Sometimes good things come out of worlds colliding, and a traditional banh mi is a perfect example. The banh mi originated around the late 1800s when the French invaded Vietnam and Indochina. “Banh” means bread in Vietnamese, and a banh mi is a sandwich served on a classic french-style baguette filled with meat, pickled and fresh vegetables, and a combination of mayonnaise and umami sauces. The combination of the soft pillowy bread and explosion of texture and flavor from the fillings has made banh mi a worldwide hit.
Some might argue that a banh mi is not a banh mi without the baguette. That’s fine. Call it banh mi inspired then, but these pork lettuce cups deliver on all of the savory goodness of the sandwich minus the bread.
Radish, cucumber, and carrots become tart and tangy pickles with rice vinegar and a touch of coconut sugar. The pork is seasoned with fish sauce, soy sauce (or coconut aminos), and sriracha, and the mayo gets fancy with rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sriracha too. (Learn how to make homemade sriracha here!)
Wrap it all up in some cool crisp lettuce, and you will be a banh mi fan for life.
One of our favorite ways to get these on the table is to meal prep with a big pot of shredded pork for the week. Then switch things up and use the pork in dishes like Italian Spaghetti Squash Bowls With Shredded Pork, Southwest Salad with Pork, or our low carb take on Filipino Pancit.
Banh Mi Pork Lettuce Cups
- For the pickled veggies:
- 1/2 bunch radish
- 1 cucumber
- 1/2 c shredded carrots
- 6 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. coconut sugar
- sea salt, to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- For the spicy mayo:
- 1/2 c mayonnaise
- 1 1/4 tsp. Sriracha
- 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp. rice vinegar
- For the pork filling:
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 2 c shredded pork
- 2 tsp. fish sauce
- 1 tsp. Sriracha
- 2 tsp. coconut sugar
- tamari or coconut aminos, to taste
- 1 head butter lettuce
- For the pickled veggies: Julienne radishes and cucumber.
- In a bowl, combine carrots, radishes, cucumber, rice vinegar, and coconut sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Let marinate at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the meal. If you\'d like, these can be prepared in advance for more intense flavor and refrigerated until ready to use.
- For the spicy mayo: Combine all ingredients and set aside.
- For the pork filling: Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add sesame oil and cooked shredded pork. When the pork is heated through, add fish sauce, sriracha, and coconut sugar. Toss together and cook another 1-2 minutes, adding coconut aminos.
- Assemble the lettuce wraps. Fill each lettuce leaf with pork, top with pickled veggies, and drizzle with spicy mayo. Serve immediately.