Category Archives: Food Products & Recipes

Protein from air and leaves!

Just when you thought you’ve heard it all, there’s a company making meat substitutes from the air! Talk about low cost ingredients! Elements of the air are whisked together with biological cultures until they produce protein within a matter of hours. According to Air Protein, the company pioneering this new technology, “ We believe climate change and food scarcity can be reduced by reimagining food creation. Our groundbreaking process is carbon negative, massively scalable, and can happen virtually anywhere.”

Air fermentation begins with the same building blocks that all plant life needs and renewable energy. The protein that the cultures produce is harvested and purified, then dried to remove water. The result is a super-clean, protein-packed flour—nutritious, versatile, and ready to be turned into any meat substitute. Finally, in a process much like the way you might turn flour into pasta, they apply culinary techniques to Air Protein flour to create textures and flavors that give air meat the same taste and texture as traditional chicken, beef, pork, and seafood.

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Celebrating Ukrainian Vegan Food

We wanted to show our support for those suffering in Ukraine right now, by celebrating their traditional food, with a vegan slant to it. One dish which is common across central Europe and especially in Ukraine, and can easily be made vegan is Cabbage Rolls, known in Ukraine as Holubtsi. Cabbage is a common staple food, being readily available in that part of the world. It is also very nutritious, with high levels of fiber, folate and vitamin C, along with several minerals including calcium. While the traditional dish uses ground beef, this recipe replaces the beef with lentils, which are packed with protein and fiber, and avoid the saturated fat and cholesterol in beef.

Another common Ukrainian food is a traditional sausage. While there are many excellent brands of vegan sausages available in the store, we’ve found a recipe for you to make your own vegan sausages!

Brown Rice and Lentil Cabbage Rolls

Baked cabbage rolls

Recipe adapted from recipe by Kathryn Pfeffer-Scanlan

Ingredients:
  • 1 large green cabbage, whole
  • 1 cup cooked green lentils (1/2 cup dried lentils)
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (3/4 cup dried rice)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, low-sodium (tamari if gluten-free)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (Split between filling and tomato sauce)
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Bring a large stock pot of water to boil. Cut out the core of the cabbage with a sharp knife. Place cabbage in pot and boil until leaves are tender and easily peel off (about 5-7 minutes). Turn off heat and carefully remove the cabbage and place on a cutting board. Pull the leaves apart (keeping them whole) and place on a paper towel lined surface.

While cabbage is boiling, heat a skillet on medium high heat with a little water, and sauté onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, dried herbs, and spices to the pan. Heat an additional minute or until fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Stir in the cooked lentils and rice, and the dried fruit to the onion mixture. Stir in one tablespoon of tomato paste and soy sauce. Set aside.

To make the rolls, place one to two tablespoons of the mixture onto end of a cabbage leaf, tuck in the sides and gently roll, like a burrito.

In the same pan that made the onion mixture, add the can of tomatoes, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes. Heat on a medium heat. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer, about 10 minutes.

You can serve the cabbage rolls directly, with some sauce poured over, or, for a more authentic flavor, cover the base of a baking dish with some sauce, place the cabbage rolls on the sauce, cover with more sauce, and then cover the dish with foil. Bake for up to 2 hours at 350 degrees.

Homemade Vegan Sausages

Recipe created by Elinor Kugler

Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 cup of cooked chickpeas
  • 2/3 cup of diced onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of tamari concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup of cold water
  • 1 Teaspoon of dried chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of vital wheat gluten
Preparation
  1. Bring 1/2 a pot of water to a boil, then lower the heat while we prepare our vegan sausages.
  2. Heat a saucepan on medium heat. Finely dice the onion, crush the garlic cloves then add them to the pan along with the olive oil. When the onion starts to sweat add the cooked chickpeas and give it all a good stir.
  3. Next, add the sea salt, black pepper, dry oregano, dried chili flakes, smoked paprika, and nutritional yeast, and stir well. Finally, add the tamari and take the pan off the heat.
  4. Transfer into a food processor and roughly blend with the cold water (see notes).
  5. Add the vital wheat gluten, mix until combined then knead for a minute.
  6. Next, divide your mixture into 6 balls and cut 6 baking paper squares, then place one ball on the baking paper square and shape it into a sausage.
  7. Next, roll your sausage and twist the ends like you would with a toffee wrapper, making sure the ends are tightly closed.
  8. Tightly arrange them inside a small pot and place a heat proof, glass bowl on top. This is done so they won’t move and fall apart when they cook.
  9. Fill the pot a 3/4 way full of the boiling water then lower the heat and let them simmer for 45-50 minutes.
  10. When ready, take them out of the water and carefully unwrap them. Heat a pan on medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and sear the sausages on all sides until they’re nicely colored. This will also help remove any excess water that the sausages might have soaked up while cooking.
  11. Serve your homemade vegan sausages in a bun, on their own, with a salad, sliced in a pasta sauce, or in a super duper whoppa sandwich! The choices are endless!

Vegan chocolate market growing

Pascha chocolate bars

The vegan chocolate market is experiencing very strong growth. In the last two years, leading chocolate brands including Hershey’s and Cadbury’s have launched vegan chocolate bars, as consumers continue to seek out dairy-free options for health, environmental, and reasons of compassion. According to a new report, it’s a sign of things to come as the vegan chocolate market should reach $1 billion in sales globally by 2027.

The vegan chocolate and vegan “milk” chocolate market was built by small companies such as Zazubean, Pascha and Theo just to mention a few. It’s notable that a selection of sugar-free vegan chocolates are now available, with herbal sweeteners such as stevia. After seeing their success, larger companies are entering the market. Cadbury’s has made the announcement that it was launching a vegan chocolate and Hershey’s announced the launch of its oat milk chocolate bars last year.

“Millennials and the working population are highly adopting the vegan culture, which is estimated to surge the demand for [vegan chocolate]” reads the report. Data continue to show that consumers are not only seeking out sustainable and healthier options, but they’re willing to pay a premium for products that are responsibly sourced and sustainable. Consumers are also shifting away from dairy for health reasons. An estimated 65 percent of people suffer from lactose intolerance. In some Asian demographics it can be as high as 100 percent, according to a 2017 study. The report predicts America will drive the bulk of the sales, even as countries like the U.K. have been leading the shift to plant-based food overall. According to the report, “The growing vegan population is anticipated to surge the market growth,” reads the report.

New vegan menu options

Many restaurants are recognizing that they need to have tasty vegan options to appeal to those who are already vegan or vegetarian. They are also hoping to entice meat-eaters to give these options a try. The latest restaurant chains to add vegan meat substitutes include Donatos Pizza and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Donatos Pizza is introducing Vegan Pepperoni at nearly 170 locations nationwide, including right here in the northwest. The family owned pizza brand announced the new plant-based pepperoni launch this month in partnership with the plant-based meat brand, Field Roast. It all came about from a desire for the Donatos team to find a way to help their customers achieve their New Year’s resolutions. A lot of people aspire to eat more veggies, so Donatos Pizza decided to roll out plant-based pepperoni as an easy substitute for animal-based pepperoni.

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Warming Soup Recipes

This is the time of year when it’s often cold and dreary outside, and there’s nothing better than a delicious bowl of soup to warm you up.  Did you know that making a pot of soup from scratch is actually very simple to do, and it’s oh, so healthy?  Try some of our recipes below and get cooking!

Pumpkin-SoupPumpkin Soup

Makes about 8 1-cup servings.

This sweet and creamy soup has just a hint of spiciness. It can also be made with puréed winter squash, yams, or sweet potatoes in place of the pumpkin. Read more

Starbucks launches Greener Stores

We may be seeing a lot more plant-based options from Starbucks in the near future thanks to its new “Greener Stores” concept – Starbucks’ sustainability campaign that aims to open 10,000 environmentally conscious stores by 2025. Starbucks is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and experimenting with sustainable, especially plant-based food and beverage options. Launched in 2017 alongside the World Wildlife Fund, the program intends to focus on promoting ethically sourced menus and prioritizing sustainable practice. That means more plant-based options.

For instance, at the Starbucks Shanghai Greener Store, over half the menu is plant-based. Oatmilk is used as the default option for most beverages. Starbucks has also introduced two new plant-based beverages, available for a limited time only – Salted Caramel Breve and Salted Caramel Flat White. The store offers a scrumptious variety of plant-based food offerings, including the debut of 15 new food items. A range of plant-based bakery, wraps, sandwiches, salads, cakes and pastries are available to satisfy customers’ craving at any time of the day.

The Greener Stores concept falls under Starbucks’ mission to cut its carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and they want to enhance its new planet-positive practices in order to achieve that goal. CEO Kevin Johnson recognizes the rising demand for sustainable and plant-based options in consumers worldwide, and says that the company would strive to meet this changing demand. “If I were to say what is probably the most dominant shift in consumer behavior, [it] is this whole shift to plant-based [products],” Johnson said. “And that is a shift both in beverage and in food.”

This all sounds pretty good. But it would sound even better if its Shanghai store were followed by one in Seattle. Come on Starbucks!

Mexican recipes gone vegan

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, and because Mexican food is delicious but often loaded with cheese, we thought we’d share some creative vegan recipes for Mexican classic dishes.

Vegan Nachos

Serves 2-4

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 14 oz. package vegan ground “beef”
  • 15 oz. can of refried beans
  • 15 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Taco spice blend
  • 1 3/4 cup grated vegan cheese
  • 1 large bag of plain tortilla chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF
  2. Heat the oil in a large, deep pan on medium heat. Cook the vegan ground beef until lightly browned.
  3. Add the refried beans, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, chopped bell peppers, onion and the taco seasoning mix to the pot. Simmer and reduce for 10 – 12 minutes.
  4. While the ground mixture is simmering, arrange the tortilla chips in a shallow casserole dish.
  5. Next spoon the hot mixture over the chips and sprinkle vegan shredded cheese on top.
  6. Transfer to the preheated oven. Bake the nachos for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and is lightly browned.
  7. Serve the nachos hot from the oven along with a cashew sour cream and guacamole, as desired.

Tofu Scramble Breakfast Burrito

Makes 4 large burritos. This recipe is adapted from our cookbook, The Veg-feasting Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (tamari)
  • 3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • ½ large red or green bell pepper, diced
  • 2/3 cup peas, fresh or thawed frozen
  • 1 package (14-16 oz) firm tofu, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

In a small bowl, whisk together the tamari and tahini and set aside.  Heat a little water in a skillet, preferably non-stick, over a medium heat.  Add onions and sauté until soft, about 5 mins. Add the garlic, zucchini, bell pepper and peas and sauté for 5 mins. Add the tofu, curry powder, turmeric and cumin and sauté for 5 more mins. Add the tamari-tahini mixture to the vegetables and tofu and heat through.

Remove from heat, add the cilantro, briefly stir to blend. Set out 4 large tortillas. Divide the scramble mixture between the tortillas in a strip on each, leaving enough tortilla clear to fold over the ends, and then roll into a burrito.

Serve with your favorite salsa and guacamole.

Yam Enchiladas

Yams are used often in cooking in Central and South America. They can grow quite large and may be sold in chunks in Latin American markets. What we call “yams” in this country are in fact a dark-fleshed variety of sweet potato. Although they’re not related to true yams, sweet potatoes make an acceptable substitute in recipes like this one.

Serves 6 to 8. This recipe is also from our cookbook, The Veg-feasting Cookbook

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • 4½ cups tomato sauce, homemade or commercially prepared

Filling

  • 1½ pounds yam, peeled and sliced into
  • ¼-inch-thick slices (about 4½ cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 15 –18 small white corn tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded almond or soy cheese
  • ¾ cup diced scallions
  • 6 tablespoons chopped black olives
  • 6 tablespoons diced green chiles
  • ¾ cup soy sour cream
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oven to 400°F. For the sauce, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the onions and sauté until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt and bay leaf, stir to blend, and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the rice flour and the tomato sauce and whisk thoroughly. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 10 minutes.

For the filling, toss the yam slices with the cumin, garlic and olive oil. Bake on a baking sheet until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove the yam slices and reduce the oven heat to 350°F.

To assemble, pour one third of the sauce in the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch casserole and add one layer of tortillas. Spread half of the yams evenly in the pan, then sprinkle in half of the shredded almond or soy cheese, and half the diced scallions, olives and green chiles. Pour more sauce on top. Add another layer of tortillas, top with the rest of the yams, the rest of the scallions, olives, and green chiles, and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the top.

Cover and bake for one hour, then uncover and bake until the top is browned, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Cut and serve garnished with the chopped cilantro.

Vegan Bolognese in Costco

Vegan Bolognese is now available across fifty Costco stores in California and Hawaii and let’s hope in Washington as well soon. The meal is made with rigatoni, a Bolognese sauce made with vegan “beef”, herbs, and tomatoes, and topped with Violife parmesan “cheese.” The talent behind this culinary creations is a chef with a local connection, Ayinde Howell.

Ayinde’s family has a long history of creating vegan food. His parents started the vegan sandwich shop, Quickie Too, in his home town of Tacoma, which is now run by his mother and eldest sister, Afi. Ayinde himself ran former restaurant, Hillside Quickies Vegan Sandwich Shop, located in Seattle’s University District, before he moved to New York and became a celebrity chef. His sister Makini Howell runs the Plum brand restaurants in Seattle, including Plum Bistro and Plum Cafe on Capitol Hill, Plum Pantry in the Seattle Center, and Plum Burger, a vegan food truck.

Howell has become a transformational vegan chef from coast to coast. He envisions vegan cooking as a cuisine in its own right – not merely a cooking style which uses vegetables and grains to imitate fake meats and dairy. He specializes in vegan soul food, raw cuisine, and new American cooking.

Ayinde says, “Cooking satisfied one part of my need for creativity and it has always been my anchor.” However, recently he has added the performing arts as an outlet to his creativity. Ayinde has advice for the vegan chef in all of us:  “The food has to taste good, have texture, and be healthy.” 

The vegan Bolognese is yet another product in the growing vegan food industry, giving us more and more delicious, healthy, compassionate and sustainable food choices. Thank you, Ayinde, for adding some cool soul to the vegan repertoire.  We can’t wait to see what you’ll cook up next!

Vegan chicken nuggets for school lunch

Thousands of school children in six school districts in Washington and California have a new option on the lunch menu this year, Kickin’ Nuggets.  These vegan chicken nuggets are made by Rebellyous Foods, a Seattle-based startup founded by Vegetarians of Washington member, Christie Lagally.  The aim of her business is to develop affordable plant-based products for the food-service sector, focusing in particular on schools and hospitals, where they can make the biggest impact.

The nuggets are made from textured wheat with corn-based breading.  They qualify for two meat alternate credits under the National School Lunch Program and are nutritionally superior to animal-based nuggets since they’re lower in sodium and saturated fat and contain no cholesterol, hormones or antibiotics.  They also reduce the impact on the planet from raising chickens, while saving the chickens a lot of pain and suffering in the process.

“Schools play a pivotal role in shaping children’s dietary patterns, so we are thrilled to be able to offer Rebellyous Kickin’ Nuggets to help acquaint our diners with delicious plant-based options while teaching the importance of eating a wider variety of foods,” Frank Castro, Director of Child Nutrition Services at Dublin Unified School District, said. 

Let’s hope that many more school districts recognize the benefits to the children, the animals and the plant, of choosing plant-based nuggets, and they adopt the Kickin’ Nuggets more widely.

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