10 Fun & Easy Recipes to Rock Your Vegan Barbecue

10 Fun & Easy Recipes to Rock Your Vegan Barbecue

The notion of vegan barbecue recipes seems like an oxymoron. After all, the word "barbecue" has been synonymous with meat for 1.8 million years. But we'd like to think that grills were made for more than just burgers and hot dogs.

We here at Fire Food Chef have rounded up a list of some fun vegan bbq ideas to help you throw the perfect cookout using only ten vegan bbq recipes. So, fire up your grill or smoker and get ready to exercise your vegan skills this summer.

Who knows, you might just impress some of your non-vegan friends and family. Because without a doubt, these easy and delicious vegan barbecue dishes, are sure to please any crowd.

But first things first….

Smokers are Not Just for Meat

Before we dive into recipes, we wanted to make one thing clear. Smokers are not just for meat. Everyone can experience the unique and distinct flavors produced by slow-smoking food and that includes plant-based alternatives.

Smokers vs. Grills

Smokers vs. Grills

If you have a backyard, chances are that you or your family owns a grill. Grilling is a quicker method of barbecuing, usually with very high temperatures and a few minutes of cook time. Not only is grilling food savory, but it also works well with all sorts of vegan recipes.

Tip: If you're grilling meat as well as vegan food, you'll want to thoroughly clean and scrape your grill after cooking any meat and before placing vegan or veggie items on the grill.

In contrast, smokers rely on indirect heat and utilize the smoky air. Instead of direct flame to heat the food, smokers slowly cook, while maintaining low temperatures, typically between 200 to 250 degrees. The great things about smokers are that they provide a smokier and tenderer barbecue. This process lets you cook whole foods like an entire zucchini or a large eggplant all the way through.

Smoking Basics

Everyone has a different preference when it comes to smoking food. Whether it’s the best woods to use, whether or not charcoal should be involved, and what kind of barbecue sauces or rubs get thrown into the mix, it all depends on the individual.

When smoking your food, keep in mind that the temperature should remain low, within a 225-degree range to allow your veggies to smoke at a slow and steady pace.

PLANT-BASED FOODS FOR THE SMOKER

While plant-based flavors aren't the most celebrated smoked ingredients, they are certainly nothing to be frowned upon. Many vegetables and especially big and solid ones like corn and potatoes, work very well when smoked. This is because they pick up layers of flavor from the smoke and even more so with longer cooking times.

Salts and spices are amazing when smoked and will add something distinctly smoky to your dishes long after the actual smoke is gone. Soft veggies like eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes don't need as long to soak up the deliciousness and can be eaten as is, or turned into fantastic sauces or dips. Nuts are delicious when smoked with wood chips; so if you don't already own one be sure to check out the reviews of our top pellet smokers

Smoking Tips for Veggies

Smoking Tips for Veggies
  • Potatoes
  • If you want to take your baked potatoes to the next level, massage them with some olive oil and salt and then stick them in the smoker for a couple of hours.
  • Corn
  • Try a little vegan butter with some paprika, salt and pepper. Smoke for an hour and a half, while basting every thirty minutes or so.
  • Cabbage 
  • Take your cabbage and cut out a spot where the stem was, filling it with a buttery, herby mix to soak in while the smoking happens. Don't forget to wrap it in foil to catch all those delicious juices.
  • Spices 
  • A few hours of smoking are the minimum requirement, but a full day will produce fuller tasting smoked spice flavoring. This process works better with even lower temperatures of 100 degrees and coarser spices.
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomatoes only need a couple of hours of smoking and they pair very well with smoked onions.
  • Nuts
  • Nuts are a particular case where the smoking temperature should be a bit higher, around 300 degrees. Put the nuts in a pan with vegan oil or butter with salt and smoke them for about half an hour and making sure to stir frequently.

Vegan Meat

Vegan meats have gotten so delicious and very close to the real thing. For example, smoked wheat gluten actually looks and tastes like Texas brisket and vegan bbq ribs look just like, you guessed it, ribs.

With a charming crusty exterior, it's even got the "burnt ends" of authentic barbecue. Which leads us to our first recipe….

1. Smoked Seitan 

Smoked Seitan

What you’ll need:

  • 1 ½ cups vital wheat gluten
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/3 cup (low sodium) soy sauce
  • One tablespoon ketchup
  • Two cloves garlic, finely minced
  • One teaspoon lemon zest
  • Two teaspoons paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • One teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder

Liquid for simmering

  • 10 cups of cold water
  • 1/3 cups low-sodium soy sauce

Dry rub

  • 3 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp dry mustard powder

Barbecue sauce

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

To make the Seitan

  1. Combine gluten and nutritional yeast in a large bowl
  2. In a separate bowl, mix water, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, lemon zest and spices
  3. Mix the ingredients
  4. Knead dough in the bowl until you have a spongy dough
  5. If excess liquid accumulates in the bottom of the bowl, that's totally okay, just leave it in there
  6. After a few minutes of rest, shape into a log about 7 or 8 inches long
  7. Cut into three pieces
  8. Now pour the cold water and soy sauce in a large saucepan and carefully add the pieces of dough in the liquid
  9. Here is where you'll want to cover the pot (partially) and bring to a boil
  10. Lower heat and simmer for one hour
  11. Remember to turn the pieces occasionally
  12. Let the seitan cool for ten minutes, then remove
  13. As soon as it's cooled down, squeeze out all the liquid you can, being careful not to break the seitan
  14. Finally, wrap each piece of seitan in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Rub & smoke

  1. Begin by starting a fire in your smoker
  2. Soak wood chips (preferably hickory) for about 45 minutes
  3. Now coat the seitan pieces in the dry rub mix before placing them on the grill basket
  4. Place wood chips on the hot coals and close the cover
  5. Smoke for 1 ½ hour and add more soaked wood chips occasionally.
  6. Ideally, you want to keep the temperature at about 225

Barbecue sauce

  1. Whisk around the sauce ingredients together until sugar dissolves
  2. After letting your smoked seitan cool for 5 minutes, you'll want to slice, drizzle with sauce, and serve plain or on buns


Tip: best served right after you smoke it

2. Grilled Barbecue Tempeh Slider with Kale Slaw

2. Grilled Barbecue Tempeh Slider with Kale Slaw

It's not summertime without something grilled! These tempeh sliders are the perfect addition to any backyard barbecue and are easy to make. Grilled, barbecue sauce-covered tempeh can be served on a toasty bun with fresh kale, cabbage, and carrot slaw. You can pair it with all the fixings for a perfect barbecue dinner.

What you’ll need:

  • Vegan bbq sauce (recipe here)
  • Two 7-ounce blocks tempeh, cut into bun-size squares
  • 4 cups kale, broken into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, shredded