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. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

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!


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)

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

8 Hoagie rolls

-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!