Mushroom Bahn Mi Sandwich Recipe

Real Mushrooms
6 min readJul 13, 2023

If you’re looking for a meat-free sandwich recipe that is packed with flavor and health benefits, then this mushroom Bahn Mi recipe is perfect for you! This vegetarian version of the classic Vietnamese banh mi sandwich features sautéed mushrooms and a unique fermented bean paste that adds an interesting twist to the traditional liver-y pâté.

Not only does this sandwich satisfy your taste buds, but it also offers numerous health benefits thanks to the three types of mushrooms used in the recipe: oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and cremini mushrooms.

Shiitake oyster and cremini mushrooms
3 types of mushrooms are used to give this Banh Mi recipe a satisfying meaty flavor and texture: fresh oyster mushrooms, fresh cremini, and dried shiitake (which we crush into a powder for a punch of umami).

Mushrooms: The Perfect Meat Substitute

Why Mushrooms Taste Meaty

Glutamate is a naturally occurring amino acid that plays a key role in the taste sensation known as umami. Umami is often described as a savory or meaty flavor that enhances the overall taste of food.

Mushrooms are rich in glutamate, which is why they have a naturally delicious and satisfying flavor. This makes them an excellent substitute for meat in vegetarian and plant-based recipes. When cooked, mushrooms release their natural glutamate, providing a similar umami taste to that of meat.

Of all the mushrooms, shiitake and enoki have the highest concentrations of glutamate. That’s why this recipe adds in dried shiitake powder — to bring in an extra boost of umami flavor. The presence of glutamate adds depth and complexity to dishes but also helps create a more satisfying eating experience.

The dense texture of mushrooms paired with the glutamate factor gives them a meat-like quality. It’s why mushrooms are an ideal alternative for those looking to reduce or eliminate meat consumption without sacrificing taste or texture.

Health-Boosting Nutrients & Compounds in Mushrooms

By incorporating three types of mushrooms into your Bahn Mi sandwich, you not only enhance the flavor but also boost the nutritional value of your meal. Mushrooms have some amino acids, fiber types, and compounds that aren’t easy to get from other sources yet are pivotal allies in maintaining cell health, immune health, and gut health.

Nutrition Benefits of Mushrooms:

  • Oyster Mushrooms: These mushrooms are not only tasty but also rich in essential nutrients like vitamin B and minerals like Copper. They are low in calories and fat while providing a good amount of fiber.
  • Shiitake Mushrooms: These are packed with antioxidants that help boost your immune system and are rich in B vitamins and copper. They also contain compounds lentinan and eritadenine that have been shown to help balance the body’s inflammation response.
  • Cremini Mushrooms: Also known as baby portobello mushrooms, creminis are a great source of selenium, which is important for thyroid health. They also provide B vitamins and minerals like potassium and copper.

3 Unique Health Benefits of Mushrooms:

  • Longevity & Cell Health — While shiitake contains the highest concentration, all mushrooms are an abundant source of this Ergothioneine. This is a longevity-supporting amino acid that acts as a super-antioxidant. Ergothioneine cannot be synthesized by our bodies and mushrooms are by FAR the highest food source of it.
  • Gut Health — Mushrooms are abundant in 3 unique fiber types that are difficult to get from other sources: chitin, chitosan, and glucan. These fiber types support a healthy and diverse gut microbiome and can help fight off the growth of pathogens like candida.
  • Immune & Heart Health — All mushrooms are superb sources of beta-glucans, a polysaccharide (sugar compound) that can help regulate the immune system, balance blood sugar levels, and support heart health.

Finally, besides being a satisfying and healthful meat substitute, there are environmental advantages to choosing mushrooms over meat or plant-based sources of protein. For a more in-depth look at the benefits of mushrooms as a meat alternative, read our article: Mushroom Meat Substitutes: 2 Types & 3 Wholesome Benefits

Now, get ready to tantalize your taste buds while nourishing your body with this delightful mushroom Bahn Mi creation!

mushroom bahn mi sandwich
Get your Vietnamese cuisine kick with this meat-free twist on the Banh Mi sandwich.

Mushroom Bahn Mi Recipe Instructions

Now that you have all the steps laid out for this delicious mushroom Bahn Mi sandwich recipe, it’s time to gather your ingredients and start cooking! This plant-based twist on a traditional favorite is sure to impress your taste buds with its rich flavors and unique combination of ingredients. Give it a try and let us know how it turns out!

Serves: 4

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

Quick Pickled Veggies:

  • 6 ounces daikon radish coarsely grated
  • 6 ounces carrot, coarsely grated
  • 2 tsp celtic salt
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp cane sugar
  • 1 cup water, divided

Pâté:

  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms (optional)
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp fermented beans, bean paste, or beans in chile oil
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter (vegans use vegan butter), divided
  • 1 medium shallot, minced (can subsist 1/2 cup red onion, minced)

Sandwich:

  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp celtic salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb large mushrooms such as oyster, cut into large pieces
  • Mayonnaise (vegans can use vegan mayonnaise)
  • 1 baguette (about 22 inches long) or 4 crusty rolls
  • 1 large cucumber, sliced
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced

Mushroom Bahn Mi Instructions

Step 1: Making the Quick Pickled Veggies

  1. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil over high heat in a small saucepan.
  2. Add the sugar and salt and stir until completely dissolved.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the remaining 1/2 cup water and the vinegar and stir.
  4. Add the carrot and daikon to the water mixture (which is now brine) and let it sit for at least 20 minutes.
  5. After 20 minutes, use it right away or store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to use.

Step 2: Making the Pâté

  1. If using the dried shiitake mushrooms, process them for 30 seconds to 1 minute in a coffee or spice grinder until they form a powder. Discard any large chunks that might remain. You should get about 2 TB worth of powder.
  2. Heat the toasted sesame oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Add the shallot and cremini mushrooms, stirring regularly until the mushrooms soften and turn brown. This should take about 10 minutes and their liquid should be evaporated.
  4. Add the cremini, shallot mixture to a food processor and add the shiitake mushroom powder (if using), and fermented beans.
  5. Process until you have a smooth paste.
  6. Add the butter, 1 TB at a time, while the motor of the food processor is still running.
  7. Use right away or keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container until needed. You should have about 1 and 1/4 cups worth of pâté.

Step 3: Making the Sandwich

  1. Heat the avocado oil in the same large skillet and add the oyster mushrooms. Tip: To avoid getting spongy mushrooms, make sure to only add them to your pan when the oil is hot.
  2. Season with the salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms begin to brown and their liquid has evaporated. It should take about 8 minutes. Tip: To get a better sear on the mushrooms, you can press them with a heavy object like a small cast iron skillet.
  3. Stir and brown the other side of the mushrooms for about another 5 minutes.
  4. Once the mushrooms are down, brush them with Hoisin sauce. You can optionally add sriracha to the Hoisin sauce if you want a spicier sandwich!
  5. Cut the baguette.
  6. Spread the pâté and mayo, add the sautéed oyster mushrooms, cucumbers, quick pickles, cilantro, and jalapeño slices.
  7. Cut the baguette, serve, and enjoy!!

Storing your ingredients

The quick pickles and the pâté can be made up to 4 days ahead and refrigerated, separately, in airtight containers.

Tailoring Your Mushroom Banh Mi

Mushrooms are a sustainable, healthful, and satisfying substitute for meat in this recipe. But say you don’t have access to all the ingredients. Here are some ideas for substitutes:

Instead of fresh oyster mushrooms — Use large portobello mushrooms. You’ll still get the density and size to be able to have large slices and a meaty texture.

Instead of dried shiitake — Use lion’s mane mushroom extract powder (1 tbsp). It will have a lighter umami taste (reminiscent of seafood) but will provide a concentrated boost of unique compounds that enhance brain health and immune health.

Instead of fresh cremini — Did you know that cremini mushrooms are white button mushrooms that have been left to grow for a longer period of time? So, if you can’t find cremini just use old faithful.

This recipe was a play on the original by Jim Webster.

If you make this recipe, please share your impressions and photos with us!

Instagram: @real_mushrooms

Facebook: @realmushrooms

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Real Mushrooms

Real Mushrooms is driven by the desire to deliver the best possible medicinal mushrooms extracts in their purest form, without any carriers or grain fillers.