Tofu Banh Mi

The best sandwich

Marinated tofu with soy sauce, sesame oil, maple, and lime. Loaded with crispy veggies, pickles, and spicy mayo.

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Banh mi have to be my favorite sandwich of all. They hit all the texture points, (crunchy, soft and crisp) while also hitting all of the flavor points, (acidic, sweet, and salt). Spicy yet cooling. It’s everything you need in between bread on the go. This Banh mi uses frozen tofu for a deep marinade and meatier texture. The tofu becomes a sponge for the maple marinade. It gets a nice seer and develops a bit more flavor too. Load the sandwich up with the freshness,an egg on top, and it’s a killer sandwich.

frozen tofu

Frozen tofu

By freezing tofu, we can remove some of the excess moisture trapped in the air cells, and change the protein structure. The water in the tofu freezes and when thawed, leaves wholes from the ice crystals. The tofu becomes a sponge absorbing marinades more effectively. It kind of reminds me of osmosis but not entirely. Flavorless water out with tasty marinades in. Changing the protein structure also gets us a meatier texture. The tofu becomes firmer and chewier. It’s a sturdier product so sauteing and searing don’t have to be as gentle. A bit of extra effort but a fun result. It’s easy to just have a line of tofu in the freezer for those who eat it regularly. 

Tofu Banh Mi prep

tofu banh mi produce

This recipe is all about the prep. I like to toss my tofu right in the freezer after I buy it. A day or two before cooking, ill pull my tofu out of the freezer. you want to give it time to fully freeze and thaw. Leaving it out on the counter will only take roughly 5 hours to thaw. The tofu only needs about 15 minutes to marinate. We just turned it into a sponge, so it’s going to soak everything up quickly. Leaving it to marinade for a few days before use is nice too. It’s pretty easy to set it and forget it. Likewise with the pickles. Really the longer they pickle the better, and they will last for a handful of weeks. Making a big batch is for the best too. I love throwing them on salads, sandwiches, or random snacks. The main thing I would suggest getting the day of, is the bread. No one likes a stale bread sandwich. Banh mi usually use Vietnamese baguettes. They a thicker and softer than the French kind. Perfect for the sandwich at hand. Bahn mi’s already have a world of textures in them so crunchy baguettes aren’t always needed. Some Vietnamese bakeries will sell their baguettes at pretty affordable prices. A little bit of research can get you a local spot. If not I still like using nice French baguettes for the sandwich. 

Tofu banh mi tofu prep

The Best Sandwich 

I can’t deny my love for the Banh mi. It’s been a steady relationship for many years now. I ate one at least 3 to 4 times a week while in college. It’s a world of flavor in one dish. An edible history of colonization. The combination of two cultures. French and vietnemese. It’s an interesting contrast molded together in between a Vietnamese baguette. From the French, we have the baguette, mayonnaise, and in some, pate( but we don’t do that part here). from the Vietnamese: pickled carrot/ daikon, gojugang, and fresh veggies. The rich history makes this sandwich so much more interesting. I’m no historian but I urge looking into the roots of the Bahn mi. 

This sandwich can have so many different components too. Here are a few that would be great with the tofu banh mi.

  • cucumber
  • hoisin sauce 
  • avocado
  • mint

I love all these things on a banh mi but didn’t want to turn this one into a salad. Have fun and play around with what you like on yours. A fun idea is a tofu banh mi party or board. Display all the ingredients and have at it. It’s a fun way to experience them. One of the best staff meals at my work was akin to this. Might just have to throw banh mi parties all summer long. 

If you’ve never had a banh mi you’re in for a treat. Planning this recipe a few days ahead makes it worthwhile. The tofu gets some more character and the pickles develop that tangy hit. You can’t go wrong with this tofu banh mi. If you’re already a banh mi veteran this recipe is a great guide to making them at home. Thanks for stopping by the blog. Happy cooking. 

Tofu Bahn Mi

Tofu Banh mi marinated with soy sauce, sesmae oil, maple syrup, and lime.
Servings 2
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 day 15 minutes


Marinated Tofu

  • 1 block tofu
  • 3 tbsp (53g) Soysauce
  • 2 tsp (10g) sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp (44g) maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp (15g) lime juice

Spicy Mayo

  • 1/3C (91g) kewpie mayo
  • 1 tbsp (15g) gochugang

Tofu Banh mi

  • 8 peices tofu
  • 1 c daikon and carrot pickles
  • ½ cilantro bunch
  • 1 jalepeno
  • 4 tbsp spicy mayo
  • 2 egg


  • 1lb (453g) Carrot
  • 1 lb (453g) daikon
  • 1 & 1/4C (267) white distilled vinegar
  • 1C (237g) warm water
  • 1c & 1/4c (201g) sugar
  • 1 tsp (5g) soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp each (10g/ 5g) salt & sugar


Tofu prep

  • Place a block of tofu and the freezer and freeze overnight. Should take about 8 hours or more. Once fully frozen thaw at room temperature. Once the tofu is fully thawed place the block between your two hands and squeeze out the liquid over a bowl or sink. Keep pressing until all the thawed liquid is gone.
  • In a bowl whisk together the marinade ingredients. Slice the tofu in half hamburger way. Then slice each side into 4 long pieces. Place in a plastic bag and add the marinade. Let sit for 15 minutes.


  • Whisk the warm water, sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce all together.
  • Peel the carrot and daikon and cut into julienne. about the size of a french fry. Massage salt into it and let rest for 5 minutes. They should be able to bend in half without snapping. After, rinse the salt and sugar off. Place in a jar and add the pickling liquid.
  • Enjoy immediately or save for later use.

Spicy Mayo

  • Add the mayo and gojuchang to a bowl and whisk until evenly mioxed.

Tofu Banh mi assembly

  • Preheat a pan on medium-high heat with neutral oil. Sear the tofu until dark brown and caramelized on each side. Remove from the pan and save for later. In a separate pan add neutral oil and cook two sunny side-up eggs.
  • Pick the large stems out of the cilantro. wash and rough chop. Slice the jalapeno into 1/4 inch slices. Toss the two together in a bowl with a pinch of salt and a dash of lime juice.
  • Slice your baguettes in half. Toast if desired. Spread a layer of mayo on each side of the bread. Add a few pieces of tofu. Add the pickles, cilantro, and jalapeno. Top with the sunnyside-up egg. Enjoy!
Author: Anfernee Milton
Course: lunch, sandwhich
Cuisine: French, vietnamese
Keyword: banh mi, frozen tofu, marinated tofu, sandwhich ‘, tofu, tofu banh mi, vietnamese sandwhich
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