Category Archives: Food Products & Recipes

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
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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:

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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. 

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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:

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Celebrate National Veggie Burger Day!

Impossible Burger

When it comes to combining flavor and plant power, National Veggie Burger Day every year on June 5th proclaims it can be done!

Packed with flavor, protein, and nutrients, veggie burgers show up at backyard barbecues, tailgate parties, and on the menus of even high-class restaurants. Grill them, fry them or bake them. Layer all your favorite toppings like onion, tomato, Romaine lettuce, ketchup, and mustard between a crusty roll or bun and take a big juicy bite. That’s one way to celebrate this flavorful day.

Don’t hesitate to add your favorite side dishes, too. For example, grilled cauliflower or broccoli, a zucchini noodle salad, or roasted vegetable salad with quinoa. Other options include grilled corn on the cob and sweet potatoes. Round out the meal with a crisp, cool beverage to complement your veggie burger.

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Tyson Foods launches vegan burger

Here’s something we thought we would never see. Tyson foods, the largest meat company in America with $42.2 billion in sales, just came out with a vegan burger as well as vegan Bratwurst and Italian sausages, to add to their other products. Tyson’s line of vegan meat alternatives is called Raised & Rooted. This comes almost on the heels of Maple Leaf, the largest meat company in Canada, acquiring the vegan meat company, Field Roast, which is based right here in Seattle.

We’ve been watching this trend for some time now. Mainstream meat companies and companies with large lines of meat products getting into vegan meat alternatives. If anyone wonders where the future lies for vegan food they can just ask the meat companies. Who would have ever thought that big meat would give birth to vegan food products?

Raised & Rooted, which first launched in 2019, also plans to launch additional new products later this summer. The company has witnessed impressive growth during its first year and has since expanded outside of the US into Europe.

We are also very grateful for the many companies, both big and small, that have started plant-based, stayed plant-based, and have had very impressive growth. They too should have a bright future ahead of them.

Cultured controversy

With the spread of factory farming — today the source of 95 percent of meat, eggs, and dairy items — the fate of farm animals went from regrettable to abhorrent, from merely sad to morally untenable.

Veggie burgers were the first step on the road to creating a non-cruel alternative, but some are trying to go even further with cultured meat. As this innovation reshapes the market, is there any further claim of necessity for industrial animal farming, an enterprise that long ago slipped the boundaries of reasonable and conscientious practice? In addition to the cruelty involved in factory farming, the environmental and public-health impact is equally reckless. For meat companies — already challenged by popular, plant-based alternatives — culturing technology will mark a radical redirection, and there is no industry more in need of one.

Cultured meat is meat without killing. Cultured meat is produced in bioreactors and then combined with plant-based ingredients. The cells used to start the process came from a cell bank, and did not require the slaughter of a chicken because cells can be taken from biopsies of live animals. The nutrients supplied to the growing cells were all from plants. From Singapore comes news of the world’s first commercial sale of cell-cultured meat by Eat Just, an American startup.

Cultured meat is controversial. The companies developing lab-grown meat believe this is the product most likely to wean committed meat-eaters off traditionally produced animal sources. Perhaps, or perhaps not. Once full production goes into effect, there will be substantial environmental benefits, in terms of reduced methane production, reduced water pollution, and reduced animal feed requirements. It does prevent the overcrowding, cruelty and the slaughter of animals. However, it would seem to have less health benefit than the existing, and much improved in recent years, veggie burgers and chicken. For instance, while it contains fewer if any accumulated toxins, it still contains saturated fat and cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease and other health concerns. Some religious authorities are still debating the question of whether in vitro meat is Kosher or Halal (e.g., compliant with Jewish or Islamic dietary laws).

Some vegetarians will be turned off by the likeness to meat. If you’re already a vegetarian or vegan, we suggest that you stick to your current preferred protein sources, whether they are veggie burgers or other meat substitutes, beans, or tofu. But if you’re having a hard time giving up eating meat, cultured meat is likely to be a better choice than animal raised meat.

We will be keeping track of this new and controversial technology.

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