If you’re familiar with bánh mì, you know it’s typically in sandwich form, but it’s hot out and I’ve been feeling something a little lighter, so I went rogue and created a deconstructed bánh mì SALAD for you all!
Instead of adding meat to this bánh mì salad, I went with my never-fail crispy tofu as a protein option. Crispy tofu along with healthy greens makes for tasty, fresh vibes all around so prepare yourself for some serious goodness.
And while that nice bed of lettuce makes this overall healthier than a typical bánh mì sandwich, you’ll notice I’ve still got a mayo-based dressing and some bread going on here. That’s because the dressing and bread help absorb and temper the spicy jalapeño and acidic pickled veggies you’ll find in this recipe. It’s all about balance, baby!
Keep reading to get your deconstructed bánh mì salad on.
Tofu Banh Mi Salad
This Tofu Bánh Mì Salad is basically a deconstructed banh mi sandwich made vegan - crispy tofu, pickled veggies, spicy mayo, lettuce plus all the fixins.
Quick Pickle Ingredients
- 3-4 large carrots, julienned
- 4-5 radishes, sliced thin
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp turbinado or coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 1 tsp coriander seeds (optional)
Spicy Mayo Dressing Ingredients
- 1/4 cup avocado oil mayo (sub vegan mayo)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 3 tsp garlic chili sauce (sub sriracha)
- 1 block Never Fail Crispy Tofu
- 1 head butter lettuce
- 1 jalapeno, sliced thin
- 2 small cucumbers, sliced thin
- 1/4 red onion, sliced thin
- 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1/2 baguette, sliced
Add the carrots and radishes to a 12 or 16 ounce glass jar. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine water, vinegars, salt, sugar, and coriander. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, remove from heat and pour the brine over the veggies. Make sure they are fully covered. Cool, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving.
In a small bowl mix together spicy mayo ingredients until well mixed.
Begin to assemble salad. Divide lettuce, jalapenos, cucumbers, red onion, cilantro, and baguette slices between 4 bowls. Top each bowl with Never Fail Crispy Tofu, pickled carrots and radishes, and spicy mayo dressing.
What’s a bánh mì?
Bánh mì is actually just the Vietnamese word for bread (typically referring to a baguette style loaf), but you’ll find that most of the time when you hear bánh mì, it’s referring to the Vietnamese style of sandwich.
These are some of my FAVORITE sandwiches because along with that yummy baguette and protein-of-choice (most traditionally something pork-based), you’ll find TONS of herbs and veggies that really brighten it up. What you’ll also find sometimes is some not-so-Vietnamese style condiments like mayo and paté. That’s because the bánh mì sandwich became popular when Vietnam was part of French Indochina—hence the baguette as well.
The most common herb/veggie ingredients found on bánh mì are:
- pickled carrot
- pickled cucumber
- pickled daikon radish
Put together all that acidic, savory, and creamy and what do you have? A delicious bánh mì sandwich. Mix it up with some delicious lettuce and crispy tofu, and ta-dah! Deconstructed bánh mì salad. Still can’t get enough of these flavor profiles? Check out Minimalist Baker’s bánh mì spring rolls for an appetizer take on the dish.
Quick Pickle 101
So yes, you can pickle veggies like a million years in advance and they basically won’t go bad and whatever, but how often are we REALLY planning ahead like that? Heck, food is my LIFE and I don’t have pickled veggies at the ready.
Not to worry, my procrastinating picklers, because I am the master of the quick pickle and I am willing to show you my ways.
Quick Pickling Basics
- Slice your preferred veggies and set them aside in a jar
- Combine 1 part water, 1 part vinegar (any type!), 2-4 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp salt, and spices (optional) in a saucepan
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring along the way
- Once boiling, pour the mixture into your jar of veggies
Make sure those veggies are fully drowning in brine, then cool and refrigerate for at LEAST 20 minutes (although a full hour is only gonna make them even better). You can check out my sweet turmeric pickles linked above or for more quick pickling, check out the shallots on this avocado toast salad.
Alright my bánh mì babies. Can’t wait to hear how it goes. xo.