Stick with me on this one even though it sounds weird. I have a weird affinity for turning vegetables into something other than vegetables. Like cauliflower. That vegetable is magic because it can become anything. I’ve turned it into pizza crust, taquitos, bites, rice…. It’s a very versatile vegetable. But other vegetables can be just as magical.
I know vegetarians and vegans get a bad rap for trying to turn things that aren’t meat into meat saying, “It tastes just like the real thing!” Meat eaters, of course,scoff at this, the vegetarians/vegans get mad and no one wins. Maybe to them the meat alternatives taste just like the real thing or maybe they just want to get more people to try their food. I think it shouldn’t be important if meat alternatives taste like the real thing they should just taste good.
Like these BBQ pulled carrot sandwiches.
I’m not going to tell you they taste like BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, because they don’t. They do taste delicious and it’s a pretty neat way to make a BBQ pulled sandwich even if it does use only vegetables. I think the key here is really good BBQ sauce and for me that means homemade. I did a little variation on my Even Better BBQ Sauce, but you can use the original, or this one, or your own homemade sauce, or store-bought if that floats your boat. I ain’t gonna judge.
I thought this would be the perfect recipe for Memorial Day weekend especially if you’re having a party. It’s easy to make a whole bunch of these pulled carrots and now you have something that is vegetarian/vegan-friendly, doesn’t have gluten, and you can dazzle your guests by telling them that it’s carrots.
Ok, maybe they won’t be dazzled. But I’ll bet they’ll find it tasty! You can make these ahead of time and keep them in a slow cooker on low so you don’t have to heat up your oven and therefore your house. See? I think of everything.
BBQ Pulled Carrot Sandwiches
- 1 can tomato sauce (check the ingredients to make sure it’s just tomatoes)
- 1 tsp olive or coconut oil
- juice from one lime
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp molasses (could also use honey or maple syrup)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dried minced onions
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 large red onion, sliced into strips
- 1 lb bag of large carrots, shredded
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- Make the BBQ sauce: Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until they are well combined. Pour into a bowl and let the sauce sit in the fridge while you make the carrots.
- Slice the onions and shred the carrots. If you have a food processor, you can use the shredding blade and this goes super quick.
- Preheat oven to 375 and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Place the onions and carrots into a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Lay the carrots and onions out on the baking sheet in an even layer, you might need to use two sheets depending on how big your baking sheet is. Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven, toss a little, and then put back into the oven without the foil for another 10 minutes.
- While the carrots are cooking, pull out a dutch oven or large pot and cook the sauce on medium high heat for about 10 minutes. When the carrots are done had them to the hot BBQ sauce and stir to combine. Lower the heat to low, cover, and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can use your slow cooker at this point and keep it on low until you’re ready to serve.
You can serve these on hamburger buns, tortillas, lettuce leaves, or even on arepas like I did here. It also tastes pretty awesome with a smear of guacamole, but then again, what doesn’t?
I hope you have a great weekend and a Happy Memorial Day!