April 20, 2016
Vegan Bros. Matt and Phil Letten Share A Recipe Perfect For Summer Grilling
Tofu and Veggie Kabobs
Matt and Phil Letten love to watch sports, chow down on great food and work out at the gym. But there’s more to these two brothers than partying, summer barbeques and powerlifting. They run a popular online fitness program at VeganBros.com, complete with one-on-one instruction and free videos, webinars and advice. They also connect vegan communities through trend-setting parties and promote humane eating around the country.
But the bros haven’t always been so focused, confident and healthy. As a teenager, Matt was depressed, aimless and nearly 100 pounds overweight. Phil was socially awkward and skinny.
Phil, the younger of the two, changed to a plant-based diet after picking up a booklet on factory farming in high school. He became an advocate after college and says speaking up for animals helped build his confidence. Matt’s physical transformation came when he started working out in college. “I lost 96 pounds in less than a year and began to gain control of my life,” he says. He later opened three gyms in southeast Michigan and became a certified trainer. For a while, the brothers’ eating philosophies differed greatly.
“I was the guy who liked to talk about eating bacon whenever anyone brought up being vegan,” Matt says. Until one night when he watched the HBO documentary Death on a Factory Farm at Phil’s house. His journey to becoming healthier had already sparked a desire to understand the world on a deeper, more meaningful level, he says. Ditching animal products seemed like the right thing to do.
Phil, on the other hand, wanted to bulk up to counteract the stereotype of vegans being scrawny and weak. Under his brother’s tutelage, he became a certified personal trainer, too.
The brothers partnered up to teach a vegan fat-loss program at Matt’s Michigan gyms and then online. Their website has since developed somewhat of a cult following since launching in 2014. Part of the appeal, Matt says, are the highly entertaining videos, webinars and e-literature. Fans love their tongue-in-cheek humor, reverse psychology and liberal use of swearwords, as noted by the positive and equally profane responses. Besides fitness advice, the blog offers everything from recipe videos (with Matt shirtless under his apron) to quick-witted counsel on how to advocate for animals without sending folks stomping off in the other direction.
With such super-busy schedules, Matt and Phil stick to healthy, easy recipes. And like just about every other dude on the planet, they love to barbeque. Here’s one of their summer-grilling faves.
Vegan Bros Veggie and Tofu Kabobs
Serves 4-6 // Recipe by Vegan Bros
1 lb. extra firm tofu
1 cup, plus 2 Tbsps.
barbecue sauce 3 cups of vegetables cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 pinches sea salt
2 pinches pepper
4-6 metal skewers
1. Press a block of tofu for at least 15 minutes to eliminate the water.
2. Slice tofu into square chunks. Throw in a zipper-top bag. Add 1 cup of the barbecue sauce. Shake it up, so the sauce gets all over the tofu. Put it in the fridge. Let it marinade for at least 2 hours. Overnight is optimal.
3. Put all veggies in a large bowl. Throw in the coconut oil, the remaining barbecue sauce (we like Jack Daniel’s Spicy original BBQ sauce, because whiskey), garlic, sea salt and pepper. Now stir it up. Put it in the fridge and let it sit for an hour.
4. Heat grill. Add a few veggies to each skewer, then a tofu cube. Veggies. Tofu cube. Until you’ve got it just right.
5. Put skewers on the grill. Turn every couple minutes until completely rotated and ready to eat.
PER SERVING: Calories: 138; Fat: 9 g; Carbs: 9 g; Protein: 11 g; Sodium: 119 mg