Tofu Banh Mi Collard Wraps with Wasabi Peanut Sauce

Tofu Bahn Mi Collard Wraps

Certain neighborhoods of Philly are infiltrated with Banh mi. The classic Vietnamese sandwich essentially acts as the Chipotle of the Asian food world, but even cheaper. You walk in, select your “meat”, and leave within 5-10 minutes with an aluminum wrapped, $5 foot-long sandwich, ready to be eaten. It’s a great feeling.

Scallions

Since it’s so easy to pick up a Banh mi around Philly, I rarely take the time to make it. Yet, it’s hands-down one of my favorites of the sandwich world, and so on the occasion that I’m getting a simultaneous desire for both Banh mi and a chef’s knife in my hand, I put on my cooking hat and grab my own tofu to be canvassed.

Tofu Bahn Mi Collard Wraps

When Banh mi making is going down in my kitchen, you can nearly guarantee it’s going to have a little flair to it. What’s the point of making the original version when I can grab that anytime, with little detriment to my bank account?  Besides, if I’m recreating a dish, I’m always about finding further ways to maximize its flavor since the ingredient make-up lays entirely in my hands. No doubt, that’s going on with this recipe. Wassuppppp wasabi?

Tofu Bahn Mi Collard Wraps

I don’t eat a ton of white bread, but when it comes to Banh Mi, a chewy white roll will always oust a whole wheat counterpart. This is one instance where whole wheat just won’t work. The flavor is unfortunately just too overpowering.

Collard wraps, on the other hand, those can create some Banh Mi magic.

CollardWraps_blog11

Here, collard wraps are able to balance the delicate freshness of the traditional Banh mi composition, while adding an even extra layer of freshness on top of it all. It lightens up the whole meal, while enabling more flavor to shine through. Peel back that one-inch layer of bread, and the notes of deliciousness from the slaw, cilantro and other jamboree of ingredients are able to reach their fullest potential.

Shredded carrots

Be patient with the tofu, and make sure it gets a nice crisp so it can add that contrast to the creamy peanut sauce you’ll place beneath it.

For a fun, spicy twist, this peanut sauce receives a generous punch of wasabi that’ll make it stand out among other sauces. I love the flavor it brings to the subtle sweetness of the peanuts and the carrots.

CollardWraps_blogmontage

True to the grab-and-go nature of banh mi — but more so with the intention to make your wrap-eating a little less messy! — envelope your collard packages in aluminum foil. This will seal in all the flavors so they don’t end up on your shirt. Although, if you’re like me, that’ll probably happen anyway.

I brought that big pile up above into work last week, and served it with a slide of Asian slaw for my coworkers. Two thumbs up, all around.

Since these are destined for pre-packaging, this will makes a great recipe for your own workweek lunch. While best the first day, the wraps can certainly withstand being rolled up the night before and kept in the fridge till you head out.


Tofu Banh Mi Collard Wraps with Wasabi Peanut Sauce

Yield: About 4 servings (2 wraps per person)

By pulling back that layer of white bread, collard wraps lighten up the traditional Banh mi and enable even more flavor to shine through. Here, a spicy wasabi peanut sauce pairs with a marinated cabbage carrot slaw for a fully flavorful and healthy, meat-free meal.

Ingredients

  • For the Crispy Baked Tofu:
  • 1 (15 oz.) block of organic extra-firm tofu
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • -1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
  • For the Marinated Carrots and Cabbage
  • -1 garlic clove, minced
  • -2 cups shredded carrots
  • -1/4 head red cabbage, shredded
  • -1/2 c. unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • -1 tsp. light brown sugar
  • -1/2 tsp. salt
  • -1 scant Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • -1 – 1/2 Tbsp. Sriracha
  • For the Peanut Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce (start with 1 ½)
  • 2 ½ tsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. wasabi powder (1 ½ if you don’t like a little kick)
  • Hot water, if needed to thin
  • Wrap Ingredients
  • -1 cup cilantro
  • -1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • -4 scallions, sliced
  • -8 medium collard leaves, thick bottom stem removed

Instructions

  1. To prepare the tofu: Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain and rinse the tofu. Slice lengthwise into 1/3-inch slabs. Transfer the tofu in a single layer to a large cutting board or flat surface lined with lint-free towels. Place another layer of towels on top, and then place something heavy on top (like a cast iron skillet). Set aside to be pressed while you make the Marinated Carrots and Cabbage.
  2. To prepare the Marinated Carrots and Cabbage: Place carrots and cabbage in a large bowl. Whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over carrots and cabbage, and toss to combine. Adjust seasoning, if needed, and then set aside.
  3. To bake the tofu: Lay tofu on lined baking sheet. Whisk together 1 Tbsp. each of olive oil and soy sauce, along with the ginger. Drizzle it over the tofu and toss to coat. Sprinkle cornstarch over the tofu, using your hands to help evenly coat the tofu. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, tossing halfway, until the tofu is crisp and deeply golden.
  4. To make the Peanut Sauce: Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Sauce should be fairly thick, but if too stiff to spread, thin with a tablespoon or two of warm water.
  5. To assemble wraps: When tofu is finished baking, cut each slice into 3-4 long strips. Place collard wraps onto a flat surface. Towards the center of the leaf, spread a generous line of peanut sauce from top end to bottom end. Repeat with the marinated slaw. Line with cucumbers and two strips of tofu, and then top with a generous sprinkle of cilantro and scallions. Fold in the short ends of the leaf, and then cross left side towards the right and begin to roll into a wrap. Place in aluminum foil to secure. Repeat with remaining leaves, being generous as you spoon out each component. Eat!
http://foodfitnessfreshair.com/2014/09/08/tofu-banh-mi-collard-wraps-with-wasabi-peanut-sauce/

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Katie @ 24 Carrot Life
    September 8, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    I love a good banh mi! Have you tried the one at Sampan in center city? There is also this great unassuming place in West Philly called Fu-Wah Mini Market on Baltimore and 47th that has the more authentic banh mi. Love how you made this healthy with the collard wrap!

    • Reply
      Grace @FoodFitnessFreshAir
      September 9, 2014 at 9:50 am

      I have not! My friend just started working at Sampan, so I’ll put that on the list to sample for when I go visit her.

      And I just had Fu-Wah’s the other week for the first time – you’re definitely right, such a surprising score! Great to find another Philly food-blogging friend!

  • Reply
    Joanne
    September 9, 2014 at 7:41 am

    I want some collard banh mi magic!! And also that peanut sauce…that is magic in and of itself!

    • Reply
      Grace @FoodFitnessFreshAir
      September 9, 2014 at 9:48 am

      The peanut sauce would definitely work on its own in something else…loving the wasabi!

  • Reply
    Thalia @ butter and brioche
    September 9, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    I love banh mi but have never had a tofu version before, definitely need to try the recipe. Love your photography too!

    • Reply
      Grace @FoodFitnessFreshAir
      September 9, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks Thalia! Tofu banh mi is so good as long as you flavor the tofu well! Getting it out can be hit or miss, so you just have to find the best spot – or make your own!

  • Reply
    Meatless Monday: Tofu Bahn Mi Collard Wraps | Move your Assets!
    September 22, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    […] Ditch white bread, seize some autumn greens, and get wrapping. You can easily make these the night before, and pack them in aluminum foil for a grab-and-go lunch you can feel good about. Head on over to Grace’s blog for the recipe. […]

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