Thursday, February 25, 2010

Big B's Barbecue Salad

When I was growing up, Friday night was always "eatin' out" night. We didn't dine out anywhere fancy — just sandwiches or Taco Bell or some other fast food. But every once in a while, my parents would take me to Big Al's, a little old country gas station that served some pretty delicious barbecue (at least, I remember it being quite tasty).

I know, you're thinking "barbecue in a gas station? How white trash is that?!' Yes, it is pretty white trash, but yo, I grew up in Arkansas. Folks eat barbecue in gas stations there. It's just the way things are done. Anyway, Big Al's served a barbecue salad of tangy pulled pork, cheddar, some iceberg lettuce, and salad dressing (I always chose ranch). Being the weird kid that I was back then, I ordered my salad with no lettuce — just meat and cheese, please. My parents used to tease me about eating a salad with no salad in it.

After going vegetarian at age 14, Big Al's was out. And I started eating lettuce. Haven't had a barbecue salad since. Well, until last night ... when I combined barbecue seitan, vegan cheeze, veggies, and homemade vegan ranch:

I'm calling it Big B's Barbecue Salad as a tribute to Big Al's. But Big B's salad is way, way, way healthier. For one, Big Al's salad didn't include any actual veggies besides lettuce ... at least not that I remember. Mine has romaine, red pepper, radish, carrot, green onion, cucumber, tomato, and sprouts. The recipe — along with the recipes for barbecue seitan and vegan ranch — will be included in my cookbook. Here's an extreme barbecue close-up:

I used Follow Your Heart vegan cheeze and bacon bits as well. But those are totally optional. And I served the salad with Kashi Heart to Heart crackers, a healthier version of Triscuits. I'm sure the 8-year-old me would have wrinkled her nose up at all this healthy food, but grown-up me would take barbecue seitan salad over barbecue meat salad anyday.

22 comments:

Veg is Sexy said...

That looks awesome!

Is your ranch a cookbook recipe or do you buy it? I'm dying to find a good vegan ranch.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Ooh, yum! That looks good.

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

i love your vegan version!

T said...

That looks great... I love updated versions of my white trash faves!

Mary said...

Crazy! Good job veganizing an old favorite. I think most of us who grew up in the 80s ate some pretty disgusting stuff...

Trinity (of haiku tofu) said...

Mmm! That looks so good. I love that you used to order the salad with no salad.

Sheridanna said...

Yummy! I definitely want to try this soon!

Serena said...

Yum! That looks great. :) I had some BBQ style artichokes recently, which I put in a salad, and it was pretty good. ;) I'm not a big fan of BBQ in general but when it's good, it's great.
In the Philippines BBQ pork on a skewer (kabob style) is extremely popular and I found a vegan vs. in China town that makes me very happy!

JohnP said...

Nice! You are killing me with cookbook anticipation!

Some of the gas stations in East TN (on our way to AVL) serve this kind of food - the bad non-vegan version.

Christine (The Raw Project) said...

Very tasty looking, what a creative version!

eaternotarunner said...

That salad looks DELISH

Mike K said...

This salad looks great! Way to keep it real with the gas station adaptation :)

Courtney said...

Tehehe...I was totally thinking "BBQ at a gas station?!"--you read my mind :-)

Courtney

nora said...

Gosh, I think it's SO funny that anyone would get food at a gas station!
Your salad is totally legit!

Michal said...

That looks great!

The Vegan Food Snob said...

i love a big salad!

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The Voracious Vegan said...

Hot DAMN that looks AMAZING! You know, I spent several years in Texas during uni/grad school and I've got to say that some of the best food comes from gas station restaurants. Seriously! And this looks amazingly yum!

Wendy French Barrett said...

Oh yeah, I know all about bbq in a gas station. Or huge steaks. There's a place called "Fat Man's" where I'm from and local folks often seek out dinner there.

Megan said...

Great story. Can't wait for your cookbook! I'm tired of trying to veganize the recipes from my "Tennessee Cookbook."

Erin said...

And this begs the question: Why have I never had a bbq salad? Looks great!

Jennifer said...

This salad looks amazing! I know it was posted awhile ago, but I'm currently reading through your entire blog. I love all the ideas, and I can't wait for your cookbook.