Serious Eats: Recipes

Meat Lite: Hybrid Banh Mi

Editor's note: Philadelphia food writers Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond drop by each week with Meat Lite, which celebrates meat in moderation. Meat Lite was inspired by their book, Almost Meatless.

At my local banh mi joint, I'm always torn between the oh-so-virtuous tofu sandwich and the all-out cholesterol fest that is the pork and pâté version. Finally, I've bridged the gap with my homemade Meat Lite rendition. It's a great recipe to have on hand if you, as we recommend in Almost Meatless, cook a big pork shoulder when you have time and freeze the meat in 8-ounce portions.

It couldn't be simpler. Just buy a 4- to 6-pound pork shoulder, cut it up into four big but manageable pieces, season liberally, and brown pieces on all sides in a large Dutch oven. Add a bit of water, enough to come one-third of the way up the pork pieces, and bake on 350 degrees for about 3 hours--until it falls apart when prodded.

Of course, you can get rid of the pork altogether with an extra slice of tofu and have almost as excellent a banh mi. I like to spice up the mayonnaise with a squirt of Sriracha and a splash of lime juice. You can also add slices of fresh jalapeño before serving to increase the heat.

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