Rotini With Walnut & Lentil Sauce

I always find a new spice obsession. This time, it is black sesame seeds.
At Mom’s Organic Market, a decent sized plastic bin costs under four dollars and that’s plenty of small speckled seasoning to work with. I would have ventured to retrieve the grocery list fennel seeds, an ingredient I haven’t used in ages, but the black sesame seeds were in everyone’s IG smoothie bowls and savory dishes, looking like black pepper’s prickly older cousin. So yes, I have added this to my tofu scrambles and chocolate avocado puddings, loving its gorgeous contrast and minimal flavor profile.
I have been experimenting with walnuts (after pecans and almonds, they’re the least expensive to buy raw at Trader Joe’s), trying to venture further into my walnut cheese ardor, inventing strategies into incorporating more raw sauces into my life. I added black lentils to my usual recipe to add a fibrous component as well as amp the “meaty” texture (because we vegans love and value the simplicity of walnut meat). This sauce was incredible in the rotini, very thick and cheesy thanks to nutritional yeast and a bit of creamy tahini.
I hope to turn this scrumptious creation into cheese wedges someday. I’m still reading about making homemade bricks/slices. If anyone has any ideas that would be most appreciated. Until then, enjoy walnut & lentil sauce in any pasta (or spiraled veggie that you choose).

Rotini With Walnut & Lentil “Cheese” Sauce Ingredients and Preparation

2 cup Trader Joe’s rotini
2 cup walnuts, soaked
1 cup black lentils, drained
1/4 cup tahini
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 tablespoon liquid aminos
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

Set aside prepared pasta.
Blend together walnuts, black lentils, tahini, nutritional yeast, liquid aminos, Italian Seasoning, garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and black pepper in food processor or blender, mixing all ingredients evenly. This should come out a bit grainy yet “meaty.”
Mix walnut & lentil sauce with pasta. Serve hot and sprinkle generously with black sesame seeds.

When That Bite of Death Enters Your Mouth And Digests Into Consciousness…..

This is a topic that I haven’t discussed, a glaring reality for vegans. Mistakes happen. Tragic consequences can arise when eating out at a place that isn’t necessarily all plant based. Cross contamination is a real issue. Sometimes people don’t listen. Sometimes in midst of busy chaos, your “special” order is forgotten. It doesn’t mean that you’re falling off the wagon.
Exactly, one week ago, I attended the last PHLA Assembled to enjoy the Victory Menu.
Unlike the Resistance Menu, the options were extremely limited.
Fortunately, the cashier assured me that a few dishes could be vegan. I should have known something was up when she asked, “do you still want the roll?”
I had two lentil empanadas, the beans and rice, and the coconut roll.

I finished off my lentil empanadas with degrees of satisfaction. They were impressive– a savory, well seasoned filling in a pillowy, crisp pastry. I then started around my rice and beans, staring at the dollop of cream with suspicion. I thought, “of course that cashier told the server I was vegan.” Although looking around, everyone was consuming meat and their beans and rice bowls with the same dollop. I stayed diligent, even though my intuition strengthened. I took a bite of the roll and immediately tasted the salty plunge that was surely not vegan. Foolishly, I dug into the sour cream matter and that too lie a grave of disrespect. My stomach sank into a disgusting pit.

I walked up to the counter and asked the server if these things were vegan. Maybe my taste buds and stomach were wrong.
“No,” she said. “There is sour cream. The bread has ghee.”
“I told the cashier I was vegan,” I told her, my stomach worsening. My digestive system was whacking out as my consciousness fell into great despair. I blinked back my tears, knowing that they were desperate to climb out of my eye sockets and drip down my cheekbones, like the cow mourning her calves as she prepared for her own impending death.
“She didn’t make a note of that to me.”
I sighed glumly. This wasn’t the friendliest exchange. I felt wronged, blamed.
Still, she allowed me to return my death food. I received a sour cream free bowl of beans and rice.
I ate this pleasant little meal of blackened carrots, beans, and rice inside tin foil bowl with diminished happiness. I wasn’t thinking about a six dollar loss. I was primarily thinking about my pained stomach and the dead animals on everyone’s plates. A crushingly sick and twisted moment occurred. I sat among them all, feeling hypocritical because of what residues rested on my tongue, situated inside my confused, nausea induced belly.
I had never had ghee before. Sour cream, yes.
But for years, I hadn’t consumed milk, dairy, or egg products.
I say that if this happens to you, the accidental consumption of grisly, horrific death, it is natural to be sad, disheartened, perhaps a bit morose and depressed. Don’t let that stop your fight. Let it make you want to become a better vegan.

It hurts. Yes, it sucks even. With situations such as this, the kind-hearted vegan must reevaluate themselves, figure out if eating out in nonvegan spaces can satisfy. Sometimes, they really can’t. It is important to always, always ask questions. If something feels wrong, don’t eat it.
In a vegan’s life, the most veganized place to eat is their own home and an all vegan establishment second.

Hank’s Vegan Burger For Great Figgy Fig Sauce & Soda Pop

Hank’s Vegan Burger was everything I had hoped for. After all, this popular vegan fast food restaurant was on top of my must eat list. Nothing beats a combo meal deal. There is a kind of sophistication when considering their pride of delivering a bonafide dining experience in addition to speedy, respectable service and an amazing meal curated by their chef. With a wonderful spacious upstairs to kick back drinks, eat burgers, and maul on desserts, it makes being a vegan all the more special. This place exists– a fast food haven with incredible food made from plants.

Crunchy on the outside with a moist, soft interior, the scrumptious tiny carrot cake was packed with sweet enticing flavors– vanilla, lemon, and bits of carrot. I was more than happy to have room for this perfect ending.

Gentle Gourmet For the Fancy

On a Sunday afternoon, I ventured out to Gentle Gourmet, a place I have wanting to try forever. They create the most beautiful plates of food using plant based gastronomy.

The interior decor is sleek and elegant, letting guests know that this fine dining experience is about to get sophisticated. After my enjoyment of bar burgers and and coffee houses, Gentle Gourmet was going to be my special world class ticket into vegan refinement.

I ordered the Le Fume as a main entree, a hearty soup of French blue-violet potato gnocchi and a smoked nordic broth of juniper berry, coriander, cilantro, and dill and a disc of chopped small vegetables.

I ordered the Le Fume as a main entree, a hearty soup of French blue-violet potato gnocchi and a smoked nordic broth of juniper berry, coriander, cilantro, and dill and a disc of chopped small vegetables.

The flavorful dessert also comes with a punch-y apple and fennel shot. I downed it in one swallow and consumed my apples delight, relishing each participant. All in all, a pleasing end to a meal of appeasing eye art gratification.

Vegan Mofo Post #15: Turmeric Rice and Tofu

I used Tastybite Rice for evil purposes. Well, not evil. Just, well, I don’t have the best experiences with microwave rice. It tastes better simmering slow and steady on the stovetop. Nonetheless, I zapped my rice and have the shame of desperation for quick hunger resolution staining my heart and mind. Also, I feel like laughing for disclosing this info.

Turmeric Rice and Tofu Ingredients and Preparation

Tastybite Heat & Eat Vegan Long Grain Rice
1/2 cup cubed extra firm tofu ( I didn’t cook my tofu)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coriander

Warm your rice in the way that makes you happy.
Mix in tofu, turmeric, salt, and coriander.

Vegan Mofo Post #16: Pumpkin Spice Golden Milk

I haven’t had a Califia Farms Ginger AlmondMilk in forever. While some stores just aren’t carrying it around, the price for a small bottle went for around $3 or more. I still remember the first taste. It was a pretty yellow and brown speckled drink with a spicy kick. For me, I realize that I was paying for the experience of eating out at Whole Foods Market, getting a drink to have alongside my hot bar food. Plus, I have to save as much as possible for the upcoming overseas trip.
Why not make golden milk on the cheap?
Now this is a simple beverage to concoct. Everything needed is in the fridge and cabinet.
If you need a break from pumpkin lattes and apple cider, golden milk is a treat perfect at any time of the year– hot or cold.

Pumpkin Spice Golden Milk Ingredients and Preparation

1 1/2 cup almond or coconut milk
2 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of ginger

In a small pot, bring milk, maple syrup, turmeric, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and pinch of ginger to a boil, stirring continuously along the way.
Serve hot.

Vegan Mofo Post #7: Birthday Dinner At Modern Love Brooklyn

Yesterday was a good day.
Sunny, amiable New York City weather charmed and seduced from borough to borough. I dallied in Greenwich Village for breakfast and thrift shopping. I visited my favorite art haven, Studio Museum Harlem in Harlem, finding solitude in the paintings of Amy Sherald from the dynamic Fictions exhibition and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s pastel sketches of Harlem, an unexpected treat in a curated body of works about Harlem and Jacob Lawrence.

Prior to attending The New Yorker Festival (where Ava DuVernay waved at me from the crowd, yes I’d like to think she did), I made reservations for one at Modern Love Brooklyn, a chic all-vegan eatery, specializing in ritzy fine dining with an emphasis on plant-based comfort food. In between drinking water (my usual drink of choice) and watching people enjoy iced cocktails, giant mock pork chops with pink applesauce and giant sandwiches, I delighted in my special “treat yo’ self” meal at this popular hot spot owned/created by vegan cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

This is a whimsical plate. The bottom layers have layers of wickedly smooth red pepper cashew mac n cheese, blackened cauliflower, sauteed kale, tomato vinaigrette, and spicy pecans with triangular pecan-cornmeal encrusted tofu gracefully topping. Hands down one of the most eloquent, creative vegan mac n cheese dishes ever eaten in a restaurant thus far.

Vegan Mofo Post #9: Polenta With Brussels Sprouts and Pumpkin Pecan Sauce

Polenta is a staple for me. I love how this carb component (delicious as mashed grits or chunky cubes) is a great basis for breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes. It is a constant delight to have a warm, cozy bowl of yummy goodness in the form of my beloved polenta.
This easy pumpkin pecan sauce relies on the fatty flavor of pecans and no additional oil.

Polenta With Brussels Sprouts and Pumpkin Pecan Sauce Ingredients and Preparation

1/2 cup pecans
1 cup water
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 polenta log
2 cup frozen Brussels sprouts

Soak pecans overnight.
Inside a blender or food processor, combine pecans and water with pumpkin puree, nutritional yeast, tahini, salt, turmeric, coriander, and black pepper. Pulse until smooth and creamy.
Chop polenta into chunks (3/4 thick) and toss into boiling water. Let cook for nine to twelve minutes and drain.
Prepare Brussels sprouts to package directions.
Mix polenta with Brussels sprouts and 1/4 cup of pumpkin pecan sauce.

Intriguing Late Night Taco Grubhub From La Vaca Margarita Bar

I wasn’t in the mood for tacos.
In fact, I wanted sushi or vegan BBQ. Many restaurants were closed after a certain time.
I settled for returning to my host location and utilizing Grub Hub. The only vegan option was La Vaca’s tacos and guacomole with hot and crunchy tortilla chips.
When I unwrapped my tacos, I thought they looked like fish and almost called the restaurant, but no fishy smell came from beneath the pink patties topped with avocado slices and sesame seeds.

Flat patties were slightly crunchy on the outside with a delicate tender center, but needed more than avocado (which was unfortunately a little on the brown side) and sesame seeds to provide a real sense of flavor. It lacked salt and spice.

Funnily enough the guacamole was very salty. I added that to the tacos– which helped just a bit. I loved the concept of blending these specific ingredients together and forming them into a cohesive vegan friendly taco insertion. It’s the follow through that could use revision. Still, a commendable effort nonetheless.

Tofu Scramble With Broccoli and Artichoke

Trader Joe’s has a slew of amazing new products including artichoke hearts and ginger caramel popcorn. The latter has been buzzed about throughout the store itself and of course on Instagram, all vegans are spreading love and joy. The artichoke hearts are amazing too. These curled floral looking buds are ready to go in any salad, pasta dish, whatever. I added them to my broccoli tofu scramble, pleased by the soft, creamy texture of the artichokes in contrast to the slight crunchy notes of broccoli. For a little color, I suggest adding juicy tomato slices or steamed, sweet carrots.

Tofu Scramble With Broccoli and Artichoke Ingredients and Preparation

1 cup frozen broccoli, cooked
half of 12.9oz package Trader Joes Tapas Style Artichoke Hearts
1/2 block extra firm tofu, crumbled
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 tablespoon almond milk (or any dairy free milk)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian Seasonings
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon pink salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a medium sized bowl, mix all ingredients together.
Toss the tofu scramble into a hot pan or skillet and stir every few minutes or so. Cover if desired.
In about 12 minutes, tofu scramble should be ready to devour.