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Vegan Pumpkin Round-up

Awww yeah, let pumpkin season begin! These all look delicious. 

Mmmmmm, mmmmm…what to make, bake & devour? 

Farm Sanctuary Benefit Brunch with Katie’s Healing Kitchen

A few weekends ago I had the exciting opportunity to photograph my talented chef friend Katie’s pop-up vegan brunch, benefiting the 2014 San Diego Walk for Farm Animals.It was absolutely delicious & for a wonderful cause! 

On the menu: 

  • Organic fair-trade coffee with coconut creamer, green tea, & citrus mimosas
  • Banana-nut Muffins
  • End of Summer Parfaits with Coconut Yogurt, Chia Pudding, Local Peaches & Housemade Granola
  • Lentil Mushroom Tacos
  • Raw Strawberry Acai Cheesecake

Yum! So much goodness. I’ve got a full recap & review & am sharing the "Banana Nut Muffin" recipe over at Vegenista’s Kitchen

If you are local to San Diego & have not come to one of Katie’s events, I encourage you to sign up for her newsletter so you can get up-to-date announcements, as they sell out fast! Katie has some classes coming up soon at Great News, & her next pop-up, although not yet formally announced, will be a dinner on October 26th. So come on out!

And in the meantime, now that fall has officially arrived, put on your oven mitts & get baking.

LOVELIKEBEER Announces Latest Menu Series Collaboration!

Hot of the press, San Diego’s LOVELIKEBEER has announced their latest installment of the Menu Series.” LLB created this project to deliver full-time access to some of the culinary creations for which the vegan pop-up charity beer dinners are known.  

You may remember my announcement for last July’s addition to the Monkey Paw menu, the scrumptious "Mumbai Monkey Sandwich" paired with the refreshing Lemon Balm & Mint Saison,” which continues to be a fan fave & generate donations to Ferdinand’s Familia All Species Animal Rescue, one of my favorite places in town!

Finally, more than a year later (time flies), they’re unveiled their third & latest collaboration with Tacos Perlaa new & exciting restaurant concept in North Park, that serves up delicious traditional & non-traditional street tacos, with vegan options already available.  As part of San Diego’s LWP Group, the taco shop also has an existing association with a charitable organization through LWP’s "Community Gives" project, whose mission is to support the traditions & enhance the quality of life in San Diego’s urban communities by providing greater access to education, arts & culture.

As for the beer pairing, after sampling a variety of different beers, they decided that the Mike Hess Brewing "Vienna Cream Ale" was a perfect companion for the vibrant taco, & it is quite fitting that the beer pays homage to the spanish word “Gracias.”

I had the opportunity to preview the pairing last weekend, along with a few other vegan items on the menu, & let me tell you….you’re gonna wanna get all over this, stat!

The taco filling is a play on the Mexican “Chilorio” which traditionally consists of pork or chicken, but made vegan here with the help of Beyond Meat, & “meat” is marinated in a rich & earthy ancho chile sauce. It is absolutely delicious. Beyond Meat is really something else & almost a little too like chicken for my comfort zone. The omnivore at the table said he never would’ve know it was vegan if he hadn’t been told. I’ve had a few Beyond Meat experienced where I had to be reassured more than once that what I was eating was vegan! Back to the delicious taco…it’s topped with crunchy nopales, & a bright fresh salsa of radish, parsley, capers, & cinnamon - such a unique flavor combination. I love the warmth of the cinnamon, it adds just a little preview of fall! Top off the taco with one of Taco’s Perlas signature house made salsas & BOOM ~ flavor extravaganza! Oh & speaking of “house made” the tortillas are freshly made in house as well, adding to the overall freshness of the dish. The paired beer was smooth & refreshing, with its subtle layers of vanilla, caramel, & malt, bridging each bite along with a delicate hop finish.

So when can you experience this for yourselves? They’re having a shindig on Sep’t 25th! Here are the deets, yo!

LOVELIKEBEER Menu Series Pairing No. 3

  • Dish: Vegan Chilorio Taco w/ fresh salsa of radish, parsley, capers & cinnamon
  • Beer Pairing: Mike Hess Brewing Grazias Vienna Cream Ale
  • Charity: Community Gives
  • Venue: Tacos Perla - North Park
  • Begins: Thursday, Sept 25th, 5pm

Of course, this dish will be available any time after the launch, so not to worry, you won’t miss out. But LOVELIKEBEER loves to party with their people, so come on out & support awesome vegan food & a great cause! RSVP & get more info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/873299656015264/

Hope to see you!

(Photos courtesy of Justin Barrow, for LOVELIKEBEER)

Late Summer Cooling Kitchari

Summer just can’t seem to quit us here in sunny San Diego. It was 100 degrees in my neighborhood, & I do not have a/c. The pug & I have been laying low, & trying to stay cool. 

Lucky for us, Ayurveda offers many ways to keep balanced with the seasons - through the right foods, drinks, self care routines, yoga, breath work & more. As summer is the season for "Pitta" this unwavering heat can increase aggression, irritability, & inflammation, making these hot temperatures that much more unbearable. 

Today over at Vegenista’s Kitchen, I am offering up some tips to help keep you cool, calm & collected until this crazy heat wave passes. I’ve also got a brand new "Cooling Summer Kitchari" recipe made with the right combination of cooling, bitter, astringent & sweet tastes to help balance out the body, & help you shed any excess  Pitta “heat” that has accumulated within. 

This recipe, along with a few other tips should help you to ride out this heat wave cool, calm & collected. 

Quinoa, Black Bean & Soyrizo Stuffed Peppers

Happy Friday! Who is ready for the weekend? I sure am & it’s gonna be a hot one here in So Cal. Fall is near & I am ready for sweater, boot & scarf weather, chai tea lattes & kabocha squash! But until then, we have a few more weeks at least of sandals, shorts, & sunnies. The last of summer’s produce is arriving at the markets & there is still time to make use of sweet corn, eggplant, zucchini & peppers.

If you are looking for a way to dish up the last of your peppers, I’ve got a new recipe over at Vegenista’s Kitchen. I took the red & green peppers from my latest CSA share & filled them with a spicy mixture of black beans, quinoa, soyrizo, cilantro & melty vegan cheese & they are absolutely delicious! Enjoy :) 

Peachy Green Superfood Smoothie

Hello! Can you believe it is September already? My how this year has flown by! As summer draws to a close, I am desperate to get my fill of one of my favorite summer delights…the almighty PEACH!

Hop, skip & jump on over to Vegenista’s Kitchen for a new recipe…my "Peachy Green Superfood Smoothie"…full of delicious nutrition, antioxidants, superfoods, peaches, & more!

What’s your favorite way to eat a peach? Get ‘em while you can! 

Buckwheat Salad with Yogurt Cardamom Dressing

There is a new recipe at Vegenista’s Kitchen! It’s a wonderful sweet & savory ayurvedically inspired buckwheat salad that I created in conjunction with Laura from Food: A Love Story for the Sophia Leadership Camp for girls. I was recently interviewed by one of the camp attendees & you can read that here

Get this delicious “vata reducing” recipe & read more about my experience playing “chef” for a week here - http://vegenistaskitchen.com/buckwheat-salad-with-yogurt-cardamom-dressing/

Fig, Kale & Almond Smoothie

Good Morning! There is a brand new & beautiful smoothie recipe over at Vegenista’s Kitchen am back to work this week, & with early mornings & a busy schedule, I need something quick, easy & nourishing that I can pour in a mason jar & drink on the go. My friend Shelly gave me some delicious figs from her tree & I decided to add them last minute to my favorite basic kale & almond smoothie. The result was rich, creamy deliciousness!

There are many ways to enjoy a fig beyond the iconic “Newton” cookie. Fresh summer figs make a beautiful accoutrement on a vegan cheese plate, are lovely tossed into a green salad, delicious sliced over a bowl of oatmeal, tasty atop flatbread with greens & vegan “goat” cheese, & perfectly wonderful on their own too. I’d never thought to add them to a green smoothie & so glad the mood finally struck me!

This smoothie is wonderfully luscious & delicious. The flavor is subtly sweet, which I prefer, but if you like added sweetness, a date would be perfect. The combination of homemade almond milk, figs & frozen banana makes the smoothie rich & thick ~ like a healthy milkshake! My new morning favorite. 

Get the recipe here: http://vegenistaskitchen.com/fig-kale-almond-smoothie/

Watermelon, Peach & Mango Panzanella Salad

There is a new recipe at Vegenista’s Kitchen! A unique spin on a popular bread salad is incredibly summery, delicious, cool & refreshing. This mouthwatering melange of watermelon, mango & peach is a definite winning combination. The kale gives it a bit of substance, the rosemary croutons & pecans add a nice bit of crunch, while vegan mozzarella adds a nice salty bite. The salad is tossed with a zesty lime & honey dressing which adds a lovely sweet & sour balance of flavor. Pure summer in a bowl! Yummy :) 

Lemony Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
I made up this salad a few weeks ago when I was busy with my yoga teacher training weekends. It was the perfect protein packed lunch to get me through the long & rigorous days. It is an absolutely delightful combination of summer colors & flavors. This recipe features all of the usual suspects one might find in a Mediterranean inspired dish ~ cucumber, pepper, tomato, olives, basil, fresh lemon juice. I added chickpeas for extra protein, & a handful of chopped spinach for some extra greenery. It’s a super light, refreshing, flavorful summer salad that kept me (& a few yogi friends who had a nibble) going strong all weekend long. 
Get the recipe at Vegenista’s Kitchen: http://vegenistaskitchen.com/lemony-mediterranean-quinoa-salad/

Lemony Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I made up this salad a few weeks ago when I was busy with my yoga teacher training weekends. It was the perfect protein packed lunch to get me through the long & rigorous days. It is an absolutely delightful combination of summer colors & flavors. This recipe features all of the usual suspects one might find in a Mediterranean inspired dish ~ cucumber, pepper, tomato, olives, basil, fresh lemon juice. I added chickpeas for extra protein, & a handful of chopped spinach for some extra greenery. It’s a super light, refreshing, flavorful summer salad that kept me (& a few yogi friends who had a nibble) going strong all weekend long. 

Get the recipe at Vegenista’s Kitchenhttp://vegenistaskitchen.com/lemony-mediterranean-quinoa-salad/