What’s a vegetarian alternative to pulled pork? I wanted to make something vegetable based, not soy or seitan based. After a little research, I found a suggestion for carrots and barbecue sauce. I took it a step further with an easy homemade sauce, and the results are delicious! I think it’s closer to a sloppy joe, and vegans and omnivores will both love it.
If you’ve ever made barbecue sauce, it’s a little of this and a little of that. I ended up also adding tamari and dijon mustard to get the perfect umami flavor. You might have extra sauce and I recommend you put it on anything. It’s the perfect alternative to a processed sauce and gets some sweetness from local maple syrup courtesy of Good Life Farm’s CSA+.
If you want to you can shred the carrots, but I cut these into thick matchstick shapes and cooked them until tender but still a little crisp. Pile onto a bun and add some of your favorite slaw – we used Vinegar Dill Slaw.
Carrot Sloppy Joes
1 lb carrots
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups slaw
2 large or 4 small hamburger buns
For the sauce:
6 oz can tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons tamari or shoyu soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 cloves garlic minced
1 spring onion or 1/2 yellow onion, minced
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more if you like it spicy)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook stirring occasionally until the onions start to turn translucent. Add the remaining sauce ingredients to the pan, whisk to combine, and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Mixture should be thick, sweet, and spicy. Transfer to a small bowl or container. Wash out the saucepan for cooking the carrots.
Scrub and peel the carrots. Chop into 2 inch sections, and then slice into 1/4 inch slices lengthwise. Stack up the slices and slice into matchsticks. Repeat with all the carrots, you should have 2-3 cups carrots.
Heat the remaining olive oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the carrots and cook for about 10 minutes, until the carrots are soft but still hold their shape. Add as much sauce as you’d like. You’ll probably have some leftover. Add a few tablespoons of water, stir to combine, and simmer the carrots a few minutes more. Serve the carrots on a toasted bun topped with slaw.
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