cashews · cheese · greens · jalapeno · mac and cheese · pasta · vitamix · weeknight

Weeknight Vegan Mac and Cheese

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

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

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.

field roast

We Are Vegan Meats!

My friends at Field Roast have outdone themselves with a new commercial that parodies the Arby’s meat commercials, some of which had poked fun at us vegans for eating “twig and berry sandwiches.” Clearly, the folks at the fast food chain have never had any Field Roast products or visited this blog!  The Field Roast rebuttal shows a massive 4 patty burger and an extra sloppy chili dog while touting the juicy vegan meats “meant for football and tailgating.”

I hated those Arby’s commercials and am glad Field Roast came up with something better. Their products are fantastic and I can’ wait to visit them this fall when the Browns play in Seattle. In the meantime, pick up some Field Roast for your Super Bowl party and you won’t be disappointed. Remember, we are VEGAN MEATS!!

grilling · instagram · jalapeno · mac and cheese · smoked · soy curls · Uncategorized · vegan

Smoked Soy Curl Vegan Mac and Cheese Sandwich

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!

Soy Curls

  • 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)

  1. Pour hot water over the soy curls. Soak for 10 minutes and drain, pressing out addition water from the curls.
  2. Add the spices and let sit for an hour or over night.
  3. Prepare the grill for indirect heat. Place the smoker box on the coals.
  4. 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

  1. Boil a big pot of water and add the noodle. Drain and set aside.
  2. 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).
  3. 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!
  4. 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!

  • Buns
  • 2 green peppers, cut in strips
  • 1 onion, cut in strips
  • 2 jalapeños
  • Sandwich pickles
  1. Toss the peppers and onions in the grill basket after the soy curls are done. Grill over direct heat for 7-8 minutes
  2. Then grill the buns
  3. 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. 

cashew cheese · cashews · cheese · grilling · liquid smoke · mushrooms · sandwich · smoked · tailgate · vegan · vital wheat gluten · vitamix

Grilled Vegan Cheesesteaks

Week 9 Browns v. Bucs

The vegan tailgate is going strong! Not to be confused with the Bucks of Ohio State, the Browns took on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past weekend in Cleveland. Perfect football weather made for perfect tailgate conditions. And the Brown won! The Browns have a winning record and this recipe was quite the crowd pleaser. 

This is another seitan recipe, so if you follow the blog you are basically an expert by now! It is my take on Philly Cheesesteaks, inspired by the Vegan Zombie. Everything, except the buns, is made from scratch, so you’ll need to set aside a few hours the night before the game to make everything. Also, this doesn’t have to be made in the parking lot and can be made at home very easily. Great for away games!

The key here is the tender, thinly shaved seitan and homemade herbed cashew cheese.  They pair together very well with grilled marinated peppers, onions and mushrooms. Load these sandwiches up the brim and expect a mess. We used a little BBQ or Sriracha on top and served alongside a roasted cauliflower and peanut salad with peanut dressing. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Seitan dry ingredients:

The seitan after baking for 90 minutes in homemade stock

1 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp turmeric



Seitan wet ingredients:



1 cup vegetable stock
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp liquid smoke

2 cloves of shredded garlic

Ground pepper to taste



Stock for seitan:

1 1/2 cup vegetable stock

1 diced onion

4 smashed cloves garlic

2 bay leaves

1/4 agave nectar

1 tsp chili powder

1 tbsp dried parsley

1/2 bunch of fresh thyme

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp molasses

2 cups water



Herbed cashew cheese:

Herbed cashew cheese block


1 cup cashews raw

1-1/2 cups water (and more if you need to soak your nuts)

2 tsp agar agar powder OR 2 tbsp agar agar flakes (this can be hard to find but most health food stores carry it)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tsp smoked salt (or just regular salt)

1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 cup fresh herbs (I used basil and oregano)



Veggies:

3 bell peppers
2 medium onions
8 oz. mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. Fresh herbs (I used thyme and oregano)
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. agave nectar
1 tbsp. rice vinegar


AND:
8 Hoagie rolls

Directions
-Preheat the oven to 375
-Combine the wet and dry ingredients and form a dough. Roll into a log and place in a covered casserole dish (I used a roasting pan)

-Bring all the ingredients for the stock to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes

-Pour the stock in casserole dish to cover seitan. Cover and bake 375 for 45 minutes (Note: baste the seitan if it didn’t quite cover it every 20 minutes or so). Then flip seitan and continue to cook for 45 hour uncovered.
-Meanwhile make the cheese: Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan and add the agar agar. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Turn down the heat to simmer and cook another 5 minutes, stirring constantly until the agar is dissolved completely.

-Put the cashews into the blender with all the remaining ingredients. Pour in the agar mixture and Blend on high until very smooth.

-Pour into a glass dish or non-stick pan (if you think it will stick then spray with vegetable oil.) Refrigerate until firm. Remove the cheese by running a knife or spatula around the edge and it will pop out of the container.
-For the veggies, slice the peppers, onions, mushrooms and garlic and place in a sealed bag or container. Add lime juice, soy sauce, agave, rice vinegar and herbs and let marinate until ready to grill.
-Once the seitan is done, let cool and wrap up in foil, along with cheese, until its tailgate time.
-Grill the peppers, onions and mushrooms until charred. Set aside
-Shave the seitan using a grater or sharp knife. Grill in a grill pan or cast iron skillet.

-Grate this cheese using a box grater. toss on the seitan in the last few minutes to soften.
-Toast the buns on the grill and assemble the sandwiches to your liking







Marinating the veggies the night before






Grilled veggies

Shredded seitan
I used my cast iron skillet on the grill
The sandwiches can be served with your favorite side dish
Ready to take a bite!





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!


Ingredients

  • 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
Directions
  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?

cole slaw · mushrooms · peanuts · tempeh · teriyaki · vegan

Teriyaki Tempeh ‘Ritos

Week 3 Browns vs. Ravens

Momentum was in the Browns favor after the big upset win last week and the weather held off for another perfect tailgate. Unfortunately, the Browns lost in typical Browns fashion despite being the better team. The vegans really ended up winning the day with amazing eats and you can find the recipes below.

Tempeh, much like tofu, absorbs flavor really well. I allowed the tempeh to marinate in a homemade teriyaki for 36 hours before tossing on the grill. Tempeh holds up quite well on the grill even when soaked with a marinade.

I paired the tempeh with grilled portobello and pineapple. I simply glazed them with the leftover marinade from the tempeh. The beauty of not using meat! The marinade can be reserved and used for other purposes.

Also, the burrito is a great vessel for the grill. It crisps up nicely. Erin, the wrapping queen put these together and loaded them peanut slaw, more teriyaki and peanut sauce. Enjoy!

Teriyaki Tempeh
Ingredients 
  • 2 packages tempeh (16 oz.)
  • 1 1/2 cup soy sauce, bragg’s or tamari
  • 1/2 cup rice wine, sake, or mirin
  • 1 cup water plus 1/4 cup water
  • ½ cup agave nectar or brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 head garlic, pressed
  • 2 tbsp. minced ginger root
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch

Directions
  1. Whisk all the ingredients except for 1/4 cup water and corn starch in a sauce pot
  2. Simmer over low-medium heat, until reduced by about half (20-30 minutes, or so)
  3. Cover the tempeh with about 1/2 of the sauce. Cover and refrigerate overnight 
  4. Make a glaze with the remaining sauce. Mix 2 tablespoon cornstarch with ¼ cup tablespoon water. Heat sauce on medium high heat and add cornstarch water mixture. Simmer until thickened.

Peanut Sauce
½ cup PB2
¼ cup Soy sauce
¼ cup Water
1/2 tsp. Garlic powder
1 tsp. Ground pepper
1/2 tsp. Szechwan chili sauce
1 tbsp.  brown sugar 
Mix well!
Curried Peanut Slaw
Ingredients
  • 30 ounces of slaw (half or purple and green cabbage and 4 carrots), shredded
  • 3 tablespoon natural peanut butter or other nut butter
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon stevia, or other sweetener to taste
  • roasted peanuts for garnish

Directions
  1. Place the shredded slaw into big serving bowl.
  2. Put the nut butter into a small bowl and whisk in the pineapple juice. Add the vinegar, curry powder, and red pepper flakes. Check the flavor and add stevia or other sweetener to taste. 
  3. Pour over slaw and mix well.
  4. Refrigerate over night. Garnish with peanuts before serving.
‘Ritos!
Ingredients
  • Teriyaki tempeh, curried peanut slaw and peanut sauce (above)
  • 5 portobello mushrooms
  • 1 pineapple, sliced vertically
  • 12 burrito wraps
Directions
  1. Grill the tempeh, mushrooms and pineapple. Brush with teriyaki during grilling
  2. Slice the tempeh, mushrooms and pineapple. Place in the center of a wrap and top with slaw and peanut sauce
  3. Throw the rito back on the grill for a couple minutes to heat.
  4. Serve with more slaw and sauces on the side.