Lunch

The Ultimate Oil-Free Vegan Garbage Plate

For those who weren’t aware (or were thrown off by the Phillies cap), I’m from Rochester, NY. If you’re from the Western NY area or have ever visited, it’s likely you’ve been introduced to, or at least heard of, the Garbage Plate. The dish began at the famous Nick Tahou Hots in Rochester and has become a local delicacy for wobbly patrons stumbling out of local bars at 2am, as well as famished foodies who can’t get enough of this pile of picnic provisions.

While the term “Garbage Plate” is reserved for official menu items from Nick’s, variations exist at nearly every greasy spoon or burger joint in the area — trash plate, rubbish plate, sloppy plate, or just plain “plate.” If you say “plate” here, everyone knows what you mean. There’s even a local vegan restaurant with a Compost Plate and an upscale restaurant with a Plat De Refuse — be sure to stick your nose in the air when you say that one.

Ok so I’m not from there. What the hell is a Garbage Plate?

So glad you asked! A traditional Garbage Plate starts with a thick paper plate or styrofoam takeout container. On it, you’ll find a heap made up of two selections from the following: home fries, french fries, macaroni salad, or baked beans. On top of that, you’ll normally have two hot dogs (red or white), two hamburgers, two cheeseburgers, or any combination of those. There are more options for the protein (sausage, chicken, even fish and more) but those are the most common. Finally and most importantly are the condiments — deli mustard, diced onions, and a ton of Rochester-style meat hot sauce. If you want ketchup, at Nick’s you have to add it yourself. Oh yeah, and you get two slices of stale Italian bread with it — that is literally stored behind the counter in a black garbage bag. Thanks to this awful bread, I’m fairly certain Rochester leads the nation in discarded slices of bread per capita.

So it probably goes without saying that the Garbage Plate is super unhealthy, albeit delicious, so after switching my diet to whole food plant-based (WFPB), I was determined to recreate this local phenomenon as WFPB-compliant as possible.

So after some tinkering and quite a bit of sampling, I present to you the KevCooksPlants version — the Plant-Based Plate!

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Perfect Plant-Based Oil-Free Caesar Dressing

I love Caesar salad and so does my wife. Up until now, I really missed it. I tried several recipes for vegan Caesar dressing I found online, but they either had oil in them (which I left out) or just didn’t cut it. Some were cashew-based, some were tofu-based, and one was even hummus-based.

None of them worked. The consistency wasn’t right, or the flavor, or both. Then my genius of a wife said to me one day, “Why don’t you try to use plant-based yogurt? You used to use a yogurt Caesar dressing before we were plant-based. Try that.”

LIGHT BULB –> BOOM.

Immediately I looked for a yogurt-based Caesar dressing online and began “veganizing it” to fit the WFPB diet. After a couple iterations and some tweaking, it’s here — The Perfect Plant-Based Oil-Free Caesar Dressing.

We’re now having fresh Caesar salads a few times a week either as a full meal at lunch time or as a side at dinner. I hope you love this as much as we do!

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Oil-Free Chickpea ‘Chicken’ Nuggets

This is one of our go-to kid-pleasing meals, as well as one of our “snacks for dinner” foods we pull out for Superbowl Sunday or New Year’s Eve. There are a bunch of similar “chicken” nugget recipes out there, but we like this one the best because of its texture and corn flake crumb coating. And they’re oil-free!

We love these nuggets because they’re crispy, delicious, and go great with your favorite dipping sauces like barbecue, honey mustard, honey, or even ketchup (why do kids put ketchup on EVERYTHING??).

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these as well. This is based on a recipe I found at Happy Herbivore.

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