These “Vegan BBQ on a Bun” sandwiches, or as I cringingly refer to them as my “KaboBarbeque” sandwiches, are just what you need when those summer barbeque invites start rolling in. The weather is heating up, and the world is opening back up, and it’s only a matter of time before folks start firing their backyard grills… up. Sure, there are a ton of vegan and plant-based meat alternatives out there on the market that you could easily throw onto the grill, but why not make even your most carnivorous friends jealous with what you’re putting into your buns this summer.
As with most of my “recipes” on my channel, this is more of an idea and an inspiration that it is a concrete set of rules to follow. It’s all about thinly sliced and marinated super firm tofu, the crisp summer veggies that you pair it with, the smoky charred flavor that you get from a scorching hot grill, and of course, it’s all about that “Hot Pony Sauce” (Black Pepper Horseradish Sauce), which is my vegan answer to Arby’s Horsey Sauce.
Check out the video to see how I make my “Vegan BBQ on a Bun” sandwiches, and then take that inspiration and run with it.
Vegan BBQ on a Bun
The best thing to every hit a vegan BBQ!
- 16 ounces (1 block) super firm, high-protein tofu
- 2 cups hot water, or vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon vegetable flavored Better Than Bouillon, or enough vegan bouillon to make 3 cups of broth
- ¼ cup prepared BBQ sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce or 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flake, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 small zucchini
- 1 sweet onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- 5 ounces sliced button or cremini mushrooms
- 4 to 6 vegan friendly sandwich rolls or hot dog style buns
- 1 batch Black Pepper Horseradish Sauce "Hot Pony Sauce" (recipe below)
- 1/4 cup prepared BBQ Sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- French fried onions or jalapenos (optional)
- Heat 2 cups of water to just below a boil, and then add the bouillon, BBQ sauce, soy sauce, and seasonings. Transfer the marinade to a roughly 5” by 8” dish, that’s about 3” deep.
Using a mandoline or a knife, cut the tofu into thin slices that are about ⅛ inch thick. Carefully transfer the slices into the dish with the marinade. Make sure the tofu is fully submerged before covering the dish, and refrigerating it for at least 4 hours.
- Vegetables like zucchini and summer squash can be sliced into discs using the same mandoline setting as the tofu, or cut into ⅛ inch rounds. Onions and peppers should be cut into 1 inch squares. Mushrooms should be sliced between ¼ and ⅛ inch thick.
- Avoid vegetables that require a long cooking time like potatoes or winter squash unless they have been par-cooked.
If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least an hour to avoid them burning on the grill.
Begin forming the kabobs by starting with something firm like a square of onion or bell pepper. For the tofu, fold the squares in half, and then half again so that you have 4 thin squares of tofu stacked, before sliding them onto the skewers.
- Alternate between the vegetables and the tofu until your kebab is about 1 or 2 inches longer than the bun you are using. To ensure that items, especially the tofu don’t fall off in the grill, make sure that each kabob is packed tightly.
Transfer the assembled kebabs to a baking sheet, and gently brush each one on all sides with a bit of BBQ sauce. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
Preheat your grill so that the internal temperature is about 450 degrees F.
Cook the kebabs for about 3 to minutes per side, until they are a bit charred with visible grill marks. Turning them can be tricky, so use a pair of tongs and a heat-proof glove. Avoid overcooking the kabobs as that could also cause them to fall apart on the grill.
- Remove the cooked kabobs to the baking sheet and allow them to cool slightly before assembling your sandwiches.
- Squeeze a bit of the Black Pepper Horseradish Sauce into each bun. Lay a grilled kabob inside, and use a fork to help you remove the skewer. Top with more Black Pepper Horseradish Sauce, and some French fried onions or jalapenos.
- Serve immediately.
“Hot Pony Sauce” Black Pepper Horseradish Sauce
Veganized version of Arby's Horsey Sauce
- 6 ounces "1/2 block" firm silken tofu*
- 2 tablespoons raw cashew pieces
- 1 to 2 teaspoons water
- 1 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish or a 1 to 2 inch piece of fresh
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon agave syrup or vegan sugar
- ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- salt to taste
- In a high-speed blender or NutriBullet, combine the silken tofu and cashews. If using fresh horseradish, add that to the blender as well. Blend until creamy and smooth, and there are no remaining bits of cashew. If it’s too thick to blend, at a teaspoon or two of water just to get things moving.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients, and season to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.
* you could easily just add horseradish to ¾ cup of already prepared “Universal Vegan Cold Salad Dressing” or ¾ cup of your favorite vegan mayo.