cashews · chili · mac and cheese · nutritional yeast · tvp

Vegan Tailgate Chili Mac and Cheese

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
  • Cheese sauce!
  • 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


  1. Prep work:
    1. Soak cashews.  Cover in cold water and set in the fridge.
    2. Turn oven to broil and roast peppers for a half hour.  Let cool and remove the skins
  2. Boil a large pot of water for the macaroni and cook according to package.

    The TVP Chili
  3. 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.  
  4. 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!
  5. Add the blended cheese mix back to the pot and heat on low until it thickens.  
  6. Meanwhile, rehydrate the TVP in 3 cups of hot water.
  7. Sauté the other onion in a large pan.  When they turn brown, add the rest of the garlic for 30 seconds.  
  8. 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.
  9. Toss the TVP mix, the pasta and the cheese sauce.  Cover with foil to refrigerate until ready to grill.
  10. 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
    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
    beans · chili · daiya cheese · field roast · seitan · tofu scramble · tvp · vegan

    Vegan Chili Cook Off

    Week 8 Browns vs. Chargers

    Chili, a myriad of colors

    Chili is one of those comfort foods that some meat eaters prefer vegetarian.  The mix of beans, veggies and spices lends itself well to any palate.  It warms you up, through the heat of the food and the heat of spice.  We needed something warm on a cold rainy day in Cleveland.

    For a tailgate, chili is extremely versatile.  We decided to make breakfast burritos and chili cheese dogs for a nice breakfast/lunch combo.  Often we dont eat anything but appetizers for the first few hours, so the though of a hearty breakfast burrito is appealing.  A key to keeping the chili warm throughout the day is either to plug in a crockpot or bring a pot to heat on the grill.

    There are two kinds of vegan chili as defined by the Long Star Veggie Chili Cookoff: traditional and all veg.  “All Veg” chilis are made with only vegetables, while the “Traditional” chili contain a meat analog or substitute like seitan or tempeh.  I opted to make a traditional chili with seitan and TVP, and my buddy Chris made the multi-bean and roasted veggie chili (recipe coming later this week).  I’ll also include my recipe for tofu scramble for the breakfast burritos. Enjoy!

    Seitan/TVP Chili

    • 1 package store bought seitan, chopped (West Soy brand
    • 1.5 cups Textured Vegetable Protein, reconstituted (what the hell is TVP?)
    • 1 can kidney beans
    • 28 oz. can diced fire roasted tomatoes (Muir Glen organic brand)
    • A few ounces of tomato sauce as needed
    • 1 red onion, chopped
    • 2 bell peppers, chopped
    • 3 jalapeños, chopped with seeds
    • Half head garlic, minced
    • 2 chilis in adobo, chopped with sauce
    • 2 tbs Penzey’s Salt-Free Chili 3000
    • 1 tbs cumin
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 1 tsp ground ancho pepper
    • 1 tsp chipotle
    • Salt/pep to taste
    • 1 tbs soy sauce or tamari
    • 1 tbs blackstrap mollasses
    • 2 tbs chia seeds
    • A splash of whiskey
    Sautee the peppers, onions and garlic until soft.  Toss in the crockpot.
    The steam burnt my eyes!
    Sautee the seitan until browned. Toss in the crockpot.
    Sauteed seitan
    Reconstitute the TVP by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 1.5 cups of TVP.  Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.  Sautee the reconstituted tvp until browned. Toss in the crockpot.
    TVP looks and acts like ground beef
    Add the tomatoes, beans, chilis, spices, soy sauce, mollasses and stir well.  
    Love me some Penzey’s
    Tons of complex flavor
    I had to add a bit of tomato sauce
    Turn the crockpot on low for at least 5 hours or overnight.  Add the chia seeds and whiskey about 15 minutes before unplugging.  Add tomato sauce as necessary if its dry.  
    Feel free to add the following as garnish:
    • Avocado
    • Tomato
    • White onion
    • Scallion
    • Cilantro
    • Lime wedges
    Serve over Field Roast Frankfurters  in ezekiel buns topped with Daiya Cheddar cheese.  Don’t forget the hot sauce!
    Can’t have enough!
    Tofu Scramble
    • 12 oz package extra firm tofu
    • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
    • 1 bell pepper, chopped
    • 1/2 onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp thyme
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1/2 tsp tumeric
    • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
    • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    • Squeeze of lemon juice
    Sautee the peppers, onions, mushrooms and garlic.  
    Crumble the tofu in the pan and keep heat at medium or lower.
    Add spices and sautee gently for 10 minutes.  
    Just when its about done cooking, add the nutritional yeast and lemon.  Add water as needed throughout.
    A go to breakfast
    Serve on a whole wheat tortilla, with chili, daiya cheese, and any of the garnish from above.
    It was still dark when we ate these