Texas Hold 'Ems (BBQ Pecans and Ranch Salad Tacos) from Vegans Go Nuts!

Texas Hold 'Ems (BBQ Pecans and Ranch Salad Tacos) from Vegans Go Nuts!

Photo Credit: Susan and Ryan Asato of BigTentVegan.com

Over the last few weeks I have been cooking up a storm. Nope, not at home. But for people interested in learning how to cook vegan! Nothing warms my heart more than teaching people how to cook without animal products and then hearing them afterwards telling me how much they loved the food. Its the best feeling in the world.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of sponsoring the Food Demo Stage at SoCal VegFest. Eleven vegan chefs from Southern California teaching thousands (You read that right...over a thousand people attended these demos over the weekend!) of vegans, vegetarians, and open minded omnivores the art of plant-based and vegan cooking. People from all walks of life attended and taught. We had chefs teaching all spectrums of animal-free cooking. From the oil-free crowd, to the superfood crowd, to the super fancy schmancy crowd, to the easy home cooking crowd. It was glorious.

My demo was last (not because I am full of myself, but because I had to make sure all of the other chefs were taken care of before I could worry about myself. And I expected a very small crowd at the end of the day on day two of the festival. I was sure that people would be tired and head home by then. But I was wrong! I had a full house! There was even a couple who drove all the way down from Bakersfield (!!!) to attend my demo. I almost broke down in tears. So, thank you to all of those who came out. I had a blast. And I apologize for looking a mess. It was a long weekend, and I was all but too tuckered out to worry about whether or not my hair and make-up looked okay before I took the stage. Lol.

Yesterday, I taught a similar class to a smaller group at the California Vegetarian Food Festival. About 40 to 50 attendees. But only 3 or 4 people raised their hands when I asked how many people in attendance were already vegan. I live for these crowds. The non-vegan crowds. The people who are seriously considering making a compassionate lifestyle change. After class was over I had many people come up to me to tell me how much they liked the food and how much they enjoyed my class. Many of them telling me how easy I made it look. I had to kindly explain that what I did in front of them WAS easy. I just did it in front of them with basic home cook equipment, using fairly "normal" ingredients. This way of cooking can be done by ANYONE. Just follow (even if loosely) the recipe.

I ran out of hand outs and promised to post this for those who attended. Sorry for the delay to the folks who attended October 30. Below you will find a few recipes. The BBQ Pecans, the Almond Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, The Chopped Salad, and for those who attended SoCal VegFest, the Spicy Peppercorn Ranch Coleslaw using my easy tofu mayo technique. The Texas Hold 'Ems recipe is straight from the pages of Vegans Go Nuts! by me and Celine Steen. Please feel free to share this recipe, just make sure to give credit (and linkbacks) to myself and Celine when you do.


If there is one thing Texas is known for, it's BBQ. And tacos. But Texas is also known for it's pecans! You don't always need a "meat" substitute. Sometimes it's fun to enjoy things for what they are...like these pecans.

Smothered and simmered in a sassy barbecue sauce then stuffed into a hand-hold. Think pita, wrapped up in a tortilla, piled into a French roll, or, of course, as tacos! These pecans work perfectly along with the tangy almond buttermilk ranch chopped salad.

As written this recipe makes a bunch. But it holds well in the fridge, and if you make a big batch of the pecans, you can definitely use them in all sorts of ways in addition to the ways mentioned above. Add them to a salad, use them in a bowl with brown rice and kale, mix them into beans and rice, put 'em on top of tortilla chips with some queso for bbq nachos, or simply feel free to cut the recipe in half.

BBQ Pecans


  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 cup (160 g) diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups (366 g) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup (235 ml) pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) sriracha sauce, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons (44 g) molasses
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 4 cups (396 g) pecans, soaked and drained
Read the whole recipe on justthefood.com