Who says barbecue sauce is only for grilling (or meat, for that matter)? There are so many other great ways to use the spicy, tangy condiment that it’s a shame not to dip into its flavoring possibilities more often. To give you an idea of the seasoning power of a basic barbecue sauce we’ve put together this list of ideas. They’re all quick, easy ways to rock your meals with incredible barbecue flavor—without even firing up the grill.
Simmer 3 cups cooked great northern, cannellini, or pinto beans (two 15-ounce cans) with 1 cup barbecue sauce for 5 to 10 minutes to meld the flavors. For spicier flavor, try one or more of these add-ins: 1 teaspoon mustard, ½ teaspoon vinegar, ½ teaspoon chili powder, pinch of cayenne, few drops of hot sauce.
Drain and rinse canned jackfruit in brine (from a 20-ounce can). Coarsely chop jackfruit, transfer it to a medium saucepan, and stir in ½ cup barbecue sauce and ½ cup water. Simmer over medium-low heat 10 to 15 minutes, or until sauce has thickened and jackfruit is tender. Serve on whole grain buns or in whole-wheat tortillas.
Brush slices of firm tofu with barbecue sauce, spread the tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 350°F or until firm and beginning to crisp around the edges. Enjoy on sandwiches and in salads.
4. Roasted Squash:
Brush slices of winter or summer squash with barbecue sauce and roast on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 20 to 30 minutes at 400°F, or until browned and tender. Serve as a light main dish with whole grains or as a hearty side dish.
Steam or boil a whole cauliflower head for 15 minutes, or until just tender. Brush with barbecue sauce and roast in a 450°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until browned and crisp. Slice and serve as a main or side dish.
6. Caramelized Onions:
Toss 4 cups sliced onions with ½ to 1 cup barbecue sauce and cook 10 to 15 minutes over medium-low heat or until browned and softened. Use as a garnish for sandwiches, baked potatoes, and Buddha bowls, or as a pizza topping.
Toss 1½ cups (1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed) chickpeas with 3 tablespoons BBQ sauce and roast on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 30 to 45 minutes at 350°F, or until the chickpeas are browned and crispy. Serve as a snack or sprinkle over soups and salads.
8. Smoky Salad Dressing:
Whisk 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons water into ¼ cup barbecue sauce for a salad dressing.
9. Spicy Slaw:
Use barbecue sauce in place of traditional creamy dressing when making coleslaw.
10. Quick Pickles:
Stir together ¼ cup barbecue sauce, ¼ cup vinegar, and ½ cup water in a lidded container. Add your choice of raw vegetables (cauliflower, green beans, bell peppers, and broccoli work well). Refrigerate 1 hour or overnight. Drain and serve.
And for instant barbecue flavor, you can also try adding a spoonful or two of barbecue sauce to a cup of soup, a baked potato, a container of hummus (or another dip), a bowl of guacamole, or a serving of whole grains—or use as a pasta sauce or a veggie burger topping.
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