food to glow

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marinated mushroom banh mi // food to glow #sandwich #vitetnamesefood #mushrooms #vegetarianBanh Mi is one of those foods that anyone interested in food must try at least once in their life. It is simply a stunning confluence of colours, flavours and textures. And yes, it is a sandwich. A humble sandwich.

But what a sandwich. Crispy light baguette (not the chewy kind), tangy lightly pickled vegetables, creamy mayonnaise and, um, steamed liver pate. Well, it used to be liver pate and tiles of sliced cold meats. Now almost any protein seems eligible for the banh mi treatment, but usually still meat: grilled pork and pork skin, roasted chicken, seared beef. In some cafes and off some food carts the original light-style sandwich can still be found: a smear of seasoned mayo, a few thin slices of meat, a light hand with the veg and herbs. Once it went Stateside things naturally went large. I think this is somewhere in between. And no meat, of course. marinated mushroom banh mi // food to glow #sandwich #vitetnamesefood #mushrooms #vegetarianThankfully tofu and mushrooms offer up a very excellent alternative for vegetarians, and those who don’t fancy the meat option. I have had a tempura-ed tofu version of banh mi recently, and must confess to thinking that I could do a bit better. The rest of the banh mi – from the heavy-handed slathering of gingered wasabi mayonnaise (that’s a good thing, btw), to the freshly made daikon pickle, not forgetting the crisp-to-shattering baguette – were en pointe. It was just the bland tofu that let it down.

The history of banh mi is shorter than you would think, rising from late 18th century French colonial chicness in Saigon – white crisp French-style baguettes being both expensive and exclusive – to Vietnamese street food, and now cafes world-wide selling these flavourful and texture-intense sandwiches. I would have one everyday if I could get away with it. To get a little closer to this notional culinary goal, but without the waist-band challenging implications of a baguette a day, I have come up with a salad version. Obviously it is not a banh mi as such, seeing as the words banh mi translate as “bread made from wheat”. But everything else is here. And why not have a slice of bread on the side in any case. I’m not the carb police, that’s for sure.

If you are lucky enough to have a Vietnamese or even Chinese bakery near you, RUN there right now and grab a baguette. A fancy rustic artisan-type baguette is wrong for this recipe – the crust a bit too thick and chewy (you have to tear and pull rather than swiftly bite into it), and the inside doesn’t quite ‘hug’ the filling and prevent it from firing out as soon as you bite into it. But we can approximate, of course. Any baguette that you can bite into and the crust shatters a bit/a lot, shards scattering embarrassingly on the table or floor, then you are definitely on the right track. I was in luck on my first try – a baguette from my local Scotmid corner shop, baked by local baker’s The Breadwinner. I’m pretty sure it had not a speck of rice flour in it (this seems to be what makes Vietnamese bread so special), but shatter it did. Here is a guide to finding – and perhaps even baking – the perfect banh mi loaf.

And as for the perfect vegetarian filling, it really has to be mushrooms. Portobello is my choice – thick, with a proper bite and chew to them. But button, chestnut or field mushrooms are great too; the heft of Portobello is just easier to sear and then load onto the sandwich. The great thing about mushrooms here in the UK is that they are available year-round and are grown here too. If you have never marinated and sautéed mushrooms you may be pleasantly surprised how very good they are this way. Make double of the mushrooms to have the next day in a wrap, in an omelet, as a salad (see the image), blitzed and added to soft cheese as a dip. Or do as I did and just pick extras out of the pan and eat them standing at the hob. 🙂 marinated mushroom banh mi // food to glow #sandwich #vitetnamesefood #mushrooms #vegetarian

Marinated Mushroom Banh Mi with Asian Pickled Vegetables

  • Servings: 2-4 (depends on how hungry you are!)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Crunchy, juicy Vietnamese street snack + zesty marinated mushrooms + Asian pickled veg = second helpings. And thirds. And what the heck, let’s just drink the marinade. 

Don’t let the ingredient list scare you: this is easy and worth the time it takes to marinate, which is really the only “complicated” bit. Make double of everything just in case you fall in love with this mushroom banh mi like we have. #foodcrush

The Mushroom Marinade

3 large Portobello mushrooms, cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) slices

150g (5.3 oz) fresh, juicy pineapple pieces – more or less (use pineapple juice in a pinch)

15g (1/2 oz) fresh ginger, peeled

2 tbsp neutral oil

1 small garlic clove, skinned

The Pickles

175ml (3/4 cup) rice vinegar

60 ml (1/4 cup) water

1 tsp sugar

Good pinch of salt

1 medium carrot, julienned

1 small red pepper, deseeded and julienned

Index finger length of cucumber, julienned (I take out the watery middle pieces)

Good handful of Tenderstem ® broccoli or similar, sliced lengthways down the middle

1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced

Sriracha Mayonnaise: 4 tbsp best mayonnaise + 3 tsp sriracha + 2 tsp lime juice >> mix well and set aside. You could use your favourite sweet chilli sauce instead of the sriracha.

The Rest: (A really good) baguette, cut into four lengths and spilt lengthways, tearing out some of the “fluffy stuff” to better enjoy the crisp baguette and juicy filling (about 6 inches long each) + leaf coriander + lettuce, torn + slices of pineapple (not shown), fresh sprouts, like quinoa and radish

1. To make the pickle, stir together the vinegar, sugar and salt, and pour into a jar or small deep bowl; add in the sliced veggies and marinate for half an hour. Push down the veg or add more water to cover, as needed.marinated mushroom banh mi // food to glow #sandwich #vitetnamesefood #mushrooms #vegetarian 2. While the pickles are marinating, blitz the pineapple, ginger, oil and garlic in a blender or mini chopper; pour into a glass or ceramic dish, along with the sliced mushrooms. Turn the mushrooms over a few times to coat then cover and marinate for half an hour.marinated mushroom banh mi // food to glow #sandwich #vitetnamesefood #mushrooms #vegetarian 3. When you wish to eat, heat the baguette pieces in the oven until just warm – 180C/350F for 5 minutes ought to do.baguettes // food to glow 4. While the bread is warming and crisping, heat a skillet over a medium flame and sauté the mushrooms until slightly caramelized on both sides. You will probably need to do two batches.

marinated mushroom banh mi // food to glow #sandwich #vitetnamesefood #mushrooms #vegetarian

waiting for those juicy mushrooms!

5. Slather each piece of baguette with the sriracha mayo, top with warm mushrooms, some pickled veg, lettuce and coriander. Eat and Enjoy!

The salad version is as you see it, with chunks of pineapple, and with the spicy mayo on the side for dotting on as you see fit. I’m not sure how gluten-free bread would be with this but it might be surprisingly good if it uses rice flour as part of the dough mix. I’d love to know if you try a g-f version!

Disclosure: I am happy to say that this post has been sponsored by Just Add Mushrooms, run by The Mushroom Bureau. Their website is full of ideas and info about this hugely versatile, low-calorie and nutritious food. You can also find them on Facebook, Tumblr,  Twitter and YouTube.

marinated mushroom banh mi salad // food to glow #salad #vietnamese #mushrooms #vegetarian

banh mi in salad form

marinated mushrooms // food to glow


Popping this veggie-tastic sarnie over to Emily for her Recipe of the Week link-up. Why don’t you link up your recipe as well?recipe-of-the-week

33 thoughts on “Vietnamese-Style Sandwich – Marinated Mushroom Banh Mi with Quick Pickled Vegetables

  1. juliableck says:

    I love bahn mi, and this rendition looks very flavorful and interesting!

  2. nadiashealthykitchen says:

    This looks so good Kellie 😀 I’ve made Sriracha mayo before – it’s amazing 😀 I like the idea of making my own pickle, will have to give it a go 🙂 xx

  3. Laura says:

    I have never tried bahn mi before, but it looks very delicious! I will definitely give it a try when I get to a vietnamese restaurant!

  4. lhvi340 says:

    Reblogged this on Chief-Pressdog.

  5. This looks absolutely delicious!

  6. superfitbabe says:

    Banh mi is sooooo good!

  7. Oh, I have died and gone to foodie heaven – Banh Mi is one of my “all-time, I could eat everyday” favorites in all shapes and forms, but I particularly love what you have done with this vegetarian version (my preferred banh mi) and I also love the fact that you have included a bread recipe since it is impossible (at least for me) to find an authentic banh mi bread recipe! I cannot wait to make this!

    1. Sorry for the delay in replying to you. Your comment is so lovely 🙂 I don’t know if I would every go to the bother of making my own bread (my next shot at it I will try a Chinese bakery and see if I can get the right bread), but I am impressed that you just might. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      1. Thanks, Kelli! I am still searching, searching, searching for a banh mi bread recipe – not having much luck 🙁

      2. Oh, did the article I linked to not suit you? Or maybe you didn’t see it perhaps? I hope you find one -or a Vietnamese bakery 😊

      3. Oh, no – I liked your link very much and will definitely be making that, as well! Was just sharing with you the difficulty in finding an authentic banh mi bread recipe!

      4. Great stuff. I was just wondering if the link worked! Good luck we with the bread. 🙂

  8. These photos are STUNNING! Wow!

  9. lizzygoodthings says:

    Love banh mi, Kellie…. and your version sounds amazing!

    1. Thanks Liz. The pineapple addition really makes it special. And I’m not one for anything pineapple being anything but itself (certainly not on pizza!)

  10. angeblogange says:

    where do you get these ideas????

    1. 🙂 You’re very kind

      1. angeblogange says:


  11. what a great combo – I love portobello mushrooms and the dark dark juice that comes from them. I think this is going to be served chez Fulton this weekend, thank you!

    1. Cheers for the thumbs up Niki. You could do the mushrooms on the bbq leftover from the Mexican salad – 😉

  12. fabfood4all says:

    Oh Kellie I am so salivating over this post right now, it’s just amazing with all the flavours that we love here! Mushrooms are so very versatile and not a week goes by without us using them for something!

    1. I use mushrooms all the time, Camilla. My husband is officially in love with this recipe, but I think it may be more about the sriracha mayo than anything else!

  13. Sally says:

    You’ve excelled yourself here Kellie – having this for lunch one day next week for sure.

    1. Why thank you, Miss Sally. I would love to think this is being served up by you sometime soon. Veggie teen might like it?

      1. Sally says:

        She’s a bit ambivalent to mushrooms – but trying to like them!

      2. She’s got to like them better than tofu, her veggie food nemesis 😉

  14. Nazanin says:

    Looks delicious and healthy. I am going to try this some time. Thanks for sharing it.

  15. Emily (@amummytoo) says:

    This is just stunning! I adore mushrooms and I don’t think they’ve ever looked more tempting. Beautiful and the flavours sound divine.

  16. Cooksister says:

    Oh WOW Kellie!! The bahn mi is such a classic and I love your explanation on what kind of bread is suitable (the devil is in the detail!), Such a glorious and colourful post – thanks for sharing!

  17. love vietnamese food, and this looks awesome…making me hungry!

  18. Kit says:

    I just bought all the ingredients to make this! But I’d like to ask how long the marinated vegetables would last if I didn’t use them all? Should I just leave excess in the marinade? Thanks!

    1. They are fine in the marinade for a day or so. I hope you like it! 😊

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