This Marinated Tofu Bánh Mi will soon be your favorite sandwich, and it’s so easy to make! The creamy spicy bánh mi sauce is super addictive as well. It’s an incredibly flavorful sandwich that’s better than takeout!
Have you ever been to a restaurant or cafe, and had the most delicious meal, and tried to recreate it at home? This is exactly what happened to me last weekend, when we had an itch to order takeout from a really great local cafe. They had added plenty of vegan options to the menu last Fall, it’s it’s always so fun to check out the seasonal lunch creations available every so often.
I tried a tofu bánh mi, and it was so yummy that I felt literally compelled to recreate it at home the very next day. Literally compelled. So I set to work (but really, it’s very little work!) to create this delicious sandwich that is really packed with flavor.
The Marinated Tofu Bánh Mi has really bold flavors from:
- creamy, spicy bánh mi sauce
- pickled veggies – red cabbage, carrot and cucumber
- marinated flavorful tofu
- fresh cilantro (or sub your favorite fresh herb)
The sauce takes just a few minutes to put together, while the pickled veggies and the marinated tofu do take a bit more time. However, a lot of that time is inactive. It doesn’t need you to babysit or watch over it. While the veggies are pickling, and the tofu is marinating, you can get some other things done. Maybe you need to mow the lawn, reorganize your pantry, or do some painting. The possibilities are endless!
In all seriousness, you can do the pickling and marinating at least thirty to sixty minutes before you cook the tofu. But the longer the better. If you can do it a couple hours before, that is ideal.
How this Marinated Tofu Bánh Mi comes together
You can totally take a shortcut and use pre-pickled goods, such as pickled onions, sauerkraut, or the like. But, it’s really easy to do it at home too! Here are the simple steps for the dish.
- Whisk together the tofu marinade and slice up the tofu.
- Chop the vegetables.
- Bring the pickling liquid to a boil, and while you’re waiting a few minutes, stir up the creamy, spicy bahn mi sauce.
- Pour pickling liquid over the vegetables, and wait at least an hour.
- Saute up the tofu.
- Assemble the sandwiches!
a simple pickling method
Making pickled vegetables at home can be really easy with this method, and you can do a variety of options. Here I used red cabbage, shredded carrot, and cucumber. Pickling radishes or onions would also be amazing here.
In a saucepan, add 1 cup water, 1/2 cup vinegar, 2 tbsp sugar, and 2 tsp salt. Heat until the liquid boils, stirring to dissolve the sugar along the way.
Once it boils, simply pour the liquid over the the vegetables in a glass jar. Let the vegetables pickle for at least 30 to 60 minutes.
I have a couple other REALLY flavorful recipes with pickled veggies here:
Chickpea & Arugula Salad with pickled carrots
Lentil & Mushroom Salad with pickled cucumbers
Some helpful items for dishes like this
A tofu press makes removing excess water from the tofu package very easy, such as the below. Alternatively, you can simply wrap the tofu in kitchen towel and place a pan with a heavy can in it, to weigh it down. Either way, press your tofu for around 15 minutes and you’re good to go!
For the pickled vegetables, it’s really helpful to have glass jars to use for this purpose. You simply add the vegetables into the jar, and pour the pickling liquid over top (carefully!).
Marinated Tofu Bánh Mi
- 1 16 oz. block super firm or extra firm tofu drained and pressed
- 3 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp agave or maple syrup
- 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
Creamy Spicy Bánh Mi Sauce
- 1/2 cup vegan mayo
- 1.5 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1-2 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup finely sliced red cabbage
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 1 cup chopped or thinly sliced seedless cucumber
- Cilantro for serving
- 1/4 cup red onion for serving finely chopped
- 1 tbsp chiles minced (optional)
- Whisk together the tofu marinade ingredients in a shallow dish.
- Slice the tofu approx 1/2 inch thick triangles or squares, and place into the marinade. Spoon marinade over tofu, to ensure all the tofu is covered with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 to 60 minutes.
- Chop the red cabbage, shred the carrot, and chop the cucumber. Place vegetables into a glass jar(s).
- In a small saucepan, add all pickling liquid ingredients. Stir well and bring to a boil. Just as the liquid boils, remove from heat.
- Very carefully, pour the liquid over the vegetables. Let cool, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.
- Meanwhile, stir together the sauce ingredients.
- When tofu is done marinating, remove from liquid and saute in a skillet over medium heat with a bit of oil, approx 5 minutes per side. Watch the tofu carefully to not burn, but you want a nice browned cook.
- On your choice of bread, spread the creamy spicy banh mi sauce. Place tofu on top. Add pickled vegetables over the tofu. Add cilantro, red onion, and optional chile over top. Drizzle more sauce if desired.