Looking for vegan bbq recipes? Try these BBQ Tofu Vegetable Kebabs! The BBQ Tofu adds both big flavor and protein to your vegetable skewers for a delicious and balanced summertime meal. In partnership with Pompeian!
Vegetable Kebabs with BBQ Tofu
Hellooooo, sweet summertime!
I don’t know about you, but as soon as the temps start rising and the days start getting longer, I want to spend all my time out in the sun, which of course includes eating every meal I can outdoors. And that means plenty of vegan bbq recipes over here at Emilie Eats!
I’ve got the perfect summertime bbq flavored finger food for you: Vegetable Kebabs with BBQ Tofu! It screams summertime and packs in plenty of that delicious sweet and savory bbq flavor that is made to be enjoyed outdoors. So fire up the grill (or your oven!) grab your favorite veggies and let’s get cooking!
How to Build the Perfect Vegetable Kebabs
We all know summer brings the BEST food: watermelon, zucchini, berries, corn, pineapple, giant pasta salads, and grilled vegan burgers. Sorry, winter food just can’t compete.
So let’s just layer all the summer vegetables and some BBQ tofu onto skewers and lay by the pool, shall we?
I went with zucchini, red onion, bell pepper and pineapple for these vegetable kebabs, but feel free to use whatever is hiding in your fridge. Tomatoes, mushrooms or squash would be great additions! I recommend aiming to include a variety of textures on your vegetable skewers, so try picking a few vegetables that hit on these three categories:
- Juicy. Self-saucing veggies for the win! Pineapple or tomatoes are perfect.
- Crunch. Onions or peppers add that satisfying crunch to your vegetable kebob to keep them from being too one-note.
- Meaty. Grab your mushrooms, squash or zucchini! This is also where something like our bbq tofu comes in!
We all know the must irritating part about making vegetable kebabs is when the veggies start spinning around on the skewer when you go to flip them. The key is knowing which skewer to choose. A skewer with more of a flat shape vs. a round shape will help prevent spinning.
After you layer all the vegetables onto the skewers, everything gets brushed (or drizzled) with Pompeian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil to get the vegetables extra crispy and add some healthy fats. This is also going to keep your vegetables from sticking to the grill. We’re also using Pompeian Organic Apple Cider Vinegar in the BBQ sauce to balance out the sweet and savory flavors and add a little tartness.
How to Make Homemade Vegan BBQ Sauce
Here’s where we get fancy with it – we’re going to make our own vegan bbq sauce for our vegetable kebabs! Don’t let that scare you, it’s super simple and so delicious. This vegan bbq sauce recipe only requires a few ingredients, most of which are pantry staples!
- Tomato paste. This will be the base of our vegan bbq sauce.
- Pompeian Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. For that tangy flavor you know and love!
- Blackstrap molasses. Molasses will add sweetness, depth and a more complex flavor to the bbq sauce.
- Applesauce. Yup, you read that right! This is my secret to a delicious, slightly sweet vegan bbq sauce.
- Garlic and onion powders. These add a bit of umami flavor to the sauce.
- Mustard. This works with the apple cider vinegar to add a bit more punch to our vegan bbq sauce.
- Salt and black pepper. Duh!
- Paprika. Regular paprika is great, but you could also use smoked paprika for a bit of that smoky flavor, especially if you’re not planning on grilling your vegetable kebabs.
- Cayenne. Scale it up or down depending on how spicy you like your sauce!
To make the sauce, you’ll simply whisk all your ingredients together over medium-high heat and bring it to a bubble. As soon as the mixture starts to bubble, you’ll cover it and turn the heat to low. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, and boom, you’ve got homemade vegan bbq sauce.
How to Make BBQ Tofu
After you make your sauce, you’re ready to prep your bbq tofu. The bbq tofu not only adds protein to our vegetable kebabs to round out the meal, but it adds a delicious and satisfying smoky sweetness to the skewers that you’ll love.
The most important step is to make sure you drain and press your tofu first. I know it feels like a pain to take the extra time to press your tofu, but I assure you it’s worth it! Tofu is porous like a sponge, meaning it soaks up whatever liquid it’s soaked in, which makes it the perfect protein for marinading. However just like a sponge, if your tofu is already saturated with the brine it’s packaged in it can’t soak up any of that delicious bbq sauce you just made, which means you’re left with bland vegetable kebabs.
To press your tofu, drain the liquid and wrap it in paper towels or a clean dish cloth and place it on a cutting board or on a plate. Then weigh it down with something heavy like a cast iron skillet and leave it alone for at least 10-15 minutes – exactly the amount of time it’ll take you to make your vegan bbq sauce!
Once your tofu is pressed, cut it into 1-inch pieces, place it in a bowl and cover it with that glorious vegan bbq sauce. Stir it up to make sure it’s all coated and let it marinate for 10 minutes.
After your tofu has marinaded, arrange it on a sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. I recommend pre-baking your tofu to ensure it’s cooked by the time you add it to your vegetable kebabs. Then when you go to cook the vegetable skewers, the tofu with finish and get nice and crispy.
How to Cook Vegetable Kebabs: On the Grill or In the Oven
If you have an outdoor grill, go ahead and fire it up! You’ll want the heat to come up to about 400 degrees. Let your vegetable kebabs grill for about 5 minutes on one side until you start to see some charring action on the vegetables and the bbq tofu. Then flip and finish the second side for 5 minutes. They shouldn’t need longer than 10-15 minutes all together, depending on how much char you like!
I know not everyone has a grill or a grill pan to use on your stove top, so you can totally still make these at home in the oven! Simply preheat your oven to 350 and bake your vegetable kebabs for 15-20 minutes until you start to see the vegetables and bbq tofu browning. If you love that smoky flavor a grill provides, you could add a bit of liquid smoke or use smoked paprika in your bbq sauce.
More Vegan Summer Recipes
There is nothing better than eating outdoors in the sunshine, so bonus points to anyone eating these BBQ tofu vegetable kebabs while hanging out at the pool with your friends and drinking a fresh margarita! Get your al fresco on and check out the links below for more vegan summer recipes:
- Jalapeno Mango Margaritas
- Grilled Portobello Mushroom Tacos
- Taco Style Veggie Dogs
- Hawaiian Chickpea Veggie Burgers
- Almond Butter Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches
Vegetable Kebabs with BBQ Tofu
Looking for vegan bbq recipes? Try these BBQ Tofu Vegetable Kebabs! The BBQ Tofu adds both big flavor and protein to your vegetable skewers.
For the BBQ tofu:
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste, preferably organic
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons Pompeian Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- 2 tablespoons applesauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Dash of ground cayenne
- 1 14-ounce package extra firm tofu, pressed for 15 minutes*
For the kebabs:
- 1 red onion
- 1 zucchini
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 pineapple
- 3–4 tablespoons Pompeian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, place tomato paste, water, Pompeian Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, molasses, applesauce, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne. Whisk to combine. When it begins to bubble, cover (this is important). Turn the heat down to low and let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add more water if the sauce gets too thick.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Cut the tofu into 1-inch pieces. Place in a large bowl. Pour the BBQ sauce on top (you may not need all of it). Stir to evenly coat the tofu; let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Arrange the tofu on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop the red onion, zucchini, bell pepper and pineapple into 1-inch chunks. Place each ingredient in a separate bowl.
- When the tofu is done, arrange the kebabs. Layer the tofu and vegetables onto the skewers until all ingredients are used up.
- Place the kebabs on the baking sheet; brush or drizzle with Pompeian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly charred.
- Serve with extra BBQ sauce for dipping.
*Use a tofu press, or wrap the tofu in paper towels and place in the sink with a heavy object on top.
Thanks to Pompeian for sponsoring this post! I love working with brands whose products I really love and would honestly recommend. Thank you for supporting this blog that I love oh-so-much!