The Juicy BBQ Sandwich that Even a Vegan Could Love
I love making pulled pork sandwiches for a big crowd. Even with two little kids running around, it's easy to throw a well-seasoned pork shoulder in the slow cooker and let guests serve themselves. That said, it's really important to me to serve vegetarian options at a meat-centric party. But what's an acceptable meatless equivalent to pulled pork? Grilled veggie burgers are just plain sad. Homemade veggie burgers require too much prep. Vegan sloppy joes are really too sloppy. I've been tinkering with different recipes for years, and I think I've finally figured out how to capture the juicy-stringy-sticky-smoky-sweet goodness of barbecued pulled pork in a sandwich that's vegetarian or even vegan-friendly. And it's a perfect weeknight dinner, too.
You can make this more difficult for yourself by preparing your own buns, barbecue sauce, and coleslaw. I love this Asian-inspired super slaw from Epicurious, and these brioche burger buns by Smitten Kitchen are insanely delicious.
But why not make it easy? Buy some giant carrots, buns, slaw and bottled barbecue sauce. (Vegetarians are easier to please, but if you've got vegans in the house, skip the buttery brioche buns in favor of basic burger buns, opt for a vinegar-based, non-creamy cole slaw, and choose a barbecue sauce that doesn't contain honey.)
You could shred your carrots in a food processor or shave them with a vegetable peeler, but you'll get the best texture if you use a spiralizer. I'm obsessed with mine. It's as easy as using an old-fashioned pencil sharpener and churns out perfect, thick curls of fresh vegetables. So satisfying. So simple to clean up afterwards. And check out this deliciousness:
Vegan BBQ Pulled Carrot Sandwich with Spiralized Carrots
- 1 jumbo carrot, the thickest one you can find (you'll need about a cup of carrot per sandwich)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- barbecue sauce
- salt and pepper
- burger bun
Use the thicker blade on your spiralizer to make wider carrot noodles. If your carrot is too skinny to catch the blade, or if you don't have a spiralizer, shred the carrots with a food processor or hand grater, or shave them into ribbon with a vegetable peeler.
Add the olive oil to a pan over medium-high heat and saute the carrots for a couple of minutes, just until they begin to soften. Pour in enough barbecue sauce to coat the carrots, and continue to stir for another couple of minutes. When the carrots are softened and the barbecue sauce starts to caramelize and stick to the bottom of the pan, you're done. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pile the carrots into the bun, top with coleslaw, and serve.