vegan miam

Dry-Rub BBQ Tofu Gua Bao

With summer approaching, we were contacted by the publishers of Tamasin Noyes’ “Grills Gone Vegan” and asked to review a copy of her new cookbook. The publishers granted us permission to post three recipes from Tamasin Noyes’ “Grills Gone Vegan”. We mentioned one of the recipes in our earlier posts, the Red Hot Chimichurri sauce. These two new recipes we will be revealing in this post are: Barbecue Rub and Barbecue Sauce in a Flash.


We used the Barbecue Rub and Barbecue Sauce in a Flash for our vegan Dry-Rub BBQ Tofu Gua Bao. “Gua bao” is a Taiwanese sandwich/hamburger style bun or in my best description, your fabulous Taiwanese “gorditas”, often stuffed with slowly braised pork belly, pickled cabbage, ground sweet peanuts, coriander and occasionally hoisin sauce (which I am not a huge fan of). The gua bao are a popular Taiwanese street food and are currently among the popular trends at food carts in the U.S.


get the recipes

The recipes are made for 4 servings (16 gua baos in total). I honestly cannot eat more than 4 gua baos. It is pretty filling.  If you want more, double the ingredients in these recipes below, except for the Vegan Gua Bao 刮包 recipe (which makes 40-45 gua bao in total).

You will need to complete the following recipes below in order:

1. Vegan Gua Bao 刮包 (view recipe here)
This recipe makes about 40-45 gua baos. I would not recommend halving the recipe. This is about 3 1/2 hours process (majority of the process involves letting them rest for the dough to rise), excluding the steaming time. You can freeze the rest of them and steam them again, which is the best part. You can find some frozen gua bao in your local Asian markets if you do not want to make them, however most of them contain dairy or animal fat.

2. Dry-Rub BBQ Tofu (see below)
This involves Tamasin Noyes’ “Grills Gone Vegan” Barbecue Rub and Barbecue Sauce in a Flash. This recipe makes 16 tofu slabs. We used TofuXpress Gourmet Food and Tofu Press for pressing tofu overnight for a very firm tofu. This product saves me time from pressing and using towels.

3. Ground Roasted Sweet Peanuts (see below)
You will need roasted, unsalted peanuts. They are available at Trader Joe’s or any bulk sections at Whole Foods.

4. Pickled Cucumbers (see below)
You can use Persian or Asian cucumbers or regular cucumbers. Any kinds of cucumbers work.


Make Barbecue Rub + Barbecue Sauce in a Flash for the Tofu

You will need two firm tofu (16-oz. each), pressed overnight using TofuXpress Gourmet Food and Tofu Press. If you like grill marks, press the tofu in a panini grill quickly in the end (after applying the Barbecue Rub + Barbecue Sauce in a Flash). The Barbecue Rub is great on its own by rubbing the tofu and baking them. So it is optional to make Barbecue Sauce in a Flash, but I recommend the sauce as a drizzle onto the gua bao. 


I halved the original recipes for Barbecue Rub and Barbecue Sauce in a Flash intended for two 16-oz tofu blocks.

Dry-Rub BBQ Tofu Gua Bao

Yield: 16 tofu slabs


2 (16-ounce) firm tofu, pressed overnight and cut into 16 long rectangular slabs
Oil to grease the pan
Sriracha (optional)
Barbecue Rub (makes ½ cup)
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon ground cumin
½ tablespoon ground pepper
Barbecue Sauce in a Flash (makes 1 cup)
¾ cup organic ketchup
¼ cup minced onions
¼ cup dark brown sugar (we used golden sugar)
¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Barbecue Rub (see recipe above)
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
pinch ground pepper


Put all the ingredients (dry mustard, onion powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, ground cumin and ground pepper) in a small bowl and stir to combine. This is your "Barbecue Rub", set it aside

Barbecue Rub

Put all the ingredients (ketchup, minced onions, dark brown sugar, seasoned rice vinegar, garlic, Barbecue Rub, ground cayenne and ground pepper) in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. It is optional to add sriracha. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Barbecue Sauce in a Flash

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rub the tofu slabs all over with the Barbecue Rub. Apply a thin layer of oil (or use a non-stick spray) to condition the surface of the pan, when needed. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until slightly browned and flipping both sides halfway.

In a large saucepan at medium heat, add Barbecue Sauce in a Flash. Quickly coat both sides of tofu and stirringly occasionally until desired temperature is reached (about 5-8 minutes). Do this for both tofu slabs. You can also drizzle the sauce over the tofu in the end.


'Barbecue Rub' and 'Barbecue Sauce in a Flash' recipes reprinted by permission from 'Grills Gone Vegan' by Tamasin Noyes. Published by Book Publishing Company (March 15, 2013).

Nutritional Facts for Barbecue Sauce in a Flash Per 2 tablespoons: 65 calories, 1 g protein, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 17 g carbs, 330 mg sodium, 2 mg calcium, 0 g fiber)

For fun grill marks, press the tofu slabs in a panini grill quickly. For a completely smooth sauce (without texture from onions), let the sauce cool a bit after cooking, then put it in a blender and process until smooth.


Ground Roasted Sweet Peanuts

Yield: about 1 cup (about 16-20 gua baos)


1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
&frac;14 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar


Crush the peanuts with a mortar and pestle (or crush them under a rolling pin) until they appear coarsely ground and add the sugar. Mix it. Store the mixture in an airtight container.


Keeping: If not refrigerated, store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.


Pickled Cucumber Slaw

Yield: 4 servings (about 16-20 gua baos)


6-8 small Persian cucumbers cut into 3-inch thin matchsticks or strips
1 teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoons vegan sugar
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted or Japanese sesame oil
½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
15-20 cilantro leaves, rinsed, patted dry and finely minced
Optional: Add few dill for garnish in the end.


Place the prepared cucumber "matchsticks" in a bowl and toss with 1 tsp. of salt. Let sit for about 30 minutes, rinse and drain well.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, rice vinegar and toasted Japanese sesame oil. Add the dried chili flakes. Add the mixture to the cucumber "matchsticks" in a bowl. Add cilantro for garnish and a bit of dill (optional). Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve chilled.


Variation: Add a variety of julienned vegetables such as carrots or add sesame seeds for texture. Using regular or English cucumbers, use 3 for this recipe.


where to purchase

Grills Gone Vegan is available for purchase on

the verdict

The cookbook delivers a variety of recipes for dishes packed with Latin, Asian, Mediterranean, Classic American and BBQ flavors. “Grills Gone Vegan” is written for both indoor and outdoor cooking, giving it the versatility for year-round use. Especially useful are the sauces and spice rubs from “Grills Gone Vegan” that can serve as the foundation for dishes from the cookbook itself or your own delectable creations. A personal favorite of ours is the “Red-Hot Chimichurri Sauce” – stir it in some quinoa, marinate tofu and veggies in it, top off a nacho, wrap or taco with it – it’s a handy sauce to keep around for a multitude of uses and dishes.


This item(s) was kindly sent to me to review by Tamasin Noyes’ “Grills Gone Vegan”. All products that are mentioned and reviewed here on my vegan blog are of my own personal opinions and I am not being compensated to review them, only just to share my thoughts. If I receive a product complimentary of the company, it will be stated so in the post, otherwise, all products are purchased myself for my own personal use.