Yep, this is happening. My latest take on vegan pulled pork that just may be my best yet.
My first attempt at vegan pulled pork was successful after jumping on the jackfruit train. I loved it so much that I created a spicier version topped with grilled pineapple for our cookbook! Serious swoon.
While I love using jackfruit as a vegan meat substitute, it has little to no protein. So after making my Vegan Sloppy Joes with lentils I was inspired to try a BBQ flavor. As you might’ve guessed, experimentation went well. This may be my favorite lentil recipe yet!
This recipe is simple, requiring just 10 ingredients, and it comes together in less than 45 minutes! You likely have everything you need on hand besides BBQ sauce and buns (unless you’re like me and hoard these things in your pantry).
To infuse the lentils and shredded carrots – which add that amazing, stringy texture – with flavor, I relied on smoked paprika, coconut sugar, garlic powder, and sea salt. A little BBQ sauce sealed the deal for that quintessential smoky BBQ flavor.
I hope you guys LOVE this recipe! It’s:
Packed with protein + fiber
& So delicious
Even better news? One of four sandwiches boasts 17 grams of protein, making this the perfect plant-based version that will truly satisfy those hearty pulled pork cravings. While this is delicious on its own, it would pair perfectly with my Perfect Grilled Corn with Sriracha Aioli, Garlicky Chickpea Kale Salad, and Ginger Beer Margaritas!
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
The Best Vegan “Pulled Pork” Sandwich!
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup green lentils (well rinsed)
SEASONINGS / CARROTS
- 2 Tbsp olive, avocado, or grape seed oil
- 1/2 medium white or yellow onion (minced // plus more for serving)
- 1 ½ cups packed finely shredded/grated carrots (I used my food processor attachment)
- 2 Tbsp coconut sugar or organic brown sugar (plus more to taste)
- 1 ½ tsp ground paprika (we prefer smoked)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 healthy pinch each sea salt + black pepper (plus more to taste)
- 3/4 cup vegan BBQ sauce (plus more for serving // gluten-free as needed // I used Annie’s original BBQ sauce)
- 2 Tbsp water
- 4 medium gluten-free or whole-wheat hamburger buns*
- Finely chopped purple cabbage, carrot, and green onion (optional)
- To a small saucepan, add water and rinsed lentils and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 18 minutes, or until tender. The water should have a constant simmer (not boil). Drain off any excess liquid and set aside.
- When the lentils are almost finished cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil and onion and season with a pinch each salt and pepper. Stir to combine, and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the onions are tender and slightly browned.
- Next add cooked lentils, carrots, coconut sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, BBQ sauce (see photo), and 2 Tbsp water (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Stir to combine.
- Continue cooking the mixture over medium-low heat until completely warmed through and thick, stirring occasionally – about 5-10 minutes.
- Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more paprika for smokiness, salt for saltiness, coconut sugar for sweetness, or BBQ sauce for depth of flavor.
- Optional: Scoop half of the mixture into a food processor and (using the “s” shaped blade) mix/pulse to mash some of the lentils and carrots together. This creates a more cohesive texture, which I prefer.
- Serve the mixture on toasted buns of choice with toppings of choice. I went with shredded red cabbage, carrots, and sliced green onions. Serve with extra BBQ sauce for more flavor.
- Best when fresh, though lentil mixture will keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through, adding water if the mixture has dried out.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with whole wheat hamburger buns.