heat and set aside.

Assemble the banh mi sandwiches

Now it's time to assemble the banh mi sandwiches. Slice the ciabatta bread in half. Add the pan fried tofu slices to the bottom slices of bread. Add pickled veggies and cilantro on top of the tofu. On the top slices of bread, add mayo and sriracha, then plop that top piece of bread onto the rest of the sandwich. Just like that, you have a fully vegan, fulfilling, and delicious sandwich! To store any leftovers, Hahn has just one tip: "The leftovers keep great if you have them stored separately." Keep these for about four days in an airtight container in the fridge, and you'll be enjoying tofu banh mi sandwiches all week long!

Tofu Banh Mi Recipe
5 from 39 ratings
If you love a banh mi, then wait until you try this tofu version of the classic sandwich.
Prep Time
Cook Time
sliced tofu banh mi sandwiches
Total time: 1 hour, 6 minutes
  • 1 daikon radish, thinly sliced
  • 2 small carrots, thinly sliced
  • ½ English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • ½ jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 block (16 ounces) super firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • juice and zest from 1 lime
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 ciabatta rolls
  • 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  1. Put the sliced radish, carrots, cucumber and jalapeño in a 32 ounce mason jar or another glass container that has a lid. Add the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Put the lid on and shake to coat all pieces. Put in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
  2. Dry off the tofu block with a paper towel. Cut into ½-inch slices.
  3. Mix 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, ginger and pepper in a small bowl.
  4. Lay the tofu pieces in a shallow glass dish and coat each piece with the marinade. Put in the fridge for 20 minutes to marinate.
  5. Add the remaining oil to a non-stick pan and heat to medium-high. Place the tofu into the pan in a single layer and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown. Remove from heat.
  6. Slice the bread and assemble with mayo, tofu, pickled veggies, sriracha and cilantro.
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