Plant-based Banh Mi with Lemongrass Tofu Recipe!
When I took a bite of this Plant-based Banh Mi for the first time, it was full of impressions. I honestly didn’t think I could make as good Banh Mi as I used to have with crispy pork belly or grilled bbq chicken, but I was WRONG. Just a bit of creativity, research, and practice, I created a bomb diggity dot come to Banh Mi at home! I tried a few different proteins for Banh Mi, and so far, this lemongrass tofu is my absolute favorite. Mushrooms or tempeh will be great substitutes if you prefer, but seriously you must try this lemongrass tofu too!
I’ve been lucky enough to drive only 20 minutes to Vietnamese bakery for the light crispy Vietnamese baguette for the last 3 years but I understand this might not be an option for you. In that case, regular sandwich roll or ciabatta will be a great substitute for that airy light Vietnamese baguette. I made a very classy Bánh Mì that everyone knows but Bánh Mì is really something you can be creative and playful to make your own. Before we start, I highly recommend you to make my plant-based pâté for the ultimate homemade Bánh Mì.
This pâté recipe will knock your socks off!! It is so delicious, smooth and meaty that I actually LOVE this pâté much more than regular liver pâté. It is an amazing addition to your plant-based sandwiches and great pairing with your wine.
Alrighty, are we ready to start a Plant-based Banh Mi with lemongrass tofu recipe? Let’s get started!
Chop 1 large lemongrass finely (it’s approximately 4 tbsp). You can buy already chopped lemongrass from the frozen section if you prefer, but I like to chop them fresh to get the most fragrance out of them. Chop 1 Thai chili if you want a kick, but it is optional to your taste. Also chop or grate 2 cloves of garlic of course. I don’t think I can cook without garlic… periot 😂
Slice 12 oz extra firm tofu into 1/4” thick squares. I love extra firm tofu for the meaty texture and it’s also a lot easier to handle and marinate. For Banh Mi, firm or medium firm tofu was too mushy and I wasn’t in love with that texture. If you find fried tofu, it will also work! If you don’t consume soy, mushrooms or tempeh would be a great substitute as well.
Add tofu into the mixing bowl where all the aromatic vegetables at and add 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp msg (It’s optional guys, if you don’t want, just omit- no need to express your feeling about msg.), 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1 tbsp cooking oil (I’m using avocado oil as always! 🥑)
Mix well and let it marinate for 2 hours to overnight.
Heat a large skillet over medium to medium high heat and add 1 tbsp cooking oil and swirl to coat. Place lemongrass marinated tofu and cook until golden brown both sides, about 3 minutes each side. Lemongrass and chili are easy to burn to controlling your heat is the key! Remove from heat and set aside and keep it warm.
Preheat a oven 350°F.
Slice cucumbers, jalapeño or serrano and roughly chop cilantro. Warm baguettes in the preheated oven for 1 to 2 minutes.
Cut bread half in lengthwise, leaving one side connected. Spread garlic aioli or mayonnaise on bottom of bread and plant-based pâté on other side. Sprinkle some seasoning sauce to your taste. Place sliced cucumber, chili then lemongrass tofu.
again, I’m so lucky that I can drive only 20 minutes to local Vietnamese bakery for this amazingly light crispy Vietnamese baguettes but I understand this might not be an option for you. You can use regular sandwich roll or ciabatta will be a great substitute for that airy light Vietnamese baguette.
Add pickled carrot & radish, cilantro and fried shallot to your taste.
Drizzle some sriracha to your taste and it’s ready to eat!
For Lemongrass Tofu
- 12 oz extra firm tofu, sliced into 1/4” thick squares
- 1 large lemongrass, chopped (approximately 4 tbsp)
- 1 Thai chili, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp msg, optional
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp cooking oil divided half
For Banh Mi Sandwich
- 4 Vietnamese Baguettes or 8 to 9” sandwich roll or ciabatta
- Plant-based garlic aioli or mayonnaise (I like Follow Your Heart brand)
- Plant-based pate
- Seasoning sauce, Maggie sauce or aminos
- Cucumber slices (l like to use Persian or English cucumber)
- Serrano or jalapeno slices
- Pickled carrot & radish
- Fried shallot
- Combine all ingredients for lemongrass tofu except 1 tbsp cooking oil in a mixing bowl and marinate for 2 hours to overnight.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp cooking oil and swirl to coat. Place lemongrass marinated tofu and cook until golden brown both sides, about 3 minutes each side. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Warm baguettes in a 350°F preheated oven for 1 to 2 minutes. Cut bread half in lengthwise, leaving one side connected. Spread garlic aioli on bottom of bread and plant-based pate on other side. Sprinkle some seasoning sauce to your taste. Place sliced cucumber, chili then lemongrass tofu. Add pickled carrot & radish, cilantro and fried shallot to your taste. Drizzle some sriracha to your taste and it’s ready to eat! Enjoy!