Veganuary – Vegan for 1 Week : Day 5 My Vietnamese Tofu Bun Cha

So we made it to the final day of vegan work lunches – well done everyone!

To celebrate this momentous occasion I wanted to make something a little bit different. Something that perhaps my friends hadn’t tried before, tofu! Even if you have eaten tofu before, it’s not to everyone’s liking and so, as you can imagine, I was more than a little nervous about this particular lunch. To make matters worse I also decided to go out for dinner with friends the night I had to prepare my food. Needless to say I had a very late night, up cooking until 1am; tiredness probably contributed to my nerves.

I also experienced a certain amount of self-induced pressure, being the only actual vegan of the group, I felt I had something to prove.

So here’s my (oh OK it’s actually by Sarah Tildesley from the Jamie Oliver Magazine) Vegan Vietnamese bun cha with sticky spicy tofu recipe.

IMG_2103-0desk lunch

🍃 as a side note, before becoming vegan, Jamie Oliver had started to annoy me slightly, over exposure perhaps? However I have come to rely on some of his vegan recipes. They’re not always the healthiest, and I sometimes try to substitute ingredients for slightly healthier options, but he really is a great example of how main stream veganism is becoming. Next up, a completely vegan TV show with accompanying book please Jamie!

Anyway, I digress, back to the recipe :

🍃Serves 4

🌿sesame oil
🌿1 large brown onion, peeled and thinly sliced
🌿350g pack of firm tofu, drained and broken into very rough chunks
🌿6 tbsp hoisin sauce
🌿2 tbsp sesame seeds
🌿250g thin brown rice noodles, soaked in boiling water until soft
🌿a small handful of peanuts, crushed
🌿1 long red chilli, finely sliced
🌿2 limes, cut into wedges
🌿chilli sauce, to serve


🌿3 tbsp brown sugar
🌿1 stick of lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, finely chopped
🌿3 tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce
🌿1 tbsp white wine vinegar
🌿1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, plus extra to serve
🌿juice of 2 limes


🌿2 carrots, grated or cut with a crinkle cutter
🌿1/2 cucumber, grated or cut with a crinkle cutter
🌿2 baby gem lettuce, finely sliced
🌿4 spring onions, finely sliced
🌿1 small bunch of mint, leaves picked

IMG_2050yummy and fresh

🍃And the method:

🌿Make the dressing first, so that all the flavours have time to mingle.
🌿In a large bowl or measuring jug, dissolve the sugar in 50ml of boiling water.
🌿Stir through all the other dressing ingredients, then set aside.

🌿Heat a little sesame oil in a frying pan and fry the onion over a low–medium heat, until soft and golden at the edges, about 10 minutes.
🌿Set aside.

🌿In the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil over a medium heat, then add the tofu and fry until it starts to go crispy on the edges – about 5 minutes.
🌿Stir in the hoisin sauce and keep it on the heat for about 3 minutes, until it’s sweet and sticky and coats all the tofu.
🌿Add the sesame seeds for the final minute, then it’s done.

🌿Finally, combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

🌿To assemble your meal, divide the noodles between serving bowls, followed by the salad, then the tofu and onion, scatter over the peanuts and chilli and generously share out the dressing.

🌿Serve with extra toasted sesame oil, lime wedges and chilli sauce.


IMG_2098so much Tupperware

This is the recipe taken straight from the original but feel free to play with and adapt it to your needs. For example I didn’t want to chilli to be overpowering for my friends (though I love the heat!), so I cooked the chilli rather than serve it raw. I also added chopped portobello mushrooms to my hoisin tofu, to bull it out and in case not everyone enjoyed the tofu.

Oh – here’s how Sarah’s looked…

IMG_2237exactly the same as mine, right?

So that’s that, the week is done. Our bellies have been filled with 5 deliciously different vegan dishes. I’m keen to make this a regular thing, maybe 1 lunch a week, taking it in turns… However for now I think everyone’s a little bit veganed out – Meat free Monday’s it is then!

Be sure to come back tomorrow for a roundup of the week’s recipes plus some feedback from a few of the other girls who didn’t get a chance to cook. Don’t worry girls, you’ll be top of the chef’s list next time!


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