Chicken banh mi with smashed cucumbers
Signature Sauce

Chicken banh mi with smashed cucumbers

Dairy-Free, Soy-Free

4 Servings, 610 Calories/Serving

30 – 40 Minutes

Our version of the iconic Vietnamese sandwich stays true to the original, packed with authentic flavors that are sure to please (yet customizable for choosier palates).


  • 2 or 3 red radishes
  • Vietnamese quick-pickle brine (apple cider vinegar - honey - fish sauce)
  • ¼ pound shredded carrots
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 or 2 cloves peeled fresh garlic
  • 1 lime
  • 4 to 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1 pound total)
  • 1½ teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
  • 4 ciabatta rolls
  • 6 or 7 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño (optional)
  • ¼ cup paleo mayo
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (optional)

Chef's Tip

You can toast the ciabatta rolls in a 400°F oven or toaster oven instead of a frying pan. Cut the rolls in half lengthwise and arrange, cut sides up, on a sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 to 2 teaspoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Toast until lightly browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes.

Nutrition per serving



Pickle the radishes and carrots

  • Trim the ends from the radishes. Cut them in half, then cut the halves into thin half-moons.
In a small sauce pot, bring the quick-pickle brine to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the radishes and carrots, and season with salt. Cover and let stand, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the rest of the meal.


Smash the cucumbers

  • Trim the ends from the cucumbers; cut the cucumbers lengthwise into quarters, then crosswise into 2-inch lengths.
  • Finely chop, press, or grate enough garlic to measure ½ teaspoon.
  • Juice the lime.
In a resealable plastic bag, combine the cucumbers, garlic, and lime juice and season generously with salt. Using a wooden spoon, lightly smash the cucumbers. Let stand while you prepare the rest of the meal.


Cook the chicken and toast the rolls

  • Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel; season generously with salt, pepper, and the Chinese five-spice powder.
  • Cut the ciabatta rolls in half lengthwise.
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil until hot but not smoking. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until lightly browned and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly, then cut into ½-inch-thick slices. Return the pan to medium-high heat and warm the residual fat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches, add the rolls, cut sides down, and cook until lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
While the chicken cooks and cools, prepare the garnishes and sambal mayo.


Prep the garnishes and sambal mayo

  • Strip the cilantro leaves from the stems.
  • If using the jalapeño, remove the stem, ribs, and seeds; cut the jalapeño crosswise into thin half-moons. Wash your hands after handling.
In a small bowl, stir together the mayo and as much sambal oelek as you like. Season to taste with salt.


Assemble the banh mi

Place the roll bottoms, cut sides up, on a work surface and slather with as much sambal mayo as you like. Top each with the chicken, pickled radishes and carrots, cilantro, and as much jalapeño as you like. Close with the roll tops.



Transfer the banh mi to individual plates and serve with the smashed cucumbers.

Kids Can!

  • Measure out the garlic.
  • Juice the lime.
  • Smash the cucumbers.
  • Strip the cilantro leaves from the stems.
  • Stir together the sambal mayo.

Protein: 36g (72% DV), Fiber: 6g (24% DV), Total Fat: 20g (31% DV), Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 15g (75% DV), Cholesterol: 105mg (35% DV), Sodium: 940mg (39% DV), Carbohydrates: 75g (25% DV), Total Sugars: 11g, Added Sugars (Honey): 3g (6% DV).
Contains: Eggs, Fish, Wheat

Sodium does not include pantry salt; for reference, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt added to the recipe averages 240mg per serving, or 10% DV). Not a significant source of trans fat.