I had my first Banh Mi sandwich only a few weeks ago. How I've lived my whole life without this amazing Vietnamese sandwich topped with pickled daikon, carrot, cilantro, jalapeno, & mayo is beyond me.
Traditional Banh Mi sandwiches are filled with anything from pork to liver pate to tofu. And with all those amazing toppings, I'm not too picky about the protein...as long as it's vegan.
My first Banh Mi was at The Hard Times. It was filled greasy fried seitan- in true Hard Times style. The cilantro-jalapeno mayo was so good I wished for more to dip my tortilla chips in!
The first Banh Mi I ate today was at work. Our juice bar has monthly specials on panini sandwiches and this month's vegetarian sandwich is a vegan Banh Mi! The tofu is slathered in peanut sauce and topped with shredded carrot and cilantro. The whole sandwich is smashed in the panini grill until the bread is hot and crusty. I was super impressed at how spicy the sandwich was- we usually err on the side of mild. My only complaint about the sandwich is that it was missing the mayo/Veganaise that I so enjoy.
So after a crazy busy day at work filled with point of sale system failures, inventory report difficulties, and new-month-updates that had to get done...I needed ANOTHER Banh Mi. This time, though, I wanted to make one myself.
I couldn't decide if I wanted to use seitan or portobello mushrooms in my sandwich, so I used both!
First step: Marinate the "meat" of the sandwich
2 portobello mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
OR 1 lb. seitan, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 Tbsp. tamari
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 jalapeno, minced
Second Step: Prepare the veggies
1 carrot, julienned
1 daikon radish (carrot-sized), julienned
1/4 cup very thinly sliced cabbage
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno, minced
2-3 green onions, sliced
4-5 mint leaves, minced
3-4 Tbsp. rice vinegar
Third Step: Prepare the mayo
1/4 cup Veganaise
1/2 jalapeno, minced
2 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
Fourth Step: Cook
Heat about 2-3 Tbsp canola oil in a skillet. Strain off the marinade and add the seitan or portabellos to the pan and fry until browned.
Fifth Step: Assemble
Slice a 1/2 of a baguette lengthwise
Slather the inside of the baguette with mayo
Top with seitan or mushrooms
Top with veggies
Smash the sandwich together
Wrap in waxed paper so it doesn't spill all over you while you eat
Seitan Banh Mi
Portabello Banh MiWhile both the seitan and mushroom versions were great, I thought the portabellos held the marinade flavor better. Next time I'll increase the spice a bit and rig up a panini press with some bricks.
Need a gluten-free option?
Just skip the bread and make a Portabello Banh Mi Salad!
Thinly slice 1 cup of cabbage along with the veggies described above. Serve veggies and fried portabellos over the cabbage. Thin the Cilantro-Jalapeno Mayo with a bit of wheat-free tamari marinade left over from the portabellos. This is your dressing.
While the sandwich version is really awesome, this is a super way to get a lot of antioxidant rich raw cabbage in your diet. So even if you're not gluten-free, you might want to give it a go!