Week 1: Browns vs. Titans
And we’re back! A long offseason punctuated by a perfect fall day, a new tailgate van and a full menu
Hard at work on the new grill table
of vegan fare. A tailgate breakfast can be a welcome treat and a life saver. Often when making a big meal it can be hours before you eat and no one wants to snack on chips and salsa for breakfast. So that’s why I love to incorporate a grilled breakfast item at the tailgate.
Last year Broccoli Rob made vegan break burritos ahead of time, wrapped them in foil and then tossed them on the hot grill first thing in the morning. They were excellent! That got me thinking about other breakfast items we could make and naturally I landed on the Egg McMuffin.
This recipe combines the best of all worlds: marinated tofu, vegan sausage breakfast patties (there are countless brands to choose from), vegan cheese, whole wheat English muffins and a special blend of sauces. After you eat this sandwich you will ask yourself, “why can’t I eat this every day?” Enjoy!
- For the marinade:
- Rest of sandwich:
- The tofu should marinate AT LEAST overnight, then the rest of the recipe takes under 10 minutes to execute.
- Marinade: Mix the marinade ingredients in a small plastic container with a lid. It will be thick! If it looks dry, cut with a bit of cold water. Once you have a paste, toss in the tofu, close the container, and shake to cover tofu completely. Refrigerate at least 8 hours, and even up to 48!
|Tofu butcher is in the house!
Prepare the grill for direct heat.
- When grill is hot, give the tofu a final shake in the container, then place in grate along with the sausage patties. Keep most with any excess marinade. Grill the first side about 3-4 minutes. Flip tofu over, and grill another few minutes. When you flip the sausage over, place a piece of vegan cheese on top. Tofu is done when it’s a goldenrod color on both sides and has nice grill marks. When the cheese is melted, pull the sausage patties off the grill.
- Meanwhile, prepare the bread to toast. Spread with a little vegan butter if you wish. Toast the bread right after the tofu and sausage is off.
- Now once the bread is toasted, spread some of the sriracha maple sauce and vegan mayo on the bread. You can assemble the sandwich and then place it on the grill, or just eat right then and there!
|Time to grill!
|Grilled to perfection!
Part of me wishes I had tried poutine before taking the vegan plunge 4 years ago. Then again, the amalgamation of deep fried potatoes, brown gravy and cheese curds probably wouldn’t have sat well with me. I didn’t even know what poutine was until my little brother made several trips north of the border and came back raving about it. Since I had been thinking about veganizing the Canadian specialty for a while, a vegan Super Bowl party in Akron seemed like a perfect time.
What makes this poutine different from all other poutine? Well aside from the fact it’s vegan, made with Field Roast Chao cheese
and Vegan Sausage Gravy (see recipe below), it is also a special type of French fry known only to Akronites and Summit County Ohio dwellers
as Jo Jo potatoes
. Ok, the potato wedge isn’t exactly unique to Akron, Ohio, but I can almost guarantee you that Jo Jo Potatoes have never made their way into vegan poutine before this. And now it’s time to share with the world.
The recipe is not hard to put together. To mimic the deep fried, egg covered Jo Jo’s found in pizza and chicken shops in my hometown, I parboiled potato wedges and coated them in cornstarch, spices and a little olive oil before roasting them. The result is a crispy outside and a moist steamy inside. The poutine is assembled in separate bowls topped with the savory sausage gravy and a sprinkle of fresh sage. You can serve as an app, side or main dish. Enjoy!
- 4 large russet potatoes (2.5 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Gravy Ingredients:
- 1 small onion, chopped, about 1/2 cup
- 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
- 2 Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage sausages, crumbled
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 cup plain soymilk or almond milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp sriracha
- black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup cubed Field Roast tomato cayenne chao cheese (or other vegan cheese of choice)
- 2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped fine
Jo Jo’s: Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Scrub the potatoes and cut them, lengthwise, into 10 to 12 even wedges.
Place the sliced potatoes into a large bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let them soak for 10 minutes (aka parboil).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. Drain the potatoes and pat them dry thoroughly with a clean tea towel or paper towels. Evenly toss the potatoes with the cornstarch, than add the oil, salt and pepper.
Arrange the fries in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip them. Continue to bake until the fries are golden and crisp, about another 20 minutes longer. In the last 5 minutes, remove the pans and add the cheese on top. Allow to melt before removing. Time serving so these are hot!
Sausage Gravy: Heat a skillet over a medium flame. Add the onions and cook for three minutes, until starting to soften. Add the crumbled sausage and cook for five minutes, until starting to brown. Add the flour and stir well. After two minutes, add the remaining ingredients, whisking well to combine. It will thicken and be ready rather quickly.
To serve: Place fries in a bowl or on a plate and sprinkle with cheese. While still warm, pour gravy over fries and cheese. Top with fresh sage and enjoy!
|Parboiled taters in cornstarch
|Coated taters ready for the oven
|The final product
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
Weeks 7 & 8 Road Games in Green Bay and KC
|Yup, thats a grilled vegan jalapeño popper
The Browns have been on the road the past two weeks and continue to ride the quarterback roller coaster. While that means I haven’t been down at the muni lot tailgating, I have an amazing appetizer recipe to share with you that works on the grill or at home in the oven. Jalapeño Poppers!
For centuries, vegan’s have tried to replicate cheese. While we have come close, nothing quite gets us there. However, cashews are my favorite creamy substitute, and they do a pretty darn good job providing that velvety
texture and flavor. As Tal Ronnen likes to say
, cashews are “vessels of creaminess.”
Cashews and nuts are only one third of the vegan creamy equation. The other parts of the trifecta are beans (think hummus or tofu) and avocado (which naturally stands on its own). Nutritional yeast is an important ingredient in the vegan cheese quest. So is turmeric, for those who care about the yellowish appearance. These poppers, while they don’t have avocados, have all the makings of a creamy vegan delight.
This recipe comes together quickly, especially if you have a couple hands on deck. One person can cut open the peppers while the other prepares the filling. Then you can both stuff the peppers and top with bread crumbs. I left a few seeds in to give it a little heat, but it wasn’t overwhelming. Enjoy!
- 24 large jalapeños, cut in half, membranes and some seeds removed
- 14 oz. firm tofu, lightly pressed
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. ground chipotle
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- Cut and remove membranes and some seeds from peppers
- Paces remaining ingredients except breadcrumbs into a high speed blender. If not using a vita-mix, soak the cashews for at least an hour and drain.
- Scoop the cheese mix into the jalapeño boats. Be generous!
- Just before ready to cook, sprinkle on bread crumbs.
- Grill: place in grill pan and cover with foil. Cook for about 15 minutes.
- Oven: place on baking sheet in oven at 400 degrees. Cook for 20 minutes.
Week 6 Browns vs. Lions
The Browns were dealt a low blow losing hometown hero QB Brian Hoyer last week to a season ending knee injury. Back comes Brandon Weeden and he precedes to make “the worst interception of all time.” All joking aside, this is kind of what we come to expect from the Browns, year after year. So what do we rely on? The tailgate. And it was one of the years best. Perfect fall day and people in good spirits.
I decided to make vegan sausages for the 3rd time. I had a couple practice rounds before trying it out at the tailgate. People tend to grimace when I tell them my sausages are vegan, but honestly do they even know what kind of meat is in a “normal sausage?” Probably better they don’t know. While some don’t want to know how the sausage is made, I’m ready wax poetic about how to make these delectable vegan apple sage sausages.
Fall means apples in Ohio and across the midwest. A trip to an apple orchard with my girlfriend left us with a huge bounty of several varieties of apples. I made sure to get a number that were good for baking and making sauce. By cooking down the apples, I made a plain jane apple sauce (just water and apples) to use in recipes, including the one below.
The technique is similar to the All-Pro Veggie Burgs, where you knead wheat gluten with wet ingredients, wrap in foil and then steam. Afterwards, the sausages can be refrigerated until they are ready to grill. Next time I might use a bit less wheat gluten to make the sausages more moist. The flavor was incredible though and people were impressed. We even topped them off with some polish stew for an authentic taste. Enjoy!
Ingredients (makes 10-12 sausages)
|Cooking the apples
3 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp dried sage
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground cayenne
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 cup smooth cooked down apples or unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
1. Combine the dry ingredients in one bow and whisk the wet ingredients in another bowl.
|Wet and dry
2. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and knead for about 5 minutes.
3. Pull off a small clump of the dough and roll into a log. It should be the size of a sausage!
|Its a sausage!
4. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil (see picture)
|The wrapped sausages
5. Steam for 40 minutes in a steamer or a pot/pan with a steamer basket.
6. Remove and refrigerate until ready to grill.
7. Grill on an oiled grill grate for 5-7 minutes.
|Grillin and chillin
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
- 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)
- 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)
- Grill the leeks, about 5 minutes on each side.
- Slice thin and stir into the dip
- Serve with crackers
|Slicing the grilled leeks
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!
Week 2 Ravens vs. Browns (road game)
If you would have asked me a couple years ago what a “low country boil” is I would have looked at you dumbfounded. But when my brother went to Alabama to work for 7 months, he came back talking about this common backyard BBQ tradition. I thought, why can’t you veganize it? So we did.
|Low Country Boil
The concept behind a low country boil is simple. Take a bunch of seafood, sausages and veggies, add a ton of spices, liquid to cover and bring to a boil on an outdoor heat source. While there are a few common ingredients, such as potatoes and corn, everything else it pretty much left up to you. The spice mix varies, but I’d recommend going heavy on the flavor. Why not? The more complex the flavor profile the better. The key to our boil was the bay leaves. Other folks swear by Old Bay.
The number one takeaway is that its pretty hard to mess this up. No matter what, a low country boil comes out tasting good and serving a crowd. You are supposed to dump it on a picnic table covered in newspaper, but we just didn’t have the capacity to do that. Next time!
I could’ve taken the easy road and purchased my favorite Field Roast Sausages along with all the other ingredients. Instead, I prepared handmade sausages for just the second time and they came out great. Thanks to a bulk vital wheat gluten purchase, I had abundant supplies to create sausages from scratch. The technique is interesting and one I picked up on from one of my favorite vegan chefs Alicia Simpson.
You start out making the sausages like nearly every other seitan recipe, dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in the other, knead together. But here you roll the sausages out, wrap them in foil and steam them for 30-40 minutes before cooking. The result is a plump, juicy vegan sausage loaded with your favorite spices and without any added oil.
- 1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
- 2 tbs nutritional yeast
- 1 tbs smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp oregano
- 4 garlic cloves, mined
- 5 button mushrooms, minced
- 1/4 red pepper, minced
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbs bragg’s or tamari
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tbs vegan Worcestershire
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- Combine wheat gluten and spices in one bowl.
- Whisk together Garlic, mushrooms, red pepper and liquids in another bowl.
- Combine the wet and dry and knead for a few minutes.
- Roll out 4 sausages and wrap tightly in aluminum foil, twisting the ends to seal (make sure they are tight!)
- Steam for 30-40 minutes
- Cook anyway you like! Grill, saute, bake… the possibilities are endless. Or just refrigerate until ready to use.
|The final product after 30 minutes steaming
Low Country Boil
- Package of vegan prawns, chopped into chunks (I used Sophie’s Kitchen brand)
- 4 vegan sausages, chopped into chunks (see recipe above or use Field Roast)
- 4 medium sized red potatoes, chopped
- 4 ears sweet corn, quartered
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbs smoked paprika
- 1 tbs thyme
- 1 tbs sage
- 1 tbs garlic powder
- 1 tbs onion power
- 1 tbs red pepper
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- Foil lasagna pan
- Water to fill
- Place the veggies in the foil pan. Throw in the spice mix and cover with water. Make sure to mix it around!
- Cover tightly with foil (or the lid if using a pot) and place it on a hot grill. Let simmer for 45 minutes-1 hour.
- Remove cover and add prawns and sausages (the water should be boiling). Cover and let cook for another half hour.
- Take the pan off of the grill and serve hot! Preferably you have a newspaper lined picnic table, but plates will do.
|Ready to serve!
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)
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
- Grind the cashews in your spice grinder until powdered, about 30 seconds.
|Image from godairyfree.com
- 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.
- Lightly oil the insert of the slow cooker or spray it with cooking spray, and transfer the queso mixture to the cooker.
- Stir in the water until well incorporated (use less for a thicker dip, you can add more later if it thickens too much).
- 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.
- 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.
- Taste, add pepper to taste, and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
|Image from 28cooks.blogspot.com
- 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!)
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- When you take the wings out, immediately transfer them to the pot and coat in the sauce. Serve immediately.
- Optional Cooling Sauce (for the faint at heart): 1/3 veganiase, 1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley and 1 tsp garlic powder mixed together.
|Image from cookingchanneltv.com
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly grease a foil baking dish (you can use a pyrex or anything else if not taking to the tailgate)
- 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.
- 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)
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Cover with foil and keep in the fridge until the tailgate.
- 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
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)
- 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.