Tofu Bahn Mi

I'm always looking for tasty, protein-rich lunch ideas that are easy to pack and relatively inexpensive, both in cost and prep time. This week I opted for flavorful tofu bahn mi sandwiches. The bahn mi is a Vietnamese sandwich layered with marinated protein, tart and crispy pickled veggies, a pile of herbs, and a spicy element. While they have a lot of components, these come together quickly and none of the ingredients are expensive. The best way to pack it is in this adorable geisha bento. 

Marinated Tofu
1 14oz package of firm tofu
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil 
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated

Place tofu in a low bowl or pasta plate and top with another plate. Set a heavy pot or can on the plate to press down the tofu. Allow to sit for approximately 30 minutes. Pressing the tofu results in a chewier texture. 

Combine all ingredients except for the tofu. Slice tofu into ten even portions (two per meal). Combine tofu with the marinade in a sealed container and refrigerate at least two hours. 

Once the flavors have had a chance to meld, bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. 

Pickled Veggies
1 daikon, cut into matchsticks
4 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup + 2 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water
1 1/4 cup vinegar

In a large container with a tightly sealing lid, combine the veggie matchsticks, salt, and 2 tsp sugar. Close the container and shake the contents for three minutes. Remove the contents and rinse the daikon and carrots. Replace the vegetables into the container. Separately stir together the remaining sugar and warm water, until the sugar dissolves. Pour the sugar water over the vegetables  and add in the vinegar. Seal the container and give it a quick shake. Refrigerate for at least two hours and consume within two weeks. These containers are perfect for the job.

Putting it all together at lunch time...

Start with a chewy roll with a crispy crust (I used this recipe minus the rosemary)
Add the tofu...
followed by pickled veggies...
a handful of cilantro...
....and a few slices of jalapeƱo. 

A few other tasty add-ins

A combo of mayo and sriracha
Fresh basil

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