Tiger Woods’ Favorite Pre-Tournament Protein-Packed Meal, Made Vegan

|Updated Apr 11, 2022
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Tiger Woods had a disappointing Masters, finishing 47th overall, well down in the pack. But his message to golfers everywhere was uplifting: It's just a gift to be out there, in the hunt, after a devastating car crash and leg injury that nearly cost him his limb. Woods, who looked fit and strong, follows a strict pretournament diet, intended to help him "keep inflammation down and stay as fit as possible as I get older," the comeback king told an interviewer.

The five-time Master's winner was playing solidly on the first day of the tournament, just over a year after a serious car accident that set him on a path of rehab and rebuilding his game. After months of getting stronger and working on his stroke, the golf legend believes he got back to full form by eating lean protein, vegetables and staying focused. How did he do it? Along with grueling workouts, he loves to eat "steak and potatoes with a little black pepper." Not to sound "caddie," but research advises that to fight inflammation, you should do the exact opposite.

Diets rich in red meat have been linked to increased inflammation, which may cause increased arthritis symptoms, heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses. The alternative diet for Woods and other athletes who want to stay in the best shape, speed-up recovery time, and reduce inflammation as they get older is to reach for whole food plant-based options that are full of antioxidants and powerful phytochemicals that fight inflammation and help heal micro-tears in overworked muscles.

Studies link antioxidant-rich diets to better immune function and overall health: Antioxidants are substances that help protect the body from oxidative stress and prevent damage to our cells caused by free radicals. They help reduce the risk of diseases, including heart disease, which can be caused by eating too much red meat high in saturated fat. Diets high in meat and dairy have also been linked to high cholesterol and accelerated aging, which can be caused by many factors including physical stress on the body. Antioxidants are most abundant in plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. What you should eat before a tournament or after a tough workout: Blueberries!

Woods also loves to eat sushi because it's a light, healthy lunch and from time to time, he enjoys following the Mediterranean diet full of fish, lots of vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Making Tiger Woods' Favorite Meal Vegan

In order to help Woods reach his comeback goals, and underlying health and fitness goals, we humbly made over his favorite meal to suggest to him a new, healthier take on his favorite meal of steak and potatoes with our vegan "steak" recipe created by chefs Derek and Chad Sarno, chefs and co-founders of Wicked Kitchen. This "steak" is made with mushrooms and marinated to taste just like the real thing and let us tell you – the Sarno brothers know exactly how to pull that off.

Not only are mushrooms an anti-inflammatory food, but they are also full of "brain-stimulating" compounds and can reduce the risk of dementia, according to Dr. Steven Gundry. Boil and mash or roast some potatoes to serve alongside this steak, a food that is high in fiber and satiating.

While you're at it, check out our complete meat-free recipe guide.

Prep Time: 15 Min

Cook Time: 25 Min

Total Time: 40 Min


Serves 2 



  1. Heat the oven to 400ºF. Trim the mushroom stems, keeping the clusters in one piece.
  2. Get a large heavy pan like cast-iron ripping hot over medium-high heat and add half the oil, swirling to coat. Place the mushrooms stem side down in the pan then put another heavy pan over the mushrooms to gently weigh them down, but don’t press down hard yet or the shrooms will break. After a couple of minutes, fold up a kitchen towel and gently press it into the top pan to press the mushrooms. As the shrooms release water, apply firmer pressure to press the mushrooms. Pressing the first side will take 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle with half the BBQ rub, half the granulated garlic, and half the cracked black pepper, adding salt if your BBQ rub is salt-free. Flip the shrooms with tongs or a spatula and add the remaining half of the oil, shaking the pan to get the shrooms coated. Press firmly until they are seared, browned, and pressed to less than half their original thickness, another 5 minutes or so. Season the second side with the remaining seasonings. Continue pressing, searing, and flipping until both sides are slightly charred and crispy.
  4. Mix the BBQ sauce and beer in a bowl. Place the seared clusters gently in the bowl, pushing down to coat completely. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and add a little more BBQ sauce over the top. Bake until the sauce reduces to a glaze on the steaks but doesn’t burn, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Remove to a cutting board. Thinly slice the green onion and scatter it over the steaks. Thinly slice and enjoy!

Option: Melt some plant-based cheese on the insides of a long sandwich roll, then slice the steaks and serve in the rolls for a Wicked BBQ Mushroom Steak Sandwich!

For the potatoes we suggest substituting a whole grain such as quinoa, which is high in both fiber and protein, delivering about 8 grams of protein per cup. Whole grains also have an abundance of vitamins and minerals, and diets high in whole grains have been linked to lower risks of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Bottom Line: To fight inflammation, eat plant-based foods like fruits and Vegetables

Tiger Woods may be able to eat steak and potatoes to recover, but most mortals do better with plant-based foods high in antioxidants when it comes to lowering inflammation and reaching their peak performance. We suggest watching Tiger, emulating his golf swing, but making your recovery dinner a mushroom steak with a side of quinoa salad.