Summer BBQ: VegiQ!

Tis the season for BBQ. Do veg*ns love BBQ? We do. Do we settle for boring, bland, carrot and celery stick BBQ? We do not.

When people eat dead animals at BBQ’s, they’re not tasting the animal flesh. They’re tasting the BBQ sauce, the salt and fat and herbs and spices, the liquid smoke and beer. Put the same sauces on tofu, tempeh, seitan or big meaty mushrooms and you have the same summertime flavors and textures.


BBQ Sauce
Peach-Chipotle Sauce

Most BBQ foods are easy to veganize. Buy Gardenburger BBQ Riblets, Tofurky sausages, Boca or Garden burgers. Vegannaise instead of mayonaise in the potato salad. Good beer instead of cheap beer. Potato chips, corn chips and salsa, watermelon, iced tea…already vegan.

Below is my favorite BBQ sauce. If you like to cook, make a big batch of this and freeze the extra. Allow enough time so it has a couple of hours to simmer. In the summer I marinade tofu, tempeh, seitan and mushrooms in it, then grill them. In the winter I roast the sauce-coated foods in the oven and serve with cornbread and collards greens.

If you don’t like to cook, don’t worry, there’s some great pre-made vegan BBQ sauces out there! Grab some Boca burgers and Annie’s BBQ sauce, some vegan salads from Whole Foods, and your favorite beverage. Don’t forget the vegan treats from Sun Flour cookies or Allison’s Gourmet. Once you’re stocked up you can fearlessly accept all those invites to annoying dead animal picnics. Yes, it’s a pain to sit there and watch people chew muscle—but your smile and yummy vegan food will inspire those people to try veg instead of corpse. ou’ll be eating well and doing great advocacy at the same time!


This is great to toss with cooked, diced Yukon gold potatoes or cooked pasta and veggies for a nice cold picnic salad. Remember to use a LOT of pesto—both potatoes and pasta are bland by themselves and will soak up the flavors.

2 bunches basil
2 bunches Italian parsley
1 and ½ cup mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds, and/or sunflower seeds)

½ cup nut yeast
5 whole garlic cloves
2 tsp salt (at least!)
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup lemon juice
1 cup extra virgin olive oil (at least!)

–In a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, mix the garlic and nuts.

Then add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed. If it’s too dry, add more oil. You can also substitute vegetable stock in place of the oil, but don’t do that if you’re cooking for meat-eaters!

Peach-Chipotle Sauce

A little more expensive and a little more involved, but absolutely yummy used as a BBQ sauce. Can also be used as a sauce for tamales.
16 dried chipotles, reconstituted in 1.5 cups hot water (save the water).
8 cups roughly chopped peaches
¾ cup lime juice

2 roasted tomatoes
1 Tb salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 Tb garlic, fresh
¾ cup roasted garlic
1-2 Tb balsamic vinegar
Blend everything except for ¼ of the peaches and the chipotle soaking water and ¼ of the chopped peaches. Taste. Add some or all of the water if you want more liquid and/or more heat. When it’s to your liking, stir in the rest of the chopped peaches.

BBQ Sauce

This makes a lot of BBQ sauce. Easy to cut in half if you’re sure you don’t want any in your freezer.

2 yellow onions, chopped
2 Tb oil
Sauté onions in oil until lightly brown

Then add:
1/4 cup cumin, ground
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup Italian herbs
1/4 cup basil
1 Tb chili powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until aromatic.

Then add:
1 small can tomato paste. Stir well for about 1 minute.

Then deglaze with:
1 bottle dark beer
4 large (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
2 cups water.

1 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup tamari

Cook. Stir. Taste. Should be VERY flavorful.

Don’t hesitate to add more salt, more chili powder, or more maple syrup—eveyone likes a different BBQ sauce. Make it your own.

And here’s my all-time favorite comfort dessert: Chocolate peanut butter rice crispie treats. And they’re almost a health food, but don’t tell anyone.

Chocolate PB Rice Crispy Treats

Blend well in large bowl (I heat first to soften): 1 cup creamy peanut butter and 1 cup brown rice syrup.

Gently fold in 5 cups crispy brown rice cereal. Press firmly into springform pan.

Melt: heaping 1 cup vegan chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons soy milk over double boiler.

Frost the cereal mix with the chocolate, then cool

Try not to eat at one sitting.

Shopping list for a basic vegan BBQ:

Grill, charcoal, lighter fluid, matches, specialty wood chips, etc.
Boca and Garden Burgers
Tofurky sausages

Gardenburger riblets
Burger and dog buns
Lettuce to chop
Onions to chop
Tomatoes to chop
Pickle relish

Either pre-made salads or ingredients to make your own coleslaw and potato salad (see

Lettuce and cucumbers for a nice green salad
Annie’s Goddess Dressing

Either ingredients for your own BBQ sauce, or Annie’s pre-made sauce Beverages
Selection of vegan cookies and brownies, vegan ice cream if you’ll have a freezer nearby, and fresh fruit Ingredients for the rice crispie treats
Lots of napkins!
Biodegradable plates and utensils and cups


  1. anna [Visitor] says:

    Thanks so much! This is so timely!

  2. Pati [Visitor] says:

    Whole Foods brand barbecue sauce is MUCH better than Annie’s. I like the plain one the best.
    Try cilantro or part cilantro in the pesto. Nothing removes heavy metals from the body quite like cilantro and we all like in pollution even if we live in the country.
    Those rice crispy treats sound great! I will be trying those.
    Also, on another topic… most of the non-dairy cheeses range from so-so to terrible but the rice parmesan is delicious. None of the other rice alternatives are any good (the rice sour cream is disgusting) but the parmesan is really good. I don’t cook with it. I put it on after. Just a little is enough to give the flavor.

  3. The BB sauce recipe sounds delicious. My brother-in-law is a vegatarian and when he visits us from California, I’m always a little disappointed I don’t get to barbecue for him. I put the gardenburgers on the grill but they seem to lack something – juices. I’ll try this sauce next time he comes.

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