Last fall, moving from Long Island to South Korea with 2 months’ notice was quite the culture shock; but my re-implantation stateside has been an even greater shock, especially food-wise. In South Korea my husband and I relied heavily on the fresh, pesticide-free produce that was available virtually everywhere. We were surrounded by fresh fruits and vegetables that were sold seasonally, never preserved artificially and always tasted as they should. We were amazed at the incredible patience Korean grocers took to explain each item to us in detail, down to the exact way we should prepare them and the minute details we would have otherwise missed. Although Korea has a heavy meat focus in the restaurant scene, we were always able to find something to eat, even at BBQ joints!
In Columbus, Georgia, however, we are in the heart of meaty, meaty BBQ land. There is, I must add, much produce to be had here, but the market is focused heavily on the smoky, sweet shredded meat horror that is BBQ. In Columbus I have grown to understand that I must be as specific as possible when ordering and that sometimes vegan translates as “maybe still eats chicken”….um no. It is a different life, not at all a bad one (I love it here!), but one we have to get used to. I am adapting and loving it here more every day. I adore this city for its diversity, its sweet people, its culture, its history and its pure southern hospitality. Also, being a military town, this place is absolutely bursting with American pride…just how I like it.
While sifting through the endless treasure trove of deliciousness that is Fresh Market last weekend, my husband came up with a brilliant plan. In embracing the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” line of thought, he created this incredible Americana Allergen-Free Vegan BBQ Sandwich. Before you light up your grills and lounge by the pool, (or next to your fireplace, sorry New Yorkers, we rocked some 85 degree weather this week…) whip up and wrap up a few of these portable sammies! Happy Friday all!
Americana Allergen-Free BBQ Sammies
1 spaghetti squash, cooked(poke holes in squash, oil a glass pan and bake for about 30 min., CAREFULLY slice in half lengthwise and shred insides with a fork) and shredded
1 tsp. brown sugar
pinch of garam masala
2 tbsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup of your favorite sweet BBQ sauce
2 allergen-free English Muffins ( I love Ener-G brand!), toasted
Sweet pickles, sliced for a topper
1 tomato, sliced for a topper
Place squash insides and liquids (except bbq sauce) in a slow cooker on low and mix in spices; cook for 20 min.
Make sure some water has evaporated and mix in BBQ sauce slowly, if the mixture is too soupy ladle some liquid from the slow cooker; cook for 20 minutes on high
Lay out sandwich set-up with side dishes of your choosing (we made delicious potato wedges and vegan baked beans!) and scoop the squash out of the cooker in a slatted pasta spoon on each sandwich
Wrap in foil and bring on your pre-summertime adventure! 🙂
Also in Freedom Friday: Sizzling Salsa Fried Rice
Photo: Kate Coffey