This Vegan Barbecue Recipe Will Be Your Summer Party BFF

Photo: Laura Lea Goldberg

With Memorial Day on the horizon, there's one thing on most foodies minds': barbecuing. But starting up the grill isn't the only way to satiate your tastebuds. (Hey, not everyone has a tricked-out patio.)

Photo: Spring House Press

Certified holistic chef and LL Balanced blogger Laura Lea Goldberg found a way to get the same taste sans fire, using two all-time (plant-based) favorites, chickpeas and sweet potatoes.

Her barbecue loaf recipe, from her new cookbook, is loaded with protein—in fact, it rivals your classic, carnivore-approved meatloaf in terms of grams of the fueling nutrient.

As for Goldberg, everything you'll find on her table (outdoors or in) is always gluten-free and almost always dairy-free and Paleo. Oh, and definitely delicious.

Ready to master your go-to vegan BBQ recipe? Keep reading for the recipe.

BBQ Chickpea and Sweet Potato Loaf

Serves 6-8

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chia seeds
6 Tbsp water
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 cups grated sweet potato (approximately 1 medium, with the skin on)
1 cup grated white onion (approximately 1 small)
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp low-sodium tamari
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp barbecue sauce, recipe below), plus more for dipping
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 cup frozen corn kernels
Sea salt to taste

Barbecue Sauce
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp sriracha
1/4 cup olive oil
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp melted butter (sub olive oil for vegan)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Grease with one teaspoon olive oil.

2. In a small bowl whisk together chia seeds and water and set aside.

3. In a food processor, combine oats, almond flour, chickpeas, and sunflower seeds. Pulse until the mixture forms a chunky paste, approximately 15 to 20 seconds. Empty the mixture into a large bowl.

4. To make barbecue sauce, combine all sauce ingredients in a blender, in the order listed, and puree until smooth. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

5. Heat a large saute pan to medium heat and add remaining tablespoon olive oil. When oil is lightly shimmering, add sweet potato and onion. Cook, only stirring every two to three minutes, until vegetables have some golden brown edges, approximately eight to ten minutes. Add splashes of water as necessary to prevent sticking. Turn heat to the lowest setting, and stir in garlic, tamari, nutritional yeast (if using), two tablespoons of barbecue sauce, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring, another minute.

6. Add sweet potato mixture to the chickpea mixture and stir to incorporate evenly. Stir in chia seed-water mixture, then mix in scallions and corn. Taste and add salt, if you like. Note that this is a fairly dry dough, and that is what you want.

7. Empty loaf mixture into loaf pan and press firmly into an even layer. Bake loaf for 25 minutes, then remove and coat with remaining one-fourth cup BBQ sauce in an even layer. Bake another 20 minutes, then allow to cool 10 minutes before lifting out of the pan. Allow to cool another 15 minutes before slicing.

Each week we spotlight a healthy-delish recipe that’s truly genius (and easy to make) from someone who’s wowed us in the food world. We’re talking buzzy cookbook authors and Instagram foodies to brilliant chefs. You can find more mouthwatering must-try ideas from the Recipe of the Week archive.

Complete your summer barbecue menu with these healthy side dishes. And don't forget to serve your cookout guests some buzzy orange wine, which pairs well with any occasion. 

Reprinted with permission from The Laura Lea Balanced Cookbook, copyright © 2017 by Laura Lea Goldberg. Published by Spring House Press.

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