Tuna Banh Mi Sandwich by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan


May 7, 2020


If you are longing for an exciting (!) tuna sandwich; this is it : 


Quick-pickled vegetables.  Spicy mayo.  Bright lime.  Crunchy, crusted bread. (like a baguette or ciabatta rolls) Fresh mint & cilantro sprigs.

All together equals pure sandwich happiness.


  • Prep: 55 mins
  • Cook: 50 mins
  • Yields: 3 sandwiches


pickled vegetables

1 cup cold water

¾ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

pinch kosher salt

¾ cup thin sliced or julienned carrots (** see note below **), about 4 or 5 carrots, depending on size

½ large green bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

Optional Extra: ½ medium jalapeno pepper, halved, seeded & thin-sliced

1 cucumber, (regular or ‘Persian’, not the seedless or ‘english’ variety) peeled and cut into thin circles

2 scallions, slivered white part (save greens for spicy mayo below)

spicy mayo

½ cup prepared mayonnaise

your favorite hot sauce: Korean gochujang paste, Vietnamese sweet-spicy chili sauce, sambal, frank’s hot sauce or tabasco to name a few (**see note below**)

juice of 1 lime (and more as needed; not all limes are created equal)

sliced scallion greens (from 2 scallions)

Pinch kosher salt

1 crusty French baguette or 2-3 crusty ciabatta rolls

10-12 stems of fresh cilantro, washed & dried

12 mint leaves, washed & dried

optional: 2 cups shredded romaine or iceberg lettuce

2 cans (4-ounces each) albacore tuna, packed in water


Combine the water, rice wine vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and stir to combine. Cook to dissolve sugar. Simmer for 1-2 minutes to achieve a thin syrup. Add the julienned carrots and simmer another 2 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and add the sliced peppers and the sliced scallion whites. Let syrup cool completely (15-20 minutes). When cool to the touch, stir in the sliced cucumbers. Stir to combine. Add pinch kosher salt to taste. Set aside.

** julienne** - a French term for cutting vegetables into angled ’sticks’. Begin by peeling the carrots. Cut off the thin ends and reserve for another use. Then slice the thicker ends across the carrot into thin circles. Lay the cut circles down on the cutting board and slice each across into small matchsticks. If you are experienced, you can stack a few carrot circles together and proceed. Otherwise just cut each piece one by one. Don’t sigh, you are improving your knife skills.

**hot sauce choices**

I used Korean gochujang paste because I like its sticky-hot-sweetness. (The sweet tempers the hot.) Remember not all hot sauces are created equal, use sparingly until you achieve the desired results; namely, a spicy mayo that will ‘marry’ well with tuna.

(I used 1 tablespoon of gochujang paste with ½ cup of mayo.)

Mix the mayo with your chosen variety of hot sauce, the lime juice and the thinly sliced scallion greens. Taste, and add a pinch of kosher salt if necessary.

Drain water from 2 (4-ounce) cans of tuna. Put into a bowl and add spicy mayo to coat. Leave the tuna in large chunks, don’t overmix. Season to taste. Set aside.

build the sandwiches

Choose your crusty bread and use a serrated knife to open it up. If using a baguette, divide the baguette into 3 or 4 portions, depending on the length of the loaf. Spread a layer of spicy mayo on the inside top & bottom halves. Add layer of shredded lettuce, if using, on the bottom halves and distribute the spicy tuna equally among the sandwich bottoms.

Drain the pickled vegetables and save the liquid (**see below**).

Pile a portion of pickled vegetables on top on the spicy tuna. Add cilantro sprigs and mint leaves to each sandwich. Finish with the top halves of bread.

Slice in half….or not.

It’s going to be juicy. Eat over a plate to catch the drippings!

**saved pickling liquid** If you have another cucumber, peel and slice it into circles, same as before. Add the pieces to the saved pickling juices. Add pinch of salt. Cover and refrigerate. This quick pickle will be ready in a couple of hours or store overnight to add to a coleslaw salad the next day.