For plant-based eaters who prefer a farmer’s market over an outdoor vegan fest, please know I get it. It’s not that vegan foods are bad, although there are certainly a lot of unhealthy ones out there, its that far too often these products contain oil, refined sugar, syrups, or other undesirable sweeteners, too much sodium, or ingredients that I can’t pronounce.
If most of your diet is whole food plant-based then very few commercially prepared foods are on your pantry’s shelf or in the refrigerator or freezer because finding really stellar products – foods made with top notch ingredients without all the additives, and that taste great – is tough (there is just no getting around being vigilant and reading labels).
Every once in a while, a truly great product is introduced (and it feels like a reward when you find it), which is the case with Granola Bites by the Organic Pantry Co. Granola Bites are tasty pieces of granola (almost like small cookies) with mulberries (Cashew, Date & Mulberry) or coconut and raisins (Coconut, Cacao, and Raisin) : Read more
One of the great benefits of following a plant-based diet is enjoying dark chocolate whose subtle differences in taste, texture, and aroma become more pronounced over time. Acquiring a taste for dark chocolate evolves but once you’ve come to appreciate the purity and intensity of dark chocolate, you’ll never want to eat milk chocolate ever again. The difference is really that striking.
Dr-Cow, a small storefront in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn is known for making organic, raw, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, and soy-free food products, especially tree nut cheese, granola, biscotti, crackers, desserts, and chocolates. Read more
Simply the best cereal on the market.
Muesli is a breakfast cereal made up of raw rolled oats, grains, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds that is typically enjoyed with your favorite type of milk or yogurt (note: I find it especially delicious with unsweetened Milkadamia – a non-dairy nut milk).
Some people claim that muesli is just raw granola but that description doesn’t do the Swiss invention justice. While many of the ingredients are the same, muesli differs from granola in three ways: muesli is not baked, does not contain oil, and typically has no added sweeteners. Read more
Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) and pasta are not two foods that people think about putting together but if you’re looking for a fresh delicious new take on a summer pasta salad, look no further. Chickpea pasta is delicious, has a slightly heavier texture and heartier flavor than white pasta, and is infinitely more nutritious with 12 grams of protein and 1 gram of natural sugar per serving.
Full of greens, vegetables, and beans, the Chickpea Pasta Salad doesn’t need any oil or sauce to bring it together. Instead, the addition of an avocado (chopped) and the juice from a fresh lemon add a creamy tangy texture to the salad. Read more
Right across the Williamsburg Bridge on a quiet street (South 6th) in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, is a tiny store called Dr-Cow that makes tree nut cheeses that taste just like cheese, only better (and unlike any of the commercial non-dairy cheese substitutes sold in grocery stores). These organic, dairy-free, raw, and plant-based cheeses are low in fat, sodium, and calories, have no cholesterol, and are high in iron and plant protein.
At Dr-Cow, tree nut cheeses are made the same way exceptional dairy cheeses are made: with three ingredients – milk, a culture, and salt – but instead of cow milk, Dr-Cow uses nuts (primarily cashews and macadamia nuts) which means, Dr-Cow cheeses contain no gluten, no casein, no soy and are lactose-free. And, yet, they taste incredible. Read more
Making a moist and flavorful corn muffin without butter, oil, milk, refined sugar, or eggs used to be a challenge until I was inspired by a recipe for Double Corn Muffins in the Forks Over Knives Flavor cookbook by Darshana Thacker. Her recipe is excellent but I want a lighter muffin so I use whole grain spelt flour or Hayden Flour Mills all purpose flour (instead of whole wheat flour which is a heavier flour), medium grain cornmeal (instead of coarse) and add a teaspoon of baking soda and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to help leaven the muffins more than by using baking powder alone.
Whereas most corn muffins taste like corn but are often dry, these corn muffins are moist and delicious because fresh off-the-cob kernels are used along with medium coarse cornmeal and almond flour that provides just the right amount of granular texture. The result is best described as “the best ever corn muffins, period.” Read more
Asheville, North Carolina may be known for the Biltmore Estate (the largest privately owned house in the United States) but it’s also the home of OWL Bakery – a European-style bakery that specializes in pastries, handmade breads, salads, quiches, coffee, and teas.
Located in a small white cottage in West Asheville, just a few miles from the city center, OWL Bakery is not a vegan or vegetarian bakery, but a place that welcomes and caters to all types of foodies. What draws everyone to this incredible bakery, is the quality and flavor of the food, which is made using mostly locally grown ingredients. Read more
Big, moist organic jumbo raisins are hard to find. Most organic raisins are small and can be used in most recipes where they will absorb moisture and plump up. But, out of the bag, they almost seem inferior to those big huge raisins preserved with sulfur dioxide that are found on most grocery store shelves. Read more
Nearly 100 years in 1928, Harry Burnett (“HB”) Reese created the peanut butter cup – that quintessential combination of chocolate and peanut butter that became one of America’s favorite candy confections. Although the classic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup will always hold a special place in culinary history, dozens of variations have since been created based on the simple idea of blending chocolate with a nut butter to make the ultimate candy treat.
My personal favorite peanut butter cup is made by Eat Chic Chocolates – a Brooklyn-based company that specializes in handcrafted chocolate filled with house made nut and seed butters. Read more