Marinated BBQ tofu is pan-fried and paired with creamy tahini coleslaw in this flavorful vegan sandwich.
With spring comes all things outdoors, and with that comes all things barbecue. Barbecue is a big deal in the south, so BBQ tofu is the natural answer for a vegetarian Southerner.
Because yes, BBQ is still possible without meat (which is why I also love making this shredded BBQ tofu)!
I'm lucky to have a few vegetarian barbecue options where I live, but there's nothing like making your own BBQ sandwich.
It's actually so easy to make homemade BBQ tofu. And you can easily customize this recipe to make it your own, just as barbecue should be.
The tofu is marinated in a simple 3-ingredient marinade that uses your favorite BBQ sauce, apple cider vinegar, and hot sauce. That means your tofu will be sweet, tangy, and just a little bit spicy!
You'll also find this tofu in my BBQ tofu bowls (so good!).
Choose your barbecue sauce
Use your favorite sweet barbecue sauce for the marinade. Or try out my favorite homemade sweet and spicy vegan BBQ sauce for a classic brown sugar sauce.
Recipe tip: If you're vegetarian or vegan, check the label for Worcestershire sauce, which usually isn't vegan.
How to make
Press extra firm tofu for 10 minutes. You can use a tofu press, or place tofu between two plates. Weigh down the top plate with a bag of dry beans or a can.
Make your marinade. Coat the pressed tofu with the marinade in either a shallow dish or a plastic bag. Just as with barbecue meat, the longer you marinate the tofu the better.
Marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
In a medium skillet or cast iron, saute the tofu over medium-high heat. Flip when the tofu is crispy and blackened, about 5 minutes on each side.
- This recipe makes two large tofu sandwiches or four regular-sized sandwiches.
- In true barbecue fashion, these sandwiches can get a bit messy! Keep a napkin at the ready.
- Swap out tofu for tempeh for an alternative protein.
Not in the mood for a sandwich? Make it a BBQ plate with creamy vegan macaroni and cheese, roasted vegetables, and a side of vegan tahini slaw.
Looking for more vegetarian barbecue-approved recipes? Here are a few of my favorites:
- Vegan Baked BBQ Tofu
- BBQ Pulled Portobello Tacos with Spicy Mustard Slaw
- Instant Pot Vegetarian Baked Beans
- Vegan Ranch Pasta Salad
- Instant Pot Lentil Sloppy Joes
- Healthier Jalapeno Pimento Cheese
Want to learn more about how to cook tofu? Check out my guide to tofu for more tips and tofu recipes.
Easy BBQ Tofu Sandwich
- 1 block (14-16 ounces) extra firm tofu
- ½ cup barbecue sauce
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce optional
- 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 2-4 whole wheat burger buns
- 1 cup tahini coleslaw
- optional toppings: lettuce, pickles, pimento cheese
- Press the tofu for 10 minutes. To do this, use a tofu press or place tofu between two plates. Weigh down the top plate with a bag of beans or a can.
- Cut the block of tofu lengthways into 5 slices. Place the rectangles in a shallow dish or plastic bag for marinating.
- Stir together the marinade ingredients in a small bowl: BBQ sauce, apple cider vinegar, water, hot sauce. Coat the tofu in the marinade. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
- Heat a cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil. Once hot, add the tofu (don't add the marinade). Saute each side for 5 minutes, or until browned and crispy.
- This recipe makes 2-3 large sandwiches or 5 regular sandwiches. Add two blocks of tofu to one burger bun for a large sandwich or add one for a regular sized sandwich. Top with tahini coleslaw and optional burger toppings. Enjoy!
Did you make this recipe?
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Amazing!! My whole family loved it. Thank you!!
Thanks for making it!! 🙂
For a faster sandwich, slice raw extra firm tofu, place on whole grain bun, add barbeque sauce and pickles and celery !
Sounds faster but like a different recipe!
Yum! Mine didn't come out as crispy as I would like, so maybe I'll coat with cornstarch next time, slice it thinner, or cook for longer. I used your tahini coleslaw recipe too - you should hyperlink it in the ingredients section so people can find your recipe easily 😉
Thanks for an easy & tasty lunch!
Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll definitely do that. Thanks again for the reviews!
Does it have to be marinated at a specific temperature? Or can I leave it out on the counter until I'm ready?
Cassidy Reeser, RDN, LD
Since it’s not being marinated for long you can leave it on the counter, but any longer than 30 minutes I’d recommend throwing in the fridge just to be safe.
Thanks Trae, glad you enjoyed it!