Vegan Banh Mi Sandwich

There is a vegan bakery in Melbourne that is known as a vegan institution, it is called “La Penella” and if you are ever in Melbourne Town, check it out, it is exceptional.

The reason why I am telling you this is, I have always wanted to try a Banh Mi sandwich and back in the dark days (of being carnivore) I never got round to it. La Panella do incredible seitan mock meats and their version of the Vietnamese sandwich is incredible. The thing that really got me excited was the pickled veg and the freshness, the coriander added. Normally I say customise away but here, I say don’t at all. You need the pickled veg and you need the coriander.

I wanted to do a healthier version than seitan though, so I created a marinaded tofu version that I would like to share with you.

This is going to be a weekly thing on a Saturday afternoon round my way,  I think.


Banh Mi 3

Serves 4


  • 1 french baguette
  • vegan mayonnaise, I recommend ‘Vegenaise’ if you can get it
  • Sliced jalapenos
  • Coriander
The Tofu
  • 500g firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil to fry
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil for the marinade
  • 4 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • Thumb sized piece ginger, finely chopped
  • Cracked black pepper
Pickled Veg
  • ¼ green cabbage, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled using a speed peeler or thinly sliced/julienned
  • 1 lebanese cucumber, halved, deseeded and julienned
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Banh Mi 2

Cook it:

  1. Start by pressing the tofu for around 20 minutes in paper towel. This step is essential. Once pressed, cut in half lengthways and then do the same to both pieces you are left with. Then quarter each piece into rectangles. You should end up with 16 little rectangles, all the same size
  2. Mix 2 tablespoons olive oil, tamari, lime juice, hot water, garlic, ginger and pepper in a bowl and mix. Lay the tofu in a large enough pan/container to be able to lay the tofu down in a single layer. If you do not have one large enough, use 2
  3. Make sure every mm of tofu is covered in marinade and leave for at least an hour. The longer you leave it, the better so if you can marinade it for 24 hours, do so
  4. In a mixing bowl, throw in the carrot, carrot and cucumber and then add every other ingredient. Push everything down so that all the veg is coated in liquid. If you need more liquid, add a little more water. Cover and refrigerate until ready. You want to do this AT LEAST 30 minutes in advance
  5. When everything is marinaded and chilled, heat a frying pan over a medium/high heat and add the remaining oil. Fry for 4 minutes either side or until darkened, gnarly and amazing
  6. To serve, cut the baguette into lengths a little longer than the tofu and halve. Put a generous amount of mayo on each side and spoon over a good portion of the pickled veg. Onto one side, lay a piece of tofu, some jalapenos and coriander and then carefully place the other piece on top
  7. Get it into ya!!!

Recommended Tunes:

david bowie - a reality tour
David Bowie “A Reality Tour”

I recently purchased this on boxset vinyl for my mate Jimbo’s birthday with my fellow M5 crew(hello Jimbo – you look like Rylan!), it is a live gig of Bowie’s final ever tour. I actually went to the Wembley date of this tour, only finding out 30 minutes beforehand that I was. The recorded concert here is Dublin and not the gig I attended, but it was close enough to get the feel and fill me with nostalgia.

I wasn’t actually a Bowie fan going into that gig. I came away from it an obsessive.

Get this into your ear holes.

Listen – but do yourself a favour and buy it on vinyl!!

8 thoughts on “Vegan Banh Mi Sandwich

  1. Ah that’s a shame you didn’t get around to eating it back in your carnivore days! I’m of Vietnamese descent so yeah, it’s a pretty common lunch food and it’s surprising when a non-vietnamese person likes it…. I pretty much make it for people on the weekend at the bakery I work at. I

    Traditional style in re: to veggies is pickled carrot, fresh cucumber, spring onion and coriander, a squirt of soy sauce and small bits of birdseye chilli. It’s not a banh mi without pate and vietnamese mayo though (but they’re obviously not vegan). So vegan mayo is a good substitute, though what happened to the vegan pate! 🙂

    Glad you have an appreciation for pickled carrots and coriander though!


    1. Haha, thanks for the lengthy post. To be totally honest, I was basing this pretty much purely on the vegan versions I have eaten or seen in event months. The validity and authenticity was always going to be in question, but, I am actually quite happy because it sounds as though I wasn’t TOO are off! LOL. Vegan pate hey? Looks like I am going to have to make a banh mi V2! 🙂


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