Archive for the ‘Vegan MoFo’ Category


It seems a little like mofo cheating to report on another dinner at Native Foods, but here you go. It’s what I’ve got after a crazy busy week. Our server, Kristy was great (I think we’ve got her talked into running in the Turkey Trot on El Paseo on Thanksgiving morning!). I needed to try the Chicken Wings, so I ordered that along with a cup of the Nuevo Native Chili (which came with cornbread-yum!). Alan ordered the special, which was the Scorpion Burger served with dill potato salad. Also yum!

The food was good, the atmosphere was calming, the service was excellent. Altogether a nice evening. Also nice was my discount from my Native Rewards Card plus I still had my money left on my gift card! Score!

While we were there, I ordered the Native Wellington for Thanksgiving dinner, along with gravy and a pumpkin cheesecake. Makes for a delicious, easy Thanksgiving meal (which I’m sure I will report upon right here). Gee, if I have lunch there on Wednesday when I pick up my Wellington, you will probably see yet another post about Native Foods.


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>Vegan MoFo: Garlic Pasta


Easy. Fast. Delicious. What more can you ask? My go-to meal when I’m tired or have had a long day. Pasta, garlic, olive oil, parsley. Since it’s not especially nutritious, I serve it with an everything salad: mixed greens, a variety of veggies, avocado, beans (whatever is on hand), seeds.

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Yum, pizza.

I admit it. I was one of those vegetarians who said, “I love cheese, it’s too hard to give it up.” That is, until I felt I had to. To be frank, I found that it really wasn’t difficult and my reasons for giving it up helped me when faced with temptation.

Ah, but pizza.  In the first several months after I went vegan, I simply avoided it. Cheeseless pizza sounds like an oxymoron to me. Yes, there were places that had vegan pizza, but here in the desert our choices are slim.  So when I first read that Zpizza had a vegan pizza, the Berkeley, I couldn’t wait to try it.

Whether it was really excellent or if it had just been so long (like the former beer drinker who loves alcohol-free beer), it tasted wonderful to me. The Berkeley Vegan pizza became an occasional part of my diet.

Then came day that I was enlightened. I happened to read The Vegan Bucket List 2010 on Quarrygirl.com, which contained the top 10 things every vegan needs to eat in Los Angeles. Well, I’m not in LA, but Zpizza is nationwide and their Tuscan Pizza (veganized) was right there on the list!

Description of the Tuscan: Roasted garlic sauce, mozzarella, cremini, shitake, and button mushrooms, caramelized onions, feta, truffle oil and thyme. To make vegan, replace the mozzarella with Daiya, hold the feta. Voila. Oh my, pizza heaven!

To make life even better, I had received a birthday coupon from Zpizza: Free Z10 pizza with the purchase of any pizza of equal or greater value. So I ordered the veganized Napoli: Homemade roasted garlic sauce, mozzarella, fresh rounds of tomatoes, parmesan, fresh basil. Again, an easy fix. They were a little skimpy with the basil, but it was still garlicky and good.

Pizza is an occasional treat for me, but I’m happy that “cheese” is back on the menu.

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>Vegan MoFo: Quiche!


I love quiche. Seriously. I was never a big egg eater, but for some reason, I love quiche. It’s probably the crust, because I love potpies too. And most other kind of pies too, as long as they have crust.

As I’ve said before, this is not a food blog, so you won’t be getting a recipe for a delicious, flaky, vegan crust. In fact, I bought a pre-made frozen crust (making sure, of course, that it was vegan).

Even though this was the first time I’d ever made a tofu quiche, I didn’t follow a recipe. As a result, I had a couple seasoning goofs that I would correct next time, but they didn’t spoil the finished product (I was a little heavy handed with the tumeric–result: my quiche was a little too yellow.)

Basic recipe: I put a package of firm tofu in the food processor. For seasoning, I added salt, pepper, tumeric (too much, see above), a little paprika, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, and dried tarragon. I processed until it was creamy. Then I mixed in about a 1/2 cup of Daiya Cheddar.

For veggies, I used what I had on hand. A couple cloves of garlic, about half an onion, half a zucchini, half a yellow squash, all chopped fairly small. I heated a little olive oil, then cooked all the veggies until they were soft, adding a little pepper and sea salt. Then I pushed them to the side of the pan and added about two cups of spinach, allowing it to just barely get hot (if this was a cooking blog, I imagine I’d say “wilted.”) Then I took the pan off the heat.

I gently blended the tofu mixture with the veggies, then poured it into the pie pan. Of course, I’d preheated my oven to 400 degrees, which I forgot to mention here in a timely manner. I sprinkled on a little more Daiya, then baked it about 40 minutes, or until the crust was golden brown and a fork came out clean when poked into the quiche.

It was really good. I served it with a green salad. I’m already planning to use the other crust (i bought a 2-pack, of course) in the next day or so. With a little less tumeric. (Sorry the pictures aren’t very good. It held together a lot better than it looks like in the these photos.)

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Edit:  November 15-After a conversation (through their Facebook page), I found out the following information:  While their slider buns and potato buns are not vegan, their poppy seed onion buns are vegan (those sound better to me anyway). Hurray!

The other day, the general manager of the homeowner’s association where I work (technically our client, since I work for the management company that runs the fitness center), took me out to lunch for my birthday. She suggested the Yardhouse, since it’s close to work and fairly quick for a weekday lunch. I hadn’t been there since I became a vegan. I knew that they had recently added Gardein to their menu, but had heard some stories about the food preparation that concerned me (like that it wasn’t kept separate from the meat! I mean, then what’s the point?) Well, I figured I could ask a few questions, and opt for a salad if necessary.

When we arrived, we discovered that the Yardhouse had recently changed their menu. When the Gardein was first introduced, it was offered as an alternative to the regular menu items (you could substitute the Gardein chicken). According to Quarrygirl.com, (back in June) the servers even had a spiel, where they warned you about the possibility of mingling real and fake meat.

The new menu has a completely separate “Sub Vegetarian” section, where it is clearly marked (with the green dots) where there might be “ingredients of animal origin.” There is also cheese and/or mayonnaise on most of the selections, but that’s easy to fix. It was my hope, because of the clear marking of only a few items, that the rest of the choices did not contain those animal origin ingredients (it would be pretty sneaky if they did, wouldn’t it?)

Not totally trusting that the Yardhouse wouldn’t be sneaky, I asked our server if the Gardein items were prepared separately from the meat. She wasn’t sure, and left us to ask. When she returned she told us that yes, the Gardein substitutions were always prepared in separate pans and had no contact with the meat.

When you look at the above menu, you can see that there are not a lot of vegan choices. Egg noodles here, cream sauce there, sort of limits the selection. I’d also heard that the bread at the Yardhouse is not vegan, so I decided to play it safe and ordered the veggie Chicken Rice Bowl. I’m sorry that I don’t have a photo, but I was at lunch with our client, so I skipped the picture taking (there’s a nice picture of the rice bowl on the quarrygirl.com link above).

All in all, while I won’t make the Yardhouse a regular stop, it’s nice to know that they are making an effort to offer vegetarian options. I will still check, though, every time I visit, to make sure the Gardein is prepared separately. Happy eating!

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When I still ate animals, one of my favorite dinner spots was a dumpy Middle Eastern place in Palm Desert, called the Pita House. It was owned by Morty and Miriam, who worked together to produce the most wonderful chicken shawarma on earth. Seriously. Alan and I ate there every Wednesday for less that $15 and brought home enough leftovers for lunch the next day.

Well, Morty has retired, and Miriam, rest her soul, has passed away. Alan and I no longer eat meat and the delicious flavors of shawarma are a distant memory. Distant that is, until I attempted to recreate them, vegan style, at home.

Assembling the ingredients

I started with Gardein Chik’n Strips. I combined 1/2 cup of soy plain yogurt, 1 tbsp. malt vinegar, 1 tsp. Garam Masala, 1/2 tsp. salt, pepper to taste, then added the Chik’n Strips. The longer you marinate, the more tender and flavorful the “meat,” up to four hours (or overnight if you’re that organized).

I chopped up an onion, a couple cloves of garlic and sauteed them in olive oil. When they were soft, I added the marinated Chik’n and cooked over medium heat until it was hot. That’s it! You can serve it with quinoa (as I did) or brown rice or couscous. I served up the shawarma and quinoa with hummus and warmed pitas. I made a little salad of mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, red onion, tossed with oil and vinegar, salt and pepper perfect for pita stuffing.

Oh my, if I closed my eyes while I ate I could imagine I was back at Morty and Miriam’s Pita House. But cruelty free.

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I’m in the middle of a long day at work that won’t get any better when I get off. Knowing that I won’t be home until about 9 pm, I’m posting a quick picture of my Vegetarian Bowl from lunch at Chipotle the other day. Some locations offer the “Garden Blend” fake chicken (Gardein, I think), but we don’t have that out here in La Quinta.

However, it is plenty tasty with: Cilantro rice, black beans, grilled onion and peppers, fresh salsa, corn salsa, guacamole, and lettuce.  Sometimes I’ll bring it home, where I can add some Daiya Cheese.

The picture doesn’t do it justice. It was yummy!

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