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!
- 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)
- Pour hot water over the soy curls. Soak for 10 minutes and drain, pressing out addition water from the curls.
- Add the spices and let sit for an hour or over night.
- Prepare the grill for indirect heat. Place the smoker box on the coals.
- 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
- Boil a big pot of water and add the noodle. Drain and set aside.
- 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).
- 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!
- 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!
- 2 green peppers, cut in strips
- 1 onion, cut in strips
- 2 jalapeños
- Sandwich pickles