Vegetarian Banh Mi – The Super Sandwich
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Our vegetarian banh mi sandwich is not one to miss! Smokey homemade lentil patties are lightly fried and served with a crunchy salad between fresh wholewheat baguettes. The recipe includes a creamy dressing to drizzle and drool over.
Not only is it delicious, this lentil sandwich is also high in protein and full of the nutrients of all those fresh veggies.
We recommend it as a healthy lunch on the go or at home. It only takes half an hour to whip up, but if you want to cut even more time, make up a batch of lentil patties to freeze, so all you have to do is assemble!
Why not try them with some traditional Vietnamese Goi Cuon (aka summer rolls!). Or if it’s Asian recipes in general that you’re after, we’ve got a collection of the 60 best vegetarian Asian recipes – you’re sure to find something you fancy!
Back to banh-sics: What is a banh mi sandwich?
You may have heard of banh mi before as a Vietnamese sandwich recipe. However, the word ‘banh mi’ actually just means bread in Vietnamese and refers to the small baguette-style loaves that are used to make banh mi sandwiches.
Banh mi sandwiches have a long history which goes back to the French colonisation of Vietnam in the 1800s! The French introduced baguettes to the country and they were considered a luxury for a long time, because of the high import costs of wheat.
In World War 1, when many French soldiers were stationed in Vietnam, bakers began to mix the wheat flour with rice flour to make banh mi, because of wheat shortages due to the war.
This resulted in a fluffier bread which was cheaper and easier to produce and therefore became more accessible to the Vietnamese people. Most banh mi today are made from this mix of flours!
Until the 1950s the sandwiches were mostly inspired by French cuisine, including ham, mayonnaise and patés. However, nowadays they are more in tune with Vietnamese flavours.
A typical banh mi sandwich contains meat such as ‘cha lua’, a popular Vietnamese sausage, and vegetables, usually including cucumber, pickled carrots, coriander and shredded daikon.
Popular banh mi sauce options include hot chilli sauce, rich Maggi sauce and mayonnaise.
Our vegetarian banh mi adapts the classic meaty banh mi for a vegetarian, health conscious audience.
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What’s in a healthy banh mi?
What’s so healthy about our vegetarian banh mi sandwich?
Well, let’s start with the bun! While the traditional Vietnamese sandwich is served on white bread, we have chosen wholewheat, wholewheat is more nutritious and filling.
Next, the lentil patties. Lentils are an excellent source of plant-based protein, containing 9g protein per 100g. They are also very low in fat, containing barely 1g fat per 100g! They are a good source of folate, iron and vitamin B6. See why we chose them!?
Finally, veggies! We have piled our vegetarian banh mi with carrots and cucumber, in an apple cider vinegar dressing. This should help you get some of your five a day!
What’s more, fresh vegetables are both low in calories and they are fibrous – this means they will fill you up without piling on extra calories. That means that you can have a big portion of this vegetarian banh mi recipe for just 485 calories.
So if you are looking to lose weight, this is the perfect meal. It’s filling, healthy, high in protein and with enough calories to keep you going, while remaining in a slim calorie deficit!
If you want to find out more about how to incorporate recipes such as this one into a healthy weight loss plan, why not join our vegetarian weight loss course, or download our free weight loss meal plan.
Vegan banh mi options
In order to make this a vegan banh mi, you just need to make a few changes!
The lentil patties contain egg but a suitable egg substitute should work just as well. Try 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 2/3 tablespoons water. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes then add to your lentil mix.
The sauce contains greek yoghurt and mayonnaise. You can easily find vegan alternatives to both of these in the supermarket. Here is a list of the best vegan yogurts on the market! And the best vegan mayonnaise!
Finally, swap out the honey in the dressing for agave or maple, and your vegetarian banh mi is now a vegan banh mi!
- ½ cup carrot, grated (or julienned)
- ½ cucumber
- ½ tsp honey
- ½ tbsp apple vinegar
- 2 tbsp low fat Greek Yogurt
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup cilantro/coriander, fresh (separated from stalks)
- 1 cup brown lentils, cooked
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup panko style breadcrumbs
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp paprika powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- ½ chili / jalapeño (optional)
- 2 wholegrain baguettes (individual baguettes)
- In a small bowl add the julienned carrots, sliced cucumbers, apple cider vinegar, honey and half of the salt. Mix and rest until needed.½ cup carrot, grated, ½ cucumber, ½ tsp honey, ½ tbsp apple vinegar, ½ tsp salt
- Blend greek yogurt, mayo, ½ cup cilantro leaves and half of the salt. If necessary, add a tbsp of water. Rest until needed.2 tbsp low fat Greek Yogurt, 2 tbsp mayonnaise, 1 cup cilantro/coriander, fresh
- In the food processor create a smooth purée with the lentils and egg. Transfer purée to a medium bowl and add panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, paprika, ½ tsp salt and black pepper. Mix with your hands until you have a homogenous dough. Shape dough into 4 big patties or 6 smaller patties.1 cup brown lentils, cooked, 1 egg, ⅓ cup panko style breadcrumbs, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp paprika powder, ¼ tsp black pepper
- Bring a non-stick pan over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add patties and sear them from both sides, they should have a nice golden brown color.½ tbsp olive oil
- Open baguettes and spread green sauce over both sides of the bread. Fill with lentil patties, the remaining cilantro leaves, carrots and cucumbers, and sliced chilies (if using). Enjoy.2 wholegrain baguettes, ½ chili / jalapeño
If you liked this, you should also try our new creamy veg coronation chicken sandwich!