Tuna Banh Mi with Pickled Yellow Beans

Ortiz canned tuna, crunchy pickled yellow beans, marinated carrots & onion, sliced cucumber, and fresh herbs served on a toasted French baguette.

holding a Tuna Banh Mi Sandwich with Pickled Yellow Beans

 I love pickles. And it always boggles my mind when someone doesn’t. They’re truly missing out on the crunch and brine that makes a sandwich complete. Without it, this recipe just wouldn’t be the same.

This banh mi isn’t authentic. While it has all the elements of one (i.e. baguette, protein, pickles, and herbs), this variation focuses more on its French roots–almost reminiscence of a salade niçoise.

Pickled yellow beans are the star of the show. The crisp, bright pods are brined with coriander and sugar. Then the beans ferment, making for incredible tang. Ortiz canned tuna adds a succulent, meaty texture while cucumber and herbs freshen it all up. It’s colorful, flavorful, and messy, so have plenty of napkins nearby.

T <3

Tuna Banh Mi Sandwich with Pickled Yellow Beans Ingredients

Tips for Making Banh Mi 

  • Try not to cut the bread all the way through or you’re in for a super messy lunch. You can also wrap parchment paper around it to contain all the savory goodness inside. 
  • The baguette shouldn’t be too crusty and hard, or you’ll cut the roof of your mouth (like I did 🙈 ). Get the softest one you can find. At the store, give your bread a gentle squeeze and you’ll have a good idea if it’s sandwich worthy or not. 

opened can of ortiz tuna fish

Ortiz Tuna is the Secret 

The secret to getting canned tuna that doesn’t taste like dry cat food is using one that’s packed in olive oil. It helps to marinate and moistens the tuna. My favorite brand is Ortiz, which has fresh-from-the-ocean seafood flavor. It’s pricey but well worth it. You can substitute Otiz canned tuna with another good-quality tuna in olive oil. It’s a complete game-changer.

Marinated Julienned Carrot and Red Onions in a bowl

Marinated Carrot & Onions

I love to eat a rainbow, so red onion and carrots add just the contrast I needed to make this sandwich eye-catching. This marinated carrot and onion mixture is phenomenal. It gives this sandwich (or any sandwich) a touch of sweetness while taming the harsh heat of raw onion. Here are detailed instructions on how to make it: 

  1. Thinly slice the carrot and onions. The key here is to use a sharp knife or mandoline. The onions and carrots should be cut ¼-inch thick so they marinate and soften quickly. This is a great opportunity to practice your knife skills! 
  2. Toss with the marinade. Toss the julienned carrot and onions in a bowl with red wine vinegar and sugar; season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. You can use any vinegar or sweeteners you like, such as apple cider or maple syrup. If you find your canned tuna or any protein on the dry side, add 1-2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to your carrot and onion marinade. It will plenty of moisture. 
  3. Marinate. Set aside the mixture for at least 10 minutes. If your carrots and onions are sliced on the thicker side, you’ll want to marinate them for 20 minutes longer.
  4. Serve & store. This marinated carrot and onion mixture can make a home in practically any sandwich, wrap, or burger. Toss some in a stir-fry and salad, or use as a garnish for a creamy soup. I suggest doubling the recipe I provide below 😉.

Tuna Banh Mi Sandwich with Pickled Yellow Beans Prepped Ingredients

More Uses for Pickled Yellow Beans

  • Top on a hot dog.
  • Toss in salads or pasta dishes.
  • Garnish a Bloody Mary or Martini.
  • Serve on a charcuterie board with meats and cheese.
  • Use instead of pickled cucumbers.

Tuna Banh Mi Sandwich with Pickled Yellow Beans

Tuna Banh Mi with Pickled Yellow Beans

MAKES: 2 Sandwiches  |  LEVEL: Easy  |  FUNK: Moderate

Mise en Place

  • ¼ white onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1 small carrot, julienned or shaved 
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 (5-ounce) can good-quality tuna in olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 (6-inch) sections French Baguette, sliced in half horizontally  
  • Unsalted butter or mayonnaise
  • 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced into rounds
  • Pickled yellow beans, or pickled green beans 
  • Cilantro, mint, parsley, and/or basil leaves



Put onions, carrot, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Toss to combine. Marinate for 10 minutes. 



In a separate bowl, toss together the tuna (with oil), lemon juice, sesame oil, salt, and black pepper.  _______________________________


Spread butter on both slices of baguette. Top with tuna, cucumber, pickled yellow beans, onion & carrot mixture, and fresh herbs. Cover and slice in half, or keep whole. 



Serve immediately with chips and a glass of rosé or white wine. Or tightly wrap the sandwiches in parchment paper and store in the fridge until ready to serve. 



Vegan Bahn Mi: Replace canned tuna with marinated tofu.

Papaya Barbecue Crab Cake Bahn Mi: Replace canned tuna with homemade or store-bought crab cakes. Spread one slice of baguette with papaya barbecue sauce.

‘Nduja & Chicken Banh Mi: Replace canned tuna with cooked chicken breast or thigh. Spread one slice of baguette with room temperature ‘nduja.

Banh Mi with Miso Butter: Instead of butter or mayonnaise, spread a slice of baguette with miso butter.


Did you make this Bahn Mi Sandwich with Pickled Yellow Beans? Let me know how it turned out and leave a comment below. 

  One thought on “Tuna Banh Mi with Pickled Yellow Beans

  1. October 1, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Wow…I too love pickles and Bahn Mis. Excellent recipe. Going to have to try this one.

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