Vegan BBQ sandwiches are filled with saucy shredded Soy Curls that have been cooked in an air fryer or skillet. They’re topped with a mound of cool and crunchy coleslaw.
This saucy vegan BBQ sandwich has all of the hearty chewiness you’re looking for in a barbecue sandwich. Plus, it’s topped with a cooling dollop of vegan coleslaw for added crunch & creaminess.
While jackfruit is popular for vegan BBQ sandwiches, I love the bite, chew, and satiating nature of Soy Curls. They get a wonderful crispiness around the edges, and they’re packed with protein.
You can use store-bought barbecue sauce. There are plenty of vegan options. Just be sure to read the label, in case non-vegan Worcestershire sauce is an ingredient. (That’s made with anchovies.) Or you can whip up this easy barbecue sauce that’s ready in minutes.
The sandwich is finished with a simple coleslaw topping. It just involves stirring together pre-shredded cabbage mix and a few pantry & refrigerator staples. I like to use a pre-shredded cabbage mix for sake of convenience, but hand-shredding cabbage is fine too!
The end result is a satisfying sandwich that’s a delightful balance of smoky, sweet, and tangy.
What are Soy Curls?
Soy Curls are a dried product made with just one ingredient – non-GMO whole soybeans. They are texturized into shreds & dried.
(Once opened, remember to store them in the refrigerator or freezer, because they don’t have any preservatives in them.)
In some parts of the country, like Portland, Oregon, Soy Curls can be found in bulk bins at grocery stores. They’re also on the menus of many restaurants in the area, like Homegrown Smoker.
For the rest of us, though, Soy Curls are less common. I’m able to find them in bags at my local Natural Grocers. Or they can be purchased online.
How to make vegan BBQ sandwich
Start by making vegan pulled pork. (Click on the link for the full recipe & step-by-step instructions.)
First, hydrate Soy Curls in broth. Then drain, and pull them apart like string cheese. Finally, cook them twice in a skillet or air fryer. (The first time cook them by themselves, and the second with barbecue sauce.)
While the vegan pulled pork is cooking, make the vegan coleslaw.
Simply combine shredded cabbage mix with the following:
- Vegan mayo
- White wine vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Granulated garlic
- Granulated onion
If you like, toast halved buns in a dry skillet or air fryer until lightly browned. Then fill with vegan pulled pork & coleslaw.
Finish with another spoonful of barbecue sauce. A drizzle of vegan ranch dressing wouldn’t go amiss here either!
Can I make it ahead of time?
If you’d like to make the sandwich ahead of time, I recommend making the various components, and storing them separately in the refrigerator in covered containers.
Coleslaw softens over time, which can look a little like shrinking. So if you want to make coleslaw a day or so ahead of time, I recommend doubling the listed coleslaw recipe. (Or just follow my vegan coleslaw recipe, which is a double batch of what’s listed below.)
Barbecued Soy Curls are best the same day. They get a little chewier in the refrigerator over time. However, they’re still good on a sandwich. Just add more barbecue sauce to them before reheating in the microwave or a pot on the stove until warm.
What to serve with vegan BBQ sandwiches
These filling sandwiches are terrific with any of the following side dishes:
- Fried pickles or fried zucchini
- Potato salad
- Baked french fries
- Grilled vegetable skewers
- Broccolini with garlic & kale
- Roasted cauliflower in the air fryer or oven
- Vegan pasta salad
Vegan BBQ Sandwich
To make vegan coleslaw
- Combine vegan mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, granulated garlic, granulated onion, and pinch of salt in bowl. Add shredded cabbage mix and thoroughly combine.
- Set aside or cover & put in the refrigerator if making the sandwiches at a later time.
To make BBQ sandwich
- Toast bun halves in a warm skillet with the cut side down or in the air fryer. (If you're cooking the vegan pulled pork in the air fryer, just put the buns into the basket during the last couple of minutes.) Once they are toasty brown, remove from heat and set aside.
- Now it's time to make your sandwiches. Top two of the buns with any optional toppings like barbecue sauce, eggless mayo, vegan ranch dressing, pickle slices, and/or chopped onions.
- Add a few generous spoonfuls of vegan pulled pork, and then a mound of coleslaw. Cover the sandwiches with the remaining buns and serve.
Content, recipe, and photos updated April 5, 2021. Originally posted March 8, 2018.