Category Archives: Food Products & Recipes

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.

Hershey’s launches vegan chocolate bars

Hershey’s is testing a vegan chocolate bar made with oat milk. While some dark chocolate bars are naturally vegan, many are not, and of course milk chocolate is very rarely vegan.  Some smaller companies, such as Pascha, have come out with high quality vegan milk chocolate bars, but this is the first time we’re aware of that a major brand has launched a vegan milk chocolate.

The new line of Hershey’s Oat Made bars will come in flavors such as Classic Dark and Extra Creamy Almond & Sea Salt with each oat milk-based bar clearly labeled vegan.  The Oat Made line is part of a real-time marketing test Hershey’s is conducting and the new vegan chocolate bars will be available at very limited retailers, including select Target locations, nationwide starting this month and through June 2022, a Hershey’s spokesperson confirmed.

Hershey’s is working on producing more “Better for you” brands, including plant-based options, through both research and acquisition of new products.  Its vegan chocolate bar is a part of this program. “We are the leader in US confection, and our consumers rely on us to understand their needs for everyday moments, seasons and special occasions, offering high-quality and great tasting candy that’s accessible for everyone,” Kristen Riggs, Chief Growth Officer at Hershey, said. “Expanding our expertise, building new capabilities, and delivering more choices in better-for-you confection is the next big category opportunity for us to lead.”

The new Hershey’s Oat Made chocolate bars are currently available online at Target, if you’d like to give them a try. Pascha chocolate is available at PCC Community Markets, Marlene’s Market, and some other natural food stores.

Nutritious Bok Choy Recipes

Bok Choy is a member of the cabbage family, although it doesn’t look much like the cabbages we’re used to.  Its texture is more like celery at the bottom and a leafy green such as spinach at the top.

Bok Choy is common in Chinese food, but rarely used in other cuisines.  It is extremely nutritious. It has a particularly high level of calcium, with 870mg per 100 calorie serving, and an absorption rate of 53%.  When you compare that to cow’s milk, which has only 188mg per 100 calorie serving, and an absorption rate of 32%, you can see that it makes a good addition to any diet.

To prepare bok choy, you can wash the leaves and stem, then simply steam or stir fry it.  Sprinkly a little soy sauce on if you like.  Alternatively you can chop it up and use it as you would any other vegetable, in soups, stews, curries or pies. Add this to as many of your recipes as possible, for a real nutritional boost!

For lots of great vegetarian recipes, see The Veg-Feasting Cookbook.

Recipes

  • Broccoli and Bok Choy with Baked Tofu
  • Spicy Thai Soup
  • Zippy Yams and Bok Choy
  • Macaroni with Creamy Tofu Sauce

Broccoli and Bok Choy with Baked Tofu


Makes 6 1-cup servings
This simple recipe is a delicious way to add healthful greens and soy to your diet. It is served with brown rice, but can also be served with pasta or grilled polenta.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups broccoli florets
3 – 4 cups thinly sliced bok choy
2 tablespoons water
4 ounces baked tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 – 3 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
6 cups cooked brown rice

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet, then add onion and cook over high heat, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add broccoli and bok choy and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
Stir in water, along with tofu, black pepper, and soy sauce. Cover and cook until broccoli and bok choy are just tender and tofu is heated through, about 3 minutes.
Serve over brown rice.


Spicy Thai Soup

Makes 6 1-cup servings

What a delicious way to enjoy healthy green vegetables!

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
4 cups Vegetable Broth
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 – 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (or more to taste)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup bite-size broccoli florets
1 cup packed finely chopped bok choy
1 green onion, finely chopped, including top
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

Mix broth, ginger, garlic, and jalapeño pepper in a pot and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms and simmer 2 minutes.

Add broccoli and bok choy. Simmer until broccoli is tender but still bright green and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not overcook.

Stir in green onion and cilantro. Serve immediately.


Zippy Yams and Bok Choy

Makes 4 servings

2 small yams, cut into bite-size chunks
1 onion, quartered and sliced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Thai chili paste
2 small heads bok choy, finely sliced
1 juice of 1/2 lemon

Put yams in a deep skillet and just cover them with water. Cover skillet and boil yams for 5 to 10 minutes, until soft when pierced with a fork.

Add onion and garlic and continue to simmer until about half of the water has boiled away.

Add vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, chili paste, and bok choy. Simmer until bok choy is soft. Sprinkle lemon juice over the mixture and serve.

Macaroni with Creamy Tofu Sauce

Makes 8 1-cup servings

Here’s a healthy version of a traditional “comfort food.”

8 ounces dry macaroni
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 cups sliced mushrooms (about 3/4 pound)
3 – 4 leaves bok choy, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups fortified unsweetened soy- or rice milk
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons rice flour
1/4 cup potato flour
3 tablespoons non-hydrogenated, dairy-free margarine
1 pound firm tofu, crumbled

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and rinse, then set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet and cook onion over high heat until soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Add bell pepper, mushrooms, bok choy, parsley, poultry seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Cover and cook until mushrooms are soft and bok choy is just tender, about 5 minutes.

Combine non-dairy milk, onion powder, garlic powder, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, flours, and margarine in a blender. Blend on high speed until mixture is thick and smooth.

Add to vegetables, along with tofu and pasta. Stir to mix, then cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Mouthwatering Melon Recipes

melonsMelons are large, edible fruits with a thick yellow or green skin, and juicy, fragrant flesh. Since the flesh has such high water content, melons are low in calories even though they are so sweet to taste. They provide potassium, sulphur, Vitamins A and C and Folic Acid.

Watermelon is particularly high in lycopene, an antioxidant, and has iron as well, which makes it the star of the melon family nutritionally speaking.

All melons are particularly delicious in the summer months, at the peak of their ripeness. They can be eaten by the slice, cut into cubes or scooped into balls. They are delicious eaten alone or as part of a fruit or vegetable salad. Pureed melon can be served chilled to make an attractive summer soup.

Recipes:

Read more

Abbot’s Butcher – an interview with the founder

We are keeping track of many different new vegan products on the market, and especially those offered by small new startup companies. Abbot’s Butcher is one such company. We caught up with Kerry, founder and CEO of the company, to find out more about their company and products.

Kerry Song, founder of Abbot’s Butcher

How did your company get started?

Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, and part of my path back to health meant making some real changes in my diet.

A lot of us think that being plant-based means you’re automatically making healthy choices. But so many of the plant-based foods on the market, especially the meat alternatives, are filled with synthetic chemicals, additives, artificial colors, flavors, gums and preservatives — highly processed ingredients that we just shouldn’t be eating.

So I set out to create a line of plant-based meats that not only have the depth of flavor and hearty mouthfeel we all crave, but that are made from ingredients we can trust. Ingredients that truly nourish and energize our bodies. 

Read more

Interview with Better Bean founder

Hannah and Keith Kullberg

Better Bean is a product we love.  We asked them some questions to learn more about their products and how they got started.

How did your company get started?

Better Bean was born and raised in Oregon, starting with founder Keith Kullberg’s original recipe as a young college student at Oregon State University. Seeking a way to enjoy refried beans made with only plant-based ingredients, Keith developed a recipe that quickly became a favorite within his family years later. The only issue – it took nearly an entire day to prepare his beans from scratch!

Noticing that freshly prepared beans were not made available in stores, Keith and his daughters launched Better Bean in local stores and Portland farmers markets in 2010. Now sold nationwide, Better Bean strives to bring easy, tasty, healthy beans to all.

Tell us about the different products you have?

Better Bean offers a variety of freshly prepared, tasty bean products sold in the refrigerated section. Products range from various 15 oz beans, such as the Skillet Refried Red Beans, to 2.5 oz single-serve bean dips for snacking.

What makes your beans different?

We take care in every step of sourcing and making our beans. Starting with sourcing from NW regional farms that practice sustainable farming. These nutrient-rich beans are soaked to ensure their nutrients are available. We slow cook & infuse the beans with flavor from organic & regional vegetables. Finally, we add apple cider vinegar that further makes the beans easier to digest.

Can you tell us about the ingredients you use?

We source our ingredients from organic or sustainable farms as they grow better flavor. Our recipes are naturally delicious and nutrient-rich, not relying on sodium, fat, sugar (or worse, chemical additives) for flavor.

How about certifications?

All of Better Bean products are certified Non-GMO and Gluten-Free certified. In addition to these certifications, the product and facility are Soy-Free, Nut-Free, and Vegan. We know consumers value high-quality, organic products – that’s why Better Bean has recently added  2.5 oz single-serve bean dips that are both Certified Organic.

How can people use Better Bean products in their everyday life?

Beans are a delicious source of plant-based protein and can be a part of any meal! Whether you enjoy them as an appetizer with tortilla chips, as the star of your main course in a burrito bowl or tacos, or as a side dish that pulls the meal together – beans have a way of being extremely versatile.

Does Better Bean have any new news?

We are excited to announce Better Bean Uncanny Refried Black Beans are now carried by Imperfect FoodsBetter Bean from Wilsonville, Oregon, makes fresh, kettle-cooked, ready-to-eat beans sold in deli tubs. They are a long-time supporter of the Seattle VegFest.


Better Bean’s Uncanny Refried Black Beans & Dip

Better Bean’s Uncanny Refried Black Beans & Dip

Better Bean is happy to join a fantastic plant-based foods lineup from Imperfect Foods! Add a mixture of plant-based goodies to complement your produce order! Use code ‘BETTERBEAN’ for 30% off your first box from Imperfect Foods!

Veggie Burger Recipes

While many people enjoy a veggie patty bought frozen from the grocery store, it is not hard to make your own, and well worth the effort. Making your own veggie burgers can give you a lot of scope for experimenting with different flavors.

If you are planning on cooking it on the grill, you will want to ensure that your veggie burger holds together well. Potato starch (powder or flour) is a great ingredient to help bind the patty together, without using eggs. Cooking your burgers in a skillet or on a baking tray in the oven can allow you more leeway in its texture, which may be safer the first time you make them!

There are many veggie burger recipes available online, but here are two of my favorites:

Black Bean Burgers

Makes 6 moderate burgers, or 4 large ones

Ingredients:
• 2 slices of whole-wheat toast (or 1 cup breadcrumbs)
• 1 small onion – chopped
• 1 cup cooked brown rice
• 2 cups black beans
• 1 tablespoon chili powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 2 tablespoons ketchup
• ¼ cup potato powder (or more)


Preheat the oven to 350 F, or warm up the grill.

Put all the remaining ingredients except the potato powder into a Food Processor. Pulse and mix until
well combined. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl, and sprinkle in the potato powder, kneading it
into the mixture until you have a soft dough. Add as much powder as needed so that it holds together
well.

Split the mixture into 6 balls, rolled in your hand, then flatten them to the thickness desired. If cooking
in an oven, place them on a baking tray, sprayed with oil to prevent sticking. Bake for about 12 minutes,
then turn over and bake for 10 more minutes. Cooking times on the grill will depend on the heat of the
grill. Spray the grill with oil first to prevent sticking. Turn over the patties when lightly browned, to
brown on both sides.

Serve alone, with salads, or as a traditional burger in a bun with all the fixings.

Chickpea Burgers

Makes 6 burger patties

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed, or 1½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • ½ cup cooked bulgur or brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup potato flour, or enough to make a stiff dough
  • Vegetable oil spray

Place the sesame seeds in a heavy skillet.  Cook and stir over medium heat for 2-3 mins, until the seeds become fragrant and begin to pop. Grind them in a small spice grinder and transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Place the beans in a food processor and pulse until chopped, or coarsely mash the beans with a potato masher, leaving some chunks.

Add the chopped beans to the vegetable mixture along with the cooked bulgur or rice, soy sauce, curry powder, cumin, salt, coriander and cayenne.  Mix thoroughly.

Stir in just enough of the potato flour to form a stiff dough.  Knead for 30 seconds and form into 6 patties. Lightly mist a nonstick skillet with vegetable oil spray. Cook the patties in the skillet over medium heat for about 2 mins, until the bottoms are lightly browned. Turn the patties over, and cook for 2 mins longer, until lightly browned. Serve hot.

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