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3 Scrumptious Vegan and Plant-Based Barbeque Recipes

Make your guests’ mouths water with these vegan and meat-free options


Photo: Shutterstock

Throwing a party or barbeque and looking for inspiration for guests who don’t eat meat? Try these vegan and plant-based options from Lisa Rice, senior health mentor and director of content and promotion for WeHeal

BBQ Mushroom Steaks

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I learned this incredible technique of turning oyster mushroom clusters into “steaks” from the Wicked Healthy Sarno Brothers, Chad and Derek. They have a way with mushrooms and even wrote a Mushroom Manifesto book. The technique of searing and pressing the clusters between two cast iron skillets while cooking over a steady heat creates an incredibly meat-like texture. It works great with Maitake clusters. Also, cooking Lion’s Mane this way can mimic a chicken cutlet and with a beet marinade, a piece of steak. Mushrooms are extremely nutritious, do not contain any fat, and are very versatile for cooking. They are great in vegan dishes.

You do not need to run out and buy cast iron cookware if you do not already have it. This can be done with two pans and some weight on top.


  • Oyster or Maitake mushroom clusters
  • Dry seasonings: garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper
  • You can also use cumin, chili powder, lemon pepper, or your favorite blend.

For Basting

Barbecue sauce


  • Have two skillets and a firm metal spatula ready. 
  • Pre-heat one pan over a medium to medium-high heat. 
  • To test if it is hot enough, Put a drop or two of water in it – it should sizzle. 
  • I use a very thin spray of avocado oil. However, this can be done with no oil. I recommend beginning at a slightly lower heat – medium to medium low.
  • Sprinkle seasonings over one side of the mushroom and put the seasoned side down in the hot pan. Take your other pan and press it on top. Hold it there with pressure for 30 seconds or so, then leave it to cook for about 5 minutes or until a fair amount of liquid has released from the mushroom. 
  • With your spatula, carefully flip it and season the up side, put the pan on and press again, and cook for another five or more minutes. Season and flip one to two more times or until both sides have a nice golden color and most of or all the liquid has been absorbed. It should be golden brown. 
  • Heat a grill or grill pan, and baste the mushroom with your favorite barbecue sauce and place the basted side on the grill and cook for several minutes, baste the top, and flip and cook until both sides have char marks and some of the ends are blackened. 
  • Remove from the heat onto a cutting board, and slice diagonally into strips to serve, with some more sauce on the side. This is great on a sandwich, taco or in a burrito.

BBQ Jackfruit Sammie


My introduction to jackfruit as a meat substitute came several years ago from my friend and culinary mentor Chad Sarno of Wicked Healthy. From that point forward I used it in many dishes and kept my pantry stocked with at least two or three cans at all times. It’s important to get the canned jackfruit in brine, which is unripe and not sweet. Many love fresh jackfruit, but it doesn’t work as a meat substitute. Be careful not to get the canned jackfruit in syrup, because it is not meant for this dish. 


  • 2 to 3 cans unripe jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Optional: 1-2 T Bone Suckin’ seasoning, dry rub steak seasoning or 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, and 1 tsp chili powder blend
  • 1 to 2 cups BBQ sauce
  • Optional: T hot sauce
  • ½ to 1 cups Vegetable Broth

For the Sammie

  • Buns of choice 
  • Sliced dill pickles

For the Slaw

  • 1 bag or 3 cups of shredded cabbage slaw mix
  • 2 sliced scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or flat leaf parsley
  • Vegan Mayo

You can add these other vegan ingredients as well—drizzle of rice vinegar, date, maple or agave syrup, 1  to 2 tsp dijon mustard, generous sprinkle of onion and garlic granules, salt and pepper to taste.


  • Drain the jackfruit, and gently break it apart into shreds in a bowl using your hands. Chop off the tougher tips and you can remove the seeds. Toss the shredded jackfruit with the dry seasonings and let it sit while you prepare everything else.
  • Heat a wide pan on medium high heat. While you wait for it to heat up, dice the onion, and mince the garlic. Add the onion to the pan, stirring frequently until it turns translucent, splashing in a little veggie broth as needed to prevent sticking, and then add the garlic and cook another minute or two until fragrant. Add jackfruit, mixing to coat. Stir and cook until some of the moisture cooks out and the jackfruit begins to get a little dry. It’s ok if some sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add BBQ sauce and if you want hot sauce. Stir to coat, adding just a touch of vegetable broth to loosen up the sauce. Stir and reduce heat to a low medium, cover, and let it simmer, and braise for 15 to 20 minutes, checking frequently and adding a little more veggie broth if it starts getting too dry – but not too much. 
  • Make the slaw by adding everything to a bowl and mixing well until the cabbage is coated.
  • Check the jackfruit, stirring through and removing the lid. The sauce should have reduced, but shouldn’t be sticking to the sides.
  • To assemble, spoon a generous pile of barbeque jackfruit onto each bun and top with slaw and pickles and a few drops of hot sauce if desired.

Isa’s All American Beet Burgers


Many love cooking from Isa Chandra Mokowitz’s cookbooks and website as you can never fail with her vegan recipes. Isa’s dishes are loved by everyone – even meat eaters. 

When not cooking for a crowd of omni or carnivores, I often make one of Isa’s recipes. To avoid oil, I often omit it in her recipes—this recipe doesn’t list oil as an ingredient. However, because these are much better when cooked in a cast iron skillet as she instructs, you may choose to use a very light spray on the bottom of the pan. The cast iron gives them a great texture.


  • 1 1/4 cups cooked, cooled brown or black rice
  • 1 cup cooked brown or green lentils, cooled, drained well
  • 1 cup shredded beets
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, rubbed between your fingers
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel (or finely crushed fennel seed)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 3 tablespoons very finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons smooth almond butter
  • 1/2 cup very fine breadcrumbs


  • Peel beets, and shred with the shredder attachment of your food processor, then set aside. Change the attachment to a metal blade. Pulse the brown rice, shredded beets and lentils about 15 to 20 times, until the mixture comes together, but still has texture. It should look a lot like ground meat.
  • Transfer to a mixing bowl, and add all the remaining ingredients. Use your hands to mix very well. Everything should be well incorporated, so get in there and take your time, it could take a minute or two.
  • Place the mixture in the fridge for a half hour to chill.
  • Preheat a cast iron pan over medium-high. Now form the patties. Each patty will be a heaping 1/2 cup of mixture. To get perfectly shaped patties, use a 3 1/2 inch cookie cutter or ring mold. Otherwise, just shape them into burgers with your hands.
  • Cook patties for about 12 minutes, flipping occasionally. Do two at a time if your pan isn’t big enough. Use a little olive or avocado oil if needed. Burgers should be charred at the edges and heated through.
  • Serve on a whole grain bun with all the fixin’s!
About The Author

Sophia is an intern for Well Defined. She is passionate about journalism and has focused on writing stories covering adoption, sports, and other topics as a staff writer and copy editor for her high school yearbook staff. She has achieved several high school journalism awards for her writing and has aspirations for a successful professional writing career.