Banh Mi Salad. This is a delicious take on Vietnamese classic sandwich, the Bánh mì. Keto, paleo, Whole30 and gluten-free, this deconstructed take on one of my favorite sandwiches is loaded with flavor, fresh crunchy vegetables and so much color. I cannot wait for you to try this one.
Alright all my keto, paleo, Whole30 pals, you didn’t think I would leave you hanging on this whole Banh Mi thing, did you? I shared my delicious gluten-free Banh Mi Sandwich a few weeks back, as part of a Sammie Smackdown Contest with Canyon Bakehouse, all for a very good cause, but a lot of you, like me, are generally on that grain-free train. I feel ya, I feel better that way, too! But, there’s no reason we can’t get it on these sammie vibes, in our own way. Enter the Banh Mi Salad, my new favorite thing!
I entered my tasty take on this classic Vietnamese sandwich, the Banh Mi, to try to win $10,000 for my charity, Joyful Heart Foundation. Joyful Heart is a leading national organization with a mission to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse and support survivors’ healing. Through healing, education, and advocacy, they are paving the way for innovative approaches to treating trauma, igniting shifts in the way the public views and responds to these horrific acts of violence and reforming legislation to ensure justice for survivors – and ultimately working to end this violence, forever!
Voting is still open. It remains open until August 20th and you can vote up to 3 times a day for my sandwich, with extra votes coming in if you share on social media and sign up through email to win a years worth of gluten-free bread! Head over to the Sammie Smackdown contest on Canyon Bakehouse’s website and help me by voting EVERY SINGLE DAY until the contest ends on 8/20. It would mean the world to me to win this money for this incredible, privately funded organization, doing such important work.
In the meantime, if sandwiches and bread aren’t so much your thing, you need to make this epic salad, inspired by that sandwich. All the flavors, tastes and vibes, without the bread. (And yes, I am aware that Banh Mi literally translates to bread, so this becomes an oxymoron of sorts, but I am OK with that.) If you are following a paleo or keto approach to your eating or maybe just doing a Whole30 and looking to have something fun, this salad is for you!!
The quick pickled carrot and daikon are one of my personal favorite parts of this salad, with the amazing fresh crunch, the tang of the vinegar, it’s such a fabulous compliment. The fresh herbs, the cilantro and the mint elevate this to a level that is so unique, it’s fresh and flavorful. For greens, there is no wrong answer, go with what you like. I went with a blend of green leaf lettuce, butter lettuce and watercress, my favorites for salads. You can use romaine, spinach, cabbage, spring mixed baby greens, or whatever you like. Of course the sriracha mayo dressing is a total perfect finishing move and it allows you to control the heat, along with the pepper rings. Finally, don’t skimp on the quality proteins, as always you know I want you getting sustainable, properly raised meats, not only will you taste the difference, but it’s better for you and the earth, too!
Protein Swaps: Here’s the thing, once you have the basic elements of this salad, the various flavors and crunchy veggies, the tasty sriracha dressing – you can switch up your protein easily and swap in chicken, shrimp or even tofu, if that’s your jam! Use the marinade from the pork belly and coat chicken breasts or chicken thighs and give it a bake/roast, till it’s cooked through and caramelized on the outside. You can also opt for pork loin instead of pork belly. Keep the ham, or skip it. Toss shrimp in that marinade and pan fry it on the stove top. Same with tofu. Boom. Lots of options. If you are strict no sweeteners, leave out the honey in the marinade, it’ll still be amazing. I have made it both ways.
Banh Mi Salad
- 6 cups of organic greens, of your choosing (I opted for butter lettuce, green leaf lettuce and watercress)
- 4 pieces thick cut roasted pork belly strips, or thick-cut bacon, cut into bite sized pieces - see below
- 4 slices freshly sliced, high-quality gluten-free deli ham, cut into thin strips
- Pickled Carrot and Daikon - MAKE AHEAD see below
- thinly sliced red chiles or jalapeño
- cucumber, thinly sliced or cut into matchsticks
- fresh cilantro
- fresh mint
- Sriracha Mayo Dressing - see below
- To compose each of your salad, arrange your greens into your serving bowls or plates. To each salad add the roasted pork belly, ham, thinly sliced cucumber and the chiles or jalapeño, if using.
- Finish with a heaping spoonful of the pickled carrots and daikon, a generous bunch of the fresh cilantro and fresh mint. Drizzle the sriracha mayo on top. Enjoy!
Pickled Carrot and Daikon
- 4 oz carrots - julienned or cut into thin match-like strips
- 4 oz daikon radish, cut the same way as carrots
- 2 cups water, slightly warm enough to dissolve the salt and sugar
- 1 tablespoon sugar, or other sweetener
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ¼ - ⅓ cup* distilled white vinegar or rice vinegar
- NOTE: I suggest you start with 1/4 cup of vinegar and taste the mixture. If you want it more tangy/vinegary, add more vinegar to taste
- In a large bowl, mix the water, sugar, salt and vinegar. Whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
- In a clean, glass jar, add the carrots and daikon. Pour the vinegar mixture over until the veggies are completely covered in the liquid.
- Cover the jar and place in the refrigerator, at least overnight. The longer it sits the better the flavor. They’ll last up to a few weeks in the fridge.
Roasted Pork Belly
- ½ lb high-quality properly-raised pork belly, cut into thick-cut bacon like slabs or thick-cut bacon. You want four, approximately 6-inch long strips, around 1/2-inch thick
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon very finely minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon very finely minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos, GF soy sauce or tamari will also work
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and set an oven-proof rack over the foil. Arrange the bacon in a single layer on the rack.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Brush the mixture over the entire surface area of the pork belly or bacon, flip and do the same on the other side.
- Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the bacon is brown and shiny, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then loosen the slices from the rack with a metal spatula. Continue to cool for another 5 minutes before serving; the bacon will crisp as it cools.
- NOTE: cook time will vary based on the thickness of the pork belly or bacon, so best to start checking around 15 to 20 minutes.
- ¼ cup avocado oil mayonnaise
- approx 1 teaspoon sriracha, or to taste (as spicy as you’d like)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
- water as needed, to thin to your desired consistency.
- Whisk together, until well combined. Set aside. Keep refrigerated until ready to build your sammie.