When we ask our readers what they miss most while following a grain-free, gluten-free lifestyle, the most common answer is: BREAD!
And while bread is certainly a deeply-rooted American tradition, almost every country and culture in the world shares a love for some version of this so-called “staff of life”.
The French love their baguettes and croissants (don’t we all?). The Italians have focaccia and ciabatta… the Germans have pumpernickel… and the Vietnamese have bánh mì – a baguette-style bread that is used to make a uniquely flavorful submarine-style sandwich.
Paleo Bánh Mi: The Ultimate Grain-Free Asian Sub
When you think of Asian cuisine, subs (or hoagies or grinders) are probably not the first fare that comes to mind. But in Vietnam, and in places with a concentrated Vietnamese population (like France, Canada, the US and UK), you can find these unique sandwiches in many restaurants. There are even dedicated bánh mi shops.
With a variety of meat fillings – from lemongrass pork, to grilled chicken and beef – traditional bánh mi includes an assortment of pickled vegetables, cilantro and a mayonnaise-based sauce – all tucked into a golden baguette. In our quest to make all of our bread-based favorites Paleo-friendly, we’ve kept the rich Asian flavors and textures of the classic bánh mi… while removing the gluten and grains.
Today, we makeover this distinctly Asian sub, using just a few simple ingredients and less than 30 minutes of prep time.
Paleo Bánh Mi: The Simple Step-by-Step
First, preheat your oven to 350 F and make the bread. Add 8 egg whites and 2 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar to a medium bowl and mix well.
Add one package of Better Bread Mix and beat on medium speed to combine.
Pour in the hot water and mix again to form a sticky dough.
Now separate the dough into 4 balls and shape into “submarine” logs. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake 45-50 minutes.
While the bread is cooling, prepare the rest of the sub ingredients.
For the quick-pickled veggies we opted for thinly-sliced cucumber, matchstick carrots and sweet yellow onion, gently marinated in an organic apple cider vinegar-coconut sugar brine.
For the meat, we baked up some organic chicken meatballs, then quickly sautéed them in Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos to create a deep umami flavor.
Finally, for the garnishes. Some fresh organic cilantro and a simple sriracha mayonnaise – made with our favorite Primal Kitchen Mayo and sriracha (to taste) –completed the banh mi subs.
With the fresh-baked Paleo bread and all of our accompaniments ready, it was time to assemble our Paleo bánh mi.
With a nice slather of spiced Paleo mayo…. some steamy-umami chicken meatballs…. and a healthy helping of crisp-tender piquant veggies, our perfect grain-free, low-carb Vietnamese sub was built.
Now here’s the printable version, for your convenience:
- 1 Better Bread Mix
- 8 egg whites
- 2 Tbsp. organic apple cider vinegar
- ⅔ cup boiling water
- 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds (optional)
- 1 cup sliced cucumbers
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup thinly sliced onion
- 1 cup fresh organic cilantro
- ¼ cup organic apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 Tbsp. Coconut Sugar
- 1 pound organic chicken meatballs
- 2 Tbsp. Coconut Aminos
- 4 Tbsp. Primal Kitchen Mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp. organic sriracha
- Bake bread according to Better Bread package instructions, adding sesame seeds, if desired before baking. Let cool.
- While bread bakes make quick-pickled veggies. Whisk apple cider vinegar, Coconut Sugar and water in a shallow bowl. Add the cucumbers, carrots and onion. Marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Bake your organic chicken meatballs to fully cook. Add cooked meatballs to a saute pan and saute over medium heat with Coconut Aminos to caramelize. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the Primal Kitchen Mayonnaise and the sriracha.
- Assemble the sandwiches. Slice each sub roll in half. Spread with sriracha mayonnaise, top with marinated veggies and cilantro. Tuck meatballs into each sub.
- Serve with additional sriracha mayo.
Do you enjoy Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches? Or, is there another favorite recipe you’d like for us to “makeover”? Let us know in the comments below!