Tag Archives: nick tahou

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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Meatless Rochester-style Meat Hot Sauce

In the Western New York city of Rochester, ordering hot sauce on an item will often get you something you may not have expected — a meat-based spicy “sauce” that more closely resembles chili without the beans and veggies. It’s mostly found in Rochester’s “hots” restaurants — greasy spoon joints that serve hot dogs, burgers, and other picnic-type menu items.

In Rochester, we celebrate this hot sauce by slathering it on everything from burgers and dogs to macaroni salad, french fries, and even omelets. So you could imagine how a meat-eater turned plant-based guy like me would be on a mission to “veganize” this regional specialty.

So yeah, I did it. And yeah, I served it to local meat eaters. And yeah, they came back for more!

This recipe is based off the original Nick Tahou’s meat sauce recipe but uses no meat, no oil, and is completely plant-based. Try it on my Ultimate Oil-Free Vegan Garbage Plate!

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