This vegan tempeh bahn mi features quick-pickled onions and carrots, paper-thin cucumbers, and cilantro. Easy enough even for a weeknight!
Bahn mi – the traditional Vietnamese baguette sandwich – is one of the world’s most genius culinary creations. It’s right up there with pizza, burritos, and cheeseburgers. The sandwich contains all the flavors and textures you could possibly want in a handheld, compact format: slow-roasted meat stuffed into a mayo-slathered crusty baguette with crunchy pickled vegetables and grassy cilantro. As far as sandwiches go, it’s pretty epic.
Meet the Tempeh Bahn Mi
This vegan bahn mi utilizes tempeh instead of the traditional roast pork. If you’re not familiar, tempeh is a fermented soybean product – think of it as tofu’s nearest cousin. Whereas tofu is made by blending, straining, and curdling soybeans into a smooth, spongy block, tempeh is made by fermenting whole soybeans that naturally bind together into a cake-like form.
As a result, tempeh is firmer and earthier-tasting than tofu, which – in my opinion – makes it a better substitute for meat. Tempeh is also considered a whole food, while tofu is not.
For this sandwich, the tempeh is cut into thin slices, quickly seared in a skillet, and coated in a hoisin-based glaze.
What really brings this tempeh bahn mi to life are the quick-pickled onions and carrots. Quick-pickling vegetables is way easier than it sounds – you just make a simple brine, add your veg, and let them marinate.
These bahn mi sandwiches are simple to make, incredibly delicious, and satisfying. Add them to your weeknight dinner repertoire!
This vegan tempeh bahn mi features quick pickled onions and carrots, paper-thin cucumbers, and cilantro. Simple enough even for a weeknight!
For the pickled vegetables
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
For the tempeh and assembly
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons filtered water
- 1 medium garlic clove, crushed or finely minced
- 1” knob of ginger, peeled and finely minced
- Canola or other neutral-tasting oil, for frying
- One 8-ounce package of tempeh, cut into 1/3“-thick strips
- 1 baguette, cut into 4 pieces, halved lengthwise, and toasted
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 Persian cucumbers, shaved into ribbons or thinly sliced
- 2 generous handfuls of cilantro
- Start by pickling the vegetables: In a medium shallow dish, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt; whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Toss in the carrots and onion, making sure the vegetables are fully submerged. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes. (Pickled veg will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.)
- In a small bowl, stir together the hoisin sauce, water, garlic, and ginger; set aside.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom. Add the tempeh strips in a single layer and cook until browned, 2-3 minutes, then flip to brown the other side for another 2 minutes. Pour in the hoisin mixture and shake the pan to make sure all tempeh is evenly coated, turning over the tempeh strips if needed.
- To serve the sandwiches, spread 1 tablespoon of mayo on each quarter of the baguette. Top with 4-5 tempeh strips, pickled vegetables, cucumber, and cilantro.
- Serving Size: 1 sandwich
- Calories: 440
- Carbohydrates: 52.9 g
- Fiber: 1.6 g
- Protein: 16.8 g
Keywords: quick pickled, red onion, tempeh, vegan, bahn mi