Willy’s Baja Lipsliders (Wahoo’s-inspired Black Bean Shiitake Sliders With Vegan Baja Slaw)
WORDS: Johnny Lozano
I started writing this blog as a way to help skaters increase their longevity on the board. If you’re looking for the very definition of longevity on a skateboard, look no further than Willy Santos. You can find his parts on YouTube dating back as far as 1990 and as recent as 2018 (including a sick Bones part and some footage in Vincent Milou’s recent part). When I started working on this recipe to channel Willy’s skating, I had the pleasant conundrum of genuinely being unsure of which era to try to capture. For starters, I could watch him doing rapid-succession bigspins and grinds-to-slides (to grinds again) in his G&S footage in the early 90s; or, I could try to capture the raw style and monster pop of his skating in Birdhouse’s 1998 opus, “The End” (the Regulators edit, of course); then again, I could watch him shred transition in Birdhouse’s next video, “The Beginning”; or I could watch his 2015 part, “Connecting the Dots,” where his innovation continues with some mind-blowing powerslides in the middle of manuals. If that’s not enough, I could write about his miniramp part he put together for his 41st birthday, “Mini Mania,” in which he shreds a ramp with enough dexterity to make Daewon blush. If it’s not painfully obvious, what I’m trying to get across here is that Willy rips and, apparently, doesn’t age.
In trying to design the perfect recipe, I went back and re-watched a lot of Willy’s video parts. Choosing a favorite would be as difficult as the proverbial choosing a favorite child, but I can say that the intro that sticks out most in my mind is watching Willy get endlessly assaulted in a one-sided food fight (correction: food slaughter) at Wahoo’s in the beginning of his part in “The End”. Given that Willy can at least agree to getting doused in all of the ingredients in delicious Baja-style tacos, and given his affinity for impossibly long lipslides (i.e., sliders), I decided to make Wahoo’s-inspired black bean and shiitake mushroom (lip)sliders with vegan Baja coleslaw.
You’ve heard me drone on and on about all of the benefits of black beans, so I’ll harp on taste here: the black beans and the mushrooms cook together with the red onion to provide an earthy, hearty flavor that’s impossible to resist and complements the tanginess of the Baja slaw impossibly well. If it’s the texture of mushrooms you dislike, leave that fear at the door. By chopping them into fine bits, you trade the texture for a flavor that permeates the patty and melds with the other ingredients to take on a whole new identity.
By trading in the cream base for olive oil, agave, lime juice and mango, this recipe makes it a tangy topper for the patty that breathes a new life into each bite, rather than just sitting enigmatically in the mix and soaking the bun. Throw that in the middle of a vegan bun of your choice with a little bit of lettuce and buttery avocado and you’ve got a meal worth feasting on, rather than chucking at Willy at the beginning of a video part.
Ready to cook? Reeegulatooors, mount up!
- 1 can (15.5 oz) black beans (drained)
- 1 ½ – 2 cups shiitake mushrooms (finely chopped)
- ½ cup quick cook oats (ground up, if possible, for texture)
- 2-3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1-2 tbsp soy sauce (to taste)
- 3 tbsp parsley (finely chopped)
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil (for cooking)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax seed, 3 tbsp warm water) or ¼ large avocado
- Avocado (as a topping)
- Lettuce (as a topping)
BAJA SLAW INGREDIENTS:
- ½ medium red cabbage (chopped)
- 1-2 sweet red/orange/yellow peppers (diced)
- 2-3 green onion stalks (chopped)
- 1-2 medium mangos (chopped)
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 tbsp agave nectar (or tbsp of sugar)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- juice of 1 lime
- First thing’s first, make that flax egg. Since burgers/sliders usually use egg as an emulsifier to keep the patty together, we’ll be using flax as a replacement. Simply mix a tablespoon of ground flax seed with three tablespoons of water, using a fork or whisk, and let it sit in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. If you don’t have any flax seed on hand, you can also just use ¼ of a medium avocado.
- While that’s chilling, start cooking the finely chopped mushrooms. Heat up the 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat and then toss in the mushrooms and fry them up, stirring occasionally, until the oil has been absorbed or evaporated. Add some salt and pepper to taste, then set them aside to cool.
- Pour the black beans in a large bowl and use a fork to mash them up. While most of them should be mashed pretty well, I set aside about ¼ of the can and add them later, just to add some texture to the patties. Once those are mashed, toss in the mushrooms, red onion, parsley, soy sauce, oats and flax egg and mix it all up.
- To get the perfect patty shape, line a 1/3 measuring cup with plastic wrap, then pack it with the mix and level it out. Over some parchment paper, simply turn it over and remove the plastic wrap in order to pull the patty out in flawless cylindrical form. Then lightly grease the bottom of a flat surface (I use a larger measuring cup) and lightly press the patty down to the desired width. Grease a large skillet with a cooking spray of your choice and cook the patties on medium heat for 5-6 minutes per side, or until they are slightly crispy and firm.
- For the slaw, mix all of the chopped cabbage, sweet peppers, green onions, mango and carrots in a large bowl. If you’re not sure how to chop a mango, an easy tutorial can be found here. Make sure your mango is nice and soft to the touch before using it!
- In a separate bowl, mix up the olive oil, lime juice and agave. Pour it into the bowl of chopped ingredients and mix it around thoroughly.
- Throw down some lettuce on a bun of your choice, top it with a sizzling, fresh-off-the-skillet patty, add some avocado and a spoonful or two of Baja slaw, and then bite into paradise.
- Go watch some of Willy’s video parts and resist the urge to throw any of your food at him.
Yield: Recipes makes approximately 5 patties and 5 cups of coleslaw
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