The idea for a Brussels sprout banh mi sandwich is one that I’ve head in my head forever and a half, but just now got around to making. First I was using my Brussels sprouts for something else (namely, beer-battering and deep frying them); and then we signed up for a winter/spring CSA and had too many other veggies to use up, to justify buying sprouts at the grocer. This weekend, they finally came in the CSA, and we had company who would gladly help taste-test the recipe, so I was pretty quick to get all of the needed banh mi fixin’s.
I adore food that blends ideas and ingredients from multiple regions or cultures, and banh mi sandwiches have got to be one of the best examples of that! In my research, I learned that the term ‘banh mi’ actually just means bread, dating back to the French colonial period in Vietnam which introduced baguettes to the country. But it has come to be used to refer to the whole sandwich, a beautiful fusion of French bread with Vietnamese toppings. Technically this Brussels sprout banh mi is a ‘bánh mì chay‘, since it’s vegetarian. I’ve also swapped out the common topping of mayonnaise (also coming from the French side of the equation) for a simple spicy mango sauce made from fresh mango and sriracha.
As for why I went with Brussels sprouts? Their slightly chewy texture makes them a surprisingly excellent sandwich base, plus the contrast between the roasted sprouts with the fresh vegetable toppings is quite lovely. I’ve no problem eating an occasional light meal of bread + veggies but if you’re looking to round out the sandwich with something a little heartier, I recommend a generous helping of carrot ginger hummus!
Speaking of the CSA, I’m going to try getting into the habit of sharing my CSA contents on the blog again, and how I’m using them. Our winter/spring CSA consists of 6 items per week, and it’ll last until the end of April. Then we have the month of May to buy our own veggies at the market before the summer CSA starts. This Friday we received:
Brussels sprouts (used in these Brussels sprout banh mis!)
I won’t have any trouble with the carrots (I enjoy snacking on them), spinach (green smoothies), or onions (ubiquitous in recipes). But I’m not quite sure what I’ll do with the kale or potatoes yet (plus the leftover potatoes and celery from last week…). Probably depends on how ambitious we’re feeling in the kitchen this week. There are no leftover banh mi supplies – those got gobbled up pretty dang quickly! =]
- 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, stemmed and halved
- 1 large shallot, roughly chopped
- high-heat neutral oil for roasting
- salt and pepper
- juice of ½ lime
- ½ tb. coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1 tsp. soy sauce (or tamari/liquid aminos)
- 1 ripe ataulfo mango (also called champagne mango; see notes), pitted and peeled
- 1 tsp. sriracha sauce (plus more to taste)
- ½ tsp. lime juice or rice vinegar
- salt, to taste
- 1 French baguette, sliced breadthwise into sandwich-sized portions
- roasted Brussels sprouts mixture (above)
- spicy mango sauce (above)
- 1 or 2 small radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
- ½ carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeno, very thinly sliced
- about ¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro
- additional limes, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Spread out the Brussels sprouts and chopped shallot on a baking sheet and drizzle very lightly with oil (I used refined coconut oil). Sprinkle generously with salt, and with black pepper to taste.
- Roast for 15 minutes, stir, and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until crisped on the outside and tender (but not mushy) on the inside.
- Whisk together the lime juice, coconut sugar, and soy sauce, and stir it into the Brussels sprouts mixture.
- In a blender, puree the mango, sriracha, and vinegar until smooth. Salt and add more sriracha to taste.
- Slice one of the baguette pieces most of the way open and spread mango sauce onto one half.
- Load up the bread generously with the Brussels sprout and shallot mixture, and top with fresh sliced veggies and cilantro as desired.
- Finish the sandwich with a big squeeze of fresh lime juice.
It's best to use fresh baguettes that are still crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
Oftentimes banh mi sandwiches are served with pickled veggies (versus fresh), and finishing the sandwich with lime juice is my way of bridging the gap and adding a little more brightness, so don't skip it!