It goes without saying that the food in Portland left an indelible mark on me. But there were two vegan food trucks in particular whose taste I constantly craved when we left – The Native Bowl and Homegrown Smoker. Here is my tribute to these two kick-ass Portland food trucks who inspired a creamy mac and cheese barbecue bowl revolution in my kitchen.
This bowl is a combination of The Native Bowl’s Mississippi Bowl and Homegrown Smoker’s Macnocheeto and is simple to put together. First, start off with your favorite vegan mac and cheese. I used Isa’s Chipotle mac and cheese recipe which is now my go-to mac and cheese recipe.
Next, put a layer of barbecue soy shreds, curls or even tempeh on top. I used these soy shreds which I pick up at my local Asian market. To prepare them, I soaked the dry soy shreds in water for about 20 minutes to soften, squeezed the water out and then pan-fried them up with a liberal dousing of barbecue sauce.
On top of that goes a layer of your favorite cole slaw. I made a quick sweet and tangy coleslaw by combining a bag of pre-cut cole slaw mix with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, sugar, a little olive oil and salt and pepper.
Next, add a generous handful of chopped green onions.
Then drizzle on some ranch dressing. I used Isa’s Sanctuary Dip recipe, but store bought also works. Or leave out the ranch dressing altogether if it’s not your jam (this is what Neal did).
And finally, dig in. You can stir it all up and make a beautiful mess or carefully dig through the layers like a geological surveyor. It tastes good either way! I’ve made several variations of this bowl swapping the barbecue soy shreds for sweet baked beans and the mac and cheese for rice.