Vegetarian Garbage Plate (oh, yes I did!)

9 10 2010

I went to college in Rochester, NY, and if you are from upstate New York you are likely all too familiar with this unique regional dish. It usually involves a heap of mac salad, a heap of home fries, topped with 2 cheeseburgers, a hot chili meat sauce and then mustard and chopped onions. Since I realized I’ll never be able to go back and relive my college days with this dish (it’s pretty much meat and fat, through and through), I decided to create my own veg-friendly garbage plate. If you ever feel adventurous, give it a try!

garbage plate


Alexia Foods Yukon Gold frozen french fries
•homemade mac salad (wheat macaroni, organic canola mayonnaise, red onion, green bell pepper, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley)
•2 homemade veggie burgers
•2 sandwich slices of cheddar cheese
•vegetarian chorizo hot sauce (see recipe below)
•red onion, finely chopped
•brown mustard


garbage plate 11. Bake french fries according to directions.
2. Heat veggie burgers and top with cheese so it starts to melt.
3. Pile french fries and mac salad so they each take up half a large plate or bowl.
4. Top with the veggie cheeseburgers, spoon a hefty portion of the chorizo sauce on top, and then garnish with mustard and onions.

Sauce Ingredients:

•2 Tbs butter
•1 Tbs vegetable oil
•4 cloves garlic
•1/2 red onion, finely chopped
•12 oz chorizo style Smart Sausages, diced
•1 Tbs chili powder
•a pinch of kosher salt
•2 tsp fresh ground pepper
•cayenne pepper to taste
•15 oz can chopped tomatoes

Sauce Directions:

1. Heat butter and oil in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and onion and sauté until they become soft.
garbage plate 22. Add chorizo and cook over medium-high heat until thoroughly browned (about 5 minutes). The sausage will start to fall apart – this is a good thing considering original garbage plate sauce is made with ground beef. In the end, you want a chili-like consistency.
3. Add seasoning and brown another 2 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat. Adjust seasoning to taste, as needed.


•A traditional garbage plate has lots of options. Instead of french fries and mac salad, you can replace one or both with home fries or baked beans. And instead of cheeseburgers, you can serve with hotdogs, Italian sausage, chicken tenders, grilled cheese or eggs. Try your own combinations!
•This meal is scientifically proven to cure hangovers.
•Most importantly, DO NOT EAT THIS OFTEN!




4 responses

17 11 2013
Michael Berry

For a more authentic sauce you should try this recipe:

Nick Tahou’s “Meat” Sauce Recipe (Vegetarian Version)
Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes | Active Time: 20 mintues | Makes: enough for about 20 hot dogs, hamburgers, or 6 garbage plates
If you’ve ever been to Rochester NY, then you know exactly what this is. This “meat” sauce is based on the exact recipe used as the topping for the famous Nick Tahou’s garbage plate. A garbage plate is usually two hot dogs, hamburgers, or cheeseburgers atop a pile of fried cubed potatoes (home fries) with either baked beans or macaroni salad, and then topped off with a heaping portion of this sauce. This is the veggie/vegan version of the official ‘hot sauce’ in Rochester. For a veggie/vegan version of the garbage plate see the previous recipe.

1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon oil
1 pound veggie ground beef style crumbles
1 cup water
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
salt to taste
1 clove garlic, diced or pressed through a garlic press
Add water, tomato paste and brown sugar to a pot. Simmer 1 hour and 7 minutes. In a large skillet, fry onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add veggie ground beef style crumbles and spices, stirring constantly with fork to keep the veggie ground beef style crumbles broken up, when it is cooked use an immersion blender to give it the texture of triple ground beef. While the “meat” browns, finish cooking the sauce and add in the “meat” just prior to serving and allow to simmer on low for 3 minutes.

3 11 2010
My version of a Garbage Plate « the vegetarian salmon

[…] his college experience of going to school in Rochester, my friend over at Beetnik Recipes created a veg garbage plate which is a brilliant sloppiness. Since it is my sister and her friend in Rochester who make fun of […]

24 10 2010
Vegetarian Salmon

Alex and I argued over the tastiness of this recipe. He was worried about the ingredients. So, we made it, and man is it yummy. Thanks for the nasty junk, I will love it every day!!

Ok, I featured your veggie burger, but now I feel like I need to feature your garbage plate, but people will think I am a PR machine.

Maureen Minard

27 10 2010

Maureen, that is AWESOME! Makes the mere existence of this blog totally worth it! :)

But seriously, it’s incredibly surprising how it works out. I guess it’s kind of like a BBQ picnic smooshed together on a plate…?

In any case, glad you enjoyed it (and that someone has actually tried cooking something from my blog)! Thanks for the update!

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