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A to-go Banh Mi breakfast sandwich that's outside the box

Make-Ahead Banh Mi Breakfast Sandwiches.
Make-Ahead Banh Mi Breakfast Sandwiches.

Here, three easy additions inspired by a classic Asian sandwich turn an ordinary breakfast sandwich into one that is packed with flavor and panache – and they do it in a healthful way.

• Tangy, quick-pickled vegetables: Carrot and daikon radish (you could use regular radish instead and/or some cucumber) are cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler then brined in simple honey-sweetened vinegar mixture.

• A creamy-spicy sauce is made with yogurt and a touch of mayonnaise (which makes it better for you than the typical all-mayo base) and is spiked with Sriracha.

• A pile of fresh, aromatic cilantro leaves goes on top. (You could use fresh basil instead or in addition.)

Each element is layered onto a crunchy, toasted whole-grain English muffin along with a slice of smoky lean Canadian bacon and an egg. If you go with a hard-cooked egg as called for in this recipe, everything (except the toasting of the English muffin) may be prepped ahead and kept in the refrigerator so you can have a superior breakfast sandwich on the fly. But when you take an extra five minutes, you can fry up an egg and enjoy the luxury of its runny yolk.

This sandwich is a treat, either way.

• Ellie Krieger is a registered dietitian, nutritionist and author who hosts public television’s “Ellie’s Real Good Food.” She blogs and offers a weekly newsletter at

Make-Ahead Banh Mi Breakfast Sandwiches

4 servings

Make ahead: The vegetables need to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, and up to 4 days. You will have about half of them left over, which can be used in other sandwiches, salads and rice bowls. The sauce can be refrigerated up to 4 days in advance.

– From registered nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.

For the pickled vegetables:

1/3 cup boiling water

3 tablespoons honey

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1/2 large daikon radish, cut with a vegetable peeler into 4-inch long strips (about 1 cup)

1 large carrot, scrubbed well and then cut with a vegetable peeler into 4-inch long strips (about 1 cup)

For the sauce:

3 tablespoons plain low-fat Greek-style yogurt

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1½ teaspoons Sriracha

For assembly:

4 whole-grain English muffins, toasted and split

About 2 ounces (4 slices) Canadian bacon, browned in a skillet 2 to 3 minutes per side

4 large hard-cooked eggs, sliced (see note)

1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves

For the pickled vegetables: Stir together the boiling water, honey and salt in a medium bowl, until dissolved. Add the vinegar then add the shredded radish and carrot. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, and up to 4 days.

For the sauce: Stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise and Sriracha in a medium bowl to form a smooth sauce.

When ready to assemble, spread a tablespoon of the sauce on the bottom half of each toasted English muffin. Top with a slice of the Canadian bacon, slices of egg, about 1/4 cup of the pickled vegetables (drained) and a tablespoon of cilantro leaves. Finish with the tops of the English muffin.

Note: To hard-cook eggs, place them in a large steamer basket set over or inside a pot with several inches of barely bubbling water (medium heat; the water should not touch the eggs). Cook/steam for 13 minutes, then turn off the heat. Let sit for 10 to 13 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to an ice-water bath to cool. Peel when completely cooled.

• Nutrition per serving (using half the pickled vegetables): 260 calories, 17 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 200 mg cholesterol, 520 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar

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