Vegan barbeques aren’t as unusual as they used to be. Lots of folks love the conviviality of these events, as well as the trademark smoky taste of the cuisine. However, once you give up eating animal products, it can be challenging to find acceptable substitutes for your childhood favorites. Have no fear, because we’ve discovered a great vegan barbeque offering! These tofu/chickpea sandwiches have an appealing texture, similar to pulled pork or sloppy joes, but without the grease or the guilt! Chickpeas add protein and density, and the sauce – oh my. You’ll just have to try it for yourself.

INGREDIENTS
1 12-ounce block extra-firm, organic tofu
2 teaspoons olive oil (for pan)
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (also called garbanzos), drained and rinsed
6-8 gluten-free buns
Coleslaw for topping (Your easiest bet is to buy bagged, pre-shredded coleslaw, then add a bit of Vegenaise (or other vegan mayo), a pinch or two of celery salt, and a small amount of finely chopped red onion).

BBQ SAUCE
1 teaspoon olive oil (for pan)
1 small scallion, chopped (about ¼ cup)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon tamari (not commercial soy sauce, which contains wheat)
¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
Heat olive oil in pan on stovetop and cut half of the tofu block into small cubes. Crumble the other half directly into pan and add the cubed tofu. Fry for 5-10 minutes until tofu is golden brown. Remove tofu from pan and set aside.

Add a bit more olive oil to the pan and sprinkle shallots and garlic inside. Fry 2-3 minutes until shallots and garlic are cooked through and slightly browned. Add the remaining barbeque sauce ingredients and stir continuously until combined (approximately 5 minutes). Add tofu and chickpeas and continue stirring for another 4-5 minutes.

Remove from pan and ladle onto slightly toasted buns. Top with coleslaw and a couple of pieces of lettuce. You’ll be wolfing this meal down in no time! For best results, serve with gluten-free beer. Serves 6-8 hungry guests. You’ll all be planning your next barbeque before the sandwiches are even gone!

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