The football offseason is officially upon us but that doesn’t mean we should stop making epic foods! I understand many people, including myself, are crunched for time after work. Easy and delicious recipes are tough to come by, especially those with a wow factor.
This recipe comes together in about 30 minutes and will blow you away with how good it is. Here is where it definitely pays to have a Vitamix
or else you’ll need to soak the nuts and work at it in a regular blender. Pair this with some bbq seitan cutlets (that I like to keep in the freezer) and a steamed veggie side. While similar to past mac and cheese dishes found on this website (Tailgate Mac and Cheese
and Chili Mac and Cheese
), this version is much simpler without losing any of that creamy delicious flavor.
If you don’t have sunflower or sesame seeds feel free to use all cashews. If you a nut allergy, use all seeds. Gluten intolerance? Use your favorite gluten free pasta as this sauce is naturally gluten (and soy) free. You can make everyone happy this week for dinner, enjoy!
Prep 10 mins ∙ Cook 20 mins ∙ Makes 8 servings
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- Water or veggie broth to cover
- ⅓ cup raw cashews
- ⅓ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ⅓ cup raw sesame seeds or tahini
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp white pepper
- Salt to taste
- 16 oz whole wheat pasta of choice
- 1 jalapeño chopped and quickly sautéed (optional)
- A handful of greens, chopped (optional)
1. Toss the sweet potato, carrots, onion and garlic in a small pot and barely cover with the water or broth. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minuted or until soft.
2. Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water and cook the pasta according to the directions. I like to add a large handful of greens during the last 5 minutes of cooking to make it more healthy!
3. In a vitamix (if not using a high speed blender, please soak your seeds/nuts accordingly) add the cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, spices and the contents of the veggie pot, including water or broth. Blend until creamy.
4. Mix together the cheesey sauce and drained pasta. Toss the jalapeño if you want so kick or serve with your favorite hot sauce.
Week 12 Browns vs. Texans
Mid-November and the Browns were in first place. Notice I said were in first place. A dismal performance on the field did not have a chance to ruin a spirited tailgate in just above freezing temperatures. While the team let us down, Clevelanders proved once again that we know how to tailgate (and vegan tailgate at that).
This sandwich was inspired by the famed vegan BBQ food truck Homegrown Smoker out of Portland, Oregon. Their Twitter and Instagram accounts are a must follow for those of us who don’t live in the Pacific Northwest. They are always coming up with mind-blowing and universe-altering creations. One thing they do frequently is put Mac and Cheese on sandwiches and burritos. I know what your thinking… isn’t that gonna be a huge mess? Yes, yes it is a huge mess. But stuff that sandwich full and grab a fork to eat what’s left behind. This is not for the faint of heart.
Soy Curls are made with soaked soy beans and then cooked. They are dried at a low temperature and ready for you to rehydrate them and add a multitude of flavors. In addition to a dry rub marinade in which I let the rehydrated curls sit overnight, I smoked them using indirect heat and a cast iron smoker box in my grill. The result are crispy ends, tons of BBQ flavor and people begging for seconds. The finished product looks a bit like pulled chicken but is packed with way more flavor because the curls absorb spices so well.
The Mac and Cheese recipe here is a refined product from the previous Mac and Cheese recipes posted on this site (here and here). It uses roasted/sautéed/cooked veggies, cashews and a bit of nutritional yeast for creamy texture and taste. I made it the night before, put it in a foil pan and warmed it on the grill.
The sandwich is complete with grilled peppers and onions, pickles and a grilled bun. Feel free to top with your favorite BBQ or hot sauce. Enjoy!
- Two packs Soy Curls
- Hot water to cover
- 1 tbsp. Garlic Powder
- 1 tbsp. Onion Powder
- 1 tbsp. Smoked Paprika
- 1 tbsp. Chili Powder (I used a new variety called Guajillo)
- Pour hot water over the soy curls. Soak for 10 minutes and drain, pressing out addition water from the curls.
- Add the spices and let sit for an hour or over night.
- Prepare the grill for indirect heat. Place the smoker box on the coals.
- Throw the curls in a grill basket and set on the grill away from heat. Let smoke for 30 minutes. The curls should have burnt ends and turn a darker color.
Mac and Cheese
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large onions, diced
2 roasted red peppers, skins peeled
1 head garlic, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least an hour
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided
2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of sea salt
- 2 lb macaroni noodles
- Boil a big pot of water and add the noodle. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, sauté the onions for a minutes. Add garlic and sauté a minute more. Then toss in the potatoes and carrots and cover with veggie broth. Bring to a boil and simmer until soft (about 10 minutes).
- Drain the cashews and add the to the blender with the veggies (do not drain!), cornstarch, nutritional yeast, peppers, 2 tablespoons of the tomato paste, and spices. Blend!
- Mix the cheese into the noodle. Store in a foil container and warm on the grill for 15 minutes at the tailgate
Now for the Sandwich!
- 2 green peppers, cut in strips
- 1 onion, cut in strips
- 2 jalapeños
- Sandwich pickles
- Toss the peppers and onions in the grill basket after the soy curls are done. Grill over direct heat for 7-8 minutes
- Then grill the buns
- Assemble the sandwiches by placing soy curls, mac and cheese, peppers and onions and pickles. Use a little hot sauce of BBQ sauce if you wish.
Week 2 Browns vs. Saints
|Vegan BBQ never looked so good
It feels good to be back! The Browns decided to show up this week and bring home a win. The weather was perfect for grillin and we got down.
The vegans took over the muni lot with an outta this world vegan tailgate. Cowboy Caviar, Mac and Cheese, Green Beans and more. This brisket recipe requires a bit of advance prep. Form and boil the brisket the night before and coat with a dry rub.
On game day, use your favorite BBQ sauce or make your own (I will post my BBQ sauce recipe later this week). I went ahead and put the brisket, along with a simple cole slaw, on grilled Texas toast for a loaded sandwich. I drew inspiration from my two favorite vegan food trucks, Homegrown Smoker in Portland and BBQ Revolution in Austin. They are worth following and be prepared to drool at every post!
Now onto the brisket! Smoking can be accomplished in many different types of grills. I used the simplest method in my new horizontal grill. By sprinkling the charcoals with soaked wood chips and using indirect grilling, you can smoke the brisket “low and slow.” This recipe will knock the socks of your guests. Enjoy!
|Huge bag of Wheat Gluten
- 3 cups vital wheat gluten (I buy this stuff in 10lb. bags!)
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 and 1/4 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoon ketchup
- 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Combine dry ingredients (gluten, nutritional yeast and spices) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients (water, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, and lemon zest).
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine. Knead dough in the bowl for about 3 minutes until you have a spongy dough. Let rest for a few minutes, then shape into a log about 7 or 8 inches long. Cut into 3-4 pieces.
- In a large soup pot (the biggest you’ve got) fill with cold water (make sure it’s very cold, otherwise the seitan will get crumbly) and soy sauce/veggie brother to taste. Gently put the pieces of dough in the liquid. Partially cover the pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for one hour, turning the pieces occasionally. Let it cool
- Squeeze out all the liquid you can, without breaking it up (some pieces will fall off. Save these for stir fry, meat sauce, or some other use).
|The seitan after boiling
- 3 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons mustard powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoon chipotle or cayenne powder
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- Combine all of the spices in tupperware. Shake!
- Coat each piece of brisket, being careful not to break any. Really rub it in.
- Wrap each piece in plastic wrap or place in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate for several hours or overnight until ready to smoke .
- Soak wood chips (I like hickory) for 45 minutes or more.
- Start a fire in your charcoal grill or smoker. Prepare for indirect heat if using a grill (you don’t want it to be hot, keep temp around 225)
- Place the brisket on the grate. Throw some wood chips on the hot coals and close the cover. Smoke for 1 to 1 and a ½ hours, adding more soaked wood chips occasionally. Baste with bbq sauce in the last 20 minutes.
- Remove from the grill and keep covered while you grill the Texas toast (see below)
- Slice and coat with BBQ sauce.
|Dry rubbed and ready to chill overnight
|Smoked brisket, sliced
Simple Coleslaw (adapted from Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, Texas)
- 1 head cabbage, shredded (for a primer on how to shred a head of cabbage, click here)
- Pinch celery seed
- 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 3/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Pinch white pepper
- Place cabbage in a large mixing bowl.
- Place vinegar in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. While vinegar is boiling, slowly add sugar and salt, stirring constantly until dissolved. Turn off heat. Place pinch of white pepper in a mixing bowl. Slowly pour vinegar mixture into white pepper while whisking, and mix well. Cover.
- Sprinkle celery seed and sesame seeds over cabbage and mix thoroughly.
- Add vinegar mix and combine well.
- Thick (1″!), soft, white and fluffy bread
- Earth Balance at room temp
- Garlic puree (I used a head of garlic)
- Salt and pepper
- Mix together the Earth Balance and garlic in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Brush one side of the bread with the Earth Balance mix and place on the grill, spread side down.
- Grill the bread for 1 to 2 minutes until lightly golden brown. Flip and quickly toast the dry side.
Tailgate! Assemble the sandwich like so…
Week 12 Browns vs. Steelers
|Chili Mac and Cheese
Nothing says tailgating quite like a bitter rivalry and bitter cold. It might have been hard to watch or move your extremities at times, but the food was the highlight of the day. You’ve got to enjoy some quality tailgate grub and talking about the draft for next season.
My tailgate mac and cheese is one of my favorite recipes on this blog. As I discuss in the post, vegan mac and cheese can be quite the adventure. After experimenting for the past few years, I’ve settled on cashew based recipes, whole wheat noodles and lots of added flavor. Unlike dairy mac and cheese, where the milk does all the work, vegan mac requires some creative flare.
On a cold day, you need some warm comfort food like chili. Mac and cheese is not too far behind. So why not combine the two, put it in a grill pan and throw it on the hot fire? This recipe uses quick and simple TVP chili without beans, although a few legumes wouldn’t be a bad idea. Mix it all together the night before and then just bring to the tailgate ready to grill. Enjoy!
- 1 lb whole wheat macaroni
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least an hour
- 2 large onions, diced
- 1 head garlic, minced
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 roasted red peppers, skins peeled
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste, divided
- 2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 cups TVP
- 1-15oz can petite diced tomatoes, slightly drained
- 1 tablespoon chili powder (I used ancho and penzy’s chili 3000)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prep work:
- Soak cashews. Cover in cold water and set in the fridge.
- Turn oven to broil and roast peppers for a half hour. Let cool and remove the skins
- Boil a large pot of water for the macaroni and cook according to package.
The TVP Chili
- Meanwhile, in another pot sauté one of the onions for a minutes. Add a couple cloves of garlic and place in a high speed blender.
- Drain the cashews and add the to the blender with the vegetable broth, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, peppers, 2 tablespoons of the tomato paste, ground mustard, turmeric and salt and pepper to taste. Blend!
- Add the blended cheese mix back to the pot and heat on low until it thickens.
- Meanwhile, rehydrate the TVP in 3 cups of hot water.
- Sauté the other onion in a large pan. When they turn brown, add the rest of the garlic for 30 seconds.
- Toss in the spices and the rehydrated TVP. sauté for another minute or two then toss in the tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for another couple of minutes.
- Toss the TVP mix, the pasta and the cheese sauce. Cover with foil to refrigerate until ready to grill.
- Toss directly on a hot grill for about 20-25 minutes. It is done when the cheese is bubbling! A little cripsy on the bottom is good too.
|All grilled up
|Chili mac pairs nicely with hot chili and grilled veggies
Week 3: Browns vs. Bills (part 2)
In addition to the traditional tailgate ribs I made for week 3, I wanted to bring a little more southern BBQ to the table. Nothing says BBQ like mac and cheese next to a plate of ribs, greens, and baked beans. But being a vegan doesn’t mean you have to forego any of these things. Mac and “cheeze,” as many cookbooks and chefs call it, can be made a variety of ways without any cheese. Common ingredients include:
This recipe again comes from Alicia Simpson’s Quick and Easy: Vegan Comfort Food
. I wanted something in a casserole dish that could be easily heated on the grill. I added a few additional ingredients, such as the collard greens (from the last CSU farmer’s market
of the season) and jalapeños. Enjoy!
- 24 oz. whole wheat macaroni noodles (don’t be fooled by the label!)
- 1 bunch collard greens, destemmed and chopped (see technique below)
- 5 jalapeños, finely chopped (leave the seeds for extra heat)
- 3 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 cups diced yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/3 cup raw cashews nuts
- 1/3 cup raw macadamia nuts (just use more cashews if you can’t get them)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- Pinch of tumeric
- Pinch of sea salt
- Juice of one lemon
- 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (I like Ian’s brand)
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Prepare the macaroni according to the package. Add in the chopped collard greens in the last 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
|Destem by folding the leaf in half and cutting along the side
|Roll a bunch of leaves in a tight cylinder
|Chop it up!
|Cooked pasta with greens (you can do this every time you make pasta with any greens)
- Sautee the jalapenos in a bit of water or olive oil spray for a few minutes. Toss in with the pasta.
- Meanwhile, combine the potatoes, carrots and onion in a pot with the 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until soft (about 10 minutes).
- Place the boiled veggies (don’t drain), nuts, garlic, spices and lemon juice in a high speed blender. Blend until smooth. (Note: I love my vitamix, thanks mom!)
|Nuts, garlic, spices and lemon juice
|No joke, it’s the Ferrari of blenders
- Pour the sauce in with the noodles to coat. Transfer to a sprayed casserole dish (pyrex or foil). Top with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes.
|With the jalapeños
- Note: If bringing to the tailgate, you’ll want to bake it for a little bit before you step out the door. Then just throw in on the hot grill to warm up in the parking lot.
|The complete BBQ meal from Week 3