This vegan Banh Mi bowl is inspired by the beloved Banh Mi sandwich - that tangy, sweet, spicy Vietnamese classic.
Banh Mi, in case you didn't know, is a Vietnamese sandwich traditionally made by layering pork, a tangy carrot and daikon pickle, cucumbers, coriander and a lashing of chili mayo inside a baguette.
I've given this much loved classic a vegan and gluten free makeover. Rice noodles stand in for the traditional baguette and crispy tofu replaces pork. Slather it all up with a Sriracha cashew cream sauce and you've got yourself an amazing vegan and gluten free treat that's sure to become a part of your lunch and dinner rotation!
- Rice Noodles: Rice noodles are naturally gluten free. I've used a thin vermicelli rice noodle, but the thicker variety that you find in Pad Thai would work equally well.
- Tofu: Get the firmest variety you can find. If you can only find normal tofu, that's ok, just be sure to put press out the water . Follow along with this video for a clever tofu pressing hack.
- Carrot and Daikon Quick Pickle: This is an essential Bahn Mi ingredient. It's super simple to make and you can use it straight away. You can find my recipe here. Daikon is available at most Asian grocer's. It's taste is similar to a radish, but a bit milder. If you can't find daikon, feel free to omit it, or sub in matchstick sized cucumber slices. They pickle just as well.
- Cucumber: Adds a bit of freshness!
- Purple Cabbage: I love the color this adds. We eat with the eyes!
- Coriander: Refreshing, tart and citrusy, coriander is essential for an authentic Bahn Mi.
- Sriracha Cashew Cream Sauce: This sauce replaces the traditional sriracha mayo that Bahn Mi's are slathered in. My recipe is here, and once you try it you'll be putting it on everything (guaranteed!) You do need to soak your cashews overnight for the best result, so this sauce is best made the day before. But, if you prefer to go down the traditional route, you can mix sriracha sauce with your favorite vegan mayonnaise.
The full recipe with exact measurements is below*
There's a few steps to making this Bahn Mi bowl. They're all simple and straightforward, and the result will be well worth the effort.
Let's start with the sauce. If you haven't already overnight soaked the cashews for the Sirarcha Cashew Cream Sauce, you'll find a quick soak method in the recipe. If you decide to skip the sauce, it's fine to mix some sriracha with your favorite vegan mayonnaise.
The Quick Carrot and Daikon Pickle:
Next, we'll make a simple pickle that literally takes five minutes to make. You can find the recipe for that here. Throw all that together and put it to the side to marinate.
Cook the vermicelli noodles according to the package instructions. Easy Peasy. Drain them in a colander, rinse and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a non-stick fry pan, and cut your tofu into even cubes. I usually slice the block in half the long way, and cut the cubes from the two slabs of tofu. Put the cornstarch in a bowl and add the tofu cubes. Carefully coat the tofu with your hands. Add it to the hot oil and fry for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally. The tofu should be nice and crispy. While the tofu is sizzling away mix the tamari (or soy sauce), maple syrup and Sriracha sauce in a small bowl. Add the sauce to the crispy tofu and saute for a further two minutes.
Assemble your Vegan Bahn Mi Bowl:
Put the noodles in a large ramen or pasta bowl and layer on the crispy tofu, sliced cucumbers, pickled carrots and daikon and coriander. Drizzle with some Sriracha Cashew Cream Sauce and enjoy!
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Vegan and Gluten Free Bahn Mi Bowl
For the Sriracha Cashew Cream Sauce:
- 1 cup cashews, raw soaked 4-6 hours or overnight
- ½ cup purified water
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons Sriracha Sauce
For The Quick Pickled Carrots and Daikon
- 1 cup carrot julienned
- 1 cup daikon julienned
- 1 cup purified water
- ½ cup white wine vinegar
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Crispy Tofu
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 block tofu (300 grams) extra firm
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon tamari or gluten free soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon sriracha sauce
For The Noodles and Garnish
- 2 blocks vermicelli noodles
- ½ English cucumber thinly sliced
- 1 cup purple cabbage thinly sliced
- 1 handful coriander finely chopped
Method for Making Sriracha Cashew Cream Sauce:
- Soak the cashews for 4-6 hours or overnight.
- Rinse the cashews and add to a blender or food processor.
Method for Making Quick Pickled Carrot and Daikon
- Boil the water, vinegars, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Boil until the sugar is dissolved, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Julienne the carrots and daikon and put them in a sterile jar.
- Pour the cooled brine over the carrots and daikon, close the jar and allow to rest for 2-3 hours.
- Put the jar in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
Method for Making Crispy Sriracha Tofu:
- Cut tofu into cubes.
- Heat olive oil in a medium sized non-stick skillet
- Pour cornstarch into a medium sized bowl and add tofu cubes, turning everything over with your hands to ensure the tofu is evenly coated.
- Transfer tofu to frying pan and cook for 7-8 minutes or until crispy.
- While the tofu is frying, combine the tamari, maple syrup and sriracha sauce in a small bowl.
- Add the sauce to the crispy tofu and saute for a further two minutes.
- Remove tofu from pan, and place on a paper towel to drain.
For the Noodles and Garnish
- Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet.
- Assemble the bowl with the noodles on the bottom and arrange the tofu and garnishes on top. Drizzle with Sriracha Cashew Cream Sauce.