Cooking BBQ Soy Curls in a slow cooker creates the best, easiest, most flavorful vegan BBQ. Perfect for sandwiches, bowls, pizza, and salads! All you need are 3 ingredients and a few minutes of prep. Free from gluten, oil, and nuts.
Are you cooking with soy curls yet? If not, I'm here to cheer you on. Soy curls are made from just one ingredient, whole, non-GMO soybeans, and they're incredibly versatile.
Those geniuses at Butler Foods figured out a way to cook and shape the nutritious soybean into meaty strands. They're also dehydrated, which gives them a longer shelf life and makes them a great vessel for soaking up sauces and seasonings.
More ways to use soy curls:
You can sometimes find Butler soy curls in small, local health food stores. You can also order online through Amazon or directly from the Butler Foods website. I recommend buying them in bulk to save money. Trust me, you'll easily find ways to enjoy them!
Update! Check out this post ALL about soy curls, including 19 fantastic vegan recipes to try.
Best Cooking Method
I tried a few different cooking methods for this recipe because I wanted to come up with an option with the best balance of simplicity AND flavor. I tried:
- Stovetop sauté - easy and quick, but not the best flavor or texture
- Instant Pot low pressure - not enough liquid; triggers a burn warning
- Instant Pot slow cooker setting - WINNER!
I'd really hoped the pressure cooker method would work but figured there wouldn't be enough liquid. And since we don't want to dilute the flavor of the barbecue sauce, I nixed that idea pretty quickly.
The great thing about the slow cooker option is that it's just as easy! Plus, during the 1 hour of cook time, the sauce really soaks into the soy curls and their texture improves.
The soy curls end up firmer and meatier than when cooked on the stovetop.
Step By Step Process
I'm someone who prefers Instant Pot recipes to be ridiculously easy, like dump, stir, and walk away, and that's exactly what happens here. The basic process looks like this:
- Rehydrate the soy curls with vegetable broth (10 min).
- Optional: once they're plump, use your hands to shred and tear some of the larger pieces.
- Add the soy curls and your favorite BBQ sauce to the Instant Pot or other slow cooker, and stir to combine.
- Slow cook on high for 1 hour.
And that's it! You now have tangy, sweet, smoky, satisfying vegan BBQ to add to everything from sandwiches to bowls.
Ideas for Serving
BBQ soy curls taste amazing in almost any dish you can dream up...
- Vegan BBQ sandwiches with fresh coleslaw and pickles
- In a tortilla loaded with veggies and lettuce
- In a bowl with your favorite steamed veggies and a side of oil-free cornbread or savory southern-style cornbread
- On nachos (check out the coleslaw link above!)
- BBQ "chicken" pizza, anyone?
- On a huge salad with all your favorite toppings plus vegan ranch dressing
Storage and Freezing
This recipe makes a large amount so it's great for families, weekly meal prep, or if you're cooking for a party. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Barbecue soy curls can also be frozen. Just thaw in the fridge overnight, and reheat on the stovetop or in a microwave.
And this Creamy Kale Salad is a perfect side to serve with barbecue soy curls!
If you try the recipe I would love to hear from you! Leave a star rating and comment below to let us know.
BBQ Soy Curls (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker)
- Place soy curls in a large, shallow bowl. Add broth, stir, and let sit 10 minutes. At this point most of the broth should be absorbed. If there's more than about ¼ cup of broth left in the bottom of the bowl, stir the soy curls again and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes. Check again, and carefully drain away any excess.
- Optional step: If you prefer small pieces, use your hands to tear and shred some of the soy curls.
- Pour rehydrated soy curls into the Instant Pot insert (see NOTES below if using a standar slow cooker). Add BBQ sauce and black pepper, if using, and stir well. Lock on the lid.
- Press the Slow Cook button. Slow cook on high for 1 hour. Carefully remove lid, stir, and enjoy.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.