Vegan Bahn Mi Portobello Burgers

by - August 08, 2014

  I adore the concept of vietnamese food. Spicy and sour and sweet. Sounds pretty good to me. Unfortunately, not many vietnamese place I have seen had many vegetarian options, let alone vegan. I have always wanted to try a pho, but the broth is often meat-based. I have always wanted to try a bahn mi, but it always had mayo.
  I know what you are thinking: leave the mayo out! And, yes. I didn't even fancy mayo back when I was eating meat, but I always felt that a bahn mi without the meat and the mayo was essentially a pickled veg sandwich. Which is no fun. 
  And this is coming from someone who loves her pickles.

  So, I thought (as I often do), I would make one myself. Make a mayo-like (but still not entirely mayo-like, because I despise mayo with a passion) sauce, a tempeh filling, really awesome pickled veg, fresh cilantro and sriracha (duh).
  If you do not like sriracha*, I am afraid our friendship cannot continue.

  Yes, there are many components that go into the bahn mi, and if you were looking for a quick'n'easy lunch fix, this may not seem like the best option. However! If you pickle your veggies before hand, and whirl up the nay-o a day in advance (which I really recommend because the flavours mellow). All you need to do is pop the portobello buns and tempeh into the oven, then assemble and eat. 
  It really is that simple.
  Plus (and this is a huge plus) the recipes for the pickle and the nay-o make quite a lot, and they keep well. So extra pickles and nay-o for future sandwich sessions? Yes please.

  So why a portobello bun, you ask? A baguette is traditional, at the very least some SORT of bread. But if you have been with me long enough, I don't really go with the flow. And I was lazy to walk to the bakery in the hot sun to get myself a loaf. 
  And, this is now gluten free. Hurrah! Gluten free baguettes are ick, anyway. 

The anatomy of a vegan Bahn Mi Portobello Burger

Vegan Bahn Mi Portobello Burgers
Makes: 2 burgers, perfect for 1 hungry person

1 recipe of nay-o (see below), prepared one day in advance and left in the fridge

2 small carrots, peeled and julienned into thin strips
1 small Japanese cucumber, peeled and julienned into thin strips
3/4 cup of white distilled vinegar
1 tbsp agave syrup
Pinch of salt

4 portobello buns
1 tablespoon of olive or coconut oil
1 package of tempeh, cut into strips
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sriracha*
Juice of 1/2 a lime

Fresh coriander leaves
More sriracha*

Cut the julienne carrot and cucumber strips up into smaller strips if they are too long, then place them in a glass bowl. Mix the vinegar, agave and salt together and pour into the glass bowl to cover the vegetables. Leave it in the freezer for at least an hour before using, but slightly longer is ideal.

Take the sliced tempeh and marinate it in the sesame oil, soy sauce, siracha and lime juice, you may add a little splash of water if the liquids do not seem to be enough to seep into all the tempeh slices. Leave for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200C. De-stem and clean your portobellos with a paper towel, you may remove the gills if you wish. Cover them with the olive oil. Place them on a baking tray together with they marinated tempeh and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and set them aside to cool.

Place a generous dollop of nay-o on each portobello, on the gill side. layer cilantro, the pickles, the tempeh, sriracha and more coriander on two of the portobellos. Then cover with the remaining two nay-o-ed portobellos.

Eat warm! It gets messy. But a GOOD kind of messy.

*Yes, sriracha is not full of good-for-you sutff, but a little bit goes a long way. You can get versions with better ingredients than the original sriracha, but this is all I have. I do love sriracha even though it isn't full of plant-based goodness. But as I said before, you can make your own (I love this recipe here, but I rarely have the time to make it. hashtag lazy.) or get other versions if you are concerned about the preservatives or chemicals and sugar in it.

Makes: 1 jar 

1 block silken tofu
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder (or 1 roasted garlic clove)
1 tsp english mustard
1 tsp olive oil, optional

Blend all together to get a thick paste then refrigerate overnight to let the flavours mellow. It can keep for about three weeks.

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