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The Vegan Connection

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The Vegan Connection

There was a time when vegans were resigned to dry cereal for breakfast and trips to the salad bar for lunch. The best rendition of a burger was a sad mealy cardboard patty that would hardly hold together. Great news! Today chefs are celebrating local farmers, the environment and focusing on vegetables. They are embracing the idea of creating delicious vegetarian and vegan foods full of flavor, texture and color.

The three big reasons people eat vegan are the ethical treatment of animals, their health, and the environment. Today less than 5% of Americans are vegetarians and less than 1% are vegan* However, there is a growing number of people today that, although they are not vegetarian or vegan, want a vegan meal one or two times a week.

Chefs catering to vegan diners are conscious of the well-rounded nutrition of their meals. Protein is a priority. Seaweed, legumes, nuts, grains, tofu, vegetable charcuterie and combinations of such provide plenty of protein for the diet. We also crave fats, sugars, and proteins and don’t want to give them up. In California I visited an East-Coast-style deli. The sun dried tomato mozzarella was fabulous as were the vegan sausages and deli meats. The vegan roast beef French Dip? To die for!

Recently, a diner who is a self-proclaimed meat lover shared their experience at a vegan restaurant in Orlando. Market on South serves fabulous barbecue pulled pork sandwich. However there is no meat in the “pork”. It is made from jack fruit. Would you believe that there is no discernible difference? We definitely come far in the vegan dining scene!

It doesn’t stop with barbecue. Who doesn’t enjoy the taste and smell of bacon? Well coconut bacon could be the next best thing! Organic coconut chips are smoked or marinated and baked until crispy. The result is a product that tastes and smells like pork bacon. What a great product for a BLT, in a salad or with breakfast.

With all of these exciting vegan options we can’t forget about that terrible vegan hamburger, can we? Luckily, burgers like that are a thing of the past. I’ve had some delicious vegan burgers – some made with ground chickpeas, corn, quinoa, mushrooms and spices, and others made with ground seitan blended with onions, chilies, mushrooms and soy. However, I’ve heard of a new burger made with wheat, potato, soy, yeast and coconut at a new restaurant in New York. The burger looks, tastes and bleeds just like a meat burger does. Reviews of this impossible burger are good. I’m a burger fan and to me the proof is in the beef. I find this an excellent excuse to take a long weekend and fly up to New York. My burger awaits!

Eat well!

Culinary Systems Inc

Windermare, Florida 34786

Email. tlagana@culinarysystems.com

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