Grilled Romaine Bowl

Grilled Romaine Bowl

Grilled Romaine Bowl, Epic Vegan cookbook by Dustin Harder, Photography by Ashley Madden

Are you into playing with your food? Epic Vegan does just that, encouraging home cooks to think outside of the box. Author Dustin Harder, host and creator of the original vegan travel culinary series, The Vegan Roadie, is your culinary coordinator for the adventure ahead, sharing recipes that everyone from beginner cooks to experienced chefs can create at home.

How does it work? Recipes are built from the ground up, so you can stop at just the biscuit, or go beyond to the Deep Dish Brunch Pizza with Garlicky Cheddar Biscuit Crust—the choice is yours! Also included are recreations of fast-food classics, like Norito’s Los Tacos and Cray Cray Bread (you know you can’t resist). Every creation is a flavour sensation guaranteed to wow your friends and your taste buds. The level of indulgence is up to you to decide!

What does an Epic Vegan recipe sound like? Here are just a few examples:

  • Festive Cheesy Spinach Bread
  • Savoury Cheddar Fondu Waffle Bowl
  • Monte Cristo Rolls
  • Crab Rangoon Pizza
  • Double Stacked Cookie Dough Cake
  • Bacon Macaroni and Cheese Blue Burger
  • Hushpuppy Phish Filet Sandwich
  • Pumpkin Cream Cheese Latte Shake
  • Grilled Romaine Bowl
  • Cheesesteak Baked Potato Bowl
  • Fried Chicken n Waffle Benedict Sandwich
  • Stuffed Crust Meatball Parm Pizza
  • Almost Famous Buffalo Chicken Lasagna
  • Churro Cup Sundaes

Epic Vegan offers a choose-your-own-adventure approach for you to become a kitchen warrior in your own home, your own way. Playing with your food has never been more fun, or more epic!

Epic Vegan


Epic Vegan: Wild and Over-the-Top Plant-Based Recipesis
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Grilled Romaine Bowl with White BBQ Sauce

(Epic Vegan, p. 148)

I’ve been waiting to share this delicious salad with the world, and I’m thrilled to bring its epicness to these pages! The crispy, charred romaine paired with the sweet and crunchy pepper and corn, doused in the tangy BBQ sauce, has won over many dinner guests at events that I have been the chef for in New York City.

The white BBQ sauce is a product of the South and always fascinates northerners; paired with the smoky Quinoa Bacon Bits, it is a dish that surprises and delights every time! Serve as a main dish or an appetizer (see Tip). If you have access to a grill, skip the step of searing the romaine halves in a pan and grill those suckers until they have those beautiful charred grill marks.

4 teaspoons (20 ml) olive oil, divided

3 romaine hearts, halved, cut to size (see Tip)

½ cup White BBQ Sauce (page 48)

1 cup (164 g) corn, frozen or fresh

½ red bell pepper, uniformly diced small

3 tablespoons Quinoa Bacon Bits (page 14)

21 Cornbread Croutons (page 62)

2 scallions, chopped

Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 romaine heart halves, cut-side down, and sear 2 to 4 minutes, or until the cut sides start to char; remove from the skillet and set aside. Repeat with 1 teaspoon of oil and 2 romaine halves at a time.

Add the last teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet. Sauté the corn for 6 to 8 minutes, tossing occasionally until lightly charred.

Build each bowl by placing 2 romaine halves, cut-sides up, crisscrossing over each other in a bowl. Drizzle with 2 heaping tablespoons (32 g) BBQ sauce and sprinkle with ¼ cup (41g) corn, 1⁄3 of the bell pepper, and 1 tablespoon (10 g) bacon bits. Place 7 croutons in the bowl, and garnish with a sprinkle of scallions.

Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Yield: 3 main-dish salads or 6 appetizer salads



The romaine hearts should fit in a large shallow bowl crisscrossed over each other. Before grilling, size them to the bowl by cutting off any overflow from the top, maintaining the pointy shape of a romaine heart (rather than just lopping off the top). While this serves 3, it could easily serve 6 as an appetizer with 1 romaine half served on a single long plate; just divide the remaining ingredients 6 ways.


(Epic Vegan, p. 62)

I was working on a pop-up dinner and needed something for an over-the-top grilled salad featuring corn. I wanted cornbread, but I didn’t want it to be a basic slab of cornbread, so I created a super simple cornbread crouton. This tasty morsel delivers just the right bit of savoury crunch to any salad (or soup!). And if you feel more like being “basic,” there’s no judgment here! See the Tip for how to make a basic cornbread fit for any occasion.

1½ cups (210 g) stone-ground yellow cornmeal

1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons (78 g) organic cane sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1½ teaspoons sea salt, divided

2 cups (475 ml) unsweetened soy or almond milk

1 tablespoon (15 ml) apple cider vinegar

1⁄3 cup (79 ml) canola oil

¼ cup (55 g) vegan butter, melted

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6). Line a shallow 16 x 12-inch (40 x 30-cm) baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Add the milk, vinegar, and canola oil. Whisk until everything is just incorporated; do not overmix. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14 to16 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to brown.

While the cornbread bakes, combine the butter, pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a bowl and mix well.

Remove the cornbread from the oven and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes, or desired size. Transfer the cubes to a bowl, drizzle with the butter mixture, and toss until well coated. Transfer back to the parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for 4 to 6 minutes, or until browned and crispy.

Yield: about 6 cups (1,207 g) croutons


To make classic cornbread, follow the instructions as written, but bake in a lightly greased 8-inch (20-cm) square baking pan for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the edges start to brown and the top cracks. Omit the final butter-salt pepper step and cut into 16 pieces.

(Epic Vegan, p. 14)

BACON! Even vegans are obsessed with it. Because I enjoy smoky flavours in my meals, I created these bacon bits particularly for the Loaded Baked Potato Soup on page 140, but you will find use for them in several other recipes in this book! I also like to have them on hand to sprinkle over salads, soups, or even in sandwiches.

1 cup (185 g) cooked quinoa

1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce

1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

2 teaspoons (10 g) ketchup

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

In a medium bowl, mix together the quinoa, soy sauce, olive oil, ketchup, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper until well combined.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat until it’s hot. Add the quinoa mixture and spread in one layer. Cook 3 minutes, undisturbed (it will be hard to resist!). Using a spatula, scrape the quinoa off the bottom of the skillet, mix it around, and spread it in another single layer. Cook an additional 3 minutes.

Transfer the quinoa to a bowl, scraping the skillet to get any crispy stubborn bits off. Store cooled bacon bits in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Yield: 1 cup (160 g)


The quinoa will not necessarily crisp up when in the skillet; you might luck out and get some crispy pieces, but the purpose of this step is to dry out the quinoa a bit and release some of the robust flavours.


(Epic Vegan, p. 48)

For White BBQ Sauce:

1 cup (225 g) vegan mayonnaise

2 tablespoons (30 g) prepared horseradish

2 tablespoons (28 ml) agave

1 tablespoon (15 ml) distilled white vinegar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

To make the white BBQ sauce: In a high-speed blender, combine the mayonnaise, horseradish, agave, vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.

Store both sauces in sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Yield: 1¼ cups (440 g) red, 1¼ cups (287 g) white


Blenders and heat don’t mix! Either let the mixture cool completely before transferring to the blender, or remove the plug from the top of the blender and cover with a towel. Start blending on low and increase the speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy

Recipe reprinted with permission from Fair Winds Press.

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