I’ve been holding out on you. I’ve had this easy dinner hack in my back pocket for weeks now and am only just getting around to sharing it. Sorry about that. So without any further ado, I give you, Cherry BBQ Soy Curl Sandwiches!
Wait. WHAT? What in the actual heck is a soy curl? And why are cherries involved? I’m so confused.
Listen, I get it. There isn’t much about this recipe title that screams “easy dinner hack.” But trust me – you’ll have this on the table in 30 minutes or less, and in between bites you’ll be saying, “why didn’t I know about soy curls before?”, and then after you’re done eating you’ll be coming back to leave a comment here thanking me for FINALLY sharing this with you. You’re welcome, in advance.
So, soy curls. Weird name, totally fantastic product. As far as I know, they are only made by one company, Butler Foods, because they have some proprietary equipment or super secret process that transforms the humble soybean into a chewy, meaty, sauce-absorbing, protein-filled substance that is perfectly at home slathered in cherry barbecue sauce and stuffed into a hamburger bun.
But why cherries in barbecue sauce, Beth?
Because it tastes good, that’s why. It takes basic bottled barbecue sauce to a new level. Ok fine, I’ll tell you the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If you must know, I felt guilty about not giving you a barbecue sauce recipe and using bottled sauce. I mean, FOR SHAME. So I needed to gussy it up SOMEHOW, and I was swimming in cherries, so there you go. But it turns out that it really is a great addition and I probably will come up with a barbecue sauce recipe one of these days but I didn’t want to wait to give you this recipe, so there’s the story of how I was motivated by guilt and shame to add cherries to barbecue sauce. The end.
Ok, so there’s one important thing you need to know about soy curls that could be a big determining factor in whether or not you end up liking them. They need to be hydrated in liquid for a few minutes, and then that liquid needs to be pressed out as much as possible so they can absorb whatever flavor-filled sauce you are using. It’s super easy, but very important. I use my salad spinner for the task, because the spinning action does the best job at extricating the soaking liquid. But you can just as easily use a colander, a big spoon, and your muscles to press out the liquid.
While the soy curls are getting their hydrate on, you can blend up the cherries and barbecue sauce. I use my trusty immersion blender. If your cherries aren’t pitted, you can use a straw to get the pits out. It really works! I show you how in the video below, but be warned that no matter what pitting device you choose, there may be a small cherry crime scene in your kitchen. Any Dexter fans, raise your hands.
All that’s left to do is simmer the soy curls and cherry barbecue sauce together in a skillet until the sauce is thickened slightly and mostly absorbed into the soy curls.
Then, it’s topping time! I’ve made this coleslaw pretty much once a week all summer, so it’s the natural topping choice for me, but you could also go with pickles, mustard, savory cashew cream, or whatever else strikes your fancy.
My guilt has been absolved. For now.
Cherry BBQ Soy Curl Sandwiches
- 1 cup barbecue sauce (I like Annie's Naturals or Stubb's)
- 1 cup sweet cherries, pitted (fresh or frozen)
- 8 oz. package soy curls (Amazon sells a 6-pack for the best price, but it's a big commitment)
- 8 hamburger buns
- In a salad spinner or large bowl, cover soy curls with boiling water and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Puree barbecue sauce and cherries until smooth using an immersion blender, standard blender, or food processor.
- Drain the soy curls into a colander or in the draining basket of a salad spinner, and press out as much water as possible.
- Remove the soy curls to a large skillet and add the barbecue sauce.
- Cook the soy curls and barbecue sauce over medium heat until the sauce is absorbed into the soy curls and thickens in the pan.
- Toast the hamburger buns, then add the soy curls and any toppings you like. I highly suggest this perfect vegan coleslaw!