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Vegetarian alternative to pulled pork

Three guy friends are moving into a house together tomorrow and I'm planning to bring them a big container of pulled pork and rolls for dinner. I just found out that the fourth roommate, however, is a vegetarian. I don't want to stick him with just beans and cole slaw for dinner - and wasn't even sure I was going to bother with those additions (I figure the guys will be happy to just have something to munch on). So, does anyone have a good idea for what I can substitute for the meat for him? Anything I can do with tofu? I may be able to find seitan, but so many people don't like it, I get scared relying on it.

Maybe I could just do a BBQ bean sandwich filling for him? Heavy on the sauce and partially mashed, not just baked beans?

Any ideas sooooo welcome.

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  1. You are very kind to go out of your way and make a separate dish! Can you turn the veg's beans into a veg chili?
    You could also get that ground meat sub that's in the freezer section, add bbq sauce and call it a Sloppy Joe.

    1. What if, instead of doing baked beans (which I think are better with meat products in them anyway), you did a cous cous, pasta, or quinoa salad which could be substantial enough for a meal for the vegetarian but also work as a side with the pulled pork? It sounds like you don't really know the fourth roommate to know how he feels about tofu or seiten. I do think you are being very kind to include him in the menu, but if you are going to the effort, I would probably make something that would be enjoyed by everyone instead of a separate entree from him.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mountaincachers

        I would go with a bean dish of some sort, like a spicy type baked bean. I disagree about non meat bean dishes, with smoky paprika and a good dose of onion, they can be wonderful.

        1. re: magiesmom

          You are correct...I have had some good vegetarian baked beans, though my favorite recipe has meat in it. It doesn't feel very entree-like to me though. I have made a Cuban black bean dish which I have served as both an entree and a side. Maybe something along those lines.

      2. What about a black bean chili? Satisfying for the veggie roommate, tasty as a side. Here's an easy one: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... You can amp up the spices a bit and add in some corn and skip the toppings (IMO). You are being very kind, I agree!

        1. Might be too late to do this, but I keep seeing recipes for veggie pulled "meat" made with a base of jackfruit: http://chowvegan.com/2008/05/28/bbq-p...

          Not sure how tasty it is, but I've been seeing it ordered a lot in local vegan restaurants, so who knows? Looks easy enough to prepare.

          How about turning some beans into homemade veggie burgers? Add-ins vary, but maybe a base of beans+quinoa/rice+shredded veggies and an egg with seasonings. Or you could do a tofu-based burger. I'm sure he'd appreciate being able to eat a burger along with the slaw and maybe some extra beans. The burgers are easy enough to prep--can be mixed in seconds in the food processor and baked/grilled/fried just before serving.

          Good luck!

          3 Replies
          1. re: nothingswrong

            Jackfruit's pretty good. I've seen it quite a bit as a pulled pork or "carnitas" substitute. The only downside is that nutritionally, it's not really protein heavy.

            I think a well seasoned seitan filling would work really well too, or possibly frozen (and thawed / squeezed out) tofu.

            Not exactly pulled pork, but I did this pretty trashy veggie sandwich recently, and it was delicious.

            1. re: nothingswrong

              I ended up dping the sort of homemade bean and veggie burger for him, with mashed black beans, onion, chile powder, bbq sauce, cumin, etc. He was incredibly happy with it and ate three of them while the other chowed on the pulled pork. It was a good success, and this thread definitely gives me other ideas for feeding them all in the future. Thanks guys!

            2. I see bbq'ed tempeh and extra firm tofu all the time in the deli case at my natural grocery. Marinated and grilled with sauce could work. Seitan is the meat sub that could best mimic the texture, though.

              1. I never know what vegetarian means, because so many people say they are but only abstain from red meat. If that's the case, do pulled chicken or turkey sandwiches instead of pork. Or you could do a big three bean salad with penne (could serve hot or cold) and bring a container of diced chicken for the meat eater to add. And I'm not being funny, but four guys moving into a house together...sounds like pizza might be on the menu a lot, so might wanna try out one of the local joints.

                3 Replies
                1. re: jhopp217

                  really? people say they are vegetarian when they eat meat? never encountered that!

                  1. re: magiesmom

                    In the US, the term "vegetarian" means pretty much whatever someone wants it to mean. Certain types of "vegetarians" will eat chicken and fish but draw the line at anything else. Others will eat eggs but not fish or chicken.

                    When some of my co-workers came from India, I had to warn them about "vegetarian" meals for the same reason. In their minds, "vegetarian" meant absolutely no meat at all. They couldn't understand why Westerners would want to redefine such a simple word into a complicated labyrinth of nuances and caveats.

                    1. re: raytamsgv

                      I do occasionally come across people who describe themselves as vegetarian yet eat meat. If you eat meat, you're not a vegetarian, and I think any restaurant (or host) would be remiss in not taking someone who calls themselves a vegetarian at their word.

                      Those folks you're talking about are welcome to describe themselves as "cute-itarians" or "pescetarians", "flexitarians", "mostly-vegetarians", or pretty much whatever other terms they want, but not "vegetarian".

                      Now, it's difficult to eat outside the home and adhere 100% to a vegetarian diet, and I certainly know folks who are more strict or less strict with regards to enzymes used to make cheese, animal products used in the process of making wine / sugar / etc., or even the presence of animal based stocks.