buffalo · grilling · pasta · seitan · tailgate · vegan · veggie burgers · vital wheat gluten

2019 Tailgate Season Preview

We’re baaaacccccccck!!! That’s right, your favorite tailgate blog is back online with a little something special to get you excited for the 2019 football season. This year will be the biggest season EVER in the Muni Lot. You don’t want to miss a single tailgate. 8293B9BF-1498-470E-BE30-24D9F53CC7DB

To get you hype, check out this tailgate season preview video. It features a little sample of the tailgate wares we’re gonna be cooking up this season!

  • Buffalo tempeh wings with cashew ranch
  • Grilled veggie pasta salad with creamy balsamic
  • Pizza burger with homemade seitan bean patties, pizza sauce, pesto and Miyokos Mozz on a pretzel bun (pictured right).

Big thanks to Scott Esterly of Esterly Photography for the video. This is his first crack at food videography so except some big things from him! Also thanks to the GreenRoom for a fabulous venue. I can’t say enough about Scott or the GreenRoom team. I highly recommend them for your photography, video or event space needs.

See you on September 8th!


avocado · beans · daiya cheese · grilling · seitan · veggie burgers · vital wheat gluten

Avocado Stuffed Black Bean Burger Sliders

Week 6 Browns vs. Steelers

The entire city of Cleveland is riding high. The Browns trashed their bitter rival on a perfect October day and it was a long time coming. Years of frustration alleviated by a hometown hero, leading the team he grew up watching to a winning record. It just doesn’t get much better.

Perfectly grilled stuffed sliders

Actually, it does get better if you were able to join us at the muni lot today and sampled these stuffed veggie burgers. The creamy avocado center took it to another level.

The recipe for the burgers has been in development for a little while now. I made very similar patties for a memorial day cookout and they were gone in a flash. Its a combination black bean and seitan base so it holds up very well on the grill. The last thing you want it a mushy veggie burger falling through the grill grate.

The roasted corn and red pepper provide the necessary “veggie” to the mix. The roasting unlocks the special flavor in any vegetable and those two rank right up at the top.

Chrispy is hungry!

And stuffing a burger? I mean, everyone likes a little surprise inside of things, right? You wouldn’t expect to find avocado in a grilled burger but you’ll be blown away at how well it works. Don’t be afraid to experiment with other fillings too.
Toss a half slice of Daiya cheese on top and you have one creamy, hearty slider. I served them alongside pulled BBQ Beyond Meat sliders and grilled sweet potato wedges. Enjoy!

An avocado surprise!


  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 flax eggs (3 tbsp warm water. 1 tbsp ground flax = one egg)
  • 1 cup corn, frozen or fresh
    Roasted corn and red pepper
  • 2 red peppers, halved and deseeded
  • 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (just double if you don’t have Worcestershire)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 avocados
  • Juice of one lime
  • 6 slices vegan cheese (I used Daiya cheddar)
  • 12 slider buns
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Place the corn and red pepper in the oven for about 20 minutes. Watch the corn, you don’t want to burn it! 
  2. Meanwhile, mash, blend or process the beans. They should be mushy but with some chunks.
  3. Add the beans, flax eggs, Worcestershire and soy sauce to a large bowl. Mix well.
  4. Then add the wheat gluten, bread crumbs and spices. Knead well, about 3 minutes. 
  5. Once the pepper is cool, peel the skin (here’s a primer on roasting red peppers. Or you could just buy the jarred stuff) and chop into small piece. Fold the chopped pepper and corn in with the burger mix
  6. Mash the avocado with the lime juice
  7. Now comes the fun part. Make a small patty in your hand, Put a small spoonful of the mashed avocado in the center and set it down on a plate. Make another small patty and carefully seal the two patties around the avocado (take a look at the pictures below!)
  8. Keep the stuffed patties until ready to grill. Once the grill is ready, grill each side until browned. Toss the cheese on to melt. Serve on a slider bun.

Flat patty ready for filling

Add the avocado

Get ready for patty #2

Seal the edges

Burgers on the grill with Pulled Beyond Meat

A plate full of goodness, including grilled sweet potato wedges

Take a bite

field roast · veggie burgers

A "Bloody" Vegan Burger & the Growth of Plant Based Food

When news broke yesterday of Stanford Professor Patrick Brown’s company Impossible Foods, my jaw hit the floor. It wasn’t just the appearance of a burger nearly indistinguishable from one made from cows that shocked me (although clearly I need to get my hands on this product ASAP, even if it currently costs $20/patty), rather it was the amount of money invested in the company. $75 million to make the perfect veggie burger and other plant based foods. That’s right, $75,000,000.00.

Look at the Burger!

These start up companies are raising serious change. Look at the innovative Hampton Creek, which makes the now ubiquitous Beyond Mayo, Just Cookies and soon a vegan egg. Is it a perfect storm? While vegan is becoming more mainstream (there is even a vegan tailgate blog!), high profile investors see something more.  They see the harmful effects animal based foods have on our bodies, the rising cost of healthcare and individuals contributing greater amounts to pay for their insurance. They see the damage animal based food does to the environment.  Mr. Brown is quoted as saying “livestock is an antiquated technology.”  The current system just isn’t sustainable and that means people’s taste buds are up for grabs.

We aren’t talking about merely creating new vegetables (like crossing a brussel sprout with kale). This is some cutting edge science.  Impossible Food’s “bloody” burger contains heme, a molecule found in hemoglobin, the protein found in red blood cells.  This molecule also is found in the roots of legumes or nitrogen-fixed plants such as alfalfa or peanuts. The result is what looks like a burger you’d get at a bar in middle America, one that has never served anything vegan.

Miyoko’s Cheese

Is this a sign of things to come? Not all people are fond of replacing animal products with a copy cat substitute and insist we should simply “eat more vegetables.” To be frank, this is not a winning argument. The American palate craves something more and the investors in Impossible Food, Hampton Creek and other are betting they have that something.  While, the trillion dollar animal farming industry won’t go down without a fight, we are headed in the right direction.

My First Vegan Meal

This isn’t 2010 when this UN report from 2010 said, “Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.” Well, UN, I’d challenge you to try some of the foods mentioned in this article and tell me there aren’t alternatives.  We have come a long way in the past few years. I remember my first meal as a vegan like it was yesterday: kidney beans, brown rice and kale. Nothing fancy and not that tasty. Some people need a little extra push.

Beyond Meat Pulled BBQ Chicken Sammies

And this is where we come in. Yes, the readers of Hold the Pigskin and countless other vegans have to put on their Sunday best and show the world vegan food is downright amazing. It won’t be that hard with the help of innovative companies making awesome plant based foods. You know I am a huge fan of Field Roast, the artisan grain meat company in Seattle. Beyond Meat makes some awesome chicken strips and beef crumbles.  Miyoko’s Kitchen has hand crafted cheeses fit for the finest wine and cheese party. These folks and others are pushing the envelope and delighting our taste buds. Who wouldn’t want a seat at this table?

beets · daiya cheese · grilling · tempeh · vegan · veggie burgers · vital wheat gluten · vitamix

Veggie Burger Off 2014: Beet Bacon Cheeseburgers

Week 9 Browns vs. Ravens

The last time the Browns beat Baltimore I was a senior in college.  11 straight losses and a Super Bowl win later, the Ravens came to town in a much-hyped matchup. A 4:30 game meant the tailgate had “bonus hours.”  Add that to a bonus hour from daylight savings time and we had a recipe for an amazing tailgate.  A great time to hold the annual Veggie Burger Off, where I ask all vegans to bring their best veggie burger to grill.

Last year’s edition of the Veggie Burger Off ended in bitter disappointment for me, as my friend Rob stole the show with his Spicy Bean Burgers.  This year I was determined not to drop the ball.

Many people in Ohio and beyond claim that Northstar Cafe in Columbus has the best veggie burgers.  They are made with beets, black beans and brown rice for a meaty texture and unbelievably simple and delicious flavor.  My intention for the veggie burger off was replicate it and then take it to another level.  Instead of just black beans, I used red kidney beans.  I also topped it off with some tempeh bacon and melty daiya provolone cheese slices.  A recipe for success… Enjoy!


Gator wanted me to drop something!
  • 1 lb. beets, roasted
  • 1/2 dry brown rice, cooked (slightly mushy)
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 cup dried black beans, cooked (or use 1 can)
  • 1/2 cup dried kidney beans, cooked (or use 1 can)
  • 1/4 cup prunes, chopped small
  • 2 tbsp. mustard of choice
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp. ground flax mixed in 3 tbsp. hot water)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package tempeh bacon (I used Lightlife Brand Organic Smokey Tempeh Strips)
  • 1 package Daiya Provolone Deli Slices 
  • Buns
  1. Wash beets, remove greens and wrap tightly in foil.  Roast at 425 for about an hour.  Let cool in the foil packet so skin loosens.  
    1. Meanwhile, sauteé onion for 10 minutes over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauteé for another minute.
    2. Pour half of the beans into a food processor or vita-mix.  Add the prunes and pulse.  You want to chop the beans but you don’t want to blend them.  

      Looks gooooood
    3. Peel and grate the beets once they are cooled.  Pressed the beet shavings into a colander and drain as much juice as possible (I had a shot of beet juice left over!)
    4. Add the onion/garlic mix, beans (both chopped and whole), beets, vinegar, mustard and spices to a large bowl.  Mix.
      1. Then add wheat gluten and flax egg.  Mix again.
      2. Put it in the fridge over night or at least an hour to set.
      3. When your ready to grill, wrap the tempeh bacon in foil and poke a few holes.  Place it on the hot part of the grill for 15 minutes. 
      4. Meanwhile, form the patties and place on a well oiled grill grate.  Cook 5 minutes each side.
      5. Once you flip the burgers, place a slice of provolone on top.  
      6. Assemble your burger and enjoy!
      Wrap tight!
      Hot beets
      Bean chop
      Veggie burgers on the grill
      Award winning
      Mmmmm yum!
      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!

      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.
      cole slaw · grilling · lentils · peanut butter · vegan · veggie burgers

      VB (Veggie Burger) Sneak: Lentil-Mushroom Burgers with Peanut Butter Relish Slaw, Roasted Garlic Aioli, and Whiskey BBQ

      Week 6: Browns vs. Bengals

      Veggie Burger Cook Off, 2012 edition (Note: There were two other entries into this year’s cook off and I will have one of the other recipes posted later this week).

      I wouldn’t sneak a veggie burger or any vegan dish on anyone.  But I think this recipe is so good that meat eaters will have no idea they are eating a burger made entirely of whole, plant-based foods.  It comes from Scott Jurek, a vegan ultramarthoner and author of Eat & Run.  He is role model for all vegan (and non-vegan) athletes who look for an extra edge by eating a plant-based diet.

      The most common question I get is “what holds this together?” Scott’s recipe holds up well on the grill, which is key for any homemade veggie burger recipe.  A lot of cooking is trial and error.  Just like athletic events or anything challenging in life, if you fail, dust yourself off and try again.  The Browns winning today after dropping 11 in a row is a testament to that.  Making a veggie burger is similar, and you might fail the first couple of times.  However, if you follow the directions below, it will stick together very well on the grill.

      Lentil-Mushroom Burger

      • 1 cup dried green lentils (2 1⁄4 cups cooked)
      • 2 1⁄2 cups water
      • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
      • Dash black pepper
      • A few drops of liquid smoke (optional)
      • 3 garlic cloves, minced (a garlic press is a kitchen must have)
      • One large onion finely chopped
      • 3⁄4 cup finely chopped walnuts
      • 2 cups fine bread crumbs (I use Ian’s brand)
      • 1⁄2 cup ground flax seed (flax seed meal) 
      • 3 cups finely chopped portobello mushrooms (about 2 large caps)
      • 1 1⁄2 cups destemmed, finely chopped kale, spinach, or winter greens
      • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
      • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
      • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
      • Dash sea salt
      • Dash black pepper
      • Dash paprika
      • Note: for buns I use Ezikiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Burger Buns which pack a whopping 9 grams or protein per bun! 
      Bring the lentils, water, parsley, 1/4 of the onion and one of the garlic gloves to a boil.  Simmer for a half hour or until the lentils easily mush.  Add a dash of black pepper and a few drops of liquid smoke then mash together. Set aside to cool.
      Lentils, by themselves, don’t look that appetizing!
      Meanwhile, sautee the rest of the onions, mushrooms, kale and rest of the garlic.  Cook until soft and fragrant  about 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
      Sauteed veggies
      Add the bread crumbs, flax seed meal, walnuts,  and nutrional yeast to a large bowl.  Season with salt, pepper and paprika.  Mix well and then add the lentils and veggie mix.  Combine well (this gets a little messy!) and put in the fridge to cool.  
      Mix with your hands!
      Girl, look at that patty
      You can leave it as is and make patties at the tailgate or you can make the patties ahead of time.  Throw them on the grill for about 5 minutes on each side.
      Patties on the tailgate
      A litte burnt, but it doesn’t matter!
      Peanut Butter Relish Slaw (from “Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites,” by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman.  Their book, “The Complete Guide for Vegan Food Substitutions,” is also a good one.)
      • 12 oz shredded coleslaw (I used purple and green cabbage and carrots)
      • 1 cup sweet pickle relish
      • 1/3 crunchy peanut butter (any excuse to use peanut butter in a recipe and I’m game)
      • 1 tablespoon capers (What the hell are capers?)
      • 2 tablespoons brine from capers 
      • 1 tablespoon dijon or stone ground mustard
      • Healthy shake of red pepper flakes
      Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix very well.  Place in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably overnight.  It may look a little dry at first but after it chills it gets saucy.  
      You’d never think these ingredients go together
      Saucy indeed
      Roasted Garlic Aioli (You could use standard condiments, but what’s the fun in that?!)
      • 1/2 cup veganaise
      • 1 head of garlic, roasted (I do this ALL THE TIME)
      • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon)
      • Salt and pepper to taste
      • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
      Chop off the top of the garlic head so the cloves are just exposed.  Drizzle with a bit of oil, wrap in foil and bake for 45 minutes at 400.  Alternatively, you could peel all the cloves and bake in a rammekin with olive oil for 45 minutes.  Then drain the oil for later use (dipping bread, salad dressing etc.).
      Press the garlic through a garlic press and combine with other ingredients.  Chill in the fridge.
      Whiskey BBQ (also from “Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites“)
      • 1 medium sized yellow onion
      • 4 cloves garlic
      • 1 can tomato sauce
      • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
      • 1/4 cup grape jelly
      • 1/2 cup brown sugar
      • 2 tablespoons Sriracha (god’s gift to mankind)
      • 1/4 cup whiskey (or white vinegar if you don’t have any)
      • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
      • 2 tablespoons dijon mustart
      • Salt and pepper to taste
      Sautee the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until translucent.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for a half hour.  Take of the lid a simmer for a few more minutes.  This keeps well in the fridge so you can make ahead of time.  
      Here is the final product!

      Gimmie a bite. There may or may not be roasted red peppers involved.

      Burger photo shoot