Thursday, August 4, 2011

Adventures in Vegan Convenience Part II

My weeklong vegan adventures continued this week with a few meals out and cooking with our new pots and pans.

Last night, we went to Evolution Burger.  While a majority of their menu items include beef patties, they also offer a vegetarian burger (Veggie Burger #1) and a vegan burger (Veggie Burger #2).  If you have allergies, ask the counter for the ingredients list.  That's how I discovered the vegan burger was soy free and thus safe for my consumption.

A while ago, I did a post about salad options in Downtown DC.  At that time, I neglected to mention Devon & Blakely, since I primarily went there for pre-made sandwiches, namely their English cheddar and avocado on whole grain.  But, it has a terrific number of vegan options as well.  There's a selection of soups, all of which are clearly labeled to note if they are vegan or vegetarian.   Anyone with any sort of food sensitivities will feel comfortable eating here  - I also saw labels for gluten-free and dairy free.  There are also a number of vegan sandwiches.

The salad options are a lot of fun.  You can opt for a small or large salad, mixed leaf or spinach.  You then take your bowl of greens to the counter.  At that point, you choose from a variety of toppings, including tons and tons of fresh veggies, as well as beans, sunflower seeds, nuts and other vegan friendly toppings.  There are also a number of dairy-free dressings.  Today, I opted for a spinach salad with chickpeas, tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers, dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper.  I also had a cup of the vegan lentil soup, which was hearty and full of veggies.

So, while I've been enjoying all of these convenience foods, tonight, I was determined to cook with our brand new ginormous saute pan, as well as some of our other new cookware.  We had an eggplant in the fridge, so I diced that and sauteed it in olive oil with red onion and yellow and red grape tomatoes.  I then threw in some chopped kale, added vegetable broth, and put a lid on the whole thing to steam the kale down.  I seasoned it with salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder (alas, we were out of fresh garlic - I thought we had a few cloves) za'atar and fresh parsley.  I then stirred in some whole wheat rotini (and yes, it was vegan) and the last of my current stash of mozzarella daiya.

The broth added an extra dimension of flavor to the dish, so I think I'll try that trick again soon.  However, it had a higher pasta to veggie ratio than I would have liked.  Rather than making two cups of pasta, next time I'll cut back to a cup and a half.  We'll still have multiple servings, but the veggies will stand out more.  White beans or chickpeas might also be a nice addition, and this mixture can also nicely go over quinoa, farro, couscous or the grain of your choosing.

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