Deconstructed sandwich hits all the flavor notes
By Lori Marrie
My husband Tom is a pro at repurposing leftovers, piling them between slices of bread to create a portable and spill-proof sandwich – most of the time. (He’s confessed to stuffing cold spaghetti, tomato sauce and veggie “meatballs” into a roll).
This dish draws inspiration from one of our favorite sandwiches, the banh mi, a classic in Vietnamese cuisine. Its combination of textures and layers of fresh vegetables and herbs burst with an addicting mix of sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavors. The traditional banh mi is made on a crunchy but airy French baguette. My plated dish trades simple carbs for complex, with chewy and hearty short grain brown rice subbing for bread. I layer this with thick slices of tofu, the perfect plant-based protein to soak up the ginger, garlic and soy marinade. To finish I top the tofu with a vibrant combo of matchstick-sized pickled carrots, radishes and cucumbers. The traditional banh mi is crafted with daikon, but any variety of radishes will suffice. Sriracha mayo and thinly sliced jalapeno peppers, sprigs of cilantro and mint give this dish freshness and heat. A side of crisp-tender heads of baby bok choy simmered in the remaining tofu marinade completes the dish.
Don’t expect leftovers, but just in case… make a banh mi sandwich.
Tofu banh mi
Vegan, Serves 4
1 large carrot, peeled
½ English cucumber
3 large radishes
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons agave or other sweetener
½ teaspoon salt
Tofu and baby bok choy
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
8 ounces extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into ¼” slices
1 teaspoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 heads baby bok choy, ends trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons vegan mayo
1 ½ teaspoons sriracha sauce
Rice vinegar as needed to thin sauce
2 cups cooked short grain brown rice
Sprigs of fresh cilantro and mint
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
Cut the carrot, cucumber and radishes into matchstick sized pieces. In a medium bowl whisk the vinegar, agave and salt. Add the vegetables and set aside, mixing twice while preparing the tofu and sriracha mayo.
In a small bowl combine the mayo and sriracha. If you like a thinner sauce, add rice vinegar until desired consistency.
In a shallow dish, combine garlic, ginger, tamari and sesame oil. Place tofu slices in dish, flip once and set aside for at least 15 minutes.
Heat grapeseed oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove tofu slices from marinade, reserving remaining liquid. Fry tofu on both sides until browned. Remove to a serving dish.
Add bok choy to the same skillet and sear on both sides. Pour remaining marinade on top, cover and simmer 5 minutes until crisp tender.
To plate, place scoops of rice on each dish then layer with tofu and baby bok choy. Spoon sriracha mayo over the tofu and top with pickled vegetables, sprigs of cilantro, mint and jalapeno peppers.