garlic · sauce · spicy · vegan · wings

Garlic Smothering Defense: Spicy Roasted Garlic Wing Sauce

Wings from the Asian grocery

A tasty, versatile sauce can be the MVP of any tailgate.  We put it on everything at the tailgate, tofu scramble burritos, vegan wings and veggie burgers. Sure, you can buy the bottled stuff or even grab a bottle from your favorite restaurant, but making your own sauce makes a big statement.  You control the flavors, spice and consistency.

I like to mimic some of my favorite sauces and try to improve on them.  This week I went after one of the most popular wing sauces at Buffalo Wild Wings, Spicy Garlic.  Great flavor and sneakily spicy, this sauce brings the hammer.  
For this sauce, I used garlic from my friend’s garden and roasted it for an hour or so.  Then I cooked down the vinegar base with a ton a spices.  Instead of oil, I used a flax egg and corn starch to thicken. When it was cooking down, I added water as needed and I don’t think it took away from any of the flavor.  This yields about 16 oz. so feel free to double it if you need more.  Enjoy!
Simmering sawwwce
  • 1 head roasted garlic
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. hot chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp. ground flax mixed with 6 tbsp. hot water)
  • 1/4 cup water (and more as needed)
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  1. Cut the top off the garlic, add a little broth or water, wrap in foil and roast at 425 for an hour or so.
  2. While the garlic is roasting, add vinegar, spices and sugar to a sauce pot at medium high heat.  Simmer for 5-7 minutes
  3. Whisk flax egg and corn starch together. Add the to the pot.
  4. Cook for another 8-10 minutes on medium low heat.  Add water as necessary.  
  5. Add the sauce to a blender and squeeze out the garlic into the blender with the sauce.  Blend until smooth.
Bottling the sawwwce

Go Browns!
Take the burrito up a notch!
appetizer · dip · garlic · grilling · leeks · nutritional yeast

Caught Taking a Leek: A Grilled Leek Dip

Week 4 Browns v. Bengals

Things have changed for the better in Cleveland. The Indians are in the playoffs and the Browns are tied in first place after a convincing win against their division rival.  I’m pretty convinced the karma of the vegan tailgate had something to do with it.  We had 5 people eating exclusively vegan at our tailgate this past Sunday, our biggest yet!  I got things started off with the phenomenal grilled leek dip that, because of time spent preparing ahead, required little work except grilling and slicing the leeks.

If you’re a reader on this blog, you know I love dips to warm up the belly prior to eating a big meal.  This one really was a crowd pleaser and vegans and non-vegans alike really enjoyed it.  It comes from Tamasin Noyes, a vegan chef and writer I met earlier this year at the Cleveland Veg Fest.  Her cookbook, “Grills Gone Vegan” is one of my favorites.  Only next time, I’ll have to triple the recipe!

The grilled leeks are key for this recipe.  They kinda come out nowhere and some people had never heard of them before.  But they perform well.  Kinda like a quarterback starting for the Browns right now!  Enjoy!


  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup Vegenaise (I used Follow Your Heart brand, but feel free to make your own!)
  • 1/4 green pepper, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs dried italian herbs (any mix will do)
  • White pepper and salt to taste
  • 2 medium sized leeks or 3 small leeks
  • Crackers to dip


Can be prepped in advance

  1. Put the cashews, water, lemon juice, vinegar and nutritional yeast in a high speed blender and blend until smooth (if not using a Vitamix, be sure to soak the cashews for an hour)
  2. Put in a large tupperware and stir in the Vegenaise, pepper, garlic and spices. (Note: this can be done a day in advance, then all you have to do is bring this to the tailgate and add the grilled leeks)
  3. Grill the leeks, about 5 minutes on each side.  
  4. Slice thin and stir into the dip
  5. Serve with crackers

Slicing the grilled leeks
Action shot!

The rest of the tailgate was a lot of fun.  Remember, anyone who wants to join can just comment on a post or hit me up on Twitter. Lets beat the record number of vegans for the Lions game on the 13th!

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!