Vegan Bánh Mì

Learn how to make vegan bánh mi, a delicious Vietnamese sandwich filled with tofu, pickled carrots, and a creamy mayo-based sauce. Enjoy it for lunch or dinner whenever you’re craving a fresh and savory meal.

Kirsten Nunez, MS

By Kirsten Nunez, MS

4 Ratings

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Vegan bánh mì filled with marinated tofu, pickled veggies, and fresh cilantro.
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

A bánh mì is a savory sandwich that’s traditionally served in Vietnam. It’s typically made with a baguette and filled with pickled vegetables, cilantro, and meat — but you can easily make it vegan by using tofu.

The trick is to marinate extra-firm tofu in a mixture of soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, and ginger. From there, cook the tofu until browned and slightly crispy, then layer it with other bánh mì ingredients for a flavorful meal.

And while this vegan bánh mì recipe tastes great on its own, you can serve it with various side dishes to make it a meal. Personally, we’re big fans of pairing this sandwich with simple green salads, spring rolls, and fresh fruit such as mango.

Key Ingredients

Vegan bánh mì ingredients: small baguette, thinly sliced cucumbers and carrots, thinly sliced tofu, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sriracha, fresh ginger, hoisin sauce, maple syrup, spices, and fresh cilantro.
Photo: Kirsten Nunez
  • Bread. Bánh mì is traditionally made with short baguettes. If you’re unable to find short baguettes, you can use similar loaves such as hoagie rolls.
  • Tofu. This is the main filling of this sandwich. Be sure to use extra-firm tofu and press out the liquid before using it.
  • Carrots. Thinly sliced carrots are a staple in bánh mì sandwiches. They’re meant to be quick pickled in rice vinegar, though you can use white vinegar as well.
  • Cucumbers. Like carrots, thinly sliced cucumbers are a classic bánh mì filling. Cucumbers add a delightful crunch and freshness to the sandwich.
  • Cilantro. Cilantro is another traditional ingredient, but you can skip it if you don’t like the herb.

How to Make Vegan Bánh Mì

This vegan bánh mì is easy to make at home. As with most sandwiches, you’re welcome to adjust the fillings based on your taste buds and dietary preferences. For the ingredients and step-by-step instructions, check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

1. Add all of the marinade ingredients to a container and whisk well. Add the sliced tofu, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Be sure to occasionally rearrange the pieces to ensure each one absorbs the marinade.

Thinly sliced tofu marinating in a glass dish for vegan bánh mì.
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

2. While the tofu is marinating, whisk the vinegar and sugar together. Add the carrots and cucumbers. Toss well, cover, and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

Pickled carrots and cucumbers for vegan bánh mì.
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

3. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, hoisin sauce, and sriracha. Taste and adjust the ingredients as needed. Cover and place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat.

Hoisin sriracha mayonnaise sauce for vegan bánh mì.
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

4. When the tofu is done marinating, warm oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Cook to the tofu until dark brown, about 5 minutes each side.

Cooking tofu for vegan bánh mì in a skillet until crispy.
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

5. To construct the sandwich, slice the bread and spread 1/2 tablespoon of sauce on one side. Layer 2-4 pieces of tofu, pickled vegetables, and fresh cilantro. For an extra kick, add sliced jalapenos.

Vegan bánh mì filled with marinated tofu, pickled veggies, and fresh cilantro.
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Recipe Tips, Variations, and Substitutions

  • Layer plant-based deli meat. Not a fan of tofu? Go for your favorite plant-based deli meat.
  • Try it with tempeh. Instead of tofu, try making this sandwich with tempeh.
  • Use different types of vinegar. You can substitute rice vinegar with white vinegar, if needed.
  • Toss in radish. In addition to carrots and cucumbers, pickled daikon radish is another traditional bánh mì ingredient. However, it might be difficult to find, depending on your location. You may be able to find it at a health market or specialty Asian grocery store.
  • Use parsley. If you don’t like cilantro, try using parsley instead. You can also skip the fresh herbs completely.
  • Add heat. For a spicier sandwich, add fresh jalapenos and more sriracha to your sauce.

How to Store Leftovers

Like most sandwiches, this vegan bánh mì will get soggy if you store it in the refrigerator. So, if you have leftovers, be sure to refrigerate the fillings in separate containers. Avoid combining the ingredients until you’re ready to make another sandwich.

Serving Suggestions

Vegan bánh mì on a white plate

Vegan Bánh Mì

Learn how to make vegan bánh mi, a delicious Vietnamese sandwich filled with tofu, pickled carrots, and a creamy mayo-based sauce. Enjoy for lunch or dinner whenever you’re craving a fresh and savory meal.
Click stars below to rate, or leave a full review in the comments
4 Ratings
Print Rate it Now Pin Recipe
Course: Dinner, lunch
Cuisine: Asian
Diet: Vegan
Keyword: best vegan chili recipe, vegan banh mi, vegan sandwich, vegan vietnamese food
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 249kcal
Author: Kirsten Nunez, MS

Ingredients

Tofu

Pickled Vegetables

  • ½ large cucumber deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar

Hoisin Mayo Dressing

Instructions

  • Add all of the tofu marinade ingredients to a container. Whisk well. Add the sliced tofu, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Rearrange the pieces every so often ensure each one absorbs the marinade.
  • While the tofu is marinating, toss the carrots and cucumber with vinegar. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, hoisin sauce, and sriracha. Taste and adjust the ingredients as needed. Cover and place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to prepare the sandwich.
  • When the tofu is done marinating, warm oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Cook to the tofu until browned, about 5 minutes each side.
  • To construct the sandwich, slice the bread and spread 1/2 tablespoon of sauce on one side. Layer 2-4 pieces of tofu, pickled vegetables, and fresh cilantro. For an extra kick, add sliced jalapenos.

Notes

    • If you’re not a fan of tofu, use cooked tempeh or your favorite plant-based deli meat.
    • You can substitute rice vinegar with white vinegar, if needed.
    • In addition to carrots and cucumbers, pickled daikon radish is another traditional bánh mì ingredient. However, it might be difficult to find, depending on your location. You may be able to find it at a health market or specialty Asian grocery store.
    • If you don’t like cilantro, try using parsley instead or skip the fresh herbs completely.
    • For a spicier sandwich, add fresh sliced jalapenos and more sriracha to your sauce.
    • This recipes will make 2 to 4 sandwiches, depending on much you fill each one.
    • You will likely have some sauce leftover.
    •  

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    Nutrition

    Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 0.4mg | Sodium: 930mg | Potassium: 363mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 2579IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 2mg
    Tried this recipe?Mention @CleanGreenSimple or tag #CleanGreenSimple!
    Kirsten Nunez

    About the Author

    Kirsten Nunez is a journalist who focuses on healthy food and cooking. Her vegan and plant-based recipes have appeared on VegNews, eHow, Shape, and more. When she’s not creating and photographing vegan recipes for Clean Green Simple, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen and sharing plant-based meals with friends and family. More articles by Kirsten.

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