When I’m in one of those, “Eat whatever I want, worry about the consequences later/never” moods – my #1 go to is a good bahn mi sandwich. Sorry pizza, you were my favorite for so long, but there’s something irresistible about pretty much an entire loaf of bread covered in pork, pate, mayonnaise and pickled vegetables…but it’s not exactly healthy and pretty far from the low carb diet I’ve been trying to stick to lately.

I’ve recently discovered Siete Family Paleo tortillas – and no, I’m not being paid to write this – they’re amazing! The cassava/coconut flour ones even fooled my carb loving husband. So during a recent bahn mi craving, I decided to try it in low carb taco form. It’s not quite the same level of guilty pleasure, but they’re delicious and not nearly as…well, guilty.

This one does seem like a lot of ingredients at first glance…but it’s actually very easy once you break it down. The first project to tackle is the pork marinade. It’s essentially an adobo with a couple additions (I know, I know, adobo is Filipino, bahn mi is Vietnamese…but it works). Smash the garlic with a knife, and mix it in with everything else. You can marinade overnight or for a couple of hours, but if you’re doing the latter I’d advise poking the tenderloin all over with a fork before marinating. It really makes a difference.

Once you take the tenderloin out of the marinade, it needs a good sear. If for some reason it’s actually a warm day in San Francisco, I need almost no excuse to turn the grill on. I ended up searing this one on the grill, but a grill pan or cast iron skillet will work just as well. Just make sure you’re working with high heat, you don’t want to cook the pork through, just get a slightly crunchy exterior and caramelize a little of the sugar from the marinade.

As soon as it’s done on the grill pop it in the oven at 300 F. A proper bahn mi uses a very slow roasted pork that’s a huge project all by itself, but a low oven for 30-45 minutes (depending on the size of your tenderloin) does the job just fine. I use a meat thermometer whenever possible, it’s just so much easier…and overcooked pork just makes me sad. I like to take it out of the oven when the thermometer hits 145 F. I’ve advised 150 in the recipe above, it really just depends on how you like your pork. I go just above medium rare, but I understand that some people don’t really like pink pork. You can always google internal pork temperatures and go with what makes you comfortable.

While the pork cooks, you can set up all your toppings. The quick pickled vegetables are pretty self-explanatory. Only note here is that I’m seeding my jalapeños. Mostly out of habit, you can always add more heat, but once somethings over the line adding all that extra sugar and vinegar to balance it can be such a pain.

The avocado mayo is also very simple. I always use Lemonaise by The Ojai Cook…it’s got a little creole mustard, lemon juice and some spices, but a standard mayo will work just as well here. Just mash up an avocado, add the mayo of your choice and some sambal olek or sriracha and you’re ready to go. I much prefer the sambal olek, but I understand it’s not in everyone’s kitchen.

The herb mixture is also pretty key for this recipe – a classic bahn mi usually has mint and cilantro, but I’ve learned that adding a little basil helps both of those herbs shine. I put that little mixture on a lot of things. Just chop everything – anywhere between course and super fine, depending on how you like it – and you’re good.

I went back and forth on a few ingredients in this recipe, none more than the pate. The spicy avocado mayo has a lot of fat it in, would the pate be too much without the bread to hold it all together? Which one should I ditch? After a couple tries, turns out the answer is neither. It makes a hearty taco, but the low carb tortilla holds up just fine. After all, in my humble opinion, a Bahn mi without pate is just a pork sandwich. Turns out I feel the same way about the taco. So if it’s too much for you feel free to skip the pate, but I advise that you try it at least once. Pâté de Campagne (the proper name) is available at Whole Foods and the like, or if you’re super ambitious, you can make your own.

Once you have your toppings done and the pork is rested & sliced, you’re just about ready. All that’s left is to heat the tortillas – either on a grill, grill pan, in the oven, over a burner – and then assemble your tacos.

Spread the spicy avocado mayo over the tortilla, then layer sliced pork, pate, pickled vegetables, and herb mixture!

Enjoy!

Bahn Mi Tacos

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 2 tacos

Ingredients

1 1/4 lb Pork tenderloin
Marinade:
8 garlic cloves, chopped
3 T. cider vinegar
1 T. fish sauce
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. neutral cooking oil
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. white pepper
Quick Pickled Vegetables:
1/2 c. rice wine vinegar
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 carrot, julienned
3 medium thinly sliced jalapeños
1/2 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
Spicy Avocado Mayo:
1 avocado
1/4 c. mayonnaise
2 T. sambal olek or sriracha
Herb Mix:
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
2 T. basil
2 T. mint leaves
For Serving:
Country style pork pate, chopped
8 tortillas

Instructions

Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour over pork tenderloin. Marinate for 3 hours to overnight; turning once in a while.

After you remove the pork from the marinade, sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 300 F.

Sear tenderloin either on a grill or in a cast iron skillet. Once it's got a bit of a char, move into a baking dish and place in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 150 F.

While the pork is cooking, start the quick pickled vegetables. Mix the rice wine vinegar, sugar & salt until it's all dissolved together; then add the carrots, jalapeños and cucumbers. Set aside until ready to use.

Once the pork is finished, remove from the oven and let rest for at least 15 minutes.

While the pork is resting, make your final taco ingredients:

- Mash the avocado well and add the mayonnaise and samba olek (sriracha works well too). Set aside

- Chop the country style pate (Pâté de Campagne if you're fancy) and set aside.

- Finely chop the cilantro, basil and mint leaves and mix them together.

After the pork has rested, slice it as thinly as you can manage. It doesn't need to be perfectly even slices, it's a taco after all.

Heat the tortillas (either on a grill, grill pan, in the oven, over a burner - whatever you prefer) and then assemble your tacos.

Spread the spicy avocado mayo over the tortilla, then layer sliced pork, pate, pickled vegetables, and herb mixture!

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