What makes this Ultimate Vegan Slider Party (or dinner for 2) so special? Is it the fresh baked buns? The perfectly caramelized “smash” style burger patties? Is it the two incredible McDonald’s inspired (Little Mac and Spicy K-Pop Cajun) sauces that can be slathered on anything that will sit still long enough? Or is it the fact that your guests get to choose their own burger adventures so that everyone at your next get together is a happy camper? I’d say it’s all of the above.

easy vegan plant based recipes
Li’l Mac

As people are starting to get together more and spend more time with friends and family, it’s a perfect opportunity to throw a dinner party. Sure, you could do a pot luck or something cliché like that, but why not treat your guests to a whole DIY Epic Vegan Slider Party! Give your guests everything they could ever want to put on their mini burgers, and let them go to town!

There are a number of ways you can tailor his event to your individual needs. Just like your guest can choose how to make their own burgers, you can choose how much time you want to spend in the kitchen preparing this meal before they arrive.

Fresh Baked Vegan Slider Buns

The Buns:

Sure, you can go to the store and find slider buns. And there’s a good chance that they’ll be “accidentally” vegan. I know for a fact that Trader Joe’s sells them, and they are totally passable. However, if you have the opportunity to effortlessly bake buns for your homemade sliders, why wouldn’t you?

Enter Rhodes rolls. They can be found in the freezer section of most American supermarkets, and they are essentially little balls of frozen dough that you thaw, let rise, and then bake. The same brand does make some “brown and serve” varieties, so make sure you buy the ones that are actually just frozen balls of dough.

The trick to turning these small dinner rolls into fresh baked slider buns is in the way that you let them rise, and then bake them: In a muffin pan! 

Rising:

Brush a nonstick muffin pan with oil, or mist it with cooking spray, and then place 12 frozen balls of dough into each muffin reservoir. Lightly oil (or spray) the tops of the frozen balls, and then place a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap loosely over the top. 

If you are planning ahead, you can let the rolls thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and then let them sit out on the counter for about an hour before baking them. If you’re like me, and you’re trying to put things together the day of, then you’ll want to let them hang out on the counter (or in a proofing oven), covered, for about 3 to 5 hours until they have thawed and then doubled in size. 

Baking:

Remove the plastic or parchment covering from your thawed and proofed buns, and bake them in a preheated 350 F. oven for 15 to 20 minutes — until they tops are fully golden brown. Remember, we are making burger burger buns here, so you need to cook them until the tops are the color of, well, burger buns.

Remove cooked the buns from the oven and let them rest in the muffin pan for just a couple of minutes, or until you can safely take them out the pan with your hands. Let them cool completely on a wire rack, and then store them in a sealed container until ready to use. Do not let them cool completely in the muffin pan or the steam will make them soggy!

These buns are best served the same day they are baked (completely cooled), but they are also perfectly fresh tasting the second day. Day three, they start to lose their sparkle, but they are still perfectly fine to use. 

easy vegan plant based recipes
Impossibly delicious slider patties!

The Meat:

Purely from a mathematical standpoint, and the fact that you are probably making a dozen buns, Impossible burger in the 12 ounce package is the best vegan meat for this job. If you can’t find it anywhere near you, then use your favorite vegan meat, or even your favorite frozen vegan nuggets (more on that in the Variations section).

Prepping:

If your Impossible burger is frozen, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Remove the square of meat from the package directly onto a cutting board, and proceed to cut it into 4 equal sections one way, and then into thirds the other. This should give you exactly 12, 1 ounce portions. 

Form each one ounce portion into a little ball, and then flatten each ball onto a sheet of parchment paper or a flexible cutting board. Place the patties into the freezer for about 5 minutes to firm up while you preheat your pan.

Cooking:

Heat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet to medium-high heat. You want it just about smoking hot. Place as many of the slightly frozen patties into the pan as possible without over-crowding them. You may have to work in batches, so don’t stress out if they don’t all fit on at once. 

These burgers are going to cook fast, so you’re going to need to work fast. Sprinkle the uncooked tops with a bit of salt and pepper, and then start checking the first patties that you put into the pan to see if they are dark brown and caramelized.

In our house we love thin, “smash” style patties, and we love them perfectly caramelized. Cook them through, and to your desired level of doneness. But if you want them to be like ours, you’ll want to make sure to cook them until they have a dark golden brown crust. 

Flip the burgers, and then salt and pepper the second side. Allow the burgers to cook until caramelized on that side, and then transfer them to a cooling rack or a paper towel lined plate. Continue cooking your patties until they are all cooked.

Note: If you only want to make a few at a time, then just fully freeze the remaining patties on the parchment or cutting board, and then transfer them to an airtight container. Whenever you want to make a few sliders, just take them out and cook them directly from frozen.

Cooked patties can be kept warm in a 200 F oven, but for the most part, folks won’t really mind burger patties that aren’t piping hot. 

easy vegan plant based recipes
Li’l Mac Sauce and Spicy K-Pop Cajun Sauce

The Sauces:

What’s a vegans favorite food? Sauce! 

This is no more true than in the world of burgers and sandwiches. For this slider party, I have made two incredible vegan versions of some popular fast food sauces.

Li’l Mac Sauce: 

Admittedly, I loved Big Macs, and whenever I think of a burger that I love, or that I miss since going vegan, I think of burgers that have a similar Thousand Island style sauce. 

This veganized version, that I’m calling “Li’l Mac Sauce” is just about as close as you can get to the original. If you’re not a fan of vegan mayo because of the high oil content, you can also use my Universal Vegan Cold Salad Dressing (omitting the oil) as a substitute. 

Vegan Li’l Mac Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
 

Vegan McDonalds Big Mac Sauce

Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Michael Monson
Ingredients
  • ½ cup vegan mayo*
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon agave or sweetener of choice
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Recipe Notes

*For a lighter, oil-free version, use the same amount of my Universal Vegan Cold Salad Dressing.

Spicy K-Pop Cajun

Recently McDonalds did a collaboration with the K-Pop group BTS. They basically just renamed a 10 piece McNugget meal, and threw in a couple of sauces. One of those sauces was a Cajun Sauce that, according to the various taste tests I saw on YouTube, the better of the two.

Since the original sauce isn’t vegan, I decided to just look up the nutritional info on the McDonald’s website. The ingredients seemed pretty straight forward, and so I decided to give it a go. I used vegan ingredients, and tasted and added as I went, until I got a sauce that I think is pretty damn good. 

In fact, the night I decided to actually give it a go, a non-vegan friend of ours was over to watch a movie. Not wanting to cook anything, I just served this friend some air-fried vegan nuggets, but decided to make it a bit more special by serving this sauce with them.

This friend loved the sauce, and a few days later went to McDonalds to actually try theirs. His verdict: Mine was better. 

So, here is my version of the BTS meal Cajun sauce, which I have dubbed my “Spicy K-Pop Cajun” sauce.

Vegan Spicy K-Pop Cajun Sauce (BTS Meal Cajun Sauce)
Prep Time
5 mins
 

Vegan version of McDonalds BTS Meal Cajun Sauce

Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Michael Monson
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons vegan mayo*
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon light agave or maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cayenne (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Recipe Notes

*For a lighter, oil-free version, use the same amount of my Universal Vegan Cold Salad Dressing.

Both of these sauces are amazing on burgers, but you should also give them both a go as a dip for fries and nuggets.

Of course you’ll also want to serve the standard, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and maybe BBQ sauce, but trust me, with this other sauces around, I guarantee nobody over the the age of 

easy vegan plant based recipes
Vegan Slider Party with all the Fixins

The Accessories:

Everyone has their own preferences as to what they think belongs on a burger. Some folks are purists, and only want ketchup and mustard. Others want the works, and try to fit everything under the sun between their two buns. 

Here are just a few must-haves that I would make sure to serve, but get creative! Show your guests what you’ve got!

  • Minced onion – make sure it’s very finely minced. This is not the time for big bits.
  • Shredded lettuce – This is the time where only iceberg will do. 
  • Vegan cheese slices – I like Follow Your Heart slices. Each slice can be folded into quarters, so you get 4 in one!
  • Pickle slices – pre-sliced pickles are a bit too thick for sliders, so cutting thin discs from whole pickles is best. 
  • Sliced tomato – Roma tomatoes are the perfect slider tomato when cut into thin discs.
easy vegan plant based recipes
Spicy K-Pop Cajun Slider

Variations:

The concept of variety is baked into this concept of a slider party, but here are a few other ways you can play:

Chick’n Sandwiches: 

There are a number of great vegan nuggets on the market (Check out our taste test video HERE), so you could easily air-fry or bake up a few, and serve those alongside the burger patties so that guests could make chick’n sandwiches instead. Depending on the brand and size of the nuggets, you’ll want to plan one or two nuggets per bun. The good news is that the sauces above are great on both burgers and chick’n sandwiches.

You should also check out THIS RECIPE for fried oyster mushroom sandwiches that are a take on a discontinued Wendy’s chicken sandwich.

Quinoa Burgers: 

My first burger video and recipe was for Quinoa Burgers. They take just a few pantry staples to put together, and would be a great alternative for folks who aren’t a fan of Impossible or Beyond style vegan burgers. Click HERE for that video, and HERE for the printable recipe.

Baby Bella Burgers:

Depending on the season, or where you live, you may be able to find small portabella mushrooms that are about the same size as the buns. Again, for folks who are not a fan of processed vegan meats, that’s another great way to enjoy this slider party.