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  • Vegan + Gluten Free Recipe | Bahn Mi Bowl

    by Erin Griffin on February 1, 2014

    201402eg_finalI love to make Asian slaw (using Thai flavors) and I love to make Vietnamese Bahn Mi sandwiches. So, I decided to combine the two last week, and proceeded to eat the results for three days in a row. This indicated to me that it might be worthy of writing up a recipe when I still wanted to eat more. It’s sort of a Bahn Mi slaw, but I decided to call it a bowl because it’s worthy of being a stand-alone meal.

    I know this looks like a crazy bunch of ingredients, but it comes together really fast (it’s quick enough for a week night meal) and it’s very flexible, I’ll list some substitutions so you get the idea.

    Now go make a big bowl of this crunchy, savory, sweet, spicy, tangy, cold, warm, chewy delight and grab three friends (this makes enough for four dinner-sized portions) and watch some Winter Olympics!


    Ingredients for the crispy tofu:

    • 1 lb extra firm tofu (or mushrooms or tempeh, or just leave off the tofu all together and have a cold bowl)
    • ½ cup tamari or soy sauce (be sure it’s GF if need be)
    • 2 T agave or maple syrup
    • 2 T rice vinegar or white vinegar
    • 1 T toasted sesame oil (or any high-heat oil, but sesame really makes the flavor great)
    • ¼ teaspoon each of garlic powder, ginger powder, and onion powder

    Ingredients for pickled veggies:

    • 2 large carrots
    • 1 small daikon radish (or just use 8 or 10 small red radishes, they are just harder to slice!)
    • ½ cup of rice vinegar
    • 2 T dry sugar (like turbinado)
    • 1 t salt

    201402eg_saladingredientsIngredients for slaw:

    • 1 head of Nappa cabbage (or other type of cabbage), thinly sliced (you want about 10 cups)
    • 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced (any color, I like one red and one yellow to make the dish colorful)
    • 1/2 cup each (unpacked) of chopped cilantro, chopped mint, and chopped basil (this seems like a lot, but I feel like the fresh herbs really give the dish an amazing flavor, you can use less and you can use any combo of fresh herbs you like, though these do give it the Bahn Mi vibe)
    • 3 green onions, sliced
    • 1-2 cups fresh bean sprouts

    Ingredients for dressing:

    • 1/4 cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter (or another nut butter)
    • 1/2 cup of the pickling liquid (or more if the dressing is too thick)
    • 2-3 T of the tofu marinade
    • Sriracha to taste (I use about a teaspoon)


    For the pickled veggies (do this first):

    1. Combine vinegar, sugar, and salt.
    2. Slice carrots and daikon radish super thin (I like to use my mandolin for this since it never gets used, but you can do it by hand easily enough, just get them as thin as you can).
    3. Pour liquid over veggies in a bowl and let sit on the counter, tossing periodically, while you make everything else.

    201402eg_cookedtofuFor the tofu (do this second):

    1. Press 1 lb of extra firm tofu (I prefer sprouted) for an hour, drain off excess liquid, slice into 10 one-inch strips, lay in glass casserole.
    2. Whisk marinade ingredients until incorporated.
    3. Cover tofu with marinade and let sit at least 30 minutes, flipping periodically (overnight is ideal if you are planning this meal ahead).
    4. Bring a cast iron skillet to medium heat.
    5. Lay tofu slices in a single layer in pan (you probably don’t need to add oil as there is some in the marinade).
    6. Cook until brown and crispy on each side (10-ish minutes per side).

    201402eg_bigbowlFor the slaw (do this third while your tofu is cooking):

    1. Very thinly slice your cabbage, bell peppers, and green onions and place in a very large bowl.
    2. Wash, dry, and chop your herbs and add them.
    3. Add the bean sprouts
    4. Toss well.

    To assemble everything:

    1. Pour the dressing over the slaw mix and toss well.
    2. Divide into four large bowls.
    3. Top with a handful of pickled veggies and 2 or 3 slices of tofu on each bowl.
    4. Garnish with additional fresh herbs if you’d like.
    5. Serve with lime slices, extra herbs, and Sriracha on the table.


    About Erin Griffin

    Teaching and cooking are written in my DNA (thanks mom and dad). I finally relinquished myself to that fact in my early 30s and haven’t looked back. I read nutrition books for fun (like the science-y ones). I love mashing veggies for my 9-month-old while we sing along to 80s pop. And in my spare time I run The Yummy Kind, offering recipes, cooking classes, and nutrition education to anyone who wants to listen. You can find more information, and more of my recipes, at

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  • { 5 comments… read them below or add one }

    Sarah Fleming February 2, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    This looks so good and colorful! Can’t wait to try it!


    Kortney Campbell February 2, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Thanks, Sarah! Let us know what you think!


    Renee Shuman (@FrolicChocolate) February 3, 2014 at 11:14 am

    I love this. A mixture of tamari, maple, garlic, and sesame is my go to for tempeh and tofu. I love the idea of quick pickling a bunch of veg, too.


    Erin G. February 4, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Same here Renee! I did exactly that with tempeh last night, I just can’t find a better combo (though it’s fun to try). I also use the same quick-pickle method for red onions to eat on Mexican dishes and thinly sliced cabbage when I’m making any sort of slaw.


    Ted June 4, 2014 at 3:02 am

    Tasty recipe! I basted the tofu in the extra juices. Also threw the ingredients on a baguette for banh mis.


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