Banh Mi Sandwich

Instead of stuffing this banh mi sandwich with meat, I fill it with zesty marinated tofu. Pickled veggies and cilantro leaves take it over the top.

banh mi sandwich

When I lived in Austin, I got a tofu banh mi sandwich from two different Vietnamese restaurants as often as I could. Stuffed with sweet and tangy pickles, herbs, creamy mayo, and more, the sandwiches were hearty and comforting, but still refreshing. My mouth is watering just thinking about them! Since we’ve moved, I’m still searching for a great banh mi in Chicago (let me know if any of you have suggestions!). Until I find one, I’ll be making this yummy banh mi recipe to curb my cravings at home.

Banh mi recipe ingredients

What is banh mi?

Banh mi sandwiches are a Vietnamese street food that originated in Saigon. Served on soft French baguettes, they’re a delicious hybrid of French and Vietnamese cuisine. Typically, they contain pickled carrots, daikon, chiles, cucumber slices, cilantro, mayo, and a protein. Popular proteins include marinated pork, chicken, and paté, but I use tofu in this recipe to make it vegetarian.

Thinly sliced carrot and daikon on a plate

Banh Mi Sandwich Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:

  • Baguette – Look for soft baguette with a lightly crisp exterior. If it’s too chewy or crusty, the fillings will squish out of the sandwich!
  • Seared marinated tofu – The “meat” of this sandwich. I marinate firm tofu in a blend of tamari or soy sauce, lime juice and zest, garlic, ginger, and black pepper. It’s super savory and bright. Yum!
  • Pickled vegetables – These guys are key for giving a banh mi its signature sweet and tangy flavor. I pickle a combination of carrots, cucumber, jalapeño, and daikon in white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, salt, and sugar. If you can’t find daikon, red radishes taste great here too. And if you’re sensitive to spice, go easy on the jalapeño.
  • Spicy mayo – A banh mi essential! This sauce, made from mayo, sriracha, lime juice, and sesame oil, adds delicious richness and heat to this fresh sandwich. To make this recipe vegan, substitute your favorite store bought vegan mayo, or make your own.
  • Cilantro – The perfect fresh finishing touch!

After the tofu marinates, heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and sear the tofu on both sides. When it’s golden brown and caramelized, stuff it into the baguette with the pickled veggies, cilantro, and a slather of spicy mayo. Enjoy!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Banh mi pickled vegetables in a jar

Banh Mi Recipe Tips

  • Plan ahead. For the best sweet and tangy flavor, you need to make the pickles ahead of time. They’ll taste good after an hour in the fridge, but they get better by the day. If you can, prep them a day or two before you make this recipe!
  • Press your tofu. This simple, hands-off step only takes an extra 20 to 30 minutes, and it will give your tofu an amazing chewy texture! I love the Tofuture Tofu Press, which is easy to use and captures the excess water from the tofu, making cleanup a breeze. You can get it on Amazon for $25.95. Want to look at some other options? Check out my guide to the best tofu presses!
  • Don’t let the pickled veggies go to waste! You’ll likely end up with leftover pickles from making this recipe. Store them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Make more sandwiches later on, or pile them onto rice bowls, top them onto avocado toast, or stuff them into spring rolls!
  • Change it up. This vegetarian banh mi recipe is fantastic as written, but feel free to play with it. Avocado and sautéed shiitake mushrooms would both be excellent here, as would extra cucumber slices. Let me know what variations you try!

tofu banh mi recipe

More Favorite Tofu Recipes

If you love this tofu banh mi sandwich, check out this post for my best tofu-cooking tips! Then, try one of these delicious tofu recipes next:

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Banh Mi Sandwich

rate this recipe:
4.98 from 130 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves 4
This yummy banh mi recipe is a vegetarian version of the popular Vietnamese sandwich. I stuff it with seared tofu, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumbers, jalapeños, and more!


Pickled Veggies:

  • 1 small daikon radish, sliced into matchsticks
  • 2 small carrots, sliced into matchsticks
  • ½ small cucumber, seeded and sliced into matchsticks
  • ½ jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
  • cup rice vinegar, plus more as needed
  • cup water, plus more as needed
  • Cane sugar
  • Sea salt

Tofu Marinade:


  • Make the pickles ahead: Place the daikon, carrots, cucumbers, and jalapeños in a medium jar with the vinegar and water and pinches of sugar and salt. If the liquids don’t cover the veggies, add more water and vinegar if necessary. Let chill for at least an hour, or store in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Drain the tofu and slice it into ½-inch slices. Place it on a towel and gently pat dry to remove excess water.
  • Make the marinade: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, tamari, lime juice and zest, garlic, ginger, and pepper.
  • Place the tofu in a shallow pan and pour the marinade on top. Flip the tofu to fully coat it, adding more tamari if necessary. Let the tofu marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  • Heat a nonstick skillet to medium-high heat. Add a little oil to the pan and place the tofu pieces with enough space between each so that they’re not too crowded, working in batches if necessary. Without moving the tofu slices around too much, let them cook for a few minutes per side until they’re deeply golden brown and caramelized around the edges. Remove from heat and season to taste.
  • Assemble sandwiches on the baguette with the spicy mayo, tofu slices, pickled veggies, and cilantro.


For seared tofu, I like to use West Soy Extra Firm Tofu. I find it to be a bit less watery (and easier to work with) than other brands of firm tofu.
For the pickled veggies: if you can't find daikon, use a few red radishes or just skip it. If you're sensitive to spice, go light on the jalapeños.



4.98 from 130 votes (87 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Marilyn

    I am in the process of making this right now. There was not nearly enough marinade. Are the amounts correct? When I poured it on, it got absorbed by the tofu in a few places.

    • Marilyn

      4 stars
      It still came out fine and cooked up . Delicious! 💛. I did dump on a little more soy and olive oil.

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        I’m glad you enjoyed them!

  2. Michelle

    5 stars
    This was delicious! My husband is really excited to have this for leftovers. I served it with a Charred corn salad from Rainbow Plant Life. I will definitely be keeping this is the rotation. The flavors are amazing!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Michelle

    If you ever come up to Milwaukee, Cloud Red in Shorewood has an amazing vegan tofu banh mi. Looking for a sauce recipe like theirs is what brought me to your website!

  4. Andrea

    Made this today- ate without baguette.. was a test run for my sisters baby shower this weekend.. it’s our favorite and this easy recipe was a godsend THANK YOU I will be making this again and again!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  5. Leslie Ross

    If you ever get to Davenport Iowa, Miss Phay bistro On Brady Street, has a ridiculously delicious tofu bánh mì sandwich!

  6. Erika

    I was never much of a cook but I decided to start trying during Covid. There is no Vietnamese food near me and my boyfriend was craving a banh mi. So I started googling and found your recipe. So easy to make and so delicious. My boyfriend even told me to write it down in case it somehow disappears online 😂🥰 Thank you for sharing!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Ha, I’m so glad you both loved the recipe!

  7. Rhi

    I am making this recipe tonight, but I do live in Austin and was wondering which 2 restaurants inspired you, so I could try them out. Thanks

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Elizabeth Street (although I think it’s not as good as it used to be!) and a truck called Lulu B’s that isn’t there anymore :/

      My favorite Vietnamese in town, currently, is Saigon Le Vendeur on East 7th – get the lemongrass tofu bowl and ask for extra sauce.

      • Heidi

        I loved Lulu B’s lemongrass tofu bahn mi when I lived in Austin too! And Elizabeth Street…..but I liked Lulu B’s slightly more!

        • Jeanine Donofrio

          I did too 🙂

    • Kristi

      I just had Mushroom
      bahn mi at the Beetle in Ukrainian village if you are near that area. I thought it was spectacular. Chicago ave and western. I jumped online to find a recipe and yours is the first one that popped up. So I will give it a try

  8. Maddie

    3 stars
    This recipe was good, and I’m definitely going to make more pickled veggies for various things in the future! However, the heavy amount of oil and vinegar in the recipe just didn’t sit well in my stomach. I think with a few substitutions this will be really tasty.

    • susan

      you could just baked the tofu for 25 min, at 400 degrees…instead of panfry….

  9. Elly

    5 stars
    Thanks so much for this amazing recipe – it’s a total flavour bomb!

  10. Krista

    5 stars
    So delicious! Highly recommend. My hubby who loves all Vietnamese food was thrilled.

  11. Silvia

    5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe twice now, and they are so good. I’ve never made tofu that tasted this amazing, and all the flavors together… so delicious. Thank you!

  12. Sarah

    5 stars
    These sandwiches amazing. We’re not even vegetarians and our whole family loves them. The pickled veggies are also good served with rice and a protein. Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad these were a hit!

  13. dsigma_domega

    5 stars
    I can’t stop won’t stop making this. It’s so good. Can’t get enough. I made way more veggies than recommended. At some point, I’m not sure when, you can stop adding vinegars and just add water. I did about half water half vinegar, but I made enough pickled veggies for like 15 sandwiches.

  14. Cyrus

    5 stars
    This recipe kicks ass. I eat it every day. 5/6

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  15. mary

    5 stars
    Just looked this up again for the 5th time! I’ve been making it non stop.. keeping the pickled veggies on hand. LOVE THIS ONE! thanks

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you’ve loved it!

  16. Jen

    If you still live in Chicago, Bon Bon Sandwiches in Wicker Park has an amazing vegan classic banh mi. It has all the elements of a traditional banh mi veganized — Vietnamese ham, mushroom-walnut pâté, mayo, picked daikon and radish, etc.

  17. Maddy

    5 stars
    This recipe is BOMB. We absolutely loved it! There are so many bright and fresh flavors and I want to just keep a rotating jar of the pickles so that I can eat them all the time. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

  18. Julie

    5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe twice now, and I gotta say, I love it. It’s SO good. I skip the jalapenos because I don’t like cutting them, but it’s spot on. I used store bought vegan mayo and prepped everything ahead of time. Pre-match-sticked carrots are soooo convenient, and I threw the sliced pre-drained tofu in a bag to marinate in the fridge until it was time to eat. Heat up the skillet, add oil, add in the tofu, and while it’s cooking, assemble the sandwiches. SUCH a good prep-ahead recipe if you’re like me and have a ton of energy all day but then drop at dinner time and need something fast.

  19. LS

    Pho Phu Linh 4741 Main St, Skokie, IL 60076 just east of Evanston has a great vegan banh mi

  20. Paul G

    5 stars
    For me, any recipe that uses cilantro is a good recipe. Pair that with pickled veggies and you just took it to another level.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.