Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches are typically filled with a combo of vegetables and meats, which poses a problem for vegetarians and vegans. Enter Cherish Farm Fresh Eatery’s vegan banh mi ($12), a well-crafted stand-in for the real deal. Served on a soft Noble Bread vegan hoagie roll, Cherish’s meat-free version is anchored by a tangy shiitake mushroom and tofu pâté flecked with onion highlights. The unusual pâté is made with mushrooms strained through the restaurant’s red miso broth, pressed to shed water and then whipped together with tofu. The mixture is poured into molds and popped in the freezer for a couple of hours to firm up enough for slicing.
The kitchen staff layers sweet golden beet slices over the pâté, followed by crunchy bean sprouts, pickled daikon radish, shredded carrots, sliced jalapeños and a heap of fresh cilantro topped off by a bright mix of sriracha and vegan mayonnaise, owner David Nelson says. The jalapeño, along with the sauce, packs a one-two punch and really perks up the tofu.
The earthy sandwich comes with house mixed greens draped in a white balsamic vinaigrette, or you can substitute a custom side ($2), with choices that include snap peas with garlic and char siu sauce; farro with golden raisins; and charred cauliflower with mint. “Everyone who has a vegetarian or vegan diet can find something they’ll enjoy,” Nelson says.
Cherish Farm Fresh Eatery
2551 W. Queen Creek Rd., Chandler