We like Big Bird too, Governor Romney. That’s why we don’t eat chickens. Granted, traditional banh mi is made with pork, but we don’t eat the Oinker Sisters either.
Ever since I fell in lust with banh mi during the Great Food Truck Road Race on The Food Network, I’ve wanted to create a vegetarian and gluten-free version that stacked up against the original. Ultimately, the most important elements of the classic Vietnamese sandwich are pickled daikon and carrot, Sriracha mayonnaise and cilantro. So, a vegan -- and most importantly, Sesame-Street -friendly -- version is totally within reach.
1 daikon radish, about 4”, julienned
2 carrots, peeled, julienned
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Sriracha
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
1 package tempeh, sliced into four equal pieces
1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce
1 lime, juiced
½ bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
½ cucumber, peeled, thinly sliced
4 French rolls (gluten-free if you wish)
Make the pickled daikon and carrots by sprinkling them with a generous amount of sea salt. Allow them to rest for a few minutes, then wring to release their juice and rinse in fresh, cool water. Wring again. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and submerge the carrot and daikon in the liquid. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Seriously though, don’t do this days in advance or you’ll get stinky feet pickles and never want to eat them again!)
Whisk together the vegan mayo with the Sriracha and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the tempeh on both sides, then turn off the heat and add the soy sauce and lime juice.
Toast the French rolls.
To serve, schmear the rolls with the Sriracha mayonnaise, top with seared tempeh, cucumber, pickled daikon and carrots and cilantro.