Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Recipe Test Kitchen Fusion: Vegan Banh Mi

As you know, I recently conducted recipe testing for two highly anticipated cookbooks: one round was sammies from The Cinnamon Snail and the other Ethiopian food from Kittee Bee Berns.  The testing required a considerable investment of time and effort, but the return in skill, knowledge, and inspiration was astounding.


One recipe I was particularly enamored with was Kittee's awaze tofu recipe; I made it so many times that I didn't always have stews or injera on hand for accompaniment.

a tower of tofu!

So when I spied a banh mi on Epicurious Vegan's instagram I had an epiphany.  Hint: it involved a baguette.

I immediately grabbed some carrots and jalapenos...

it's the carrots she's after

and got to pickling via The Cinnamon Snail method.


I grabbed some Vegenaise and excitedly assembled an awaze tofu banh mi.


I'd had an uncharacteristically big lunch the day I planned the amazing fusion sammie for dinner, so when I realized how exquisite it was I found myself wishing I was hungrier just so I could eat more.

I had enough for plenty of sandwiches, but regardless of my adulations I can't get VM to eat tofu (it's all in her head).

Timberly is kind enough to sub avocado in her sammies from the Snail, but I didn't think avo would work in this instance.

89 likes tofu so much she carries some around in her beard.

And then I considered cauliflower.  

How I had not already made the association when we are both so enthralled by the illustrious cauliflower banh mi from Sprig and Vine, I can't tell you.  But, I got to work immediately.

I cut a medium head into small florets and included the stems chopped into smaller cubes (That's for GS/VCC!).

looks like popcorn!

Then I tossed the florets in the marinade and other ingredients used in the awaze tofu.


I roasted the cauliflower for 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven on a lightly oiled pan, stirring every ten minutes.  Warning: the sauce may burn onto the pan a little, so when you open the oven there may be a considerable amount of smoke expelled.  I'm not saying this will definitely set off the smoke detector, but it could

cauliflower for days

I assembled the cooked cauliflower with the same pickled carrots & jalapeno and Vegenaise- this time also adding arugula.

I dare not venture to guess how the Sprig & Vine cauliflower banh mi is prepared, but this was equally decadent.  I really impressed myself.

It was so good that I did it all again for dinner guests, this time with home-made bread!


Much more pickling:


A bored-with-it-all pooch:


And a build-your-own sammie presentation (with string bean accompaniment):

ugly (but delicious) bread
It was another delicious success:

I sincerely hope you're all waiting for these cookbooks with as much anticipation as I am.

It will definitely be worth the wait.


  1. Kittee, Cinnamon Snail, Sprig and Vine, 89 with a bow in her hair, and fresh bread! So much goodness in one post. Did you use a published bread recipe because it looks amazing?

  2. Susan, It's the stecca recipe (minus the salt and olive oil) from My Bread by Jim Lahey. That book never disappoints! That sammie was almost as delicious as 89 is cute.

  3. yum! (and once again, so jealous of you doing recipe testing for the cinnamon snail! I cannot WAIT to buy that book!)

  4. where can I find the marinade recipe for cauliflower? looks divine!

  5. Great thinking equals great food! I love the way you combined so many styles and flavors to create something new. Can't agree with you more about the awaze tofu — and the awaze sauce in general. In fact, I've used my Ethiopian spices and sauces in many not-Ethiopian ways. (Just made chickpea flour pancakes flavored with berbere and miten shiro. Using the pickled jalapenos and carrots on the sandwich was a great idea.

  6. Those Sammies look fantastic, feel free to start selling them and I'll gladly buy some.

    89 really rocked that bow.

  7. Wow! I cannot wait for the Snail cookbook! I will be all over that one. My current cookbook obsession is Isa Does It. I'm aware that that isn't groundbreaking news, but it is just that fabulous a book!

  8. Awesome job on the cauli banh mis! Great idea. I'm also very much impressed by the homemade baguette, even if 89 isn't.
    I am very excited for Kittee's cookbook! Do you know when it'll be out?

  9. THANKS..I ordered the Lahey book.

  10. Ali- You and me both!

    MLnt- the awaze sauce will be in the upcoming vegan Ethiopian cookbook by Kittee Bee Berns. Keep an eye on this blog or our facebook page for updates!

    Andrea- I'm so glad I participated in these tests; I've significantly expanded my repertoire I'm much more confident in the kitchen.

    The Shenandoah Vegan- Ha! She did, didn't she. Only because she was focused on the carrots. Not sure I could ever produce food in mass quantities, but I did okay for a small dinner with friends.

    MollyG- I've been hearing that all over town, but haven't given mine a whirl yet. Hopefully soon.

  11. foodfeud- I'm not sure, but you can count on me to scream it from the rooftops. I never make bread for myself, but for company I think it really shows you made the extra effort!

  12. Abby,

    Please teach me how to pickle using a mason jar. Thank you.

  13. My Vegan Gut, I can't divulge! But, when the cookbook comes out, I'll tell you what page it's on ;-)

  14. It wasn't until I saw that sarnie that I realised that I need a massive amount of banh mi in my life. I love that shizz an unnatural amount. Good work on the testing gigs - what a proper treat to make up all that amazing food.

  15. Wow, what a great test recipe roundup! The vegan banh mi looks delicious with the pickled veggies & roasted/marinated cauliflowers!


Have you got something to say? It would be so nice to hear from you!
(I know captchas suck, but not as much as spam.)