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Food Matters

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Memorial Day Menu: Vegan BBQ

These shish kebabs will satisfy vegans and meat-eaters alike! The colorful and impressive presentation is sure to add a festive touch to your BBQ menu this holiday weekend. To make it super easy, you can use your favorite vegan barbeque sauce or whip up the version below. Serve over quinoa with Purple Coleslaw and Milk-less Shakes on the side to round out the menu. Yum!

Seitan Kebabs

Seitan, Sweet Pepper and Mushroom Shish Kebabs

Serves 8 to 10


Laura’s BBQ Sauce:
• 1 cup organic catsup
• 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
• 1 teaspoon tamari
• 1/3 cup molasses
• 2 heaping teaspoons brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

• 10 metal or bamboo skewers
• 2 packages (16 ounces) cubed seitan
• 3 sweet peppers (orange, red, and/or yellow), seeded and cut in 1-1/2-inch pieces
• 2 medium sweet onions, cut into chunks
• 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
• 16 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
• 20 cherry tomatoes
• 10 to 12 long metal or bamboo skewers


1. Cover two large, rimmed baking sheets with foil or unbleached parchment paper. Prepare two metal or bamboo skewers for each person. If you are using bamboo skewers, place them in a pan and cover them with filtered or spring water. Let the skewers soak in the water for about 30 minutes prior to assembling the kebabs to prevent them from burning.

2. Prepare barbecue sauce, and set aside.

3. Put the seitan in a large bowl and top it with 1/4 cup of the sauce. Gently toss the seitan to coat.

4. Put the peppers, sweet onions, zucchini, mushrooms, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Top with 3/4 cup of the sauce (leaving about 1/2 cup in reserve) and toss to coat.

5. To assemble the kebabs, carefully thread the kebab ingredients onto your prepared skewers, dividing the ingredients evenly among the skewers. Arrange the kebabs evenly on the prepared baking sheets. (If you are not baking or grilling them immediately, cover loosely with foil, and place the sheets back in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours before cooking.)

If grilling: Place the kebabs directly on the grill. Grill the kebabs over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the veggies are crisp-tender and the seitan is slightly crisp and golden in color. While the kebabs are grilling, rotate them often, frequently brushing them with additional barbecue sauce to keep them moist.

If baking: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Leave the kebabs on the baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the kebabs once, and brush them with additional barbecue sauce. If the kebabs are browning too quickly, loosely tent the baking sheets with foil. Continue baking for 20 minutes or until the veggies are crisp-tender and the seitan is slightly crisp and golden in color.


Pretty Purple Coleslaw

Makes 4 servings


• 4 cups grated purple cabbage
• 1 cup grated carrots
• 3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
• 1 tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard
• 2 teaspoons brown sugar or maple sugar
• 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
• Freshly ground pepper
• 1 teaspoon gomasio or toasted sesame seeds


1. Put the cabbage, carrots, mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, and sea salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Season with pepper. Cover and chill 2 to 4 hours. Before serving, sprinkle the top of the salad with gomasio or sesame seeds.

Dairy-Free Milkshakes

Banana Milk(less) Shake

Makes 2 to 3 servings


• 3 very large (or 4 small) frozen bananas (see note)
• 1-1/2 cups chilled vanilla-flavored nondairy milk, plus more as needed
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup, plus more as needed
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and creamy. Taste and add more nondairy milk or maple syrup, if desired. Pour the mixture into pretty dessert dishes or glasses.

Note: To freeze a banana, peel and cut it into 3 or 4 pieces, and put them in a resealable freezer bag. Seal and freeze for at least 12 hours before using.

Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.