Every year growing up we had a huge family reunion that usually involved BBQ. Friends and family would drive for hours and we would all get together for a weekend packed full of fun and festivities. I can remember watching my Grandfather work the BBQ pit and the little cooing noise he would make under his breath when he knew something was going to taste good.
It's been a few years since I have enjoyed a BBQ sandwich, but for some reason the other day I couldn't get it out of my head. So, in between spackling nail holes and packing boxes for our move, I made a BBQ sandwich that reminded me of my Grandpa's, minus the pulled pork of course. We aren't big mushroom or Tofu fans around here so I brainstormed about what vegetable could fit the bill and serve as the star of our sandwich. Todd suggested baking cauliflower like I did last week in my Cauliflower Pizza Crusts but substitute in big BBQ flavors. I am happy to say that his mad genius paid off again, just like in those Hush Puppy Tacos a few weeks ago. Although it's not the prettiest sandwich in the world the flavors are insanely good! I love that the cauliflower is a blank canvas and it absorbs all of that wonderful BBQ flavor from the sauce. Just like my Grandpa's BBQ sandwich always required a fork because it was so big and messy and you are going to need a fork for this one or you will be wearing it too!
Vegan, G-Free BBQ Sauce
Modified from this recipe by Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom.
½ cup ketchup
3 Tbsp. Earth Balance
2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. g-free, vegan Worcestershire sauce
4 Tbsp. distilled vinegar
4 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
Combine all of the ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat,stirring occasional, for 20-25 minutes.
Vegan G-Free BBQ
2 cups ground cauliflower florets from 1 small head of cauliflower
¾ cup almond meal/flour
3 Tbsp. golden flax seeds, ground
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. water
⅓ cup vegan, g-free BBQ sauce from above, or your favorite sauce
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 450°F and line a baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly rub olive oil on the parchment paper to prevent sticking and set aside.
Combine the ground flax seed and water and set aside for 4-5 minutes.
Chop cauliflower into florets and pulse in the food processor until the cauliflower looks like couscous or small grains of rice. Do not over process!
In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients and mix well to combine; the mixture will be wet. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it out evenly over the surface. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Then remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Once cooled, slice into strips and use a spatula to carefully lift from the parchment paper. It will be pretty fragile and that's OK. *If it breaks don't worry about it, it is going to be piled high on a bun, covered in onions,and smothered in sauce. No one will care!
*The golden flax and water in this recipe can be substituted for 3 eggs if you are not on a vegan diet.
1-2 large white onions, caramelized
4 G-free hamburger buns, toasted
G-free BBQ Sauce
Pile toasted g-free buns high with the cauliflower BBQ strips, ladle piping hot BBQ sauce over the top, and stack caramelized onions on top. My only other suggestion would be to grab a napkin!
Lindsay F says
This looks so delicious! What a clever way to work with cauliflower. Can't wait to try it this week! 🙂
I have not tried the recipe yet, but was wondering if you know whether or not it keeps well in the fridge. I am thinking about making this when my vegan friend comes to town but would prefer to make at least some of it the night before. Do you know if you can do any prep the night before or if it keeps well in the fridge over night? Thanks for the recipe - I am excited to try it!
Hi Abby, you could totally make the BBQ sauce the day before and store it in the fridge. Then all you have to do the day of your friends visit is make the cauliflower 🙂 Hope you enjoy it!
Lee at Veggie Quest says
This sounds incredible; pinning it right now! 🙂
I just came across this, I am a fan of cauliflower. It went over great...even with the children. I always make them out of mashed potatoes. Thank you.
Carly (Zauberbear) says
The cauliflower and the sauce and everything is all vegan and good, but those buns have egg whites! I've been looking for gluten-free vegan bread forever. Guess I'll have to make my own, because this sounds delicious.
I think that Schar may have a gfree/vegan bun. At least that is what I was told. The sandwich filling on it's own is delicious and is great served over a gfree/vegan cornbread too.
I want to make this, but I'm unsure how to ground cauliflower. Do I need a meat grounder?
You can grind cauliflower in your food processor. Just cut the head into florets and process with the "S" blade.
made this tonight. I thought it was good. I wasn't sure how thin I was supposed to spread it but it turned out good.
Yay! I am so glad you liked it Jen!
I just made this for lunch 🙂 I added a little garlic powder, pepper and cayenne to the batter and it was very good! Thanks for the recipe
Yay Briana!!! Thank you so much. I am really glad you liked it.
Hi! I live in Costa Rica and currently only have an old gas burner in the kitchen. Is it possible to make this without an oven??
Jodi, I wish I had an answer for you, but I have never tried to make these on the stove top. Baking the cauliflower in the oven makes it sort of dry out into a solid sheet that you can then shred. I would probably go more sloppy joe's style and rice the cauliflower, then cook it on the stove top and mix in the barbecue sauce. Hope this helps:)
Briona McKinney says
We have made this recipe multiple times but we put ALL of the BBQ sauce in the cauliflower mixture and make more of a Sloppy Joe out of it. It is amazing. We make this once every couple of weeks. A family favorite for sure! 🙂 Love your recipes...thanks for sharing!
I am so glad you like it Briona! Sloppy Joe style sounds amazing!
meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles says
I cannot wait to try out this recipe!
This was delicious! Your recipe is now my go-to for homemade BBQ sauce! I didn't think this would go over well, since I don't care for cauliflower, but this was so scrumptious and filling! I'm definitely adding this to my routine dinner plan.
Thank you Beckie!!! I am so glad that you liked this recipe. Cauliflower isn't my favorite veggie either, but it really worked well here. Thank you for trying the recipe and for letting me know how it turned out!
Jesse Gabriel says
Ein tolles Rezept, ich habe einen Tipp, in vielen Rezepten kann man auch anstelle von Tofu Jackfruit verwenden.
Danke Jesse für den Tipp!
Please can you tell me what Earth Balance is? I live in the UK Thanks
Earth Balance is a vegan substitute for butter. I am not sure what brands are in the UK, but if you would leave another comment here and let me know so I can pass along the information if it ever comes up again I would appreciate it:)
Jenny Cole says
Thanks I was wanting to know about Earth Balance too! We use Pure in the UK, or Vitaquell is vegan marg too.
Earth Balance is simply a vegan butter substitute here in the US, but you can use whatever brand you have there and it should work the same.
Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) says
I am out recipe hunting! Adding this to the list for next week! YUM! 🙂 Cindy
Kim@Welcoming Kitchen says
Yum! You (and your husband) are brilliant! I wish I had cauliflower sitting around!
Yum! I wonder if using cauliflower in a veggie burger would be a good replacement for tofu or mushrooms as well!
Sara, I haven't tried it myself, yet, but I totally intend on it.