July 20, 2012

Salt-Free Banh Mi Oh My

This is for reals.

But this is not for you.

I know that it looks like this is for you. It should be for you. But trust me. It is not for you.

This recipe is actually for that guy, or gal, who hears the words “salt-free” and almost passes out from boredom. It’s for that person who feels paralyzed by shock and awe that you eat food (presumably) without any taste, that probably looks like cardboard. It’s for all those people who have forgotten that hundreds of other spices, herbs, vinegars, jams, and ingredients too hot and spicy to legally mention exist. Beyond the salt.

So, sorry, this salt-free Banh Mi, in all its Vietnamese glory, is most definitely, without question, not for you. Not even close, buster.

But you can make it if you want. And you can build you own salt-free Banh Mi just like this:

Ta da.

All it takes is some slicing, dicing, and a little pork sizzling and you have a low-sodium version of one damn good sandwich.

So if you do decide to make this, even though it is not for you, make large portions for lunch or miniature versions for your next party. And just make sure to share it with all those people previously mentioned.

And then ask them if salt-free and low-sodium seems so bad after all.

Chow on.

 SALT-FREE BANH MI (you’re welcome)

makes 4 open-face sandwiches or about 16 bite-sized appetizers


  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 pound thin-cut boneless pork chop, sliced into stir-fry sized strips (or small bites if you’re making appetizers)
  • 1/4 cup Ginger People’s Sweet Ginger Sauce
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium hemp seed oil mayonnaise (GOOD Garlic Mayonnaise – 5mg of sodium per 1 tbsp)
  • 1/4 tsp salt-free Costa Peruana chili paste
  • 4 pieces no-salt added bread
  • A few pieces of butter lettuce, washed and ripped into sandwich sizes
  • 1/2 cup of shredded carrots
  • 2 scallions, washed in thinly sliced into long ribbons
  • 2 tbsp ripped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 jalapeno, sliced very thinly


First things first, let’s get your pork cooking. Heat the sesame oil in a medium pan and when hot, add your pork strips.

Let them sizzle and brown on one side for 5 minutes. While they cook, mix the Sweet Ginger sauce with the molasses in a small bowl. Then, when the pork pieces move easily with a spatula, flip them over as best you can and add the marinade.

Cook for another 5 to 8 minutes and then take the pork off of the heat and set aside.

Next, it’s time to make your spicy Banh Mi mayonnaise. In a small bowl, mix the mayo with the chili paste. Stir until everything is combined and then set that aside as well. Wasn’t that easy?

Then, toast your no-salt bread. Double easy.

Now, it’s time to get building. Just remember to adjust and smallify the sizes of the bread and all the other toppings if you are making appetizer bites.

The order of operations are as follows: (1) bread; (2) slathering of chili mayo; (3) bed of butter lettuce; (4) carrot shreds; (5) scallions; (6) sweet and spicy pork slices; (7) mint and jalapenos; (8) enjoy.

Oui, Chef July 23, 2012 at 11:42 am

Chow on indeed. You’re making me lick my screen again, you bad girl.

Sophie July 24, 2012 at 3:28 am

I was actually scared to try this one because I love Bahn Mi SO much, and was afraid to be let down by the non sodium version… In hindsight, that was idiotic.

Haha, this was amazing – thanks a lot!

jessg23 July 25, 2012 at 8:36 am

Haha, Sophie, this is one of my favorite comments. EVER. So glad you liked the Bahn Mi!

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