These tofu banh mi vegan sliders are packed with flavour and a fun twist on the classic banh mi sandwich. They’re great as finger food or appetizers for a party, or as a delicious dinner served with fries or a salad.
It might seem like a pain in the ass to make sliders. I mean, for every regular-sized veggie burger, you have to make two or three sliders. Seems like a waste of time. These vegan sliders, however, are surprisingly easy to put together. Although they take a bit of time to prep, it’s mostly hands off as you marinate the tofu and pickle the vegetables.
There’s a reason why banh mi are so popular – they’re the perfect combination of savoury, sweet, spicy, sour and fresh. They’ve got it all and it all works together in perfect harmony. They’re also super adaptable and lend themselves well to any sort of “meat” element that you prefer.
For the meaty element of my vegan banh mi I chose tofu marinated similarly to a simple tofu bacon with soy sauce, maple syrup, tomato paste and a touch of liquid smoke. Then a quick pan fry crisped the tofu slices up nicely and added a delicious char to the outside.
You can probably bake them as well if you want to reduce the amount of oil in this recipe but pan frying is quicker. Furthermore, since these tofu banh mi are served with a sriracha mayo, there’s not much point in worrying too much about the amount of oil in the recipe.
I included a recipe for making vegan mayonnaise from scratch, it’s really easy and much cheaper than buying a prepared vegan mayo. My preferred method for making vegan mayo is to use aquafaba, which is the cooking water leftover from boiling chickpeas (or other types of beans). Since I’m a proponent of cooking beans from dry to save money, you’ll have quite a bit of aquafaba to use as a vegan egg replacer in some sauces and desserts (it doesn’t work for everything).
Finally you need some veg. Cucumber, cilantro and pickled carrot and daikon radish are the typical tofu banh mi fillers. If you can’t find daikon radish, any type of radish will do. I actually used a couple of big, fat winter radishes from my garden (free, yay!). Whichever type you use, you’ll want to have equal proportions of carrot and radish to make the pickle so eyeball more or less how much radish you’ll need to equal two large carrots.
I served these tofu banh mi vegan sliders for dinner with fries but they’d also be great served with a salad inspired by Vietnamese flavours like this raw vegan noodles salad, which you can quickly prepare while the veggies are pickling.
Got leftovers? Use them in these recipes:
Tofu, carrot and cilantro: Thai Buddha bowl with peanut red curry sauce
Cucumber and radish: Baked beet falafel vegan quinoa bowl
Carrots, cucumber and sriracha: Raw vegan noodles salad
Tofu Banh Mi Vegan SlidersPrint Recipe
- 450 grams (16 oz) extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed - $1.75
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce - $0.20
- 3 tablespoons water - $0.00
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup - $0.67
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste - $0.17
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar - $0.09
- 2 cloves of garlic, grated or finely minced - $0.16
- 1 teaspoon ginger, grated or finely minced - $0.02
- 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke - $0.02
- 2 large carrots, peeled and julienned – $0.22
- 250 grams (4 oz) daikon radish, peeled and julienned (can sub winter radish or red radishes) - $0.00 (free from my garden)
- 1 cup (240 ml) apple cider or rice vinegar - $0.96
- ½ cup water – $0.00
- 1 tablespoon sea salt - $0.09
- 2 tablespoons white sugar - $0.12
- 3 tablespoons aquafaba* (garbanzo cooking liquid) - $0.00
- ½ cup (120 ml) neutral-tasting oil – $0.40
- 1 ½ tablespoons sriracha or sambal oelek (adjust to taste) - $0.20
- 2 tablespoons oil, for frying – $0.10
- 10 slider buns - $1.45
- 1 small cucumber, sliced - $0.38
- 4 green onions, very thinly sliced - $0.40
- 2 long green chili peppers, sliced - $0.96
- A handful of cilantro - $0.10
Slice the tofu into squares to fit the size of your slider buns. You might not be able to get perfect squares for each slider, but that’s ok, you can put a couple of leftover ends together into one slider.
Combine the soy sauce, 3 tablespoons water, maple syrup, tomato paste, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and liquid smoke in a ziplock bag. Taste the marinade and adjust the balance of salty and sweet if necessary. Add the tofu slices and massage it in a bit. Leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes, flipping the bag from time to time.
In a bowl combine the vinegar, ½ cup water, salt and sugar. Add the carrots and radish and leave to pickle for at least 15 minutes (the longer the better).
Put the aquafaba in a tall container and insert an immersion blender. With the blender running, slowly add the neutral oil to make a mayo. Mix in the sriracha and a pinch of salt. Refrigerate until ready to make the sliders.
Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil for frying in a pan over medium-high heat. Remove the tofu from the bag and fry for a couple of minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
Toast the slider buns and slather some sriracha mayo on each side. Top with cucumber slices, fried tofu, pickled veggies, green onion slices, chili pepper slices and fresh cilantro.
*Aquafaba is the water leftover from boiling chickpeas/garbanzo beans. You can reserve and freeze your boiled chickpea water or you can take it directly from a can of chickpeas. If you don't have any, simple use a commercial vegan mayo mixed with sriracha or sambal oelek.
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