Banh Mi Kid Style

The sandwich roster in our house is pretty slim. It goes something like this: grilled cheese, ham & cheese, peanut butter & jelly, more grilled cheese. It is pretty much the only thing my husband can make so whenever he is on dinner duty grilled cheese is on the menu. Not that anyone complains, they love their daddy’s “famous grilled cheese.”

I wanted to expand our horizons so after some research into the sandwich world, I decided to tackle the Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich. Okay, I confess, I am probably one of the few New Yorkers who have yet to try a Banh Mi. I had a vague idea of what they were, some meat and pickled vegetables on a baguette but I never realized what a following these Vietnamese hoagies have. How good could they possibly be? Ok, after having one, now I know – YUM

I knew a sandwich with so many vegetables would be a tough sell so I needed to come up with a way to make it more kid-friendly for the boys. The spicy aioli needed a makeover since I didn’t think a Sriracha chili sauce would be well received. Instead I made a dijonnaise style aioli because mustard is a fairly familiar flavor for them. And the choice for the meat was a turkey kielbasa which tastes pretty much like a hotdog, which I suspected would definitely win them over.

Banh Mi Kid Style


2 carrots (or 10 baby carrots), peeled and grated

1/2 English cucumber, peeled, and cut into matchsticks

1/2 tsp coarse salt

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp olive oil

1 turkey kielbasa, diagonally sliced thin  (usually near ham in the supermarket)

1 baguette, cut lengthwise, and cut again into sandwich size portions

Handful fresh cilantro leaves



Place the carrots and cucumbers in two separate bowls. Combine the salt, sugar, and vinegar and divide mixture evenly over the carrots and cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, preferably overnight.

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In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble sandwich.

Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium high heat. Add chopped kielbasa and cook until heated through and slightly carmelized, about 9-10 minutes. Set aside.


To assemble: Scoop out some of the inside of the bread and spread both sides with the dijonnaise. Add a layer of the sliced kielbasa. Top with the pickled vegetables and add a few cilantro leaves on top.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew: I LOVE this!

Liam: This is football food! I will eat the meat!

Dylan: Mommy, I tried the carrots, they were so sweet. I’m having this at our football party!


I can only assume they associate hot dogs with football because the one time they tailgated we had them and the kielbasa tasted so similar. Who knows what goes through a three-year olds mind….


Inhaled it!

Great attempt!

Great attempt!

Work in progress!

Work in progress!


3 thoughts on “Banh Mi Kid Style

  1. Looks delicious, but I wonder if I could substitue onions and peppers for the carrots and cucumber. I’m trying to eat healthier but I really dislike a lot of vegetables. Hoping to gain some inspiration from your blog!

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