Deconstructed Bahn Mí Bowl

Hello!  It’s been a few months but I needed to come back to this space.  My last post was in December and from there, life just got busy with the holidays and my creativity and confidence waned.  I’ve been cooking and baking a lot but haven’t documented much, so here’s to jumping back into the blog world and keeping it consistent.  This brings me to the recipe, or conglomeration of recipes, in the form of my bahn mÍ bowl below.  I’ve made this a few times, changing up the ingredients slightly each time so below is pretty much a guide to what I did.  Hope you enjoy!


In my attempt to recreate this sandwich, however inauthentically, I opted to use the traditional flavors of a bahn mí but in bowl form! I marinated the tofu and then dredged it in arrowroot powder for the protein.  It turned out salty and crispy and perfect.  I used the same marinade for some thinly sliced chicken breasts and cooked them on a grill pan.  Still perfect.

Usually there are some sort of pickled veggies for a twangy bite and having made this a few times, I’ve experimented with different options.  The first time around I used red cabbage, carrot matchsticks and cucumber slices (adapted from The Fauxmartha).  Second time around, thinly-sliced red onions and shredded carrots made the cut (adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen). Who knew how easy this pickling business was??

Bahn mí sandwiches are usually served on a light and fluffy rice flour bun, adorned with a schemer of mayo and are garnished with jalapeños and cilantro.  Just combine those ingredients and you get an aioli that makes a perfect spread or dressing.  Better yet, it’s so versatile that I’ve used it on other sandwiches, grain bowls, salads…you name it!

Please don’t let this long recipe deter you from making this flavor-bomb of a meal.  Many items can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator so that assembly come meal time is quick and easy.  I would recommend making the quick-pickled veggies, the green aioli and the quinoa a day or two ahead to save some time.

The crispy tofu is definitely best the day it’s made and though it can be eaten the next day, the tofu just loses it crispy crust.

deconstructed bahn mí bowl

Though the ingredient/to-do list is long, much of it can be prepared ahead of time and many of the components are great on their own or in another dish.  No serving size is included because you can fill your bowl with as many grains and greens as you are hungry for and use as much or as little of the toppings desired.


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs good quality mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp lime zest

(from Little Spice Jar)

quick pickled vegetables

  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1/2 c. white distilled vinegar
  • 1 tbs pure cane sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp peppercorns
  • 1/8 tsp mustard seeds
  • about 3/4 c. veggies, chopped or sliced
    • I used carrots cut into matchsticks, sliced cucumbers and pre-shredded purple cabbage.

(from The Fauxmartha)

green aioli (makes about 1 cup)

  • 1 cup good quality mayo (or Veganaise)
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3-4 pickled jalepeños
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ tsp fine-grain sea salt

(adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen)

to make the marinade: whisk the garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, mayo and lime zest together until completely combined.  put uncooked chicken or tofu into a large plastic bag and pour marinade inside, letting them sit for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours.

to make the quick pickled veggies: in a small bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns, and mustard seeds.  stir until the sugar is dissolved.  bring the water to a boil, remove from heat and pour into vinegar mixture.  stir again.  submerge your veggies into the mixture and let sit for at least half an hour.  at this point you can serve or store in a mason jar, pickling solution and all for up to 2 weeks.

to make the green aioli:  place all ingredients into a blender and pulse until everything is combined.

deconstructed bahn mí bowl 

(serves 2-3)

  • 1 package extra-firm tofu (or 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts/tenders)
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • avocado oil, as needed
  • ½ bunch curly kale, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ avocado, cubed
  • quick picked veggies as needed, above
  • green aioli as needed, above

for the crispy tofu:  (prior to marinating tofu, place on a paper towel-lined plate and drape paper towel on top of the tofu.  then place a heavy pot or object on top for about 20-30 minutes to squeeze out any extra liquid.  then follow marinating instructions)

Spread about 1/3 cup of cornstarch or arrowroot powder onto a shallow plate.  Cut marinated tofu into ½” thick slabs.  Dredge marinated tofu into arrowroot powder and set aside.  Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add tofu and cook until crispy, about 4-5 minutes per side.  Remove from heat and transfer to paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

*I used the same marinade for the chicken and cooked on a grill pan until done.*

Sauté kale in another pan with avocado (or olive) oil, a pinch of fine-grain sea salt and a crack or two of pepper.

to assemble your bowl: fill half the bowl with the cooked quinoa and the other half with the sautéed kale.  top with the pickled carrots, cucumbers and purple cabbage and as much crispy tofu as desired.  drizzle the green aioli over top of everything and dig in.





Deconstructed Bahn Mí Bowl

One thought on “Deconstructed Bahn Mí Bowl

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s