Sneaky Vegan

Written by Evan E.

When I became vegetarian at the tender age of fourteen in response to adopting three young chicks as pets, I didn’t really like any vegetables.  I ate a lot of cheese frozen pizzas, steamable frozen edamame packets, chips and salsa, and egg sandwiches – not a lot of substance or nutrition there.  Seven or eight years later I find myself in my early twenties and decide that it’s finally time to learn how to cook interesting, flavorful, healthy, and most importantly meatless dishes that could wow a crowd for a dinner party, or that I could make for a romantic night in with my partner.  Many classic recipes cast meat as the star, but there are many alternatives that are easily prepared in any home kitchen, with a little imagination and creativity.

Irregardless Cafe is no stranger to using mock meats, the prime example being our Zoodle Bolognese vegan entree, featuring a secret mix of veggies resembling a classic Bolognese sauce.  To complete the flavors, it is topped with a vegan cheese make with cashews, another sneaky dupe for traditional ingredients. Being absent of meat or dairy products, it is shockingly creamy, rich, and delicious – everything that a traditional Italian dish should be.

As I used in my recipe, cauliflower is a sponge for flavor and has a meaty texture, both of which contribute to its usefulness in vegan cooking.  One of our current specials at the restaurant is the Cauliflower “Steak” served with black bean puree, jalapeno coulis and microgreens from our Well Fed Community Garden.  This dish is one of my personal favorites, the cauliflower is seasoned and roasted to perfection and the heat from the coulis is the perfect match with it and the puree. The combination makes for a very satisfying and filling dish, while keeping your meal healthy and light.

Our vegan options also expand into strudels, with our vegetable strudel stuffed with roasted zucchini, butternut squash, carrots, and tofu.  The tofu provides just enough protein to make the dish filling and also serves as a sponge for various herbs and spices that add to the flavor.  

Notably, our Well Fed Well Said Vegan dinner on July 14th will feature a meatless version of Beef Bourguignon, and a version of Coq au Vin using seitan as the protein.  Click here for more information and ticket sales!