BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches & Maple Walnut Brussels Slaw

(Long post incoming, but I promise the recipes are worth it!)

Week four already! Is October going by crazy fast for anyone else? After spending the first half of month in Europe I am now in Iowa for work and boy is my body confused. Here’s hoping my sleep and my stomach get back on track soon.

This week is entree week. Pulled pork is one of my absolute favorite meals and Pinterest piqued my curiosity of substituting jackfruit for the meat. I’ve seen it multiple times over the last few years but never actually got around to trying it. This menu was the perfect opportunity to give it a shot since it nicely fits the theme and is inherently vegetarian and lactose-free.

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches {{Baking Bytes}}

I vaguely considered using fresh jackfruit until I saw the size of one and realized I didn’t want enough to feed the entire Mongol army. Feel free to go fresh if you like, or stick to canned if you want a slightly less exhausting adventure. Ensure you rinse your canned stuff thoroughly in order to remove as much of the “can” flavor as possible. I will fully admit canned jackfruit is not widely stocked nor cheap in my area, but it was definitely a fun recipe nonetheless.

Is it pork? No. Is it delicious? Yes. While it definitely won’t fool any meat eaters since the texture and flavor are both quite different, it’s still an awesome addition to your repertoire and a fun way to add a vegan option to a barbecue spread. And either way it was a perfect vessel for the most amazing barbecue sauce I’ve ever made.

Smoky Sweet BBQ Sauce {{Baking Bytes}}

Smoky, sweet, and just enough spice, this barbecue sauce is definitely my go-to recipe. My mom actually sent me this recipe like six months ago and I completely forgot about it until I was considering the menu for this series. I am so glad I finally gave it a try because I personally think my slightly adapted version is just perfect. Easy, smooth, and a perfect balance of smoke and spice without the overload of sugar store-bought varieties typically employ. It comes together in about five minutes and keeps in the fridge for quite a while, so if you try nothing else about this recipe, definitely give the sauce a go! I’ll definitely be using it on everything from burgers to meatloaf to actual pulled pork going forward.

The last piece in this delightful sandwich is the slaw. Pulled pork sandwiches are nearly always accompanied by some kind of coleslaw and I wanted to include that element here as well. Inspired by an existing Olivelle recipe of which I’ve already posted another version, this one is simple but a perfect sweet and crunchy  addition to the barbecue flavor. An equal mix of barrel aged white balsamic and their new vanilla maple olive oil blend into a light and sweet dressing that compliments the crisp sprouts and cabbage without competing with the barbecue sauce. I added some walnuts for extra crunch and that slight nutty flavor adds just a little interest to the whole experience.

Maple Walnut Brussels Sprouts Slaw {{Baking Bytes}}

Sandwiched between your favorite lightly toasted bun with a spread of (mayo), the jackfruit and slaw combine into a sweet and spicy experience that’s not only delicious, but also pretty healthy. It’s inherently vegetarian and can be easily made vegan by subbing or ditching the mayo, making it appropriate for a wide variety of diet preferences. It’s a lovely cozy fall meal but would also be awesome for those summer potlucks, so keep it handy all year long.

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches {{Baking Bytes}}

Whether you try one piece or the whole shebang, I hope you find a new go-to somewhere in the set!

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Smoky Sweet BBQ Sauce
6oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup Smoked Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke, optional
2 Tbsp Sweet Smoked Chili Rub
1 Tbsp Applewood Smoked Sea Salt1
15 twists Bourbon Barrel Smoked Black Peppercorns1
1/4 tsp ground chipotle or cayenne pepper, optional

Maple Walnut Brussels Sprouts Slaw
1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded (about 3 cups)
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

3 Tbsp Barrel Aged White Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tbsp Vanilla Maple Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Vanilla Bean Sea Salt

BBQ Jackfruit
2 Tbsp Caramelized Garlic Olive Oil
3 (14oz) cans young jackfruit in water2
2 Tbsp Sweet Smoked Chili Rub
1 cup smoky sweet barbecue sauce
3/4 cup water

for each sandwich
1 burger bun, toasted
1/2 cup bbq jackfruit
1/4 vanilla maple slaw
mayo (or your favorite vegan substitute), to taste
additional barbecue sauce, to taste

Directions

  1. For the sauce: Blend all sauce ingredients until well combined; store in a pint jar and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 6 weeks.
  2. For the slaw: In a medium bowl, mix together Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and walnuts.
  3. In a pint glass or mason jar, whisk together Barrel Aged White Balsamic, Vanilla Maple Olive Oil, and Vanilla Bean Sea Salt until completely combined.
  4. Stir dressing into Brussels mixture until well mixed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 5 days.
  5. For the bbq sandwiches: Drain and thoroughly rinse jackfruit, then pat dry. Set aside.
  6. In a large frying pan or wok, heat the olive oil until shimmering.
  7. Stir in jackfruit and Sweet Smoked Chili Rub and toss until well coated.
  8. Stir in barbecue sauce and water, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until jackfruit is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.
  9. Spread mayo on bottom half of a toasted bun; top with 1/2 cup jackfruit, 1/4 cup slaw, and additional barbecue sauce, to taste.
  10. Cover with the other half of the bun and enjoy immediately.

Notes

You can substitute plain salt and pepper with minimal taste difference, but the smoky versions add a lovely depth of flavor.

If you prefer meat, I harbor no judgement for substituting normal pulled pork!

Spicy Maple Roasted Root Vegetables

Welcome to week two, friends. Continuing with the sweet and spicy theme, this time we’re pairing maple with a snazzy piri piri spice blend on some lovely roasted root vegetables perfect for cozy evenings.

Roasted Spicy Maple Veggies {{Baking Bytes}}

Sweet and spicy is my favorite combination and in my opinion nothing works quite so well on the sweet side as maple syrup. With its own robust flavor, maple is nicely complemented by a number of spicy additions, my own favorite being chipotle. I ventured slightly off my beaten path in favor of using Olivelle’s Piri Piri World Spice blend, featuring a number of different chili peppers and a hint of lemon. It packs quite a bit of heat which means the tin will last other wusses like me quite a long time.

Roasted Spicy Maple Veggies {{Baking Bytes}}

I actually made this recipe a bit differently the first time, and then promptly re-made it after the release of their Vanilla Maple Olive Oil at the end of September. I knew immediately it was perfect for this recipe and round two was even better than the first iteration. (I originally used Caramelized Garlic, which you can see in the round one pictures.)

Roasted Spicy Maple Veggies {{Baking Bytes}}

You can use any firm vegetables here, but I chose a mixture of my favorite fall options. Acorn (or butternut) squash are prolific this time of year, and go well with both sweet and savory flavors. Sweet potatoes are a staple in my world and I rounded out the festive orange ensemble with carrot. Pumpkin would also work nicely to keep monochromatic medley, or for some contrasting color add Brussels sprouts as I did in my second batch.

Roasted Spicy Maple Veggies {{Baking Bytes}}

The maple flavor of the olive oil is not sweet, but has an amazing savory profile that works perfectly with the heat of the spice blend. I rounded mine out with a bit of Cumin Spice Sea Salt, to add just a bit more depth to the whole shebang.

For that hint of sweet and a boost of maple flavor, the roasted veggies are lightly drizzled with pure maple syrup and then popped in the oven for a few more minutes to let it caramelize a bit. I kept mine more on the spicy side than the sweet side, but for a more standard glazed carrot experience just up the maple syrup to two or more tablespoons. Sweet, spicy, and cozy, this recipe is definitely going to become a go-to on cold days.

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A perfect complement to any fall dinner, the sweet and spicy combination brings some warmth and fun to any meal. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving too, going beyond those traditional sugar-filled recipes and adding a little something extra to the table. On the off chance you have any leftovers, it’s also perfect atop a spinach salad or underneath a fried egg.

Spicy Maple Roasted Root Vegetables

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 large carrots, peeled and diced1
1 small butternut or acorn squash, peeled and diced
1 medium sweet potato, diced

2 Tbsp Vanilla Maple (or Caramelized Garlic) Olive Oil
3/4 tsp Piri Piri World Spice, to taste2
1/4 tsp Cumin Spice Sea Salt

1-2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spray a baking sheet with oil or non-stick spray.
  2. Combine all veggies in a medium bowl, and add olive oil and spice blend. Use a rubber scraper to toss until well coated.
  3. Spread veggies evenly on prepared baking sheet (save your bowl), and roast for 15-20 minutes, until just before done.
  4. Return veggies to the bowl and toss with maple syrup. Spread back onto the baking sheet and roast another 3-5 minutes to allow syrup to lightly caramelize.
  5. Serve promptly.

Notes

About 4-6 cups total veggies, so mix and match to your heart’s content.

For a mild experience, use 1/2 teaspoon, or if you like more heat, increase to 1 or 1 1/2 teaspoons.

Maple Latte Ice Cream

Week two has arrived and a twist on my favorite treat beverage is on the docket. My go-to coffee shop refreshment is a maple latte and when a coworker talked about a local maple-roasted coffee in near his home in Canada, I knew I needed to try it. He was kind enough to hand-deliver me a package of Spring Maple Blend from St. Joseph Island Coffee Roasters and it is some of the best coffee I’ve ever had. Not only did it make a phenomenal cold brew, but it resulted in one of my new favorite ice creams.

Maple Latte Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

A creamy coffee base sweetened with maple makes for a beautiful flavor profile despite its simplicity. The maple coffee certainly adds a little something, but if you don’t have access to that use your favorite light or medium roast instead. This recipe is similar to an iced latte in flavor but with all the robustness of a proper dessert, and certainly one I will make again and again.

Maple Latte Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

It does take some extra time with the infusing process, but straining is easy peasy if you use a reusable coffee filter. I use one designed for cold brewing, but any similar one should do just fine. (You can also use a paper filter but it’s much more annoying since it’s prone to splitting once wet.) Either way, I promise the finished product is worth it.

Maple Latte Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Lovely coffee flavor complemented by sweet maple, this is a perfect ice cream all year round. It’s perfect on its own but would be a wonderful addition to a chocolate cake if that’s more your style. It does freeze a bit harder than a traditional recipe, so leave it to soften on the counter for a few minutes before digging in.

Maple Latte Ice Cream 

Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

3/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup almond or cow milk
1/4 cup ground (maple roasted) coffee1

2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup egg substitute
3/4 cup maple syrup

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, heat half and half and milk on medium until it just starts to simmer, then remove from heat. Place coffee (in a filter, I use a reusable one) in the mixture and allow to steep for about one hour. Remove coffee (and any escaped grounds), squeezing grounds gently to release the most flavorful milk.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk infused mixture with all remaining ingredients until completely combined.
  3. Cover chill completely in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  4. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions, then place in a freezer-safe bowl to freeze for an additional three hours, or overnight.

Notes

1 You can certainly use decaf if you’re concerned about the caffeine content. Any coffee where you like the flavor is great! If you’re not using a maple coffee, you can pump up the maple flavor with a little maple extract, should you desire.

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Sometimes during the hectic holiday season, we forget to take care of ourselves. We forget to make time for the things that are important to us, and get wrapped up in balancing holiday preparations, year-end work projects, and the usual plague of household chores. The past few weeks have been a bit more difficult to balance as Michael focused on defending his thesis (success!) and I had a number of work projects dividing my time unevenly. Last week I opted to postpone this blog post in favor of a little self care; working late always makes me want a relaxed evening by the time I make it home.

Pumpkin Chia Pudding {{Baking Bytes}}

One thing that always helps me during these periods is to ensure I’m eating well even when life is full. I always prep my lunches over the weekend and I try to prepare a couple breakfasts for my weight-lifting days as well. This makes my mornings a little more relaxed and provides a healthy and filling lunch even if I only take a fifteen-minute break to eat it.

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If you are also feeling a bit rushed in the mornings, this is a great option to prepare for the week ahead. Make enough jars for the week all in one go and they will be ready to eat as soon as you need them. I typically enjoy mine with a cup of hot cold-brewed coffee, a quick and healthy breakfast that is just the right amount before a weight-lifting session. I sometimes add a scoop (or half of one) of protein powder, but just as often I don’t. Know that it will change the texture slightly (and the taste, depending on your powder of choice) but it’s a great way to bump up your morning protein intake.

Pumpkin Chia Pudding {{Baking Bytes}}

 

Enjoy those fall flavors and give yourself an extra couple of minutes in the morning to enjoy a ready-to-eat meal. As an added bonus, making these in a jar gives them portability for those of you that don’t eat until you get to work, or want to wait until after your gym session. I like to make two on Sundays so my Monday and Wednesday breakfasts are all set. (One of these days I’ll share my Tuesday/Thursday recovery meal with you guys too.) If you’re making several servings, it works great to mix it all at once and then portion it into jars, but I don’t usually bother dirtying an extra bowl when I’m just making two at a time.

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PS – Not a pumpkin fan? I haven’t personally tried it but I’m pretty confident sweet potato puree would work just as well. Just make sure it’s blended smooth before you mix it into your pudding.

 

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Makes one serving

Ingredients

1/2 cup almond milk (or any milk)
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp hemp hearts
1/2 – 1 scoop protein powder (optional)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
1/2 tsp maple syrup, to taste

1/2 cup 100% pumpkin puree (I buy Libby’s)

optional toppings
1-2 Tbsp toasted, chopped walnuts
extra drizzle of maple syrup
cinnamon

Directions

  1. In 12oz jar, whisk together milk, chia, protein powder (if using), spices, and syrup until completely combined.
  2. Gently stir in pumpkin until well mixed.
  3. Seal jar and place in the fridge overnight, or until ready to eat (up to one week).
  4. Enjoy plain or top with hemp hearts and/or toasted walnuts.

Arugula Sweet Potato Salad with Cinnamon Balsamic Vinaigrette

Lately I’ve been all aboard the sweet potato train, and today’s post will hopefully get you on the bandwagon as well. I love sweet potatoes in pretty much any form, and could happily eat them for several meals a day. Luckily they are great all year round as French fries or a delicious breakfast, and work just as well in salads as they do in soups and chilis.

Arugula Sweet Potato Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

Several months ago my office had a catered lunch that was a bit higher class than our norm. Although all the food was delicious, the one that made the most impact on me was an arugula and spiced sweet potato quinoa salad. Their version was sweet, with heavily candied nuts, sugary dried cranberries, and a sweetened balsamic vinaigrette amongst the quinoa, arugula, and goat cheese. Although I loved this combination, it really was like eating dessert with arugula in it which isn’t necessarily something I want to do very often.

Arugula Sweet Potato Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

Inspired by their concoction, I opted to test out a more savory version for myself. I kept the cinnamon roasted sweet potatoes but only lightly honeyed my walnuts. I also nixed the cranberries and used bacon instead, and adjusted the arugula:quinoa ratio to be more in favor of the former. Originally I was going to use brie as chèvre (goat cheese) can be exorbitantly expensive, but I discovered Costco carries goat cheese at an incredibly reasonable price and so I kept that flavor as well. Feel free to substitute brie or another neutral soft cheese if you prefer.

Arugula Sweet Potato Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

The spiced sweet potatoes, salty bacon, creamy chèvre and lightly sweetened and toasted walnuts come together in that fantastic sweet-and-salty juxtaposition that is so popular these days. Arugula and quinoa make a great base and let salad act either as a light lunch or a great side dish.

To round out the experience, I made a cinnamon balsamic vinaigrette only slightly sweetened with honey to mellow the flavor. The dressing gives the salad more of a punch of flavor, and I highly recommend you make it too. In fact, maybe make extra and use it on your other salads too since it’s just that delicious.

Arugula Sweet Potato Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

Although my original recipe is clearly neither vegetarian nor vegan, it could easily be altered for those diet preferences. Vegetarians can simply ditch the bacon, and a pinch of salt to the dressing, and carry on as normal. Vegans will want to substitute maple syrup in lieu of the honey as well as nix the cheese. You may want to add another ingredient to round it out, dried cranberries or salted almonds would both be great options, depending on which flavor route you want to go.

Full of cinnamon flavor, tasty sweet potatoes and a tinge of sweetness, this would be a superb side dish to grace your Thanksgiving table. Instead of those overly sugary sweet potato and marshmallow concoctions normally served this time of year, this salad would be a healthier and more sophisticated twist for this year. Even better, you can absolutely make it ahead (even a few days!) and store it in the fridge until ready to use. It’s delicious cold, at room temperature, or warmed, so pick your favorite or the most convenient and serve it as such.

Arugula Sweet Potato Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

The dressing makes a fair amount, so start with half of the recipe and stir in more to taste or serve on the side for guests to add as they like. I am personally a light dressing kind of person but many people prefer a stronger flavor, and it’s good to have options.

If you’re not doing the Thanksgiving thing, or don’t want to wait that long, this also make a great lunch. I made a batch on Sunday and got about 4-5 lunches out of it. Stored in the fridge, it reheated beautifully at work for the rest of the week. Additionally, if you’re not a fan of arugula, some kind of baby spring mix would be a great substitution.

Arugula Sweet Potato Salad & Cinnamon Balsamic Vinaigrette

Inspired by Food for Thought and Just a Pinch
Serves 6-8 (side dish) or about 4 (lunch)

Ingredients

Salad
4 cups cubed sweet potatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup

6 slices bacon (optional)1

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water

5 oz arugula (or leafy veggie/mix of choice)
~4oz goat cheese (or brie, optional)1

Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp honey or maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two cookie sheets with foil or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine sweet potatoes, olive oil, and cinnamon. Stir with a rubber scraper until potatoes are well coated. Arrange in one layer on half of a cookie sheet.
  3. In the same bowl, combine walnuts and honey and stir until completely coated. (Heat the honey sightly to liquify for easier stirring.) Arrange in one layer on the other half of the cookie sheet.
  4. Arrange bacon in one layer on the other cookie sheet.
  5. Place cookie sheets in oven (I put the potatoes on the middle rung, and the bacon one rung below it) and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until walnuts are lightly toasted.
  6. Remove the walnuts to a plate to cool. Continue baking potatoes and bacon for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, and bacon is cooked to desired doneness.
  7. Remove bacon to paper towels to cool, pressing to remove excess grease. Dice bacon and set aside.
  8. Meanwhile, in a medium pot bring quinoa and water to a boil, then cover and simmer until all liquid is soaked up, about 15 minutes. Uncover and set aside.
  9. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients until completely combined.
  10. In a large bowl, combine arugula and half the dressing, tossing to coat. Add quinoa and sweet potatoes, and stir gently until well combined.
  11. Add walnuts (breaking apart if necessary), diced bacon, and goat cheese, stirring gently to combine.
  12. Serve immediately, later today, or tomorrow since it’s good at pretty much any temperature. Store leftovers in the fridge, or make it ahead the night before. Reheats well with a brief stint in the microwave and is also excellent right out of the fridge.
  13. Add additional dressing just before serving if necessary, or serve it on the side.
  14. Delicious as a side dish (6-8 servings) or for a lighter lunch (4 servings).

Notes

For a vegetarian option, just leave out the bacon, it’s great without it too! To get that added salty flavor, add a pinch to the dressing or include a few chopped salted almonds in its place. Vegans could also use maple syrup and ditch the cheese, although you may want to add another ingredient (maybe dried cranberries?), and follow the same salty suggestion.