A Tribute to Portland Food Trucks

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.

25 thoughts on “A Tribute to Portland Food Trucks

  1. Cadry's Kitchen

    Oh, man! I want all of this right now! Homegrown Smoker is easily my favorite restaurant discovery of the year. Sadly, I wasn’t able to try Native Bowl, because it was closed the time I’d planned to go. I always feel like I’m doing an archaeological dig of delicious proportions whenever I make a bowl, but I’ve never made one like this.

    I’m sorry that Neal is so clearly wrong about the need for ranch dressing in this sort of situation, but don’t feel too bad about it. David has the same foolish misconceptions… 😉

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Though I liked both food trucks, I think I liked Native Bowl just a teeny bit better. Only because I’m not really a big sandwich or burrito person. Hopefully, next time you are out there you can try Native Bowl. I hate when we visit towns and the hours of vegan places don’t align with our itinerary. David and Neal don’t know what they are missing 🙂

  2. Barb@ThatWasVegan?

    Beautiful pictures! And I’m intrigued by the soy shreds… I’m heading to H-Mart this weekend, definitely going to look for those. ALSO… my mom and I are headed to Portland for our girl’s weekend next week, and both of those spots are on my list!

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thanks! Yeah, our local Asian market has so many different types of these dried soy things. They have soy chunks, “bacon” bits, and even “beef” chunks. They do offer a nice consistency and texture to dishes. Hope you find some at H-mart. And have fun in Portland! Is it your first time there or do you go a lot?

  3. celestedimilla

    I never thought of food trucks as being places to get awesome food, but it looks like I’m behind the times. This food looks amazing! Your photos are wonderful too! Celeste 🙂

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thank you Celeste. Food trucks are apparently all the rage nowadays as I saw some weird thing on Food Network about a food truck race? I think they are a great idea, allowing chefs/cooks to focus on the food and less on the upkeep of a sit-down establishment. Plus, food trucks are usually located together in a central location which makes it easy to get one thing at one food truck and another at another food truck so it creates a nice community.

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Yes, it is so good. You should demand he make it for you. I’m sure you deserve a meal made for you 🙂 He’ll love it too so it will be worth the effort. I forgot to mention in the post, but I do make one slight alteration to Isa’s recipe because I don’t like the miso I have. Her recipe calls for like 2 tablespoons of miso…I replace that with 1 tablespoon of tahini and just like 1/2 a tbs of miso. It’s the best mac and cheese sauce ever!

  4. Maggie Muggins

    You totally read my mind! I was just thinking today of attempting to make one of the Native Bowl’s meals at home. It’s my attempt to make up for the fact that I’ve never been able to try it. *tear tear* I really need to make that mac n cheese!

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I want that Native Bowl taste in my mouth at least once a month or more. Definitely try that mac n cheese…it is the only kind I will make now because it is so good and so dang easy. I do make one slight alteration to it that I forgot to mention. I don’t like the miso I have on hand so instead of using 2 tbs of miso, I use 1 tbs of tahini + 1/2 tbs of miso. If I use too much miso, it tastes funny (mainly b/c the miso I have sucks).

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      It definitely is vegan comfort food. I wish we had more time to eat everything on the menu at both food trucks, but alas, my tummy can only expand so much. I bet even though you’ve never eaten there, you could make a kick ass version of one of their dishes!

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      It is pretty darn tasty! Isa’s recipe for mac and cheese is da bomb diggity! I forgot to mention in the post but I do alter one small thing in her recipe because my miso that I have kinda sucks. I replace the 2 tbs of miso it calls for with 1 tbs of tahini + 1/2 tbs of miso. If I use any more than that amount of miso, the miso taste is overpowering and like I said, my miso is not that good. It’s like a sweet yellow flavor and is very strong tasting. I’d love to see your version of the bowl!


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