After classic grilled cheese sandwiches, our second quick go-to sandwiches are Vietnamese banh mi. Though many traditional banh mi have grilled pork and meats, we always enjoy having a vegetarian version. To make use of abundant zucchini, we’ll grill up some slices of it with an Asian-style marinade and assemble a platterful for parties.

For the bread, select a light and airy baguette rather than the firmer, denser ones. One of the key elements of a great banh mi is having a bread that is crusty yet not too heavy.

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Ingredients

For the Pickles

  • 1 quart (1L) warm water (just warm enough to dissolve the salt and sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons (90ml) rice vinegar
  • ½ lb. carrots, julienned
  • ½ lb. daikon radish, julienned

For the Zucchini

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 3 medium zucchini (about 1 pound / 455g), ends trimmed
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

For the Banh Mi Assembly

  • 2 baguettes
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs
  • Soy sauce

Method

Directions

  1. In large pitcher or large bowl, combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved and the mixture is well combined.
  2. Place the carrots and daikon in a quart-size (1-L) sterilized jar. Pour the vinegar mixture into the jar.
  3. Cover the jar and refrigerate until ready to use, up to about 3 weeks. (The longer the pickles sit, the more flavorful and sour they become).
  4. Make the zucchini: Preheat the grill. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, oil, soy sauce, and vinegar and mix well.
  5. Slice the zucchini lengthwise into ¼-inch (6-mm) slices. Place the zucchini slices in the marinade and allow to marinate for 10 minutes.
  6. Heat the grill and cook the zucchini slices until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  7. Slice the baguettes in half lengthwise. On the bottom half, layer the pickles, zucchini, and cilantro, and sprinkle with soy sauce. Replace the top half of the baguettes. Cut each baguette crosswise into thirds and serve.

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