Friday, December 23, 2011

Final Salad of the Year

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Herbivore

The Menu: A big, gorgeous  green salad.

The Goods: You guys. You GUYS. It's pretty danged near impossible to describe the incredible day that we're having here at the VNHQ. Our staff is what you might call extra-double-super excited about our upcoming holiday break (this is our last day in the office until Jan. 2, 2012!), and the presents have been coming fast and furious. It's intense. The day started with Assistant Editor Anna Peraino bringing in cookies within cookies for Associate Editor Jennifer Chen, then progressed to a couple dozen candy cane brownies from Sticky Fingers for the staff from our publishers. If ever there was a day to feast on salad, it's today. We've had holiday music blasting all day, and things just basically couldn't be more festive. Here's to an amazing holiday season for everyone! We'll be back next year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Roasted Vegetable Tamales & Black Beans

The Chefs: Colleen and Hella Vegan Eats

The Menu: Roasted vegetable tamales with a verde salsa, black beans with vegan sour cream, and an organic salad with lettuce, carrots, olives, and cucumber

The Goods: A few weeks ago, I went to a holiday party which had the most amazing vegan spread. An array of dips and appetizers, vegan tamales with 10 different fillings, and a beverage bar that only vegans could appreciate (think hot rum-spiked soy nog with all-you-can-top vegan whipped cream). It was a good night, let's just say that. And what made it even better was that the fabulous hostess (VN Editor-at-Large Laura Beck) sent me home with a bag of Hella Vegan Eats' tamales. Today, I steamed up a batch for myself and a few of my colleagues and served them with a spicy tomatillo-avocado salsa. Delicious! This savory meal provided a nice antidote to all the sweets we've been inhaling this month. There's been chocolate, cupcakes, peppermint bark, truffles, soy nog, soy nog cheesecake, cookies, bars, and the lists goes on. Here's to a happy, healthy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Roasted Tomato Soup & Giant Kale Salad

The Chef: Jennifer 

The Menu: Roasted tomato soup and a kale salad.

The Goods: Yes, my co-workers (they shall remain nameless) teased me about the size of my kale salad. The leaves were literally falling off the plate. But I have a good reason for eating half of a bunch of kale. After baking/eating the top cookie in our Holiday Cookie Contest—chocolate sugar cookies with peppermint candy cane frosting—I needed to eat my weight in greens. The tomato soup, my friends, is one of the best I've ever had and it's the Veganize It! recipe from the January+February  VegNews. As Managing Editor Elizabeth Castoria aptly described it, "This soup is a great grilled cheese dipper." I'm lucky that my husband is the king of vegan grilled cheese sandwiches. Thanks, Daiya! If you're running low on your favorite vegan pantry items, enter our $100 Pangea shopping spree giveaway. Now, I'm off to finish the rest of my salad.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Soup and Spring Rolls

The Chef: Hilary and Whole Foods Market

The Menu: Savory, comforting mushroom-barley soup and fresh, crunchy tofu spring rolls. 

The Goods: Between last week's cookiepalooza and the final push of holiday parties that inevitably strikes the week before Christmas, I've had my fair share of crazy-heavy meals in the past few days. It's soup and salad or bust for the next few days, until I am reunited with my family and inevitably dive headfirst into Cake-and-Mashed-Potatoesville, USA. Not pictured above: the Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joe's that I might have scarfed in the kitchen post-soup and spring rolls. They taste just like the scent of the Scent of Scandal candle that is This Week's Must Have! My obsession is boundless. Speaking of obsession, to see the other events of 2011 that had us full-blown captivated, don't miss VegNews' 10 Biggest Trends in Veganism for 2011, which rounds up all of the year's hottest stories that had us as buzzed as the sugar high I'm working through as we speak. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Oatmeal and Fruit

The Chef: Anna

The Menu: Oatmeal with blueberries and an orange on the side

The Goods: The holidays are the best—dinner parties, soy nog, so many cookies you can't count—but all those parties and treats can also wreak havoc on your stomach. Case in point: moi. After a week filled with four holiday parties and taste-testing for the VegNews Holiday Cookie Contest, I woke up over the weekend feeling less than ideal. Enter: oatmeal. Simple, tasty, and filled with fiber, this meal, while boring, will hopefully get me ready for round two of holiday eating, i.e., my parents' house. But until then, it's oatmeal time!

Friday, December 16, 2011

South Indian Staff Lunch

The Chefs: Colleen and Udupi Palace

The Menu: The amazing Spinach Masala Dosa with a bowl of sambar soup and trio of housemade chutneys (coconut, ginger, and spicy tomato)

The Goods: There isn't a single person at the VNHQ who doesn't love South Indian food. Heck, we could probably eat it every day if we had to. And the best South Indian restaurant in the city is just around the corner from our offices, so our entire team ventured over for a delicious lunch of dosas, uthappams, idlis, and curries. The occasion, however, was bittersweet, as today marked the final day of our wonderful Editorial Assistant Joni Sweet's internship with VegNews. Joni actually studied abroad in India during college and can often be found diving into a dosa during the noon hour, so it was a fitting place to toast her amazing contribution to VegNews. Immediately following lunch, we headed back to the VNHQ for the official judging of our 2011 VegNews Holiday Cookie Contest (hundreds of entries! 10 finalists! incredible vegan cookies!), for which we'll be announcing our three prize winners on Monday (hello, KitchenAid mixer). We were all in a bit of a food coma due to the excessive sugar intake, but we need to shake it in time for tomorrow night's annual VegNews Staff Holiday Bash. We'll be shakin' up this town if you need us!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pesto Pasta

The Chefs: Jennifer and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: Savvy Savories Vegan Pesto Pasta with sun-dried tomatoes

The Goods: I blame Editorial Assistant Hilary Pollack for my addiction to this pesto pasta. She bought it all the time, and she made me try it to understand her obsession. Now, I'm hooked. The roasted cashews add a nice cheese-like taste to this pesto. I could eat it every day. Stop me. Immediately after eating this savory dish, all I really want is something sweet. So it's a good thing I'm baking up the Chocolate Sugar Cookies Iced with Crushed Candy Cane Topping recipe from our Holiday Cookie Contest. I'm not the world's best baker so I'm glad I'm chatting with some of the best vegan bakers tonight at 6pm PT during our VegNews Twitter Chat to get some help.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Spicy Peanut Noodles

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: What started out as just a salad, but turned into a salad of mixed greens, olives, carrots, tofu, kale, and sunflower seeds, served with a side of Savvy Savories Spicy Peanut Noodles.

The Goods: Who can resist the siren song of awesome pasta tossed in a spicy peanut-butter sauce? Not this gal, and not today. As someone who's been stricken with the freaking stupid cold that everyone I know seems to currently have, today marked the first time in more than a week that I was actually hungry for lunch, which made these two yummy dishes even more enticing. I'm just hoping that my appetite returns full-force before Friday, when we'll be testing the 10 finalists in our first-ever Holiday Cookie Contest!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

South Asian Leftover Mash-up

The Chef: Joni

The Menu: A mishmash of leftover Thai, Burmese, and Indian foods—spicy tofu, glazed eggplant, yellow veggie curry, and coconut rice

The Dish: I had family in town recently, which means lots of dining out (no complaints here!). I’m pretty sure we ate at every South Asian restaurant in San Francisco, hence the assortment of leftovers for lunch today. While South Asian cuisine occupies a large portion of my love for food, so does dessert, and I’m ready for some cookies! We spent much of yesterday sorting through the myriad of recipe entries to the VegNews Holiday Cookie Contest and our top 10 finalists sound amazing. We’ll be having a bake-off on Friday to determine the winners and I can’t wait to bake the Peanut Butter Blossoms. It will surely be the perfect end to the week.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Kale Can't Fail

The Chef: Hilary and Herbivore

The Dish: A generously sized kale salad with cucumbers, carrots, onions, tomatoes, avocado, and soy chicken. 

The Goods:  After a week (and weekend) of holiday indulgence, a kale salad with hearty soy chicken and buttery avocado was the perfect Monday-lunch antidote. Even better, after a rousing game of Bananagrams, we got to review the amazing recipes submitted by readers for the VegNews Holiday Cookie Contest. I wish that I could offer a sneak peek, but the deliberation was top secret. Keep a close eye on early next week for the results of our difficult (and delicious) decision-making process! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Baked Potato with Vegan Cheddar & Guacamole

The Chef: Colleen

The Dish: Baked Russet potato topped with WayFare Hickory Cheddar cheese, homemade guacamole, and sliced scallions—plus organic greens and cherry tomatoes tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt

The Goods: After a week of mind-blowing food on the VegNews Vegan Yoga Retreat to Mexico (seriously, it was amazing), I focused on really simple lunches this week. This meant lots of salads, rice bowls, and, today, a baked potato with a few key toppings. And since the WayFare fairies dropped by our offices on Wednesday with a cooler full of vegan cheese, pudding, and sour cream, a smear of the cheddar spread made the perfect condiment to my Friday meal. It was delish! But I am already fantasizing about the 10 recipes we'll be testing next week for the first annual VegNews Holiday Cookie Contest. It's going to get crazy here at the VNHQ, I can promise you that. Still haven't entered your favorite cookie? The deadline is tomorrow at 5pm PT, so enter as many recipes as you'd like for a chance to win a KitchenAid mixer, a cupcake kit, and two dozen cookies from Allison's Gourmet. In other great news, we just announced our Holiday Gift Subscription Sale, where subs are now just $15. Stock up while it lasts!

A close-up of my baked potato with WayFare Hickory Cheddar cheese, guacamole, and fresh veggies

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cozy Cheesy Farfalle and An Apple a Day

The Chef: Hilary

The Dish: Bow-tie pasta smothered in mozzarella Daiya and marinara sauce with shallots, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes, plus a delightfully crunchy and sweet Honeycrisp apple. 

The Goods: With temperatures dropping, I find my urge growing to crawl into a cave with a barrel of hot cocoa and knitted things to hide for the remainder of winter. Due to various social obligations and physical logistics, my dream scenario is unfortunately not feasible. However, I find that a hearty, Daiya-laden pasta dish here and there provides a sufficient dose of cozy to help me beat the winter blues. Now all I need is the aroma of fresh-baked cookies from the VegNews Holiday Cookbook to keep me feeling toasty. Submit your best cookie recipe to the VegNews Holiday Cookie Contest today! The deadline is Friday for showing us how brightly your baking skills shine. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Vegan Avocado Rolls

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: Delightfully avocado-filled spring rolls with extra avocado, cucumber, shredded carrot, and romaine.

The Goods: After spending last week in Mexico for the utterly phenomenal VegNews Vegan Yoga Retreat to Mexico, I am just beginning to come to terms with the fact that I can no longer just show up at the retreat's gorgeous restaurant at meal times and wait for a stunning plate to magically appear. The readjustment has been trying, at best. Thankfully, our trusty corner store came to my rescue by putting even more avocado in the fresh spring rolls. Extra avocado perks up any day, but today was made even brighter by the fact that it's Bestie Day, and I was the extremely lucky recipient of these awesome flowers from my very own bestie. Gah! So many great things are happening all at once! It's almost enough to make a gal forget to mention that entries for the VegNews Holiday Cookie Contest are due by Saturday. Almost!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


The Chef: Joni

The Dish: A bolani—traditional Afghan flatbread—stuffed with potatoes and a side of pesto for dipping

The Goods: When I saw this Afghan specialty at the grocery store, I knew I needed to try it—I’m always on a quest to incorporate international flavor into every meal I eat. Adding worldy pizzazz to food would definitely be a good tactic if you’re considering entering the VegNews Holiday Cookie Contest. We’re looking for the most inventive and delicious cookie recipes known to the holiday season, so send them our way for a chance to win fabulous prizes, like a KitchenAid stand mixer.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly, Part Deux

The Chef: Anna

The Menu: A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on Ezekiel bread, an apple, and a peppermint patty from Allison's Gourmet

The Goods: It's a little déjà vu all over again: As you might have noticed, a week ago I essentially ate the same lunch. What can I say? I can never get sick of a good ol' PB&J. And, well, I didn't feel like cooking last night and didn't have time to make a salad this morning. But really, I can't get sick of a PB&J! Some might call it boring, but I like to think of it as classic. If you need ideas for classic—and not in any way boring—holiday meals (you know, like Seitan Roulade with Oyster Mushroom Stuffing), be sure to buy our Holiday Cookbook, available for instant download in the VegNews Store!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Vegetable Platter at Gracias Madre

The Chef: Joni and Gracias Madre
The Menu: A yummy veggie platter with refried black beans, rice, warm kale salad, and fried plantains.

The Dish: Most of the VN staff is saddened by the fact that Gracias Madre is currently for sale, so we’ve been heading there for lunch this week to say our goodbyes to this beloved establishment. This is probably one of the last meals I’ll have here, as I’ll soon be heading back to Upstate NY to spend the holidays with my family. Right now, the VN team is currently working on web stories for the month of December. Get ready for the hottest articles to revive your holiday spirit, starting next week on Happy Friday!

**Thanks for the photo, Lyndsay! I was way to ravenous for lunch and forgot the camera. While I didn't have exactly that meal, it is a great representation of Gracias Madre's amazing hearty Mexican food.** 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Triple Tacos

The Chefs: Jennifer and Gracias Madre

The Menu: The stellar taco plate, with black beans, fresh tortillas, sautéed greens, plantains, summer squash, and extra cashew cheese.

The Goods: As Café VegNews readers know, the VN staff are regulars at Gracias Madre. In fact, counting today, we've blogged about our lunches there at least 30 times. With the news that Gracias Madre is up for sale, I met VN columnist Jesse Miner ( the High-Tech Chef) there who graciously took me out to lunch. I always love the taco platter because the fresh veggies are delicious, and the mashed black beans are my favorite. Jesse and I chatted about his regular columns and his recent trip to Hawaii. If you're dreaming about vacation like I am right now, let us know where you'd like to go and you'll be entered in our $100 shopping spree to Alternative Outfitters, a vegan boutique, so you can buy flip flops for your impending trip to Hawaii. A girl can fantasize, right? Thanks to Managing Editor Elizabeth Castoria for this photo. I was too saddened by the news of GM's possible closing to remember to take one.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Couscous Mania

The Chef: Hilary
The Menu: My favorite couscous with mushrooms, broccoli, baked tofu, carrots, rosemary, and thyme. 
The Goods: Things are a little quiet in at the VegNews HQ with Managing Editor Elizabeth Castoria and Associate Publisher Colleen Holland on the VegNews Vegan Yoga Retreat in sunny Mexico, but the rest of the staff is keeping it cool between yesterday's Thanksgiving—Round 2 and a taste-test of Genuto vegan gelato. I made my favorite couscous to nosh away the early winter blues, since we're too busy for a hot-toddy break. Gear up for the holidays by entering your favorite recipe in the VN Holiday Cookie Contest. Peppermint-stick sugar cookies? Butterscotch gingerbread bars? The sky's the limit! We can't wait to read—and eat—what you come up with. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving—Round 2

The Chefs: Jennifer and Native Foods
The Menu: A slice of vegan Wellington from Native Foods, mashed potatoes with gravy, and cornbread stuffing 
The Goods: It's Thanksgiving, round 2. Thanks to leftovers from Publisher Joseph Connelly, the VN staff had yet another lunch eating the amazing Native Foods' Wellington. Personally, I'm a Tofurky gal, but now that I've tried this stuffed Wellington (kale! turkey seitan! sweet potatoes!), I know there's room for more on my Thanksgiving plate next year. Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can't wait for the holidays. Specifically, Christmas cookies. My mother-in-law and I bake up a batch together every year, and if I could enter the VN Holiday Cookie Contest, I would veganize her almond and raspberry jam thumbprint cookies. But since I can't enter (hello, KitchenAid mixer), I hope you will. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Peanut Butter (and) Jelly Time

The Chef: Anna

The Menu: The classic PB&J and a big-as-your-fist orange to go with it

The Goods: After an entire weekend of stuffing my face with delicious, rich food (Do I restrict my gluttony solely for Thanksgiving? Goodness, no!), it's time to get back to basics. This sandwich-and-fruit combo has weaved itself throughout my entire dietary life, and I was happy to once again dig in today. As happy as I am to have a respite from stuffing and pie, I can't wait until its time to head back to my family in Denver for Christmas cookies, soy nog, and a whole lot of baking. Do you have a stellar vegan holiday cookie recipe that wows taste buds year after year? Enter the VegNews Holiday Cookie Contest for your chance to win a KitchenAid stand mixer! And in case you already have one, I have that very mixer on my Christmas list. Just saying.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pesto Pasta and a Leafy Green Salad

The Chef: Joni and Valencia Whole Foods 

The Dish: A healthy green salad and pesto pasta with sun-dried tomatoes 

The Goods: See that pesto pasta? I’m obsessed—as my go-to lunch, it costs less than $4 and really showcases the earthy flavor of basil. After yesterday’s amazing feast, I wanted a light lunch so that I’ll have plenty of room for feasting this weekend! If you still don’t have Thanksgiving plans, check out this handy guide for event ideas across the country, and don’t forget to save some time to come up with the perfect recipe for our first annual Holiday Cookie Contest! Have a great weekend (also, isn't it great to be able to say that on a Wednesday?)!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

VegNews Thanksgiving Feast 2011!

The Chefs: Hilary, Colleen, Jen, Elizabeth, Lyndsay, and Native Foods
The Menu: A feast fit for a voraciously hungry staff: a vegan Wellington and mushroom gravy from Native Foods, Elizabeth's mashed potatoes, Colleen's brussels sprouts and signature winter salad, Lyndsay's biscuits, nog, cider, and three kinds of pie from Sidesaddle Kitchen!

The Goods: It's not easy to write this right now. My intelligence has plummeted since lunch due to a rush of blood to my digestive system. The VegNews Thanksgiving feast was truly scrumptious this year, tickling my tastebuds with every seasonal flavor imaginable and subsequently rendering me immobile. Our talented staff pulled together an array of amazing holiday dishes—from Colleen's winter salad with spiced pecans, sliced apples, and tangy dressing to Lyndsay's perfectly flaky, buttery biscuits. Behold the spread.

And why didn't anybody ever tell me that the Native Foods vegan Wellington is life-changing? Oh wait, they did, and they were right. Come Thursday, I'm going to be consulting the VegNews Holiday Cookbook to dazzle anyone (mostly myself) with all of the mouthwatering Thanksgiving recipes contained therein. Pumpkin Cake with Vanilla Buttercream and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes are just the beginning. Think your recipes will impress us? Enter the first-ever VegNews Holiday Cookie Contest now!  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pre-Thanksgiving Greens

The Chef: Anna and Herbivore

The Menu: The ever-constant, ever-tasty green salad, topped with beets, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, carrots, avocado, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, mint, and a healthy dose of grilled soy chicken.

The Goods: I'm not sure about you, but I always think about Mondays as a fresh start to both the work week and to healthy eating: hence, the salad. This healthy week, however, is to be short-lived, and by that I mean will end today. Why, you ask? Tomorrow marks VN's annual Thanksgiving luncheon, where we will be stuffing ourselves with Native Wellington, mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, apple pie from Babycakes, and tons of other stuff that I'm so excited to eat, I will most likely wake up three hours early tomorrow morning, à la a kid at Christmas. Speaking of the holidays: Do you have a holiday cookie recipe that blows people's minds? Then enter our first-ever Holiday Cookie Contest for your chance to win a KitchenAid Stand Mixer!

Many thanks to Lyndsay for this photo—I was too distracted by hunger to capture my lunch! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Plain Ol' Soup & Salad

The Chefs: Lyndsay

The Menu: Some homemade tomato soup, salad greens, and a persimmon

The Goods: I've gone out to lunch almost everyday this week, so today I decided to keep it simple and cheap. The tomato soup is
courtesy of VN contributor Jesse Miner, and the salad and persimmon is courtesy of my Farm Fresh To You produce box. I've never tried a persimmon before, so I am grateful to my produce box for sharing such a delicious, natural treat with me. At first, I wanted to do something really fancy with them, but my busy life got in the way, so I decided to eat them just as is, and I'm happy did. Here at the VNHQ, we're gearing up for the Thanksgiving holiday next week, about which we're very excited. Hours remain for you to win your own feast in our Thanksgiving giveaway, so get on it!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fantastic Falafel & Protein Shake

The Chefs: Jennifer and Ali Baba's Cave

The Menu: A giant falafel wrap filled with roasted eggplant and potatoes, tahini, hummus, hot sauce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onions, and a Svelte chocolate-chai shake.

The Goods: This $6 falafel wrap is huge so I asked for it to be cut if half so I could make two lunches out of it. I love that they add roasted potatoes and eggplant right into the wrap. All my favorite foods in one bite! I made myself a Svelte protein shake combining the chocolate and chai flavor. Yum. I admit this is a decadent lunch, especially when Thanksgiving is right around the corner and a Native Foods' Wellington is in my future (and could be in yours too if you enter our giveaway). I'm excited that we just launched our first-ever Holiday Cookie Contest, so if you're a baker, submit a recipe and VN editors will choose finalists and one winner. I look forward to all of the decadent cookie recipes (hint: how about a cookie within a cookie?!).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Herbivore

The Menu: A half-homemade, half-take-out lunch! Herbivore's grilled chicken sandwich with added avocado and seasoned potatoes perfectly complimented my salad of romaine, fennel, hearts of palm, and tomato.

The Goods: Sometimes salad just doesn't cut it, and today was one of those times for me. When Assistant Editor Anna Peraino offered to go halfsies on one of my all-time favorite sandwiches, my lunching fate was sealed. Though today's meal totally hit the spot, I'd be lying if I said it was my favorite food fate. The Native Foods Cafe Wellingtons arrived today (both for our giveaway, and for the annual VN Thanksgiving Feast), and I could pretty much not be more excited about next week's party. Wellington, I'll see you next Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Burrito—Round Two

The Chefs: Joni and Taqueria Cancun

The Dish: A super veggie burrito with rice, avocado, black beans, tomato, and onions, complete with a side of chips and salsa.

The Goods: This photo may look familiar to you because I literally had this exact same meal less than two weeks ago. Hey, for $5, there’s no better place to grab a cheap, quick, and filling lunch. You know what’s even cheaper than burritos? A free vegan Thanksgiving feast, which could be at your door next week! As part of our holiday giveaway series, we’re ready to ship an amazing Thanksgiving dinner package, complete with a Native Foods Wellington and a luscious apple pie from Babycakes NYC, to one lucky participant. All you have to do is tell us your favorite Thanksgiving dessert. Woot! Free food!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Little of Everything

The Chefs: Hilary and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: A conglomo-salad of mixed greens, Kalamata olives, beets, couscous, hummus, white beans with sun-dried tomatoes, kale, and tofu. 

The Goods: After a highly nutritious (...) breakfast of a So Delicious coconut-milk ice cream sandwich, greenery was in order for lunch. My salad-bar strategy is to take a scoop of every single vegan thing and then throw some lettuce on top in attempts to aesthetically homogenize everything. The result is a salad that's like seven salads in one. Yippee! I've also got to start saving up my eating mojo for our holiday Thanksgiving table—if it's half as mouthwatering as the VegNews Holiday eCookbook, I'm going to be full for a week. Salad today, Pumpkin Cake with Vanilla Buttercream next week. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Deadline Day Tacos

The Chef: Colleen and Taqueria Cancún

The Menu: Warm corn tortillas filled with black beans, rice, avocado, and chopped tomatoes, onions, and cilantro—plus some chips and spicy salsa on the side

The Goods: It's no secret that we love Mexican food at the VNHQ, especially the very-affordable (and delicious) south-of-the-border fare from nearby Taqueria Cancun. There is so much great vegan food in the Mission District (we've actually devoted a whole piece to our 'hood in the January+February 2012 issue), but sometimes we need something fast. Given today was our deadline for going to press (we can't wait to reveal our new cover!) and time was of the essence, a quick run to TC was in order. Heading to the San Francisco Green Festival this weekend? I'll be on the Earth Balance panel discussing a plant-based lifestyle on Saturday morning. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Comforting Curry

The Chefs: Hilary and Udupi Palace

The Menu: Aloo matar (the vegan version!) with potatoes, peas, and curry spices, enjoyed with rice and fluffy poori (a flatbread)

The Goods: When a craving strikes for Indian food, nothing will suffice but the warm, spicy flavor of curry. Fortunately, vegetarian South Indian restaurant Udupi Palace and it's awesome aloo matar are only a block and a half away from the VNHQ. Between finishing our January+February issue cover earlier this week (!) and looking ahead to the holidays, there is a lot to be happy about this Thursday afternoon. Even better, VN contributor Jasmin Singer of Our Hen House dropped by the office today and brought us all smiles with her bright wit and infectious sense of humor. More reasons to grin: this week's giveaway of Sticky Fingers Cowvin cookies! Only a few days are left to enter, so tell us your favorite holiday cookie now for a chance to win, and indulge, in a dozen of these decadent treats. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pizza, Pasta, and Salad

The Chefs: Elizabeth, Valencia Whole Foods, and Amy's Kitchen

The Menu: Amy's new vegan margherita pizza, plus a big spinach salad from the corner store topped with pasta salad, mixed veggies, and hummus.

The Goods: You know how there are days on which you really just can't decide what to eat for lunch? (Yes, this is definitely a #firstworldproblem.) Today, I answered the question of what to eat with: everything in sight. Who can resist a freshly baked pizza (thanks to Editorial Assistant Hilary Pollack!), or a big gorgeous salad, or tangy pasta salad, or the world's best hummus? Not this gal, and especially not today.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Roasted Stuffed Squash

The Chef: Joni

The Menu: Roasted acorn squash baked with a wild rice & apple stuffing

The Dish: If this dish looks familiar to you, it’s because I got the idea from this week’s Recipe Club. If you don’t recognize it, it’s probably because it’s a not-so-pretty (yet totally delicious!) leftover from the Recipe Club photoshoot my boyfriend and I held over the weekend. If it’s because you haven’t yet signed up for the Recipe Club, you totally should! I swear, while this photo doesn’t do it justice, this meal would make for a gorgeous Thanksgiving centerpiece. If you need more Thanksgiving recipe ideas to complete your menu, check out these 12 mashed potato recipes or whip up some Stuffed Maple Tofu. Or, be smart and just head to one of these amazing cruelty-free Thanksgiving events and call it a day!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tacos, Part Deux

The Chefs: Anna and Taqueria Cancun

The Menu: Rice and bean tacos (one black, one pinto) topped with salsa and avocado, plus a heaping handful of tortilla chips

The Dish: I've been craving tacos ever since since last week's taco-filled celebration of the 1,000th Café VegNews post, and I'm happy to have caved into my craving. These tacos are totally delicious and super cheap to boot—I got everything for less than $5! After a weekend of rain and temps in the 40s, the sunny 60s have returned to the City by the Bay, so I enjoyed my delicious, cheap meal on the deck with my coworkers, where we discussed ways to make our dollars stretch at our favorite neighborhood lunch spots. Want more money-saving tips from the VN editors? Check out Savvy Vegan, our blog for smart vegan penny pinchers.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Marinated Kale Salad

The Chefs: Jennifer and Herbivore

The Menu: A marinated kale salad with grilled soy chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado.

The Dish: I have eaten my weight in Sticky Fingers treats, which they sent us early this week. So Herbivore's marinated kale salad was exactly what I needed. One kale salad erases the pumpkin whoopie pies I ate, right? Great! Last night, I went to a book party for Bust's new book, The Bust DIY Guide to Life, at one of my favorite local craft shops, Serendipity. Surrounded by yarn, I realized it had been a long time since I picked up a pair of knitting needles. If you've been itching to learn how to knit (trust me, it's easy!), join VN correspondent Jasmin Singer who shows you how in our VegNews TV Vegan Knitting 101 video. And don't forget to enter our holiday giveaway! This week we're giving away one Tofurky feast, perfect for making leftover faux turkey, cranberry, and mashed potato sandwiches. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Vegan Burrito!

The Chef: Joni and Taqueria Cancun

The Dish: Veggie burrito stuffed with rice, black beans, avocado, salsa, and more

The Goods: The best part about living in California is the vast abundance of inexpensive, fresh, and delicious Mexican food, found on nearly every city block. The Mexican restaurants in my home state of NY pale in comparison, and I’m not sure I can stomach another flat, boring quesadilla when I go back to visit my friends and family in December. If you’re like me and can’t head back home in time for Thanksgiving, consider checking out one of dozens of other cruelty-free celebrations occurring all over the country this month. From feeding rescued turkeys at farm sanctuaries to veganizing a classic dish for a community potluck, it’s easy to feel right at home for this holiday, no matter where you actually are.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Symphony of Salads

The Chef: Hilary and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: A big ol' salad with kale, grilled tofu, white beans, onions, peppers, sundried tomatoes, and pasta.

The Dish: Following up our 1000th (!!!) Café VegNews post yesterday, I went back to basics with a heaping salad from our favorite corner store, Valencia Whole Foods. It's been an exciting week with meetings, decisions, and holiday content-making  galore, so I opted for brain food. I'm also still in recovery mode from a Halloween weekend that may have bordered on (okay, dove right into) in excessive candy snacking. I've got to start making room for all of the undoubtedly amazing Thanksgiving cuisine heading our way in the coming weeks. I've already started getting pumped by fawning over Turkey Tuesdays! Be sure to check out our homepage every day this month for more of the season's best dishes, events, and activities. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Café VegNews' 1,000th Post!

The Chef: Colleen and Taqueria Cancun

The Menu: Soft tacos with black beans, rice, onions, cilantro, and avocado—plus a healthy side of chips and salsa

The Dish: It was Taco Tuesdays here at VegNews, complete with melon aguas frescas and streaming salsa tunes. And why the festive celebration? IT'S THE 1,000TH POST OF CAFE VEGNEWS! Yes, we're excited, as that's a lot of posts, a lot of lunches, and a lot of delicious vegan food. Café VegNews debuted on October 27, 2007, when Managing Editor Elizabeth Castoria decided it was time VegNews had a blog. And, back then, we were still in our old offices where we served a staff lunch every day to the VN team, so a blog chronicling our meals was the perfect foray into the world of blogging. Over the years, we've featured every type of cuisine imaginable, entertained guests from around the world, ate very healthfully (kale salad!) and very unhealthfully (deep-dish Chicago pizza), and enjoyed many a memorable moment with fellow VN staffers. And we've blogged about it every single (business) day since that October day four years ago. We hope you'll help us toast this milestone for VegNews, and cheers to all of our wonderful Café VegNews readers who've made penning this blog so gratifying. Here's to 1,000 more posts!

The full Mexican spread at Casa VegNews to celebrate Café VegNews' 1,000th post

Monday, October 31, 2011

Whole Foods Halloween

The Chef: Anna and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: A salad of carrots, tomatoes, beets, sweet corn, peas, fava beans, and hummus, topped with Bragg's Liquid Aminos and balsamic vinegar

The Dish: After a decadent Halloween weekend in Vegas, I arrived home last night with some extra money in my pocket (craps! sports betting! more craps!) and a stomach full of junk food. Needless to say, I was in need of a clean, whole-foods meal to get myself back to healthy—well, until tonight, when I'll be stuffing my face with Halloween candy! Print out our handy guide to vegan Halloween candy to make sure the goodies you're giving (and getting!) are cruelty-free and ready for noshing. Happy Halloween to all!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lemongrass Tofu Lunch Special

The Chefs: Lyndsay and Sunflower Restaurant

The Dish: The  lemongrass tofu lunch special, which included Vietnamese hot and sour soup, a vegetarian imperial roll, and a salad.
The Goods: Editorial Assistant Joni Sweet and I wanted a lot of food for cheap when it came to be lunchtime, so I suggested Sunflower, which is one of my favorites. As you can see, there's a whole lot of food on this plate, and it cost us less than $10 each. That's a total success, in my book. It's a beautiful Friday, and we're looking forward to a fun-filled Halloween weekend. Just in case you're not stocked up on candy for this festive holiday, be sure to pick up a bag of Dandies, which are on sale at the VN Store. Happy weekend!