Recipe Flash: Lamb Meatball Banh Mi Sandwiches

Check out our other 15 Best Ethnic Dishes at Home

Ever since I waxed poetic on the beauty of a good banh mi, I have been addicted to making different variations on this classic sandwich at home, in an effort to stop buying the real thing at Num Pang. I made a large batch of lamb meatballs for a catering event last month, and was eating my way through the leftovers the whole following week. Since the meatballs were packed with spices–cumin, cayenne, paprika–I decided to try out a Moroccan-fusion banh mi with harissa mayo instead of the traditional sriracha red chili version. The pickled carrots and handfuls of cilantro were a perfect complement, and reminded me of some of the great salads you get at the beginning of a meal in Morocco.

Even if you don’t happen to have lamb meatballs lying around the house, these sandwiches are incredibly easy, and can be made start to finish in 30 minutes or so. Make the meatballs ahead of time if you need to, and enjoy these sandwiches with your friends once the weather has made picnicking acceptable again.

From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,



Lamb Meatball Banh Mi
Makes 6 large sandwiches

There are many variations on these sandwiches–try using these meatballs for a Mexican spin on this dish. You can also substitute ground beef, pork, or veal for the lamb if you are not a lamb fan.


For the lamb meatballs:

2 pounds ground lamb
4 shallots, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cilantro, minced
1 1/2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs
2 eggs
2 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons salt

For the pickled carrots:

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/8-inch match sticks

For the sandwiches:

2 baguettes, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons harissa
1/2 lime, juiced
1 bunch cilantro, woody bottoms of the stems removed

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs. Form into 1-inch balls (you should get 48 or so), and arrange them about 1 inch apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake in the oven until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Set aside.

In the meantime, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a medium mixing bowl until dissolved. Add the carrots and toss until combined. Set aside to pickle for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, harissa, and lime juice. Season with a sprinkle of salt.

Toast the bread on a cookie sheet under the broiler for a few minutes until crusty but not browned. Slather the top half of bread with the mayonnaise. Arrange the lamb on the bottom half of the bread. Top with the carrots, making sure to leave behind any excess liquid so that sandwich doesn’t get soggy, and a handful of cilantro leaves. Press down the top half of the bread and cut into 3 sandwiches. Repeat with the second baguette.

Posted in: Recipe Flash
  • Frankie

    Me want.

  • Leopard

    I recently made bahn mi inspired turkey burgers with pickled radishes, avocado and sriracha, cilantro mayo. I thought I was being original! Your version sounds dee-licious!

    • BGSK

      mmmm that sounds so yummy!! we’ll have to try that too!

  • Frankie’s Girl

    Me like.

  • Sean A Williams

    Nice enough sounding to definitely try next week!

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