By Little Northern Bakehouse

With our simple marinade, you can stuff our plant-based Gluten-free Bao Inspired Veggie Sliders three ways: sweet and tangy tofu, smoky prepared jackfruit, or savoury shiitake mushrooms. Using vegan and gluten-free ingredients ensures you can experience the joy of the real thing, without the gluten that comes with so many traditional recipes. But don’t worry—we spared none of the flavour.

To capture the unique softness of the traditional steamed bao, we’ve applied the technique of steaming to our gluten-free Dinner Rolls to make this dish. Steaming our rolls gives them a special tenderness and offers a fun and unique way to try them in a new textural setting—because why stop at fresh-from-the-bag or heat-and-serve when there are other fun and equally delicious serving options to explore? (You’ll love the crunchy contrast the traditional pickled veg adds to the soft and tender steamed bun texture!)

Bao is a steamed, soft, white bun, traditionally served with a cooked meat filling (usually pork belly) and some pickled veggies and other toppings, all folded into a semi-open-faced sandwich. Although bao originated in China, it’s enjoyed in many parts of the world today, and is a popular street food item in places like Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, and Japan. Bao comes in many forms and flavours. To honour the rich range of fillings and textures bao brings to the table, we’ve put our own vegan, gluten-free twist on this iconic bun–and made this delicious dish super fast and easy to make at home!

These gluten-free bao inspired veggie sliders done 3 ways are a weeknight meal you can easily make at home, perfect for a healthy and satisfying dinner for one, or a fun, snackable sandwich to share with your closest friends. Try a different filling each week, or serve an assortment of all three to let everyone find their favourite. Gluten-free foodies will love this culinary adventure—and their tastebuds will thank them too.

For the Marinade:

1. Pour ½ cup of gluten-free tamari into a small saucepan. Add in the maple syrup, and bring the mixture to a boil.
2. In a small bowl or jar with a lid, whisk or shake together water and cornstarch until smooth. Pour the cornstarch and water mixture into the tamari and maple syrup mixture and stir.
3. Turn the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes or until it is thick. enough to coat the back of a spoon. (The sauce will thicken further as it cools down).
4. Once cooled, whisk the sauce mixture together with the scallions, ginger, garlic, sugar, rice vinegar, and remaining tamari.
5. If making the marinated tofu, pour the marinade over the sliced tofu in a medium bowl. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least1 hour. If making the jackfruit or shiitake mushrooms, reserve marinade and see below for next steps.

For the Pickled Veggies:

1. While making the marinade, mix the water, vinegar, sugar and salt for the pickled veggies together in a medium bowl, and stir until the sugar dissolves.
2. Add the veggies and let sit. While this mixture rests, finish making the filling and steam the buns.

For the Tofu Filling:

1. Remove the tofu from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Reserve the marinade.

2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the tofu in a single layer and sear on one side until browned, about 5 minutes. Flip and brown the other side (about5 minutes more). Remove the tofu from the pan.

3. Pour the reserved marinade into the skillet on medium heat and reduce until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Return the tofu to the pan and gently toss to coat the tofu on both sides with the glaze. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

For the Shiitake Mushroom Filling:

1. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. And sliced shiitake mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are tender.
2. Pour marinade into skillet with the mushrooms. Lower heat to medium and reduce sauce until thick and syrupy (about 5 minutes), stirring often.

For the Shredded / Pulled Jackfruit Filling:

1. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add prepared shredded/pulled jackfruit and marinade. Cook stirring often until jackfruit is heated through and sauce is thick and syrupy.

For the Steamed Buns:

1. Slice Little Northern Bakehouse Gluten-free Dinner Rolls horizontally, but not all the way through and set aside..

2. Line a bamboo steamer with parchment paper circles and place 3 or 4 buns inside steamer so that they are not touching each other. (Depending on the size of your steamer, you can add more buns as long as there is enough space). If you are using a metal steamer, place a clean dish towel under the lid of the steamer so water doesn’t drip on the buns.

3. Half fill a pot (which the steamer can comfortably sit on) with water and place the steamer with the buns on top. Turn the heat to medium-high and let the water come to a simmer. Once you can hear the water simmering vigorously, set a timer for 10 minutes. After the time is up, take the pot and steamer off the heat and rest the buns for another 5 minutes.

4. After 5 minutes, lift the lid off and remove the buns gently. Steam remaining buns like you did the first four.

To Serve:

1. Open a warm, steamed bun and add a generous layer of glazed tofu (or shiitake mushrooms or jackfruit). Top with pickled veggies, sliced green onions, and torn fresh cilantro (if using). Repeat for remaining sliders
2. To make your sliders extra saucy, slather some hoisin sauce on the buns before assembling.

Makes 12 Sliders


* This recipe makes enough marinade for one filling option. Triple the marinade, pickled veg, and assembly ingredients to make all three filling options (or divide each meatless filling option by three to make an assortment with one batch of marinade).

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