Behind The Butter/ Recipes

tofu banh mi

So, just when I thought my “flu” was over, it turned into mega-head cold 2012 and is currently rocking my socks off still. You know those viruses that seem to move from body part to body part, attacking each one as they go? Yeah, me too. How’s the weather? I haven’t left my house in days. However, I feel like today is going to be my lucky day because today, friends, marks the return of Private Practice and Grey’s Anatomy. It’s a good sign, don’t you think?

Anyhoo, I gathered all the hand sanitizer, zinc and emergen-c immune support around me and then made these sandwiches.

You see, there comes a point when you just can’t stomach another spoonful of chicken soup (no matter how good it is!) and need some bread and homemade fig newtons in your sick life. And that’s where I’m at.

Banh Mi is a type of Vietnamese sandwich that’s typically made with pork and covered with cilantro, red onion, mayonnaise and, my favorite, sriracha sauce. Apparently they are all the rage! And by all the rage, I mean I spotted a hip new banh mi “cafe” in downtown San Francisco. Believe it.

My version uses tofu and is just as delicious—even if you are a self proclaimed tofu hater (the horror!). The secret is using extra firm tofu then baking it with a variety of oils and spices. The texture changes from “ew tofu!” to “hmmm I kinda like this thing”.

You’ll see.

After the tofu is baked and is crispy and delicious, it’s nestled on chewy French bread with all the fixins’.

Extra sriracha for me, please!! I adore that stuff.

It’s nothing fancy, but the flavors work so perfectly that this will be a sandwich you’ll crave time and time again. Especially with a drizzle of sweet chili sauce! It’s spicy, sweet and refreshing (cucumber!) all at the same time. Genius. Pure genius.

And you say you don’t like tofu………hah.

Tofu Banh Mi

makes enough for 6 sandwiches

Print this recipe!


for tofu—

1 lb extra firm tofu

2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp ground ginger

pinch red pepper flakes

pinch of sea salt

for sandwich assembly—

3 large French baguettes or small personal sized baguettes

broccoli slaw

thinly sliced red onion

fresh cilantro, torn

2 cucumbers, thinly sliced lengthwise

sriracha sauce


sweet chili sauce


Preheat oven to 400 degrees and cover a sheet tray with tin foil sprayed with cooking spray.

In a large dish, whisk together the tamari, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, salt, red pepper flakes and maple syrup. Slice tofu into thin (1/4th inch) slices and drench in sauce. Lay each piece of tofu flat on the tin foil then bake for 30 minutes, flipping each slice midway through.

After tofu has been baked, prepare sandwiches. Slice baguettes and smear half lightly with mayonnaise. Lay two slices of tofu on top of mayonnaise covered bread, then squirt sriracha sauce directly on tofu, followed by a little sweet chili sauce. Layer on torn cilantro, broccoli slaw, thin slices of onion and cucumber, followed by another squirt of sriracha (depending on how spicy you like it!).

Serve sandwiches with additional sweet chili sauce and/or sriracha sauce on the side.


45 minutes


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  • Emily @ The Finicky Farmer
    January 5, 2012 at 3:41 am

    As a self-proclaimed tofu hater (well, I dislike it), this looks ah-mazing! Jenna, I’m pretty sure that you could inspire me to consume brussels sprouts with the same fervor I reserve for chocolate.

    Also, feel better soon.

  • Erika - The Teenage Taste
    January 5, 2012 at 3:59 am

    Aw, sorry to hear about mega-head cold 2012! At least it’s not keeping you from enjoying this delicious food, though! Get well soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    January 5, 2012 at 4:56 am

    The horror = me.

    I just haven’t met the right tofu, maybe?

  • Cait's Plate
    January 5, 2012 at 4:59 am

    Ugh, I hear you on the “flu” thing – I’m struggling with it myself. I haven’t been brave enough to attempt baking anything for fear that I’d bake all my germs right in, but perhaps I’ll do as you did, load up on the anti-bacterial/preventative stuff and have at it ๐Ÿ™‚

    First I just need to focus on feeling like I’m not floating off the ground every time I stand up!

    Hope you feel better soon – that sandwich is definitely one way to help you move in that direction!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    January 5, 2012 at 5:09 am

    I love tofu and totally want this for lunch today! I hear you on the head cold… I’m off sick today with a head that feels like it’s the size of a hot air balloon. Maybe a little sriracha is needed to clear the sinuses?!

  • Kellie @ Blackboard Kitchen
    January 5, 2012 at 5:15 am

    I was ready to just scroll right through this post when I saw the title, but then I slowed down. And now I am thinking that I really must make these. Asap. Tofu is scary, but every time I make it, I like it. But somehow I forget that in between times. I think these sandwiches will remind me that I like it again!

  • imperfect
    January 5, 2012 at 5:17 am

    Baguette = win.

    Ah, I’m still carrying out extreme holiday indulgences. My excessiveness on chocolate, bread, and food in general is really getting out of hand. I keep going and going and rising to start all over again. One thing is for sure: life is a process, not just one immediate change.

  • Amanda
    January 5, 2012 at 5:19 am

    I love the flavor combinations in this! Baked tofu with a simple marinade (I like maple syrup, olive oil, crushed garlic, and a little cayenne) is probably my favorite way to prepare tofu. The texture is perfectly crispy and chewy.

  • Jenni
    January 5, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Is Sricha really spicy? I found it in a bulk store but read that it’s spicy chili sauce. Not really a spicy girl, more ketchup ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Do you take any multivitamins or products to ward off colds?

  • Lisa
    January 5, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Do you get sriracha sauce at a health food store? I can’t find it at my local grocer.

  • Janna
    January 5, 2012 at 5:35 am

    This looks so good. I work right next to Chinatown in Philly and there certainly is no shortage of these places around…yours looks just as good as a restaurant version if not fresher!

  • Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy
    January 5, 2012 at 5:42 am

    These sandwiches look delicious! I had the stomach flu a few weeks ago and finally said enough I need real food! Don’t get me wrong chicken noodle soup is great but I was ready for some spice in my life!

  • Lauren @ What Lauren Likes
    January 5, 2012 at 5:50 am

    this looks great!! I just bought tofu too! Score ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove
    January 5, 2012 at 5:51 am

    This looks amazing! I just had banh mi for the first time for a few weeks ago and loved it. I can’t wait to make this!

  • HRCK the Herald
    January 5, 2012 at 6:07 am

    I LOVE BANH MI! There’s a great place close to where I work, and they recently had one with butternut squash as the filling as opposed to meat. It was DELICIOUS, and I’m hoping my coworkers want to go again today. If not, it may be a one woman show ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Heather Michelle @ A Sweet Simple Life
    January 5, 2012 at 6:11 am

    Looks incredible…. never had banh mi, but I feel like I need this in my life.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon…

  • jenna
    January 5, 2012 at 6:11 am

    mmmm…this looks yummy! and pretty healthy too!

    the tofu i’ve consumed in years past never looked as good as yours!

  • Cathy
    January 5, 2012 at 6:21 am

    Hi Jenna! What would you say are your best tofu recipes for someone like me who is novice in the tofu realm? I’d love to try something simple that will make me fall in love with an otherwise hated food. Thanks as always…..your blog is just beautiful!

    • jenna
      January 5, 2012 at 8:38 am

      Hmmm I think my all time favorite tofu recipe (and one of my all time favorite general recipes!) is the thai red curry with kabocha squash and tofu. It’s a little effort to find all the ingredients at an Asian market but SO worth it!

  • Maria
    January 5, 2012 at 6:34 am

    That is the best sandwich ever!

  • Charise
    January 5, 2012 at 7:00 am

    I like tofu AND banh mi – will definitely be trying this. Hope you feel better soon!

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    January 5, 2012 at 7:08 am

    This is definitely a fun new idea for tofu! I was honestly getting sick of my go to pan fried method. Hope you feel better soon!

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    January 5, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Ooh…sorry that you’re still under the weather Jenna. Hope your recovery comes sooner than later! Love the look of this sandwich. The colours are amazing and you’re styling beautiful!

  • Joelle (on a pink typewriter)
    January 5, 2012 at 7:18 am

    So creative! I hope you feel better.. I woke up today battling something gnarly too.. thanks, winter. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Lindsay @ Nourish
    January 5, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Sick and still cooking… love it! Hope you get better soon Jenna!! xx

  • Kristin Murdock
    January 5, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I LOVE Vietnamese sandwiches. Oh so good! This looks great, Jenna. Hope you feel better soon – I had what sounds like the same flu 2 weeks ago. It was AWFUL. I nicknamed it the Death Flu. Next year I might need to get a flu shot. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Katie
    January 5, 2012 at 8:39 am

    I need this in my kitchen by lunchtime. All my favorite things in one sandwich!

    Hope you feel better soon!

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    January 5, 2012 at 8:44 am

    The flavors sounds awesome and I agree, firm, well-pressed tofu is the ONLY way to go. I mean, who actually likes mushy tofu. It’s like a mushy apple….you try to avoid if possible!

    The sriracha, too…nice!

    And the second photo down, the horizontal shot, the composition, the colors being so bright and beautiful…it’s one of my fave pics in ages. Love that shot!


  • Heidi
    January 5, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I had the same…flu, turned cold, “went away”…right…then came back as a nasty aches so bad I want my forehead to explode sinus infection. I started using my knock-off “neti pot” with warm saltwater to clear out my sinuses. It has helped tremendously! Feel better!

    • jenna
      January 5, 2012 at 8:55 am

      same exact thing! What in the heck?!

  • Sonia (the Mexigarian)
    January 5, 2012 at 9:15 am

    that.looks.amazing. there’s a Vietnamese place I know of in south san jose that makes some of the best sandwhiches, but I hardly go there since it’s sooo far away (15 minutes unless there ins traffic, lol). this would be perfect to make at home.

    hope you feel better soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Deanna B.
    January 5, 2012 at 9:19 am

    I’ve never made a bahn mi. I always buy them from the place down the street (I can’t beat $3 on fresh from the oven bread). If I were going to make it though, I would make yours. I would miss the pickled diakon/carrot though. If you have some lying around, sliced jalapenos make an already delicious sandwich amazing.

  • Kelli H (Made in Sonoma)
    January 5, 2012 at 9:24 am

    That looks delicious!
    So happy to hear Grey’s will be back on FINALLY!

  • Kristin @ FoodFash
    January 5, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I love tofu banh mi! There’s an amazing Thai sandwich shop in Pinellas Park between Tampa and St. Pete, if you can believe that.

    • Taryn
      January 30, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Kristin, I was wondering what the name of the Thai sandwich shop is in Pinellas Park?I live in Tampa and I love finding new restaurants with vegan options. Thanks.

  • Kelly J. R.
    January 5, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Feel better soon! I take Kyolic Immune Formula I03 when I’m fighting bugs. It always seems to help. Just a thought…

  • Megan
    January 5, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I spent a while last night searching for tofu recipes online, so I’m really glad you posted this!

  • Angela @ Happy Fit Mama
    January 5, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Another recipe added to the ‘Must Make’ list. I love tofu and am always looking for ways to have it other than in a stir fry.

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Bake
    January 5, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Ok- I’m going to be honest. I’m terrified of tofu. My mother once tried to trick our entire family into eating tofu lasagna (she told us it was her regular recipe) and it was awful. Haven’t touched the stuff since (and that was like 10 years ago). HOWEVER, since I’m in such a fantastic good because I get my Grey’s fix tonight, you may have convinced me to give this a try. I mean, anything with sriracha is a winner in my book ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • JulieD
    January 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I love banh mis ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m Vietnamese! These look great…I love love tofu!!

  • Allysia
    January 5, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Oh, I love Banh Mi! And marinated + baked tofu is one of the most delicious things ever, I could just snack on it all by itself. I don’t know who could dislike tofu when eaten like that!

  • dana @ my little celebration
    January 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Jenna, this looks amazing! I’m going totally vegetarian in 2012 and trying to spice things up a bit, so this looks perfect for me.

    Thanks for sharing!!

    January 6, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    OMG this looks deee-lish!

  • Brittany
    January 7, 2012 at 9:39 am

    This recipe looks amazing Jenna!

  • Christine
    January 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of bahn mi foodie snobs out there in the interwebs rip into authenticity rants over sunch beautiful sandwiches, and I promise I am NOT one of them, but I do have to add that vietnamese garnishes are pretty essential to the flavour profile of a bahn mi! Jalapenos, mint, and cilantro in whatever quantities suit your taste. Give them a try!

  • Erin
    January 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Oooh I just had a crispy pork pate bahn mi that blew my mind! (yeah, yeah it’s not authentic). I would also recommend pickling the red onion with cabbage and jalapenos..the flavors really pop! (and I like to mix my mayo w/ siracha)

  • Sara
    January 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Yum! Made em into panini to combat the icy weather here in the northeast, and used a combo of wasabi mayo and sweet mustard that I had around since I didn’t have sweet chili sauce. Thanks!

  • Kim M.
    January 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    I made these tonight. My boyfriend and I both loved them! Being a vegetarian, I was a little jealous of all the bahn mis suddenly being served around Boulder. I’m so glad you made this recipe so I could finally try them. I can’t wait to eat the rest for lunch this week. Thanks!

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  • Mel
    February 1, 2012 at 9:11 am

    I made these the other night and they are SO good. I subbed red cabbage for the broccoli slaw and forgot the cilantro and they still were amazing. My meat-eating hubby really likes baked tofu and this recipe works great for a satisfying weeknight meal. A win-win!

  • Sasha
    February 6, 2012 at 9:06 am

    On the way to the grocery store now to grab a few things to make this for lunch this afternoon. Cant wait! Thank you!

  • Jessica
    April 29, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    I had this today for supper! I made Sriracha mayo and then added extra sriracha on top of my greens…so yummy! You have made me like tofu ๐Ÿ™‚

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    August 9, 2012 at 8:20 am

    I love Banh Mi! There is a place here in Cincinnati that has a great vegan Banh Mi, but food always tastes better if you make it yourself. I made this last night and it was scrumptious! I can’t believe I waited so long!

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    March 17, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Just made these (with no mayo)! They were the bomb. Very happy vegan ๐Ÿ™‚

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