Category Archives: vegetarian

Dijon-Marinated Wax Bean and Cucumber Salad is a Summer Winner!

What happened? It’s already the end of the summer — the time when we often have a lot of vegetables left over from our numerous trips to farmer’s markets, co-ops, and supermarkets. Two vegetables that seem ubiquitous are cucumbers and wax beans. Recently, we faced a conundrum — our refrigerator’s crisper was filled to overflowing with cukes and beans. We’d rather perish than waste food, especially fresh veggies! Fortunately, with very little fuss, we were able to whip up this yummy salad. It requires few ingredients, and is cheap and easy to make. On those muggy summer nights when hot food is unappealing, this dish is a winner.

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cups wax (also known as yellow) beans
1 cucumber, peeled
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2-3 chopped scallions
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (get the kind with the “Mother”)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Make the marinade by combining mustard, turbinado sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir vigorously and set aside. Meanwhile, slice the wax beans sideways along the seam, then chop into 3-4 shorter pieces. Lightly steam the beans for 2-3 minutes until they are al dente, but not hard or mushy.

Place the beans into a large bowl. Peel the cucumbers and slice into rounds. Be sure to compost or eat the skin! Chop each round into 3-4 smaller pieces and add to bowl with beans. Toss in the chopped onion, chopped scallions, and marinade. Stir all of the ingredients together and allow them to marinate for 1-2 hours. You can either marinate them on your counter or in the refrigerator, depending upon your preference.

Drain any excess fluid from the salad by placing it into a colander inside your sink. Toss the salad and transfer to a smaller bowl. You can add an endless variety of garnishes for a festive touch –cracked pepper is good, or mint sprigs, diced sage leaves, or fresh, chopped basil, or anything that appeals to you and your guests. Get creative!

This deceptively simple but delicious salad is great as a side dish with a protein-packed, vegan main such as fried tempeh. It’s also delicious with other, more robust sides like gluten-free bread, brown rice, or quinoa. Serves 2-3 people, but feel free to increase the size of the recipe if you have more guests. Gotta use up those beans and cucumbers! You’d better enjoy the waning days of summer, because autumn is just around the corner.

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Baba Ghanoush — Naturally Vegan, and a Cinch to Prepare!

You’ve most likely had hummus, but have you tried its sweeter, lighter cousin, baba ghanoush? Baba ghanoush is a lot like hummus, since it has a tahini base. However, instead of adding garbanzo beans, this recipe utilizes roasted eggplant. The result is equally delicious. Our light but zesty meal is easy to make, and perfect for warm summer nights. You can serve it with gluten-free pita bread or with gluten-free toast points sprinkled with thyme, olive oil or vegan butter, and a bit of granulated garlic. We feel confident that you’ll love this dish either way.

INGREDIENTS

1 medium-sized eggplant
2-3 cloves minced garlic
juice of one large lemon
4 tablespoons tahini
sea salt to taste
2 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro, parsley or basil (We used basil, yum!)
small amount of water

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS

roasted gluten-free pita bread
regular gluten-free bread
chopped thyme
chopped garlic or garlic salt
olive oil or vegan margarine/butter such as Earth Balance
sliced vegetables such as carrots, celery, zucchini, green or red peppers, etc.

INSTRUCTIONS

Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds and place in a large, flat pan or cookie sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and olive oil and broil in oven for 5-10 minutes. Watch carefully so the slices don’t burn! They should be pulpy and slightly browned. Peel skin from eggplant and either eat, compost, or discard.

Cut the eggplant pulp into small pieces and place in a blender or food processor. Add the tahini, a dash of sea salt, herbs, lemon juice, and combine thoroughly. If your mixture is too thick, add a bit of water until it becomes creamy and smooth. Pour into a bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Serve with sliced vegetables of your choice, and gluten-free bread or toast points. To make toast points, slather bread with a liberal amount of olive oil or vegan butter/margarine. Sprinkle with chopped thyme and granulated garlic. Broil in oven until the toast is brown and slightly crispy around the edges. Cut the toast in half and serve!

This recipe serves 2-3 people. If you have more guests, feel free to increase ingredient portions accordingly. Great as either a main or a side dish. Get creative! You can add falafels, hummus, or other Middle Eastern cuisine to make a larger meal. Keeps well in your refrigerator for several days. Homemade baba ghanoush is so much more delicious than the store-bought variety! Once you’ve prepared this version, we feel confident you’ll agree.

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Corn, Tomato, and Cannellini Bean Salad is a Cold But Nourishing Summer Meal

When the weather is this hot, who feels like cooking? On the other hand, we tire easily in the heat and need nourishment more than ever. Such a conundrum! Fortunately, we have discovered a recipe that is incredibly simple and quick to make. The entire process takes about fifteen minutes! You’ll love the delightful simplicity of this delicious, protein-rich meal. The addition of gluten-free garlic/sage toast makes it more filling. Great for potlucks or a quick at-home meal.

SALAD INGREDIENTS

1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans (also called “white beans”)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (try different colors for a visual sensation!)
1 ear fresh sweet corn
large handful of fresh basil, chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

TOAST INGREDIENTS

Olive oil or vegan butter/margarine such as Earth Balance
8-10 pieces of gluten-free bread
1-2 tablespoons fresh sage, shredded and chopped (remove those stems!)
2-3 minced cloves of fresh garlic, or garlic salt to taste (make sure salt is not iodized)

SALAD INSTRUCTIONS

Drain beans thoroughly and pour into a large mixing bowl. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels from the corn cob and add to bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes, shredded basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with sea salt (not the iodized variety!) and fresh ground black pepper. Toss the mixture until it’s thoroughly combined. Cover the bowl and place it in your refrigerator for 1-2 hours until chilled enough to eat.

TOAST INSTRUCTIONS

Slather 8-10 pieces of gluten-free bread with vegan butter or margarine, or drizzle with olive oil. Place the bread on a cookie sheet and sprinkle dried sage on top. Add minced garlic or garlic salt to taste. Place the cookie sheet in oven at low broil setting. Broil for 2-3 minutes until bread is brown and slightly crispy around the edges. Do not burn! Remove from oven and allow excess oil to drain. Cut bread in half and arrange artfully on a plate.

Spread liberal amounts of salad across your toast and dig in! You’ll be in heaven, and your guests will be, too. This nourishing dish serves 4-6 people, depending on everyone’s appetite levels. Be sure to hydrate with fresh water! Of course, there’s always room for gluten-free, vegan beer or wine, if that’s your sort of thing. And maybe some fresh gazpacho! (See last week’s recipe). Happy summer! Have fun and stay cool in the heat.

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Nothing Says Summer Like Strawberry Gazpacho!

Cold soup is manna to your throat on a hot summer day. When the outdoor temperatures soar, appetites often plummet. However, you don’t want sunshine to cause you to sacrifice good eating or proper nutrition! This vegan, gluten-free recipe is incredibly easy to make (and inexpensive!), and you won’t have to spend hours slaving over a hot stove. The addition of strawberries to the traditional gazpacho recipe makes the dish sweet and extra-zesty. You can top the soup with gluten-free croutons and/or sliced strawberries if you’d like to get fancy. Here’s how:

SOUP INGREDIENTS
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (We used red. Any color will do).
1 cup chopped cucumber, peeled
2 cups chopped strawberries
1-2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable broth (make sure it’s wheat-free!)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

CROUTON INGREDIENTS
3-4 slices gluten free bread, chopped into cubes
3-4 springs thyme, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
olive oil for pan (about 1 tablespoon)

SOUP INSTRUCTIONS

Place all soup ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend on medium setting until thoroughly combined. If mixture is too thick, add additional vegetable broth. It should have a nice, creamy consistency and appealing color. That’s really all there is to it! Pour into container, cover securely, and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Serve with croutons and/or additional sprigs of thyme.

CROUTON INSTRUCTIONS

Cut your gluten-free bread into small chunks and dice garlic. Chop the thyme into tiny pieces. Coat the bottom of a small pan with olive oil and fry the garlic until it’s slightly browned. Add the bread cubes and continue frying until they begin to turn brown. Make sure not to burn! Add the thyme and fry for another 2-3 minutes until bread is golden brown and all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Remove bread from pan and allow excess olive oil to drain. Sprinkle croutons and/or sliced strawberries on top of your gazpacho and serve!

This magnificent dish serves 5-6 people. It pairs well with a small salad or an additional loaf of gluten-free bread. For a festive experience, serve outdoors with a pitcher of lemonade, a glass or two of vegan white wine, or a mug of gluten-free beer. Your guests will love this summery meal, and you will, too. It keeps well in the refrigerator for up to four days, but don’t wait that long to consume it! Have a lovely summer, and stay cool!

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It’s So Easy to Create Your Own Falafels From Scratch!

We’ve been eating falafels for years, both with pita bread, and without. These crispy disks are delicious served with a variety of vegetables. However, most of the falafels in restaurants are deep-fried, and the ones you make at home are usually products of a powdered mix. Creating this naturally vegan, gluten-free concoction from scratch is surprisingly easy and fun. Real, homemade falafels taste much better than the stuff that comes from a box! Try the recipe, you will be amazed.

INGREDIENTS
1 15-ounce can chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped and packed
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped and packed
1/2 cup diced red or yellow onion (red is especially zesty)
1/3 cup gluten-free flour (we used a combination of garbanzo flour and brown rice flour)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum-free, please)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt (not the iodized variety)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
5-6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup water
olive oil for cooking
Vegetable garnishes, such as chopped tomatoes, sliced avocados, shredded carrots, chopped onion, additional sprigs of parsley and cilantro, lettuce, etc.
Gluten-free pita bread (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Pour chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, chopped onion, flour, lemon juice, water, baking powder, garlic, and spices into blender or food processor. Combine thoroughly until mixture is thick and creamy, but not stiff. You can add more water if it’s too thick, or more flour if it’s too runny. Pour into large bowl and cover. Place bowl in refrigerator and chill for approximately 1 hour. It should achieve a nice thickness by then.

Remove falafel mix from refrigerator and heat olive oil on stovetop. Your burner setting should be medium high, but not so hot that it will smoke or burn. Scoop rounded tablespoons of falafel mix from bowl and drop into hot olive oil, one at a time. Fry them until they’re slightly crispy and brown around the edges, then flip and fry the other sides. Remove from heat and set on napkin so excess oil will drain away.

Serve with vegetables and toppings such as hummus, baba ghanoush, plain coconut yogurt, or tahini with lemon juice. Great either as a sandwich or a salad. Feel free to experiment! Serves 3-4 hungry people. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator or frozen for later. These falafels are great in lunchboxes! You’ll never want to make them from a box, ever again, and neither will any of the members of your family. Enjoy!

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Start Your Day With These Delectable Vegan, Gluten-Free Morning Glory Muffins

Morning glory muffins have been a favorite of ours for many years. However, when we started pursuing a vegan, gluten-free diet, we discovered that many of our favorite coffee shops had left us out in the cold when it came to these delectable muffins. Almost all of the recipes use butter, eggs and/or milk. This makes them decidedly off-limits. If you love morning glory muffins as much as we do, you may have experienced this depressing scenario, yourself. Have no fear! We’ve discovered a recipe that utilizes your favorite ingredients — raisins, walnuts, apples, etc. However, it substitutes flax seeds for eggs, and coconut oil for butter. The result is a melt-in-your-mouth concoction that will leave you wanting more!

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons flax seeds plus 6 tablespoons water
1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour blend (lighter is better)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cloves
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (almond is great!)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 apple, peeled and cut into small chunks
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raisins (use golden variety for a special treat)
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix the flax seeds with water and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg or cloves. Melt coconut oil on stove and combine in a second, larger bowl with flax mixture, coconut oil, vanilla, applesauce, coconut sugar, and non-dairy milk. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined. Your batter should be moist but not runny. Add carrots, walnuts, raisins, apple chunks, and coconut and make sure they’re evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Grease a 12-muffin pan with additional coconut oil, or use paper liners. Pour the batter into each receptacle. Bake in a pre-heated, 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Your kitchen will smell good enough to eat! The muffins are done when you stick a fork or toothpick in the middle, and it comes out clean.

If you play your cards right, you’ll have twelve muffins that are more or less the same size. They’re great for breakfast, lunch, or as a mid-afternoon snack. Though small, they’re surprisingly hearty and really pack a wallop! You can eat them as is (scrumptious!) or with a dab of vegan butter. If you invite folks over to your house for muffins, they’ll be your friends for life. Enjoy!

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Celebrate Warm Spring Nights With Grilled Millet/Buffalo Sauce/Ranch Sandwiches!

Usually, when we think of millet, we envision birdseed. However, this crunchy, high-protein grain is delicious as a sandwich spread when it’s combined with spicy buffalo sauce and creamy vegan ranch dressing. The consistency is slightly cheese-like, and the flavor is out of this world! You can make the buffalo sauce as mild or spicy as your heart desires. It takes only about 20 minutes to whip up this dish. A perfect choice if you’re in a hurry! The ingredients are inexpensive, if you’re on a budget, your meal won’t break the bank.

BUFFALO MILLET INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup uncooked millet
1 cup water
1 tablespoon hot sauce (we used Aardvark Sauce, our favorite)
2 teaspoons Sriracha
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vegan butter (we used Earth Balance) or olive oil
pinch or two of sea salt and garlic powder

BUFFALO SAUCE
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1-2 teaspoons melted vegan butter or olive oil

RANCH SAUCE
1 1/2 cups vegan mayonnaise
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (we used almond, but coconut is great as well)
1 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

ADDITIONAL SANDWICH INGREDIENTS
Red pepper strips
chopped cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine millet ingredients in medium-sized saucepan and cook for 15-20 minutes until all water is absorbed. Meanwhile, prepare your sauces in separate bowls. Mix together buffalo sauce ingredients, adjusting spice levels to your taste. Prepare ranch dressing by mixing together all ingredients, adding extra milk if mixture is too thick. You’ll most likely have some left over after you’ve made your sandwiches, so it will double as an excellent salad dressing.

Take a piece of gluten-free bread and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Pack cooked millet mixture on top, and then sprinkle with a liberal helping of buffalo sauce. Layer on red pepper slices, and cover with a generous amount of ranch dressing. Press another piece of bread on top to make a sandwich.

Fry sandwich in olive oil on stovetop on medium heat setting until golden brown on both sides. Remove from burner and serve hot. Cut sandwich in half if it’s too messy to grasp. You’ll love the creamy texture and surprising heartiness of this delicious meal.

Serves 2-3 hungry people. This dish pairs well with a small salad (use some more of that ranch dressing!) and, of course, gluten-free, vegan beer or wine. You’ll be surprised and delighted to discover how much you like eating millet. Bon appetit!

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Celebrate Barbeque Season With Tofu/Melon/Pepper Skewers

It’s May already, which means the official beginning of barbeque season! Some of you might be catching whiffs of your neighbor’s meat-based cuisine and wondering what on earth you can cook that didn’t come from an animal. Fear not, because we’ve got you covered with these delightful tofu/melon/pepper skewers! The marinade is light but zesty, due to the inclusion of red pepper flakes, and the heat from your grill will impart a subtle crispiness to the tofu. You won’t even miss the meat, and your carnivorous friends may even ask you for a bite or two. Make sure they ask nicely.

INGREDIENTS
I block (14 ounces) tofu
1 red, yellow, or green pepper
¼ melon of your choice
½ red onion
1 tablespoon tamari
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2-3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Dash of sea salt

SWEET CHILI LIME DIPPING SAUCE
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of sea salt

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS (For skewers)
Cherry tomatoes
Pineapple chunks
Tempeh pieces

INSTRUCTIONS
Cut tofu, pepper, onion and pepper (and other ingredients, if desired) into large, bite-sized chunks. Mix tamari, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and sea salt in a small bowl. Put tofu chunks in marinade and let them sit for approximately half an hour. Afterward, remove tofu from marinade and place on skewers, alternating with peppers, onion, melon, and any other vegetables of your choice. Sprinkle additional tamari mixture on top. Vegetables and tofu should be pressed together on skewer, but not too tightly.

Place skewers on grill and cook for 15-20 minutes, turning frequently. Tofu should be slightly browned and a bit crispy around the edges. Vegetables should be soft but not mushy. Remove from grill and serve with dipping sauce. You can serve this tasty dish by itself, or with a small salad and/or loaf of gluten-free bread. We put ours on a bed of fresh arugula and served it with a dab of light, zesty lemon dressing, and it tasted great. We think you’ll agree.

Serves 2 hungry people, or 3-4 not-so-hungry people. We know from experience that the dish pairs exceptionally well with vegan, gluten-free beer. Hopefully you can enjoy this fun meal on a warm evening, while seated in your yard while the last rays of sunshine beam onto your plate. Bon appetit, and relax –it’s almost summer!

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You’ll Go Wild For This Sweet But Tart Vegan, Gluten-Free Key Lime Pie

It’s almost summer, and for many of us this means pie. Not just any pie, mind you, but the kind that will stimulate your senses and cool your tongue at the same time. What pie is more summer-y than key lime? The traditional variety utilizes condensed milk and eggs, but there’s no need for those ingredients when you have coconut milk and cornstarch! The finished product will have a slightly jigglier texture than the non-vegan variety but will still look beautiful and taste delicious. You can purchase a store-bought crust (make sure it’s vegan and gluten-free), or create a simple one from almond flour, tapioca flour, and flaxseed. Our finished crust had a nutty flavor, but you can add a couple of tablespoons of coconut sugar to the batter if you prefer a sweeter crust.

CRUST INGREDIENTS
1 ¼ cup fine almond flour (we like Bob’s Red Mill)
1/3 cup tapioca flour
2 tablespoons ground flax
5 tablespoons water
1-2 tablespoons coconut sugar (if you want a sweeter crust)

CRUST INSTRUCTIONS
Place flax seeds in small bowl with water and let sit 10-15 minutes until seeds thicken a bit. Combine in large bowl with almond flour, tapioca flour and coconut sugar (if desired). Mixture should be slightly damp but not sticky. Roll into a flat, thin circle and press into pie pan (greased beforehand with vegan butter or coconut oil). Place crust inside freezer for 20 minutes, then remove and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until browned around the edges.

PIE INGREDIENTS
½ cup fresh lime juice (about 3 small limes)
1 teaspoon lime zest (grated from one or more lime skins)
½ cup real maple syrup (just say no to pancake syrup)
1 13.5 ounce can full fat coconut milk
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

PIE INSTRUCTIONS
Put all ingredients in medium-sized pan and heat on stovetop at medium setting. Stir constantly so the cornstarch doesn’t clump. Bring to boil, then simmer for 7-10 minutes until mixture thickens. Remove from stove and pour into crust. Cover pie securely and place in refrigerator to set for at least six hours.
Serve as is or garnish with lime slices and vegan whipping cream (yes, it exists). Do your best not to eat the entire pie at one sitting. Serves 4-6 guests, and we guarantee you won’t have any left over. As soon as you’re done, you’ll already be planning your next baking spree.

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Be the Hit of Your Vegan Barbeque with Tofu and Chickpea BBQ Sandwiches

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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