Meet your new favorite sandwich! These Vietnamese-style banh mi sandwiches are stuffed with hearty hoisin glazed white bean meatballs, zippy pickled veggies, and creamy sriracha mayo. Totally vegan, super satisfying, and packed with flavor!
I remember seeing signs for Vietnamese hoagies outside restaurants back when I moved to Philly. It sounded like a really weird concept to me at first.
But then one night I visited a Vietnamese cafe that seemed to be the only place open for a few blocks. There was nothing on the menu I could eat as a vegetarian. I explained this to the server and got ready to leave, when she assured me that they did have veggie food and would hook me up.
That's just what they did, placing a big, beautiful, tofu stuffed sandwich in front of me. This is what my fellow Philadephians had been calling a hoagie, but the correct name was actually a banh mi.
Oh man, it was gooooooood. And it was four bucks! I switched apartments a handful of times while living in the city, but every time after that I looked for a place near that cafe, hoping I could stroll down the street for four-dollar banh mis on a regular basis.
It was only recently that I discovered such a thing as a meatball banh mi. I never really thought about what might go into one of these things other than tofu, so I'm not surprised I missed this. Generally when I veganize recipes I like to make some kind of fun twist on the dish. Meatballs are always fun to veganize. I'd found my twist!
How to Make a Delicious Vegan Banh Mi Sandwich
Veggie meatballs come together a lot like veggie burgers. You need something hearty and binding to take the place of the meat. Beans usually do the trick!
I used cannellini beans here, along with walnuts for texture, some fresh basil, soy sauce and chili paste to kick up the flavor a bit.
Mix everything up by pulsing it in a food processor, then roll into balls and bake. When the meatballs are almost done baking, pop them out of the oven and glaze them with hoisin sauce for some extra flavor.
These banh mi sandwiches are dressed with a super simple vegan sriracha mayo and quick pickled veggies — carrots, cucumbers, daikon radish and jalapeños soaked in some water, rice vinegar, salt, and sugar. If you have time, I recommend making the veggies a day ahead of time. If not, go ahead and mix everything up while the meatballs bake.
Stuff everything into baguette sections with some fresh herbs, then enjoy!
FAQ & Tips for Making the Perfect Vegan Banh Mi Sandwiches
- Good bread is everything! Make your sandwiches on a nice quality fresh baguette.
- Save time on the day of serving by preparing the bean mixture for the meatballs a day in advance. Then, on the day of serving, just roll and bake. Also prepare the pickled veggies ahead of time — in fact, they're better this way!
- Can these sandwiches be made gluten-free? Yes, with a few substitutions! Use a gluten-free baguette, gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce, a gluten-free variety of hoisin sauce, and gluten-free panko breadcrumbs (oat flour might work as a substitution too).
- Are these spicy? The chili paste, sriracha, and jalapeño peppers give it a little kick. If you're not into spicy food, just leave these ingredients out.
- Is there any way to reduce the calories in this recipe? It is on the highish end, calorie wise, and it's meant to be indulgent. But if you'd like to cut back a bit, try using less walnuts in the meatballs and less mayo. You can also put fewer meatballs in each individual sandwich.
- How about reducing the sodium? Try low sodium beans (or cook them from scratch — you'll need about 1 ¾ cups), low sodium soy sauce, cut back on the salt in the pickled veggies, and go easy on the hoisin sauce.
Vegan Meatball Banh Mi
Meet your new favorite sandwich! These Vietnamese style banh mi sandwiches are stuffed with hearty hoisin glazed white bean meatballs, zippy pickled veggies, and creamy sriracha mayo. Totally vegan, super satisfying, and packed with flavor!
For the Meatballs
- 1 (14 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sambal oelek
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
For the Pickled Veggies
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon organic granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ⅓ cup julienne cut carrots (about 1 large carrot)
- ⅓ cup julienne cut cucumber
- ⅓ cup julienne cut daikon radish
- 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
For the Sriracha Mayo
- ¼ cup vegan mayo
- 1-2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
For the Sandwiches
- 1 French baguette (one that's at least 24 inches long), cut into 4 sections and sliced open
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
- 2 scallions, chopped
To Make the Meatballs
Preheat the oven to 400º and lightly oil a baking sheet or oven-safe skillet.
Place the beans, walnuts, onion, garlic, panko breadcrumbs, basil, soy sauce, sambal oelek, rice vinegar, and liquid smoke into the bowl of a food processor fitted with an s-blade.
Pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped and well mixed.
Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls (about 16 of them) and arrange them on the baking sheet.
Brush the meatballs with oil.
Bake for 25 minutes, flipping once to achieve even browning.
Remove the meatballs from the oven and brush them with the hoisin sauce.
Bake for 5 minutes more, just long enough to set the sauce.
To Make the Pickled Veggies
In a medium bowl, whisk together the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and sesame oil. Stir in the carrot, cucumber, daikon and jalapeño.
Allow the veggies to soak for at least 20 minutes, or up to 2 days.
To Make the Sriracha Mayo
Stir the sriracha and mayo together in a small bowl. Adjust the amount of sriracha to taste.
Assemble the Sandwiches
Slather the inside of the baguette sections with sriracha mayo and stuff with meatballs. Top with pickled veggies, cilantro, mint, and scallions.
You can prepare the veggies a day ahead of time. Totally not necessary, but it will give them a chance to soak up the flavors.