grilling · liquid smoke · peanut butter · tvp · vital wheat gluten

All-Pro Veggie Burgs

Week 5 Bills v. Browns

How meaty!
Sorry for the delayed posting.  I made these veggie burgers at an impromptu apartment tailgate before the Thursday night game last week.  Vegan tailgates are known for veggie burgers, but they don’t have to be tasteless and boring like those depicted in the recent Bud Light commercial.  
This recipe comes come from vegan grilling legend (and Clevelander) Tamasin Noyes.  When I met her a few months back, she insisted I try my hand at making this burger.  She said it delighted many meat eaters and vegans alike.  The technique is the same, but as you can see my recipe varies quite a bit.

What sets it apart is its meaty texture.  The TVP gives it a ground beef appearance and the vital wheat gluten holds it together.  Like most veggie burgers, the flavor is really customizable with the spices and the liquid smoke and vegan worcestershire add a great burger taste.  Enjoy!
1 1/3 cups hot water
1 cup texturized vegetable protein
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon Penzey’s Chili 3000, or other spice blend
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons instant tapioca or cornstarch
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup fresh ground peanut butter (I omitted the oil from the original recipe. Why no oil?)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable broth or water
1. Combine the hot water with the TVP to rehydrate, about 10 minutes. 
2. Add rehydrated TVP to a large bowl with the remaining ingredients (in the order given). Mix well, and knead for about 3 minutes.
3. Divide and shape the burger into 6 patties.  Place each burger in the center of a piece of foil. Fold the foil over each burger to make a packet. (Note: Don’t make the foil too tight in order for the burger to expand.
4. Transfer wrapped burgers to a steamer (or a steamer basket inside a covered pot/pan) and steam 1 hour. 
5. Unwrap and transfer the burgers to a plate and refrigerate for 1 hour.
6. Throw them on the grill! Make sure you oil your grill grate.  Cook about 5 minutes per side.
The final grilled product
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!

grilling · tailgate · veggie burgers

Bud Light NFL "Quinoa Burger" Commerical

Many of you may have seen the new Bud Light commercial featuring the tailgater at the whim of his girlfriend cooking a tasteless quinoa burger. While Bud Light has little room to talk about being bland and tasteless, it certainly shines a light on our little corner of the parking lot. Not the most flattering portrayal of a vegan tailgate but we have come a long way. Touché Bud Light!

grilling · quinoa · tempeh · vegan

Kabob Blitz: Tempeh Veggie Skewers with Mango-Black Bean Quinoa

Week 12 Browns vs. Steelers

There is nothing quite like a rivalry game.  There is really nothing like two rivalry games in one weekend.  And winning them both? Unheard of!

These kabobs are dangerously good

After attending the OSU/Michigan game in Columbus the day before, I set out for the Muni Lot in Cleveland for the Browns/Steelers matchup.  The tailgate had to come together quickly as we only had Saturday night to prepare.  I bought of bunch of veggies and tempeh, made a marinade and put together this tasty entree of tempeh kabobs alongside some mango-black bean quinoa.

Kabobs are a unique method of grilling.  The smaller pieces and ability to separate items that cook differently enable you to perfectly grill the food.  For instance, cherry tomatoes can be taken off before they get too soggy, while the tempeh can be left on to get a crisp outer crust. The marinade is best left to soak overnight and the veggies and tempeh really absorb the flavor.  Enjoy!

Kabobs (adapted from Whole Foods)


  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/3 cup tamari
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Head of garlic, crushed (use the indispensable garlic press)
  • Wooden skewers, soaked
  • 2 pounds assorted vegetables, cut into semi large pieces (zucchini, yellow squash, assortment of bell peppers, red onion, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms)
  • 1 pound tempeh, cubed 


  1. Whisk together the liquids and spices in a large bowl.
  2. Place vegetables in a large resealable bag or container and tempeh in a separate bag. Divide  arinade equally among the bags (obviously more will be needed to veggies), seal and marinate in the refrigerator, turning occasionally, for about 3 hours, or overnight. 
  3. Soak wooden skewers in water to cover for at least 1 hour. Skewer vegetables and tempeh separately on skewers. (For example, thread only bell peppers on one skewer, only squash on another and only tempeh on the next. Since ingredients cook at varying times, this will allow you to cook individual skewers until the items are cooked perfectly. Discard remaining marinade.)
  4. Prepare a grill for medium-heat grilling. Grill tempeh until beginning to char charred in places, turning often, about 5 minutes. Grill vegetables until tender and slightly charred. Transfer skewers to a platter as done and serve.
Feel free to play around with this marinade
Large freezer bags are a must
The final product
Mango-Black Bean Quinoa (adapted from Chandra at the amazing PPK)
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced small
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (white wine or rice vinegar work here too)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled (The Quinoa Song! by my boy Anders)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed


  1. Combine the mango, red pepper, scallions, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. 
  2. Add the red wine vinegar, olive oil, and salt and stir to combine. 
  3. Add the cooled quinoa and stir until everything is well incorporated. 
  4. Fold in the black beans.
Mangos are a pain to peel and cut, but totally worth it
All the veggies are colorful
Easily transportable and great when cold

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
bbq · cole slaw · grilling · tailgate · tempeh · vegan

BBQ Tempeh Sammies with Carrot-Cayenne Slaw

Week 9 Browns vs. Ravens

As the product on the field gets worse and worse, our tailgates seem to step it up a notch.  Everyone starts to hit stride as evidenced by our newest addition to the tailgate, the fire pit.  The food also is more elaborate as the year goes on the and the creative juices get flowing.  This week was no exception with this killer recipe from Byrant Terry’s “Vegan Soul Kitchen.”

Tempeh is a soy product similar to tofu in that it absorbs flavor wonderfully.  It is minimally processed using fermented soy beans and an ancient method from Indonesia.  It lends itself well to southern cooking because it has a grittier, more meat like texture, perfect for marinating and grilling.

This recipe starts with a delicious homemade marinade that I’d use for any BBQ grilling.  There aren’t too many funky ingredients and it beats store bought BBQ everytime.  This meal has a special feel, perfect for a crowd.  We had the sammies along side some creamy hummus-based potato salad for a complete tailgate feast.  Enjoy!

My tailgate basket

Carrot-Cayenne Slaw

  • ½ green cabbage head, cored and sliced thinly (you must have a good knife.  I’d recommend this Victorinox 8-inch chef’s knife for less than $30)
  • 2 large carrots, julienned matchstick length
  • Small squeeze Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar (Red Wine or Rice vinegar work too)
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar 
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne (or however much you want!)
  • Glug of olive oil
Combine all the ingredients in an airtight container.  Let chill for at least an hour, preferably overnight.  Feel free to toss with a few toasted sesame seeds before serving. 

You can see the spiciness! 

BBQ Tempeh Sammies

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Juice from one lime 
  • ¾ cup tamari or soy sauce 
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • 1 large chipotle chile in adobo sauce 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 pound tempeh, cut into 1/2 –inch-wide fingers (I like LightLife Brand better than WestSoy)
  • 6 soft kaiser rolls (you could use foccacia and make open faced sammies too!)

In a blender, combine everything but the tempeh and rolls. Puree until well combined. Set aside.
Flavor explosion
In a large foil baking dish, place tempeh fingers in one snug layer. 
The tailgate prep table
Nice and snug
Pour marinade on top and tightly cover dish with foil (I added some leftover chipotle sausage and mushroom stems from our appetizer). Transfer to a 350-degree oven or to a grill.
Looks like a party
Grill for 50 minutes, covered, turning tempeh once halfway through. 
During the turn
Remove baking dish from grill. Transfer tempeh fingers to the grill and cook until sizzling and slightly charred, about one minute per side.

Finished off on the grill
Toast the buns and assemble the sammies with a few pieces of tempeh and a generous scoop of slaw on top.  
Final product

beans · grilling · vegan · veggie burgers

Veggie Burger Cook Off: Bobby’s Spicy Bean Burgers

Bobby has a burger press, a wise investment
Here is the other veggie burger recipe I promised from the cook off last weekend.  These burgers were a big hit with the meat eaters and vegetarians alike (some even voted for these as the “winner” over mine). The taco seasoning gave them an added punch. There is little prep time, which makes for a great recipe in a pinch.   Enjoy!
  • 3/4 cup nuts, chopped (I used cashews)
  • 3/4 cup uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 ounces soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons steak seasoning (I used burgundy beef)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Taco seasoning, to taste
  • 3 jalapenos diced (I left the seeds in for a little kick)
  • 1½ cups of sautéed mushrooms (I used sliced crimini’s) 

Char grilled to perfection
1. Add nuts, beans, oatmeal, and to a large mixing bowl rice to the bowl. Add tomato paste and pour in soy sauce, trying not to let it soak into just the rice.
2. Mix together the ingredients by hand, It helps to use a masher to try and get the chick peas mashed well. When the mixture has been completely combined to make a paste, add the mushrooms, jalapenos and seasonings. Steak seasoning is a must if you’re trying to please meat eaters.
3. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning, as desired. Form into burgers

Note: I refrigerated my burgers overnight I think this helped to keep them together the next day on the grille but probably not necessary. Make sure grill is well oiled to ensure no sticking and easy flipping.