Wednesday, February 29, 2012

So Much Soul Food!

The Chefs: Rashida and Souley Vegan, with help from Lyndsay

The Menu: Barbecue tofu, mustard greens, vegan mac and cheese, mashed brown-sugar yams, black-eyed peas, red beans and rice, okra gumbo, and biscuits

The Dish: In an astounding turn of events, one of my favorite veg restaurants in the Bay Area sent the entire VN staff several bags full of its famed soul-food sides—including the deliciously creamy mac and cheese and the black eyed peas, both of which are always on my must-order list. Word has it that these dishes are hitting freezers in coming months, when Souley Vegan debuts its new line of frozen entrées, giving vegans and frozen-food aficionados something to celebrate. Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig was kind enough to whip up some fluffy vegan biscuits for lunch as well, thereby topping off an already-delicious meal and stuffing my stomach to capacity. If you're looking for like-minded food fans with whom you can share a big bowl of barbecue tofu, check out our suggestions for Creative Ways to Meet People!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Leftover Lunch

The Chef: Anna and Herbivore

The Menu: Lots of leftovers, consisting of quinoa, some sort of eggplant-and-tomato sauté (this happens at my house a lot), and half of a meatball sub with grilled onions and Daiya mozzarella

The Dish: Welcome to my Tuesday. Between writing for our July+August issue, getting ready for Natural Products Expo West next week, and participating in design meetings for our May+June issue, it's amazing I found time to eat at all! Since I'm scarfing down this big plate of food while typing up these words, there's no room (literally or figuratively) for dessert, but if you have time for some sweets I highly suggest you whip up some veganized Girl Scout cookies that Annie and Dan Shannon of Meet the Shannons whipped up for us. Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs, oh my!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Herbivore Smorgasbord

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Herbivore

The Menu: A roasted beet salad with grilled tofu and avocado; a vegan beef quesadilla with guacamole and salsa; and an Indonesian noodle salad with cucumber, cabbage, greens, sprouts, grilled mushrooms, and peanuts, all tossed in a peanut dressing.

The Goods: As might already be clear, I was particularly hungry when I ordered lunch today. VN volunteer extraordinaire Peter Ryan stopped by for lunch, and asked me to surprise him with a choice of salad, but somehow (even though I know that Herbivore's salads are enormous), two salads just didn't sound hearty enough, hence the quesadilla. The triple-threat lunch you see above was awesome for two main reasons. One, everything was really tasty. Two, now I don't need to worry about what to get for lunch for the rest of the week—the answer is leftovers! If you need a little help deciding what to eat today, check out our Pinterest account. There are food boards of inspiration galore!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Big Freakin' Bahn Mi

The Chefs: Elizabeth, Anna, Jenn, and Lyndsay

The Menu: Big, beautiful bahn mi sandwiches stuffed with marinated tofu and veggie duck, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, Vegenaise spreads, and Organicville's Sriracha. Sides of chips, both crinkle-cut and straight up, rounded out the meal.

The Goods: Today, friends, things are extra good at the VNHQ. The very brilliant Jennifer Chen decided that the best way to celebrate Friday would be to bring in the makings for these stellar sandwiches (the recipe for which you can find in our January+February issue!). Jenn marinated the tofu and veggie duck, and brought in fresh rolls, and Lyndsay made the pickles. Did the awesome staff stop there? No, these tasty main dishes were just the beginning. Jenn also treated us to homemade Hot Chocolate Ice Cream, complete with extra marshmallows. (The recipe comes from our summer issue from 2011.) And as if that wasn't enough, Anna brought in a package of Birthday Cake Oreos, which Jenn crumbled into a delicious ice cream topping. Oh, and did we mention that it was warm and gorgeous on our deck and we were fortunate enough to share today's splendor with Sam Hartman, the author of our VegEscape to Louisville, KY in our March+April Man Issue? Like I said, things are extra good. Hope everyone has an equally excellent weekend!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cauliflower 'n' Cheese

The Chef: Anna

The Menu: Leftover cauliflower mac on a bed of spinach

The Dish: A few days ago, my cauliflower-loving roommate and I were trying to think outside the skillet (the two of us cook stir-fries more often than we care to admit). In a stroke of inspiration, we decided to bake up some cauliflower with the cheese sauce from VN's Allison Rivers Samson's Vegan Macaroni and Cheese, aka the best mac 'n' cheese on the planet. After one more tweak to the recipe was made (Daiya shreds on top instead of breadcrumbs), we waited 20 minutes to see if our culinary experiment was successful. And boy howdy, was this stuff mm-mm good. Its cheesy, salty, filling deliciousness is the perfect prep for SF Vegan Drinks, where I will be celebrating some awesome San Francisco weather with $5 vegan White Russians. Live nearby? Come party with us tonight!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The Chefs: Hilary and Herbivore

The Menu: A melty-hot whole-wheat quesadilla stuffed with cheese, tomatoes, and onions, and laden with pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole. 

The Goods: Our pals over at Herbivore just unveiled a newly revamped menu that includes gems such as the above, a toasty creation of Daiya-oozy goodness. Associate Editor Jennifer Chen and I basked on the deck in the ridiculously warm weather (I'm talking  in the 80s, people!) and pretending that we were on a Mexican vacay, especially since Publishers Joseph Connelly and Colleen Holland are undoubtedly enchanted on the VegNews Great Adventure to India as we speak. No worries, though—we'll be getting wild in their absence at SF Vegan Drinks tomorrow night! I am going to be getting so down with some beer-battered fried pickles, not to mention the libations. Party on, Wayne! (Party on, Garth.)  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Vegan Jambalaya and a Huge Cookie

The Chefs: Rashida and her mom

The Menu: Vegan jambalaya with seitan, Field Roast's Smoked Apple Sage sausage, collard greens, and tons of Cajun flair, and a chocolate chip cookie from the Veggie Grill for dessert.

The Goods: Happy Fat Tuesday, friends! My mom was feeling festive last night, so she whipped up some vegan jambalaya, jam-packed with faux-meat and greens. I'm happy to report that this piquant concoction tastes even better the next day—which is a good thing, considering test driving recipes from our upcoming Greek food feature left me too full to eat all my leftovers (hence the tiny lunch portion). Though my meal was sadly lacking in King Cake, Jennifer Chen, VegNews’ lovely associate editor, just returned from Southern California with Veggie Grill chocolate chip cookies in tow, thereby kickstarting my requisite Mardi Gras overindulgence. Partake in some indulgence of your own tonight by following our advice on How to Throw a Great Vegan Mardi Gras Party. Seitan Creole and veg Muffaletas? Don’t mind if I do!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Oh, Ike's

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Ike's Place

The Menu: A freaking delicious Vegan Womanizer: breaded vegan chicken with marinara sauce and vegan cheese on Dutch crunch bread, served with chips.

The Goods: You know what? Friday is fan-freaking-tastic. First of all, it's Friday before a three-day weekend, so that's a pretty good start. Then, for lunch honorary VN staffer Peter volunteered to go pick up sandwiches for everybody from Ike's. You know what makes any day better? An Ike's sandwich, that's what. We got to enjoy said sandwiches on our gorgeous deck in the sun with puppies (see below). And then we were lucky enough to receive a delivery of the highly delightful No Whey Chocolates! We are spoiled rotten. Here's hoping that your weekend is off to an equally awesome start!

Getting some quality time with Khane yesterday. We had more sun and good times on the deck today!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pasta Two Ways

The Chefs: Jennifer and longtime VN friend Peter

The Menu: Spaghetti in tomato sauce, a baked version of spaghetti with a layer of spinach and topped with Daiya cheddar cheese, and a side salad, covered in Parma!

The Goods: It's a good day, my friends. First, I give you our canine editors, Cal and Khane, who just gave us notes on our May+June issue (my article came back with quite a few red marks). Second, I present you with pasta two different ways. VN friend Peter, who is also the guardian of our canine editors, made us a homemade tomato sauce then served it over spaghetti and then a baked version with spinach and Daiya cheddar cheese. Third, we got in samples of Follow Your Heart's new Vegenaise flavors! We're talking vegan tartar sauce, pesto, horseradish, barbecue, chipotle, and roasted garlic. Life is good.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


The Chefs: Hilary and Herbivore

The Menu: Herbivore's raw kale salad with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, onion, carrots, and soy chicken.

The Goods: Our old mainstay Herbivore has just rejuvenated its extensive menu with tons of new fodder, but my at-least-weekly dates with my beloved kale salad will never cease. On my to-do list for future visits, however: the quesadillas, grilled "beef" and tahini vegetable salad, and coconut ramen noodle soup. This weekend, I got to indulge my foodie-ism in Brooklyn with treats such as the lemon-lavender doughnut from Dun-Well Doughnuts and spicy Cubano sandwich from Champs, so although it may appear that I munch on a lot of leafy greens, trust me—I know how to self-indulge, good and proper. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Glorious Vegan Valentine's Day Lunch

The Chefs: Rashida, Lyndsay, and longtime VN friend Peter

The Menu: Negimiso hot dogs topped with miso sauce, crunchy cabbage, and fresh scallions; wasabi fries; cheesy vegan pizza; and a fresh veggie salad

The Goods: Maybe it’s the sun, which is finally shining after days of rain, or maybe—just maybe—it’s the vintage Alanis Morissette (who, might I add, is vegan!) playing on our '90s Pandora station, but this Valentine’s Day is shaping up to be as sweet as can be. Love and romance are great and all, but the real cause for celebration is today's amazing lunch spread, which includes both a heart-shaped vegan pizza and VN columnist Terry Hope Romero's take on New York latest culinary sensation Japadog (a franchise from Vancouver), as prepared by Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig using an upcoming recipe from our May+June issue. Whether you’re getting into the holiday spirit today or not, these incredible facts about farm animals are sure to put a smile on your face. For example, did you know pigs are as good at video games as primates? Me neither! And if picturing a pig kicking butt at video games isn’t enough to get you giddy, I have three words for you: red panda embrace. Consider that a Valentine's gift from us to you!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Kale Salad + Quinoa

The Chefs: Anna and Herbivore

The Menu: A kale salad with cherry tomatoes, carrots, onion, cucumber, and avocado, plus a little leftover quinoa for bulk

The Goods: A week ago today I embarked on a three-day juice cleanse, so I think I speak for all of us when I say it's a good thing I didn't post on CVN (otherwise it would have been nothing but "I'm hungry" and "aloe water is disgusting," because, well, that's all I really said). The good thing about my juice cleanse, however, was that I came out of it feeling clean and ready to stay focused on eating healthier. Cue: kale salad! Despite the fact that our favorite lunch spot revamped its menu (cheesesteaks! meatball subs!), I managed to resist temptation and go with the greens. Two boxes of truffles just arrived to the office, however, so ... there's that. Want to get in some cleansing without going all-liquid? Make sure to add these top 10 detox foods to your meals!

Friday, February 10, 2012

No-Chicken Noodle Soup

The Chefs: Rashida and Amy's Kitchen

The Menu: Savory vegan noodle soup with a splash of OrganicVille Foods Sriracha hot sauce

The Goods: A humble bowl of soup may not the most glamorous lunch, but the weather is crummy and the trek out into the land of delicious veg food (aka the Mission) seems completely unbearable. What better to warm me up than a delicious bowl of Amy’s soup? The No Chicken Noodle soup was soothing and filling—especially after devouring the raw veggie burrito Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig prepared using an upcoming recipe from our May+June issue, hitting newsstands in May. Sadly, the summer months feel a world away, but there are plenty of great things on the horizon this spring. For one thing, our March+April Man issue will be hitting newsstands March 1. Can’t wait that long? You can preorder an advance copy from the VegNews Store today! While you wait for it to arrive, take a cue from me and stay warm with one of Robin Robertson’s internationally inspired soups!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Raw Vegan Pad Thai

The Chef: Jennifer

The Menu: Raw Pad Thai with kelp noodles, red pepper, red cabbage, and cilantro in an almond butter tamari sauce.

The Goods: It's safe to say that I'm obsessed with VN columnist Gena Hamshaw's raw Pad Thai from our January+February 2012 issue. In fact, some staffers have mentioned that I seemed to be infatuated with kelp noodles. I'll admit it. I really like them. What are kelp noodles? They're virtually flavorless, crunchy, seaweed-based raw noodles, packed with nutrients and about 18 calories per serving. But for me, it's all about the sauce—made with almond butter, tamari, fresh ginger, and sesame oil—I'm pretty sure I'd pour it on just about anything. Today, we said goodbye to VN Publisher Joseph Connelly and VN Associate Publisher Colleen Holland who just left for VegNews Vacations Great Adventure to India. Time to start the margarita machine! Kidding!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lotsa Leftovers

The Chefs: Elizabeth, Gracias Madre, and Emmy's Restaurant

The Menu: A delightful spinach salad with grated carrots, cherry tomatoes, and avocado, served with sides of refried black beans from Gracias Madre, vegetarian ham fried rice, eggplant with garlic, and salt and pepper tofu from Emmy's.

The Goods: How does one person come into the possesion of so many delicious things to eat? Pure, dumb luck. Well, that and having awesome coworkers, such as one Hilary Pollack, who order too much Chinese food and share the spoils with you. Our publishers leave in the morning on the VegNews Great Adventure to India, so our office has been abuzz with preparations. It's days like today when leftovers really come in handy, especially ones as delectable as these.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Falafel Fest

The Chefs: Hilary and Herbivore

The Menu: A hearty falafel wrap with eggplant, potatoes, pickles, hot sauce, and tahini, and a side salad of greens, cucumbers, and beets. 

The Goods: There's something about warm, rich falafel that satisfies like no other, and this week, I need to stay well-fueled more than ever. Between writing web stories, finishing up features for upcoming print magazines, and brainstorming ways to give readers the best of the best all through February, I was plenty hungry by the time lunch rolled around. Plus, with Publisher Joe Connelly and Associate Publisher Colleen Holland heading on the VegNews Great Adventure to India this Thursday, there are loose ends to be tied. Plus, I'm heading to New York that day too, and I need to expand my stomach so that I may gorge thoroughly on all of the amazing vegan food that the Big Apple has to offer. It's almost time to pack our bags! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Grilled Eggplant Sandwich

The Chefs: Colleen and Herbivore

The Menu: Grilled eggplant sandwich on toasted focaccia bread with basil pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and vegan mayo with a side of organic greens, cherry tomatoes, and red onion.

The Goods: Leftovers rule, and today was no different. I picked up lunch at Herbivore before heading to the office to get some work done this weekend, so the other sandwich half came in handy with today's busy schedule. I whipped up this organic salad with vegetables I keep in our office fridge (tossed with cold-pressed olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt) for an instant meal. Our deck was warm and sunny, so it was a great day to chill with my colleagues. Speaking of, my fellow publisher, Joseph, and I are headed to India this Thursday for the VegNews Great Adventure to India with 25 readers, and we can hardly wait. We'll be back in a few weeks with photos and stories galore. Namaste!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Taco Time!

The Chefs: Jennifer and Gracias Madre

The Menu: Tacos filled with plantains, mushrooms, and collard greens topped with cilantro and cashew cream with a side of refried black beans

The Goods: Managing Editor Elizabeth Castoria is on my list of people I love today. Mainly because she is the genius who came up with the idea of ordering lunch from Gracias Madre and then bringing it back to the office to eat it outside on our deck in the sunshine. The plantains are a rare sighting at Gracias so when they have them on the menu, I order them. I'm also obsessed with the black beans. How do they make them so dang good? I wish I knew. Someone else I adore is Ayinde Howell. Have you seen his 4 Super Bowl recipes (Quinoa Nachos! Jalapeño Cheddar Hoe Cakes!)? His recipes are so good, it even makes me want to watch football (that's for you, Anna). Go Giants!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tempeh-Stuffed Pepper

The Chef: Rashida

The Menu: Bell pepper stuffed with tempeh, portabello mushrooms, rice, and cheddar-style Daiya, a side salad, and an apple.

The Goods: If you ask me, tempeh’s got a bit of a bad rap. Some tofu-loving omnivores won’t touch the stuff (case in point: my mom), and I’ve even seen vegans shy away from this soy-based delight. Well, I’m on a one-woman crusade to prove that tempeh is an excellent addition to any veg meal. With that in mind, allow me to present the remnants of my dinner last night: a scrumptious tempeh-stuffed bell pepper bathing in tomato sauce. Not only is the tempeh stuffing tasty enough to sway even the most skeptical, it’s also a good source of calcium, which is crucial for healthy bones. If my zealous tempeh-preaching didn’t make a convert out of you, there are still plenty of ways to increase your calcium intake without animal products. Check out our tips here!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs

The Chefs: Anna, Elizabeth, and Colleen

The Menu: Rotini with meatless meatballs and Elizabeth's dad's second best (we'll get to that in a second) spaghetti sauce, and a fresh salad with cherry tomatoes, avocado, shredded carrots, and vinaigrette c/o Colleen

The Goods: Wondering about second best, I presume? Well, there's been a lot of trash (or is it smack?) talk between myself and fellow Italian Elizabeth Castoria over which one of our fathers' tomato sauce recipes reigns supreme. Throw in VN's other Italian, Publisher Joseph Connelly (and his mother's recipe), and it's a rumble between Italian factions. It's very "Leave the gun, take the vegan cannoli" and all that hullabaloo. While I maintain that one day we'll have to have a blind taste test with all three, after having tasted this batch, I must say that, well, my dad's sauce is still way better. Yes, I'm biased, but I'm also the author of this post, so you can only accept my opinion on the matter. Prego.