I've never had an actual pulled pork sandwich. But I know that people really love pulled pork. When I was in high school I worked at a local fast food place where we served pulled pork sandwiches, and people freaked out over them. I never got it, and honestly, I thought they seemed kind of gross.
It wasn't until I started playing around with vegetarian ingredients like jackfruit that it started to make sense. A big sloppy sandwich that's loaded with barbecue sauce? I never doubted barbecue sauce's deliciousness, and when paired up with meatless ingredients that I really enjoy, the whole pulled barbecue whatever sandwich idea is pretty darn appealing.
Mushrooms are my latest favorite ingredient in this type of sandwich. It just occurred to me a few weeks ago when I made these mushroom tacos that thinly sliced mushrooms in some barbecue sauce would make an amazing vegetarian sandwich. So I gave it a try and it did not disappoint at all!
The key here is to slice the mushrooms super thin and then brown them in some oil before simmering them in barbecue sauce. This gets them nice and tender and just kind of stringy, which is the texture we're looking for in a vegetarian spin on a pulled pork sandwich. Next, a brief simmer in barbecue sauce gets the mushrooms even more tender and infuses them with zippy barbecue flavor. Stuff the mixture into buns and pile on your favorite toppings. I went with some pickles and veggies, but vegan coleslaw would be amazing.
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ¼ cup molasses
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 ¼ pounds cremini mushrooms cleaned and sliced very thin
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 burger buns or sandwich rolls
- Lettuce tomato, coleslaw, or toppings of choice
- In a small bowl, stir together the water, tomato paste, molasses, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, liquid smoke, and paprika. Set aside.
- Coat the bottom of a large skillet with oil and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms in an even layer. Cook for about 5 minutes, flip, and then cook 5 minutes more, until browned in spots. Add the onion and sauté with the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute more, until very fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste mixture to the skillet and stir to coat the mushrooms. Bring the sauce to a simmer and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, until it thickens up a bit and the mushrooms are very tender. You can add a bit more water if the sauce gets too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stuff the mushroom mixture into buns and top with toppings of choice. Serve.