Our Ultimate Vegan BBQ Sandwich Recipe with Soy Curls captures the traditional barbecue flavors with a plant-based twist. The meaty texture of soy curls, slathered with your favorite BBQ sauce, is the dream barbecue meal. Paired with a tangy vegan coleslaw that adds just the right amount of crunch and zest, this vegan recipe is more than a meal; it's an experience. Whether you're a longtime vegan or simply looking to explore new culinary horizons, this sandwich promises rave reviews.
I've been embracing a plant-based lifestyle for quite some time now, always on the lookout for exciting new foods and ingredients within the ever-expanding world of vegan cooking.
My mom called me up, asking how to prepare soy curls—an ingredient I'd never even heard of before, made with just whole soybeans! I swear either I've been living under a rock, or someone needs to pitch a new marketing strategy for this company.
Over the next couple of weeks, we experimented in the kitchen, and I'm here to tell you they've quickly become my absolute favorite ingredient to cook with. Especially this recipe when paired with Dairy-Free Coleslaw or my Vegan Shredded Rotisserie Chicken. I also created a complete guide + FAQ for all your soy curl questions!
In this post, I share the following:
- What brand of soy curls is the best to buy.
- What toppings go best with this vegan chicken sandwich.
- How to quickly prepare the shredded BBQ in just 20 minutes!
Use this section to jump to areas of interest within the post.
This pulled pork sandwich recipe has minimal ingredients making it the perfect easy weeknight or busy weekend meal that will have everyone wanting seconds, even the meat eaters!
After doing a simple internet search, you'll discover that there is really just one brand selling this ingredient, Butler Foods. They have a list of grocery stores on their website that carry the product, although I purchased mine on Amazon, linked here.
Butler Foods boasts that its product is grown without chemicals or preservatives, the beans are soaked in chlorine-free water, and grown in the USA.
I did find non-brand soy curls at my local Asian market, although they contained a handful of preservatives and were made with GMO soybeans.
What you'll need:
- Soy curls - grab 2 ½ cups of dried curls for this recipe.
- BBQ sauce - homemade bbq sauce or store-bought. Pick your favorite barbecue sauce.
- Buns - assemble the curls on the bottom bun, top with coleslaw, then add the top bun for the tastiest BBQ vegan chicken sandwich!
- Optional: coleslaw - highly recommend!!! Here's my quick recipe with pantry-friendly ingredients:
If you're feeling like making this the best vegan bbq sandwich, add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke to the sauce!
See the recipe card for full quantities and instructions.
What's wonderful about working with this soy-based ingredient is that they're incredibly easy to prepare and don't demand a ton of time.
Add half a bag of dried Butler Foods Soy Curls or 2 ½ cups to a large bowl.
Rehydrate with warm filtered water or, for more flavor, vegetable broth for 8-10 minutes until plump and hydrated! During the wait time, make the coleslaw.
Drain the excess water once done and return to the bowl. Squeeze the strips with your hands to remove any remaining liquid, and pat dry before returning to the bowl.
The soy curls are now spongey and will absorb whatever flavor you throw at them!
Seasoning is essential since soy doesn't have a prominent flavor. The texture absorbs spice and sauce very well, and therefore sprinkling your favorite spice blend or just salt and pepper is crucial. For this recipe, we'll use garlic granules (or garlic powder), optionally season lightly with salt and pepper.
Prepare the barbeque sauce, either homemade or store-bought. You can use my homemade Sweet Peach BBQ Sauce, or I highly recommend the Whole Foods 365 brand BBQ sauce in any flavor.
Transfer the curls to a non-stick skillet or frypan, pour the BBQ sauce over top, and stir until well combined. Bring to medium heat and occasionally stir for about 10 minutes, then turn to low heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes so that the sauce thickens and the flavor traps the strips.
Once you're done with the BBQ strips, grab the prepared coleslaw from the fridge, the buns, and assemble your vegan BBQ burger!
Hint: This recipe pairs perfectly with my Vegan Coleslaw, which can be prepped in minutes and thrown in the fridge until ready. The ultimate, easy barbeque meal is so easy to prepare!
For this soy curl recipe, you'll need a large bowl to rehydrate and then a stovetop pan or non-stick skillet to cook.
Once cooked, soy curls can last up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. reheat in a pan to warm or enjoy cold!
Uncooked, dehydrated soy curls should be stored in a cool, dry place. If buying in bulk, store extra in the freezer to extend shelf life and keep it fresh.
Pick your favorite barbeque sauce, or make it homemade! My favorite is my clean ingredient, Sweet Peach BBQ Sauce from scratch. But, I always have a jar of store-bought in the pantry for when I want an even simpler meal.
Can I make the BBQ soy curls in advance?
Yes! They store well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat by stovetop and enjoy. This recipe also makes a great meal prep plan. You can double the recipe to use in a variety of dishes like these vegan BBQ sandwiches to enjoy throughout the week.
What toppings and sides go well with BBQ soy curls in a sandwich?
Quick slaw!!! It's a must. I mean it; try my Coleslaw 😊. It takes less than 5 minutes to whip together and chills in the fridge while you prepare the BBQ curls. You'll need vegan mayo, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and a package of shredded coleslaw mix.
You can also add sliced bell peppers, red onion, banana peppers, shredded cabbage, or your favorite BBQ toppings. I also love mashed potatoes, potato salad, or macaroni salad with this easy weeknight dinner.
How do I get that "pulled" texture?
I typically leave the soy curls as is, but if you want a more "pulled" texture, you can tear the strips with your hands from top to bottom or use a fork to pull them into a stringy texture. Do this before adding the sauce and cooking.
Pulled jackfruit versus pulled soy curls?
When it comes to vegan BBQ, a popular substitute for pulled pork is shredded jackfruit in a vegan bbq jackfruit sandwich. However, I prefer using soy curls instead of jackfruit for a few reasons: taste, better meat-like texture, and nutritional content. In soy curls, you'll find a significant protein boost with 11 grams in a ¾ cup serving, whereas the jackfruit version only offers 2.8 grams of protein per cup.
Another advantage of soy curls is that they don't require the extra step of removing the chewy ends you'd have with canned or fresh jackfruit, saving you time during preparation. If you're allergic to soy, jackfruit would be the next best thing!
Recipes feat vegan bbq
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Ultimate Vegan BBQ Sandwich Recipe with Soy Curls
- vegan coleslaw (see notes)
- hamburger buns
- Add half a bag of dried soy curls or 2 ½ cups to a large bowl.
- Rehydrate with warm filtered water or, for more flavor, vegetable broth for 8-10 minutes until plump and hydrated! During this time, make the coleslaw and stick it in the fridge. If using homemade, make the BBQ at this time too.
- Drain the excess water once done and return to the bowl. Squeeze the strips with your hands to remove any remaining liquid, and pat dry before returning to the bowl.
- Season with garlic granules by sprinkling over the top.
- Transfer the curls to a non-stick skillet or frypan, pour the BBQ sauce over the top until evenly coated, use more if necessary, and stir until well combined. Bring to medium heat and occasionally stir for about 10 minutes, then lower the heat to low and allow to sit for 5 minutes so that the sauce thickens and the flavor traps the strips.
- Assemble the sandwich, starting with adding the BBQ curls to the bottom bun, adding a heap of coleslaw, then pressing the top bun down. Dig in, and enjoy!