appetizer · dessert · nutritional yeast · super bowl · super bowl party · vitamix

Vegan Super Bowl Party 2013

The Super Bowl is just around the corner and its time to start thinking about what to bring to the party.  For one, you don’t want to stand out like a sore thumb.  I brought cayenne kale chips to a party last year and was on the receiving end of furrowed brows.  Needless to say the chips were good, people couldn’t quite make the leap to kale chips with all the meat and cheese on the table.

On the other hand, you do want to make something that will stand out for its unique taste and memorable ingredients.  The Super Bowl embodies American flare and exuberance.  Everything is over the top, and everyone participates in some way.  Go beyond setting out a crudite tray with hummus and chips and salsa.

Finally, the Super Bowl, like a tailgate, is about sharing.  Be mindful of how much you make, even though you may be the only one eating it, because people want to try new things.  Im sure if you follow these recipes, everyone will remember your dish over Beyonce’s halftime show.  Maybe you’ll start someone down the path to healthy, plant based eating.  Enjoy! (check Twitter @holdthepigskin the night of the game for my pictures)

The Menu:

Tomato Queso Dip
Buffalo Tempeh Wings
Chocolate Kale Chips

Additional items at the Vegan Super Bowl:

Bobby is making Caramelized Onion Buffalo Tarts and potentially BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sandwiches
Chris is making some sort of Vegan Buffalo Chicken Dip (the link is a google image search of Vegan Buffalo Chicken Dip.  Your mouth will water…)
I can convince my mom to make Guac to go with the Queso dip below and maybe some other dessert (love you mom!)

Tomato Queso Dip (adapted from Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson)


  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained 
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Grind the cashews in your spice grinder until powdered, about 30 seconds.
    Image from
  2. Place the tomatoes with juice in your blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add the ground cashews, nutritional yeast, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, and salt, and blend until smooth.
  3. Lightly oil the insert of the slow cooker or spray it with cooking spray, and transfer the queso mixture to the cooker.
  4. Stir in the water until well incorporated (use less for a thicker dip, you can add more later if it thickens too much).
  5. Cover and cook on Low, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours, or until the mixture is thick and hot. If the mixture isn’t thick after 2 hours, turn the setting to High, remove the lid, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes longer.
  6. When ready to serve, spoon about 1/3 cup of the queso into a small bowl, stir in the lemon juice, then stir the mixture back into the slow cooker.
  7. Taste, add pepper to taste, and adjust the seasonings, if needed.

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Sriracha-Habanero Tempeh Wings (adapted from
  • 2 8 oz packages of tempeh
  • 1 cup rice milk
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbp thyme
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 and 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 1 and 1/2 cup sriracha
  • 5 or 6 habeneros, diced (with seeds!)
  1. In a small saucepan, boil about three cups of water. Cut the tempeh into four equal blocks, then cut those blocks into triangles, and carefully slice the triangles in half lengthwise. Put the tempeh in the boiling water and cover, for about fifteen mintes or until tempeh is softened. Pour the pan into a colander and rise with cold water. Allow the tempeh to cool enough that you can handle it.
  2. While the tempeh is cooling, make the sauce. In a large pot, melt margarine and briefly sautree the habeneros.  Add the siriacha and set aside.
  3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Make your assembly line for the wings. Put your soymilk in the first bowl, your flour and spices in the second, and your panko in the third. At the end of the line, have a greased baking sheet waiting.
  5. Take a triangle, and dip it in the milk, then coat in flour. Then another quick dip in the milk before thoroughly coating it in the bread crumbs and placing it on the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the tempeh.
  6. Spray the tops of the wings with cooking spray, and bake in the oven for ten minutes. Remove, flip over, and bake for ten more. Just before you take the wings out of the oven, heat the sauce over a medium heat until just warm – there’s no need to boil it, we’re just trying to make sure the sauce isn’t cold.
  7. When you take the wings out, immediately transfer them to the pot and coat in the sauce. Serve immediately.
  8. Optional Cooling Sauce (for the faint at heart): 1/3 veganiase, 1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley and 1 tsp garlic powder mixed together.
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Chocolate Kale Chips (adapted from <<< apprently they have a new vegan cooking show?!  UPDATE: Here are some free vegan cooking videos on the website)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cashews, preferably soaked in water for 1 to 2 hours (no need if you have a vitamix)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1/3 cup cacao or dark chocolate powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground vanilla powder (liquid is ok)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 large bunch of curly kale, washed, stemmed and torn into palm-size pieces (make sure they are dry)
  • 1/4 cup extra-fine shredded coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon hemp seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Add the coconut palm sugar, cashews, agave nectar, cacao powder, coconut oil, vanilla powder, cinnamon and cayenne pepper to a high-speed blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth. In a large mixing bowl, pour the chocolate sauce mixture over the kale leaves. Using your hands, massage the chocolate mixture into the kale leaves until each one is evenly coated. Fold in the coconut flakes and hemp seeds.
  3. Transfer the coated kale to the cookie sheets and bake about 20 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet, flip the kale leaves and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. Watch them very closely, as they may burn quickly if left in the oven a few moments too long. Remove the kale chips from the oven when crispy. Allow to cool a bit, then serve.

appetizer · dip · eggplant · garlic

Smoked Eggplant Dip

It’s officially the tailgate offseason.  But have no fear! There are plenty of tailgate adventures that don’t require a parking lot and all of these recipes can be used at your favorite tailgate.

Smoked Eggplant Dip

My mom loves eggplant.  Any excuse she has for me to make it is good enough for her.  There is something about eggplant that just begs to be grilled or smoked.  Its dark texture, fleshy inside, stubborn skin are best utilized when slow cooked over a long period of time. 

This recipe can be made entirely in a parking lot and is easy to do if you pre-chop all the herbs and spices.  Smoking big eggplants takes some patience, especially when cooking the entire aubergine.  I really enjoy studding the entire eggplant with garlic prior to cooking.  This way, the garlic imparts great flavor inside and cooks at the same time.  Enjoy!


  • 2 eggplant (about 2 pounds in all) 
  • 1 head garlic 
  • 6 oz. plain vegan yogurt (soy, coconut, almond etc.)    
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, fresh, chopped  
  • 3 scallion, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons ginger, grated or finely chopped  
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander 
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon  
  • Salt and pepper to taste  


  1. Wash the eggplants and cut small slits all over.  Press garlic cloves into the slits (See picture below)
  2.   Prepare the smoker.  Place the rack as close to the water as possible.  Smoke the eggplants for at least 2 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, chop the herbs.  Place in bags or tupperware if bringing to the tailgate.  
  4. Once the eggplants are soft remove them from the smoker and let cool for 15 minutes.  If its cold outside this takes less time!
  5. Peel the eggplant and mash (I actually used an imersion blender) along with the garlic.  Peeling is easier with a paring or pocket knife.  
  6. Add the herbs, spices, yogurt, and lemon juice to the mashed eggplant/garlic.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve with pita chips.

Garlic Studded Eggplant
Smokin out back at my moms
Happy eggplant
The eggplant at a vegan potluck!

appetizer · daiya cheese · dip · nutritional yeast · tofu

Onside Dip-Off: Grilled Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

Week 13 Browns v. Raiders

Going in for the kill

A winning streak? Unheard of!  That’s right, the Browns have won 2 in a row for the first time since September of last year.  What a better way to celebrate than posting a recipe from one of my favorite vegan chefs, Cupcake Wars champion and stunning beauty Chloe Coscarelli.

There are plenty of tailgate dips that are “vegetarian” but are often loaded with cheese, sour cream, mayo, cream cheese, yogurt and just about every dairy product under the sun.  If it looks creamy at a tailgate, then it probably isn’t vegan.  But who’s to say a great creamy dip can’t be plant based?  Chef Chloe is not one to mess around veganizing things, so her spinach artichoke dip was a must for the tailgate.

In the standard spinach artichoke dip, the cheesey creaminess presides over the flavor of the vegetables.  The creamy texture here comes from the soft tofu and nutritional yeast, but the garlic, artichokes and spinach stand out. I added a little Daiya cheese on top and bam! It was a winner with everyone at the tailgate.  If I didn’t say anything, no one would’ve known it was plant-based and nearly fat free.  Enjoy!


A bit of olive oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
A few hefty shakes of crushed red pepper
5 ounces baby spinach (usually 1 bag)
1 14-ounce package soft tofu, drained
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons lemon juice (or juice of a half lemon)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
14 ounces of canned artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup shredded Daiya cheddar cheese, to top (optional)
Pita chips for serving


Don’t lick the bowl!
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Lightly grease a foil baking dish (you can use a pyrex or anything else if not taking to the tailgate)
  3. Heat the bit oil over medium-high heat and saute onion until soft. Add garlic and red pepper and let cook a few more minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add spinach.  Cook until wilted.
  4. In a food processor (I used a Cuisinart, but any blender will do), blend tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, basil, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add artichokes and spinach mixture, and pulse about 15 times. Transfer to the foil baking dish.  Top with cheese (optional)
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Cover with foil and keep in the fridge until the tailgate.
  6. Throw the foil pan on the grill for about 15 minutes.  When it starts to bubble you are ready to go!  Dip with pita chips.
Gotta pre-bake in the oven
Cover this bad boy with foil and keep in the fridge/cooler until the grill is hot
The dip fits right in at a tailgate

appetizer · field roast · grilling · vegan

Field Roast Sausage Stuffed Boomers


Thank goodness the Brownies had a bye week, we all needed a week to recharge.

Stuffed boomers

Anyone who knows me knows of my love for the Field Roast.  Established 15 years ago in Seattle, they trace their roots back to 7th century China and a recipe used by Buddhist Monks.  It hands down beats all other vegan sausages and they also have a number of other fantastic products.

This recipe is adapted from The Barbecue Bible, an award winning book by Steven Raichlen.  Even though the book’s over 500 recipes mostly contain meat, there are several vegetable and vegetarian sections and adaptable recipes   The grilling technique chapters alone are worth a read.

This recipe is rather simple, but it will wow people.  Appetizers are an underrated part of the tailgate experience especially if you can use the grill to make something special.  This will turn heads and get your tailgate off to a great start. Enjoy!


  • 1 pound (or more) baby bellas or other large button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari (the original calls for oil, so just make sure your grill grate is oiled)
  • 1 Field Roast Chipotle Sausage
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bunch chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the stems from the boomers. I cut a little wider around the center with a paring knife to fit a little more sausage in each cap.
Cut the sausage in pieces that snuggly fit inside each cap.  This will vary depending on the size of the boomers.  
Cover the caps with garlic and parsley.  Then pour the soy sauce on the plate.  You want the boomers to the covered and have a pool on the bottom to keep them moist.  Squeeze the lemon on top and get ready to grill.

Arrange the boomers on the grill and cook for about 15-20 minutes.  Remove and serve.


The final product
appetizer · avocado · beans · nutritional yeast · salsa · taco · vegan

7-Layer Taco Dip

Week 1: Browns v. Eagles

In honor of the delayed suspension of Scott Fujita, our tailgate crew set out to have a “Fujita” Bar.  Naturally, Hispanic cuisine lends itself to the vegan palate.  In addition to crock pot red beans and rice and grilled veggies, I wanted something to share with everyone.

This recipe comes from “Quick and Easy: Vegan Comfort Food” by Alicia Simpson.  I added a 7th layer of nacho cheeze sauce to her six-layer dip .  Its easy to assemble and feeds a crowd.  Grab a large pyrex or one of those disposable foil tins and start layering!

Layer one: 2 cans refried beans.  I used Bearitos Spicy Refried Beans.

Layer two: a cup of vegan sour cream mixed with taco seasoning.  You can use store bought taco seasoning but its often unnecessarily loaded with salt.  It’s simple to make your own and store it in an airtight container.  The ratio is up to you, but in order from most amount to least:

  • Salt free chili powder (Penzey’s has the best salt free chili powder hands down)
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cayenne pepper (chipotle, ancho or other ground pepper works too.  More from Penzey’s)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
Layer three: 3 thinly sliced or mashed avocados
Layer four: chunky salsa.  You can use store bought, but this is where it is also fun to make your own.  Here is my recipe for fresh spicy salsa.  Assemble and let sit for a few hours to soak up all the flavor.
  • 2 cans fire roasted tomatoes with green chilis (Muir Glen brand)
  • 2 jalapeños (with seeds!)
  • Small red onion finely chopped
  • Small orange or yellow pepper finely chopped
  • Half bunch of cilantro chopped
  • Juice and zest of a lime
Layer five: nacho cheeze sauce.  This recipe also comes from “Vegan Comfort Food.”  I made a batch of fresh almond milk and went to town on this tasty sauce. Whisk all the ingredient in a saucepan on medium heat until the lumps are gone.
  • 11/2 cups vegan milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (What the heck is nutitional yeast? By Susan Voison of the amazing “Fat Free Vegan Kitchen”)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup canola or olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. tahini
  • Pinches of garlic and onion powder, paprika, chili powder, cayenne and salt
Layer six: shredded lettuce
Layer seven: diced green onions
A sloppy, delicious mess.  Like any good tailgate dip!
This was a huge hit!  Everyone at the tailgate enjoyed it and didn’t make one complaint about it being dairy and meat free.  Make sure to serve with strong chips because it takes a good effort to get to the bottom of this dip.