One of the many upsides to living in Eugene, Oregon is the ample brewery options. Ninkasi, Oakshire, and Hop Valley, for example, are all within about a half mile radius. And while I do enjoy the beers, I will admit that most of my excitement about the brews in this town comes from the truly wonderful observation that where there are breweries, there are food trucks.
One of my favorites in Eugene is a Vietnamese food truck. Their tofu banh mi is the penultimate sandwich of my dreams. I also have this sandwich to thank for these Tofu Banh Mi Tacos. Well, that, and my lack of baguette/surplus of corn tortillas.
I was have a very serious banh mi craving a while back and couldn’t track down the location of the food truck. I suppose the drawback to roaming food trucks is that it’s hard to keep track of where they’ll be when a random food craving strikes…
Anyway, I was halfway through making my own tofu banh mi when I realized that I was missing one of the stars of the whole show – a nice, chewy baguette. In a pinch, I used some leftover white corn tortillas that were lurking in the back of the fridge.
The best part of these tacos is that the baked tofu becomes browned, slightly crispy on the outside, and delightfully chewy. It makes up for the lack of the chewy baguette that we all love about a good banh mi. As for as much affection as I hold for bread, we loved these so much with the corn tortillas that we ate them three weeks in a row. The other best parts are the quick-pickled veggies (I show up for anything pickled, without exception) and the ease of this recipe. You can throw everything else together while the tofu is baking up in the oven and have dinner on the table in around half an hour.
I can’t help but think that in fancier food circles, banh mi tacos would be referred to as “fusion”. For our purposes, we can just call this a delicious coincidence.
- 14 ounces firm tofu, drained and pressed (I would recommend doing this ahead of time)
- oil for spraying
- salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
- ½ cup rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 1 handful baby carrots
- 1 small bunch of radishes
- ½ red bell pepper
- 1 jalapeno
- 6 small white corn tortillas
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and cut the tofu into half inch pieces. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spray with a little bit of oil followed by a liberal sprinkling of salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown, flipping the tofu pieces once halfway through baking. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss the tofu with the sweet chili sauce.
- While the tofu is in the oven, prep the pickled veggies by combining the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in jar and shake until dissolved. Julienne the carrots and bell pepper and very thinly slice the radishes and jalapeno. Add the veggies to the vinegar mixture, give it a quick stir to make sure everything is submerged, set aside.
- To assemble, warm the corn tortillas in a pre-heated cast iron skillet for about a minute on each side. Top each tortilla with ⅙ of the tofu and veggies and garnish with cilantro.