Tuesday, October 6, 2015

#334: Grilled Eggplant Pita Banh Mi

Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich made on french bread, and topped with cilantro and pickled daikon.  Falls Church, Virginia is home to a shopping center, Eden Center, filled with Vietnamese grocery stores, shops, restaurants and bakeries.  The bakeries there are home to some of the most delicious french breads perfect for a banh mi.  Most of these bakeries and sandwich shops offer banh mi sandwiches filled with pork, beef or chicken, with the obligatory vegetarian option - tofu.  

We took a twist on the traditional banh mi sandwich, by first using a whole wheat pita pocket, and my swapping out the tofu, for grilled eggplant.  While a cucumber sauce is also atypical of most banh mi sandwiches, I like how our version is sort of a Mediterranean take on what is a traditional Vietnamese (influenced by the French) sandwich.  This Grilled Eggplant Pita Banh Mi, is the perfect lunch dish for meatless mondays, or just when you want a lighter option, but one that is still full of delicious flavor.  

Grilled Eggplant Pita Banh Mi

1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
5 whole wheat pitas
lettuce and cilantro, chopped
For the Marinade:
2 tbsps soy sauce
2 tbsps lime juice
1 tbsp honey 
1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
1/2 tsp ginger paste (or grated ginger)
1 tbsp lemongrass, chopped fine and crushed
1 tsp fish sauce (optional)

 In a small bowl whisk together the ingredients for the marinade.  Set aside. 

For the pickled radishes and carrots
1/4 cup red radishes, sliced into long thin strips 
1/4 cup carrots, sliced into long thin strips
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsps sugar
salt and whole black peppercorns

Boil the apple cider vinegar, water, pepper  and sugar. Turn off the heat, cool a little and
add the vegetables to make a quick pickle. Toss thoroughly.  Set aside.

For the cucumber sauce:
2 basil leaves, julienned  
4 tbsps sour cream
2 tbsps grated cucumber
1 tsp lime juice
salt and black pepper 

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

  1. Marinate the eggplant slices in the marinade for 5-6 hours.
  2. Heat the grill and grill the eggplant on both sides basting them with the extra marinade.
  3. Grill until cooked, remove each slice from heat and keep aside.
  4. Toast each pita and cut into two halves.
  5. Apply the cucumber sauce a little and stuff each half with eggplant slices, lettuce and     cilantro.
  6. Top with pickled vegetables and extra cucumber sauce before serving.


  1. So many creative ideas here with eggplant and cucumbers! That cucumber sauce sounds fantastic!

  2. Yum! I love this! A really good way to make eggplant, which I could always use some more ideas for.

  3. Would love to have a bite, dear! xoxo


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