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Brandon Waller of Bam’s Vegan Shares Recipes Fit for the Thanksgiving Table (or Everyday)

Battered and fried oyster mushrooms, smashed garlic potatoes with black pepper gravy, and more comforting vegan dishes to make for the holidays.
Brandon Waller / Courtesy Bam’s Vegan
As we ready the holiday table for Thanksgiving—and all the family and friend happenings from now until the new year—we’re dusting off old recipes. Many of the tried-and-true ones will do, surely. But for those who adhere to a more plant-based diet, Thanksgiving recipes can be heavy on the meat and dairy. Brandon Waller’s recipes, though, bring big and bold flavors and scratch that comfort food itch while being totally vegan.

“You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy this meal,” says Waller, who owns Bam’s Vegan and Bam’s Vegan Smoothies and Wraps. “I think my inspiration was like, ‘How can I still grab somebody who doesn’t want to be vegan or who doesn’t want to go by that stereotype…and make something that they’ll enjoy?’”

Waller, who’s followed a plant-based diet for five or more years now, says he doesn’t advocate for people to go full vegan. “Life’s about balance,” he advises. So perhaps these four recipes (below) pulled from his self-published e-cookbook Short Sunday will inspire some balance this holiday season.

Keep an eye out for a grand re-opening of Bam’s Smoothies and Wraps (2301 N O’Connor Rd, Irving. Follow along @bamsvegansw for updates) in January 2022. The bodega-style shop is stocked with plant-based ingredients, products, hot food items, and grab-and-go meals.

I asked Waller for any parting words of advice to making magic in the kitchen: “I would just say to, like, sit back, reflect and just be at peace and just kind of get away from the angst of the world for at least a day.” And you can do just that in the kitchen.

Tenders, Taters, Gravy, and Green Beans


Oyster “Tenders”

Oyster mushrooms act as the “tenders” in this recipe. Paired with the pepper gravy, reminds Waller of meals he had as a little one. Crispy oyster mushrooms battered to perfection and served with sautéed green beans, smashed red pepper gravy.

1 pound oyster mushrooms
Buttermilk Breading Combo Mix (see below)

Batter the fresh oyster mushrooms according to the Buttermilk Breading Combo Mix directions. Heat oil to 350ºF in a large cast iron skillet or frying pan. Make sure it’s enough oil to fully submerge the mushrooms. Deep fry until golden brown. This should take about 4 to 6 minutes.

Note: Letting the oyster mushrooms sit on a grated cooling rack after you bread them ensures they’re crispy by keeping the flour adhered. 

Buttermilk Breading Combo Mix

Wet Batter
2 cups soy milk (or any other plant-based milk)
2 Tbsp Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Cajun season
Dash sea salt and pepper

Dry Mix
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp granulated garlic
2 Tbsp granulated onion
1 heaping tsp tapioca starch
1 Tbsp Bam’s Blackened Seasoning (see below)
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 Tbsp fried oregano
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp each salt and pepper (or to taste)

Grab two mixing bowls. Combine all wet batter ingredients in one bowl and set aside. (The apple cider vinegar will “curdle” to make a buttermilk.)  In the second bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Next, double-batter the mushrooms. Dredge in wet batter, then transfer to dry batter and fully coat. Do this twice. Set aside on wire rack for a couple of minutes to let the gluten form, ensuring a crispier coating. Then deep-fry in 350ºF oil in a cast iron pan, 4 to 6 minutes.

Bam’s Blacked Seasoning
3 Tbsp smoked paprika
3 Tbsp granulated garlic
3 Tbsp granulated onion
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp dried thyme
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp pink salt

Combine all ingredients together. Store in container for occasional use.

Black Pepper Gravy

1/4 cup vegan butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups soy milk
1 tsp salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Melt vegan butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add in your flour and whisk with the vegan butter to form a roux. Stir together carefully for about 3 to 4 minutes. This helps develop the color of the gravy. Slowly add in room temperature soy milk. Continue to whisk and watch it for the next 5 to 6 minutes as it cooks.

Add in sals and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Remove from heat and serve.

Garlic Smashed Red Potatoes

6-8 medium red potatoes (quartered)
1/3 cup vegan butter
4 whole cloves of roasted garlic
4 oz vegan cream cheese
Plant-based milk (as needed)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut the top from the head of garlic and drizzle grape seed oil over it. Wrap in foil and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes. (You can prepare this ahead of time and store it in the fridge.)

In a medium stock pot, place quartered potatoes and cover with cold water. Add a generous amount of salt. Cover and boil over medium high heat for about 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain well.

Add potatoes, roasted garlic, butter, and vegan cream cheese to a large mixing bowl. Mash until combined. Add in plant-based milk as necessary to get it to your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Blackened Green Beans

1 pound trimmed green beans
1/2 onion (sliced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp Bam’s Blackened Seasoning (plus more to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat, then heat 2 Tbsp of grape seed oil. Add onions and sauté the onions for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in your fresh green beans, cover and cook for about 2 minutes. Add in your blackened seasoning and garlic. Mix well and cover for another 2 minutes.

Stir until everything looks delectable and delicious. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.