It’s hot in Texas but that doesn’t mean much: barbecue season here is year-round. Rest assured I’m going to try out my pro vegan grilling tips this summer still, but this week I wanted to get the flavors of BBQ in my own apartment because, well, it’s been a long week. Here’s a vegan barbecue dinner you can make indoors (you may want to turn up the AC a bit since you’ll be using your oven!). This is a pretty easy weeknight dinner (plus next-day leftovers) idea if you make the sauce beforehand or over the weekend.
Since I’m no saucier, I used Isa’s Backyard BBQ Sauce Recipe from Veganomicon. One thing I learned from making this BBQ sauce is that it requires a bit of time and effort, but it’s so much more delicious than a store-bought sauce that it’s totally worth it! Do yourself a favor and try making your own sauce.
Southern Style Vegan BBQ Tofu
Serves 2 with ample leftovers.
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
For the tofu:
2 blocks of extra firm tofu, pressed
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
For the sauce (make it first):
1. Sauté the onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes and add the garlic, sautéing for another minute. 2. Add the other ingredients except for the liquid smoke and mustard and cook for 30-60 minutes (the longer the better). Lower heat if the sauce begins to splatter. 3. Give it a taste and see if anything needs to be added. I added a couple tablespoons of chili powder to mine because I like it hot! 4. Add the liquid smoke and mustard, cooking a few more minutes, then remove from heat and let cool. 5. After cooling you may want to use a hand blender or food processor to purée this.
For the tofu:
1. Depending on your preference you can cut the tofu blocks into 4 rectangular “steaks” each or into smaller pieces such as triangles or Jenga-shaped pieces (that’s my highly sophisticated cooking term). 2. Lay your tofu out in a baking dish (I used a glass casserole dish) and sprinkle the soy sauce on it and stir it around to coat the tofu. 3. Marinate the tofu for about 30 minutes in the fridge. 4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 5. Optional: To get a crispier skin on the tofu, pan fry it on each side for 3-5 minutes before baking. 6. Add some olive oil to your baking dish you used to marinate and spread the tofu out evenly in the pan. 7. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping once. 8. Cover the tofu with your BBQ sauce and bake an additional 10 minutes.
I made my tofu and added mashed potatoes with garlic & Earth Balance and roasted cauliflower & broccoli. Tip: Roast the garlic cloves (skin intact) along with your veggies and then use them in the mashed potatoes. It’s heavenly!
Photo: Samantha Lester