The pecans in this recipe are smothered and simmered in a sassy barbecue sauce then stuffed into a crispy taco shell with a crisp almond buttermilk slaw. Or, you can serve it any way you like. Think pita, wrapped up in a tortilla, piled into a French roll... These pecans work perfectly along with the tangy almond buttermilk ranch chopped salad. As written, this recipe makes a bunch. But it holds well in the refrigerator, and if you make a big batch of the pecans, you can definitely use them in all sorts of ways in addition to the ways mentioned above. Add them to a salad, use them in a bowl with brown rice and kale, mix them into beans and rice, put 'em on top of tortilla chips with some dairy-free queso for barbecue nachos, or simply feel free to cut the recipe in half.

BBQ Pecan and Ranch Slaw Tacos [Vegan]

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Ingredients

For the BBQ Pecans:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2-3 tablespoons Sriracha, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 4 cups pecans, soaked and drained (see notes)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Almond Buttermilk Ranch:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup mild-flavored vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill, or 1 tablespoon fresh
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

For the Chopped Salad:

  • 1 pound Romaine lettuce, chopped into small pieces (see notes)
  • 1 medium red onion peeled and finely diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 recipe almond buttermilk ranch

For Assembly:

  • Corn tortillas, toasted or grilled
  • Almond buttermilk ranch chopped salad
  • BBQ pecans
  • Wedge of lime
  • Hot sauce, optional
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Preparation

To Make the BBQ Pecans:

  1. Add olive oil to the bottom of a pan and heat over medium heat.
  2. Add diced onions and sauté until fragrant and translucent, and edges are browned, about 5-8 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and continue to sauté 2-3 more minutes.
  4. Add in remaining ingredients except pecans, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Bring to a simmer, add in pecans, stir to combine, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes, returning to stir halfway through.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To Make the Almond Buttermilk Ranch:

  1. Add almond milk, lemon juice, and vinegar to your blender (if you have an immersion blender this works perfectly here) and let sit for a few minutes. It will curdle and become like buttermilk.
  2. Add in remaining ingredients and blend until combined and thickened.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To Make the Chopped Salad:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, toss together romaine or coleslaw mix, onion, and cilantro.
  2. Toss with dressing. If preparing in advance, do not toss with dressing until ready to serve if using Romaine. If using coleslaw mix feel free to mix it ahead of time as coleslaw always tastes better once the dressing has softened the cabbage just a bit.

To Assemble:

  1. Layer on chopped salad then top with BBQ Pecans.
  2. Serve with a wedge of lime and add hot sauce if desired.

Notes

The recipe will work out just fine if you don't soak your pecans, but soaking them makes them even chewier. This recipe also works really well with cabbage as a coleslaw (as shown in the photo). Simply sub out the same amount of lettuce with a shredded coleslaw mix. Photos taken by Susan from BigTentVegan.com.

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