Sunday, October 4, 2015

BuffaNoChicken Dip

Week 3 Browns vs. Raiders

BuffaNoChicken Dip
Early season tailgates are the best. The shores of Lake Erie delivered another perfect fall day. Hold the Pigskin hosted another big crowd including the one who penned the name of the blog, Nick Harper. Nick loves him buffalo flavored anything, so I figured it was time to recreate an American classic: buffalo chicken dip.

There is nothing healthy about this dip, which is probably why it tastes so good. Vegan cream cheese, sour cream and cheese. Two packages of shredded Beyond Meat chicken strips. An entire bottle of Frank's Red Hot. My mouth just starts salivating recapping those ingredients.

The Beyond Chicken makes this dish special. The self-
proclaimed "future of protein," now has a roster of sports stars endorsing their product. Made with non-gmo soy and pea protein, the chicken also has some great flavor and shreds perfectly. Do not use another brand when making this dish!

One final tip before I get into the recipe. Invest in a cast iron pot so you can make this dish on the grill. The unvieling off the grill will draw ooh's and ah's from the crowd.  Enjoy!
Nick was pestering me all week for this recipe. Sorry for the delay!
  • 1 1/2 lbs shredded Beyond Chicken
  • 1 12-oz bottle Frank’s Hot Wing Sauce (DO NOT substitute Tabasco whatever you do. Be careful, Frank's "Buffalo" sauce has dairy in it.)
  • 8 ounces vegan cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces (half a bottle) vegan Ranch dressing or sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion
  • 4 ounces vegan shredded cheddar cheese
  • Grilled pita and/or celery sticks for dipping

  1. In a cast iron dish, spread out the chicken and pour the wing sauce over. Mix well and spread out, covering the entire bottom of the dish.
  2. In a medium sized saucepot, combine the cream cheese and ranch dressing.  Whisk while heating until smooth. You don’t want any cream cheese clumps!
  3. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the chicken and spread out. Sprinkle the celery and green onion on top. Grill with tight lid for fifteen minutes.
  4. After fifteen minutes, sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top and continue baking for another ten to fifteen minutes, or until the cheese has melted and is bubbling. Remove from heat and let sit for ten minutes. Stir well and serve with grilled pita and celery sticks.
Shredded Beyond Chicken
In with the Frank's!
Melted cream cheese and sour cream
Creamy goodness
Toss on some greenery
After 15 minutes, add the cheese. Look at the bubbles!
Heavenly dip

Friday, September 25, 2015

Vegan Grilled Breakfast Sandwiches

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:
    • 1/3 cup tablespoon vinegar (any kind but Balsamic)
    • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or less, if using ground mustard powder)
    • 1/3 cup tablespoons nutritional yeast
    • 1 tablespoon turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • Sriracha Maple sauce
      1 teaspoon black salt (Kala Namak is a must!)
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • dash of white pepper
    • 6 sandwich-sized slab of extra-firm tofu, cut into circles
    • Rest of sandwich:

      1. The tofu should marinate AT LEAST overnight, then the rest of the recipe takes under 10 minutes to execute. 
      2. 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!
      3. Tofu butcher is in the house!
        Prepare the grill for direct heat.
      4. 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. 
      5. 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. 
      6. 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! 

      Eat me!

      Wednesday, July 29, 2015

      Hold the Pigskin Unveils New Logo

      Cleveland, OH - With the goal to "honor tradition and provide modern edge," the vegan tailgate blog revealed a new logo today on the eve of training camp 2015.

      The likeness of Brownie, the famed elf, is mashed with Popeye the Sailor Man, the spinach guzzling cartoon whose physical strength immediately becomes superhuman upon eating leafy greens.

      While the website didn't undergo an expansive (and expensive) "two-year revamping project," the new logo drew rave reviews from fans of the site.

      A proud father, Adam, Erin and Chris enjoying a vegan sausage
      "That logo is AMAZING!" said Nick Harper of Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Harper also happens to be the creative brain trust behind the name "Hold the Pigskin."

      "That is the coolest thing I've ever seen! When can I make it my background?" chimed Chris Sheeks, a game-day regular.

      Requests have poured in for t-shirts, aprons and other memorabilia with the new logo and should be coming soon. Those who want merchandise should fill out this form to be included in the first batch.

      Other intricate details of the logo, drawn by Cleveland artist and designer Shawn T. Gray, include a carrot football with green leaves protruding from the bottom of the "carrot skin" and a flaming grill to symbolize the epic tailgates.

      We went a little further than this!
      Unfortunately, this logo rollout didn't come with huge party at the convention center or utilize focus groups and surveys, but the impact on the brand is unmistakable. "This is a total game-changer," said website operator and head chef Adam Rosen. "Hold The Pigskin is now firmly on the map as a vegan destination event for plant-based tailgaters around the world."

      The vegan tailgate season opens Sunday, September 20th in the Muni Lot when the Browns take on the Tennessee Titans. Expect some other exciting additions to the tailgate this year in addition to the new logo. Stay tuned! #btlerie

      Tuesday, February 3, 2015

      Jo Jo Potato Poutine, The Akron Vegan Way

      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
      Crumbled sausage
      MMMMM graaaaavyyy

      Jo Jo's
      The final product

      Monday, February 2, 2015

      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


      • 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.

      Sunday, January 18, 2015

      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!!

      Wednesday, November 19, 2014

      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.