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Grilled Tofu & Zucchini Banh Mi

Grilled Tofu & Zucchini Banh Mi


Grilled Tofu and Zucchini Banh Mi

If I have to label myself diet-wise, I would be an ovo-lacto-pescatarian. I'd rather not call myself that since it makes me sound like a tool but it's probably helpful to know where my recipes come from. I support those who chose not to eat meat for animal cruelty reasons and especially for environmental reasons (did you know that it takes 1800 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef!?) but I stopped eating meat a long, long time ago because I didn't like the taste of it. I try not to be judge-y about it, I feed my son meat and I'm told that the meat dishes I make are "not so bad". And as someone who REALLY loves food I am always willing to try something if you convince me that what you're eating is the best thing ever! Just so you know, Parma ham and procuitto did not sway me. I think Michael Pollen sums up my feelings on the subject perfectly: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." 

That being said, this recipe takes a classic Vietnamese sandwich, traditionally made with meat, and replaces it with a healthy-ish vegetable-heavy sandwich that's so fast and easy to make. The bread for a traditional banh mi contains rice flour and is supposed be to soft and airy. I like the French twist where we replace the soft, airy bread with crusty, toothsome baguette. I want a bread that will add texture and flavor to the meal and not just be a vehicle for the innards. The marinade is still a nod to the classic, meaning heavy on the fish sauce. And the rest of the elements of the sandwich are still there as well, vinegary carrot and daikon slaw, creamy mayo, crunchy cucumber and bright cilantro. This recipe is great for summer since everything can be made on the grill. You can also modify this recipe to include meat, just sub it in for the tofu and cook it longer (timing on meat is not my strong suit so that's up to you).

Servings 2 people


Quick-Pickled Carrots and Daikon

  • 2 large carrots julienned
  • 1/2 small daikon radish julienned
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Vegetables and Marinade

  • 4 1/4 inch slices extra firm tofu
  • 1 medium zucchini thinnly sliced lengthwise
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce divided
  • 2 tbsp hoisin
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 inch knob ginger finely grated
  • vegetable oil for grill

Bringing it Together

  • 3 tbsp good quality mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp sriracha
  • 1 really good baguette cut in half lengthwise and widthwise
  • 1 jalepeno thinly sliced
  • 16 slices English cucumber
  • 1/4 cup cliantro chopped


Quick-Pickled Carrots and Daikon

  1. In a small tupperware with a tight-fitting lid, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt. Microwave for 45 seconds just to dissolve the sugar. (Tip: microwaving vinegar is a great way to clean a dirty microwave). Add carrots and radish to the mixture and shake with the lid on. Set aside and shake every once in a while. 

Tofu and Zucchini

  1. In a wide tupperware or baking dish, mix together the fish sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, hoisin sauce, garlic and ginger. Lay tofu slices and zucchini in one layer, turning over so both sides are covered in marinade. Put in the fridge for 10-20 minutes, while prepping other ingredients. 

  2. Preheat the grill to med-high and brush grill grates liberally with vegetable oil. An easy way to do this is to dip a paper towel in oil and use tongs to brush the grates. 

  3. Grill tofu and zucchini over direct fire until charred in spots, about 6 minutes. Flip and cook another 6 minutes.

Bringing it Together

  1. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise and sriracha and set aside. 

  2. Over direct fire, grill the bread, cut-side down for 30 seconds-1 minute, until lightly toasted. 

  3. Brush one side of the bread with the remaining tablespoon of soy sauce and spread the sriracha mayo on the other side. 

  4. Layer tofu and zucchini on toasted baguette, followed by pickled carrot and daikon, jalepeno slices, cucumber and cilantro. Be warned, this is a messy sandwich!

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