Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi
Vietnamese food, in particular, makes regular appearances. A plant-based version of the classic Vietnamese sandwich. Our favorite vegetarian version has savory slices of lemongrass. Try this at home by following the ingredients and instructions below. I'm sure you will love it and make it again and again.
Servings 2 small sandwiches, with extra salad
pickled carrot & daikon salad
- 1 cup (120g) julienned carrot
- 1 cup (140g) julienned daikon radish
- 1 small jalapeño, sliced
- ½ cup (120ml) water
- ¼ cup (60ml) rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp agave syrup
- ¼ tsp salt
- one 14 oz (397g) block extra firm tofu, drained and pressed for at least 30 minutes (see How to Press Tofu)
- 4 lemongrass stalks, ends trimmed and outer leaves discarded, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp gluten-free tamari
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
- ½ cup (110g) vegan mayonnaise
- 1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced and pressed
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 1 long vegan baguette (or 2 large or 4 small vegan sandwich rolls; gluten-free if necessary), split horizontally
- 1 cup (160g) thinly sliced cucumber
- chopped fresh cilantro
- sliced jalapeño
- chopped green onions (green and white parts)
- A day prior to serving, make the salad: Combine the carrot and daikon with the jalapeño in a large jar or other airtight container. Stir together the water, vinegar, agave syrup, and salt in a large measuring cup. Pour the brine over the veggies and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Shake the container to fully mix everything together, then refrigerate for at least 1 day. It will keep for 2 weeks.
- To make the lemongrass tofu: Chop the tofu in half both ways, making four rectangles. Combine the lemongrass, garlic, water, tamari, lemon juice, maple syrup, sriracha, and liquid smoke in a blender. Blend until smooth. If necessary, add more water by the tablespoon to thin it into a sauce. Pour into an 8×8-inch (20×20cm) baking dish. Place the tofu rectangles in the baking dish and turn over so both sides are covered in the marinade. Let the tofu marinate for 20 minutes, flipping them once halfway through.
- While the tofu is marinating, make the aïoli: Combine all the ingredients in a small cup or bowl, stirring until well mixed.
- After the tofu has finished marinating, heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Add the tofu rectangles and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until each side has a crispy, golden exterior. Drizzle half of the leftover marinade into the pan and cook the tofu for 1 minute more, or until the liquid has been absorbed. Flip the tofu, add the remaining marinade, and cook until the liquid has been absorbed. Add the sesame seeds and toss until coated. Remove from the heat.
- Slice the rounded ends off the baguette, then cut it in half to make two large sandwiches or into four pieces for small sandwiches.
- To assemble each sandwich: Spread aïoli on the bottom half of the bread. Lay a few cucumber slices on the aïoli, then place tofu on top of the cucumber slices. (If you’re making two large sandwiches, use two pieces of tofu. If you’re making four small sandwiches, just use one piece per sandwich.) Top the tofu with some carrot and daikon salad, cilantro, jalapeño, and green onions. Serve immediately. To eat the sandwich later, store it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 hours. Leftover tofu will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.