Banh mi was born of cultural fusion; this sandwich fuses even more concepts, bringing the tofu to the tasty toasted tube. (We know a sandwich is not a tube… work with us here!) You'll press the tofu to get every bit of moisture out, preparing it to be seared and baked. Mayo, pickled vegetables, and cilantro add strong flavors and perfect crunch to this sandwich, served with sweet potato fries.
Cut sweet potato into ½" fries. Place sweet potatoes on prepared baking sheet and toss with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, ¼ tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper. Spread into a single layer and bake 20 minutes. Potatoes will finish cooking in a later step. While potatoes bake, prepare ingredients.
Prepare the Ingredients
Line a plate with two paper towels. Peel carrot and, using peeler, shave into long ribbons. Discard top. Peel cucumber and, using peeler, shave into long ribbons, stopping when you reach seeds. Discard end. Cut tofu into ½"-thick slices across width. Arrange tofu in a single layer on towel-lined plate, top with another paper towel, then another plate. Add weight to plate to gently press tofu. Set aside 10 minutes. While tofu presses, pickle vegetables.
Pickle Vegetables and Sear Tofu
In a medium mixing bowl, combine seasoned rice vinegar, carrots, cucumbers, and a pinch of pepper. Set aside to pickle at least 10 minutes. While vegetables pickle, heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add tofu to hot pan and cook until golden brown and blistered, 2-3 minutes per side. After potatoes have cooked 20 minutes, remove baking sheet from oven and place tofu on empty half of baking sheet.
Finish the Fries and Tofu
Season tofu slices on both sides with seasoning blend and ¼ tsp. salt. Gently press seasoning into tofu and flip sweet potatoes. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and browned, 8-10 minutes. While tofu and potatoes finish, toast rolls.
Toast Bread and Assemble Sandwiches
Cut rolls lengthwise, if necessary. Place open rolls directly on oven rack and bake until golden brown, 5-7 minutes. Spread mayonnaise on bottom roll. Add desired amount of cilantro sprigs. Shingle tofu slices on top of cilantro, and top with pickled vegetables. Finish sandwich with top roll.
Plate the Dish
Place an assembled sandwich on a plate. Serve alongside sweet potato fries.