vegetable diaries

Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

ginger & garlicky tamari brussel sprouts- recipe

Posted by vegetablediaries on January 13, 2010

ginger & garlicky tamari brussel sprouts

welcome to my lunch! brussel sprouts are one of my favourites and this recipe is quick and easy to make. the results are amazing. for those people who aren’t fond brussel sprouts, i hope this recipe will turn you around!

Ginger & Garlicky Tamari Brussel Sprouts


1 lb. fresh Brussel sprouts, halved
3-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated with a microplane
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
lots of freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1 ½ tbsp wheat-free tamari (or to taste)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
freshly chopped cilantro for garish


Add the oil to a 10-inch skillet and heat the pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot add the ginger and garlic (don’t let them burn!). Next add the Brussel sprouts, cayenne and black pepper, then add the tamari and combine well. Turn the sprouts so that they are face down on the pan. Cover the pan and cook for five or so minutes, or until they start to brown. When the sprouts start to get nicely brown, stir and turn off the heat. I prefer my Brussel sprouts to have a nice bite (not soggy), so I don’t like to overcook them. A good rule of thumb is to aim for retaining their bright green colour. Add the sesame seeds and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

ginger & garlicky tamari brussel sprouts

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, recipes, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

vegan in ventura: mary’s secret garden

Posted by vegetablediaries on December 27, 2009

raw apple pie: Mary's Secret Garden

while i was in ventura i had the lucky opportunity to visit Mary’s Secret Garden for lunch. oh my, what a fine dining surprise! i didn’t know what to expect because i didn’t read any of the reviews online, and all i knew was that it was ALL vegan and filled with awesomeness. first off, this place is pretty tiny. we had lunch around noon and didn’t have to wait for a table, however i think you should probably make a reservation just in case.

fresh thai spring rolls: Mary's Secret Garden

the food! wow, what a great menu.. everything is organic and there are cooked and raw food plates available, with lots of gluten-free options (gf is clearly marked on the menu). when our server first came over to greet us he said “Mary recommends you try the fresh thai spring rolls as an appetizer..” okay, i thought this was really endearing because i don’t usually hear what the owner suggests.. it seemed quaint to me and i like that. so, we did order the fresh thai spring rolls and they were amazing! i loved the spicy peanut sauce so much that i ate it by itself when the spring rolls were all finished.

middle east platter: Mary's Secret Garden

for the main course i ordered the middle east platter, which included syrian falafel with tahini sauce, hummus, tabouli, grilled pita bread and kalamata olives (i’m not fond of olives, but there were only two on my plate, so no biggie). everything was delicious and quite filling. my friend ordered the thai yellow curry stew, which was also so tasty! there were stewed kabocha squash, carrots, potatoes, red onions, ginger and basil leaves in a creamy curried coconut sauce; served over brown rice, with your choice of protein (shrymp, tofu or chycken). then they topped the hell out of it with fresh cilantro (my favourite!). i really am excited to go back because there are so many wonderful things to try, including a bazillion shakes!

thai yellow curry with tofu: Mary's Secret Garden

and now for dessert.. i ordered the raw chocolate hazelnut pie ala mode: rich chocolate coconut and hazelnut filling topped with chopped hazelnuts and chocolate ganache and served with homemade raw vanilla bean ice cream. i didn’t even finish it (which is a very very rare thing) because it was so insanely rich!

raw chocolate hazelnut pie: Mary's Secret Garden

my friend ordered the raw apple pie: layered, thinly sliced and well spiced apples, over a pecan date crust, topped with a sweet cashew cream and raspberry sauce. both of these desserts are lookers, but i think the apple pie would win the beauty contest!

raw apple pie: Mary's Secret Garden

after writing about my lunch, i want to go back NOW!

Mary’s Secret Garden
100 South Fir Street
Ventura, CA 93001

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, los angeles, raw, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

eating at gingergrass in silverlake

Posted by vegetablediaries on December 6, 2009

Gingergrass tofu lunch plate

i was really excited to eat at Gingergrass again because it had been a long time, however my experience with my tasty lunch turned into an afternoon of nursing what i think was an MSG overdose. i asked Gingergrass if they use MSG and they confirmed that they do not use it, but it is included in the shrimp chips and hoisin sauce that they don’t make in house, which really means that they DO use it but not intentionally, i presume. maybe you can order your lunch without MSG… it’s certainly worth asking. anyways, i enjoyed my lunch until i got up and walked back to my car. i’ll give you the details of my lunch and you can decide if it’s worth the MSG risk. i personally like to feel fresh and energetic after eating and that was certainly not my experience after eating at Gingergrass, which boasts “fresh vietnamese cuisine.”

so, my lunch! i ordered the gingergrass tofu for $8.95: crispy organic tofu with shiitake mushrooms and baby bok choy served with vegan nuoc cham sauce. you also get a heaping scoop of broken white rice and vietnamese slaw. overall i thought the dish was over-seasoned with the sauce and there was too much sodium. however i did enjoy the crispy tofu and shiitake mushrooms. i think they coat the tofu in rice flour, which gives it a light and crisp texture. and for more positives, they have a nice outdoor patio and friendly wait staff. there are also many vegan options.

2396 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039

Posted in los angeles, vegan-friendly, vietnamese | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

shojin organic & natural, part two

Posted by vegetablediaries on November 30, 2009


i’ve been eating at Shojin since they opened last year and it’s been amazing to see how well they are doing and how their menu is constantly growing and changing. in addition, they also offer cooking classes, which i’m hoping to attend soon. it’s always a treat to eat at Shojin and here are some photos from a recent visit.

the bento box! you must must try the pumpkin croquette and the hamburg steak (i’m not a fan of seitan but Shojin makes it so YUM)! i also tasted the okara cake and spicy tofu and they are delicious, too. it’s truly a hard decision when ordering at Shojin but they offer great lunch specials so you can try different things. the bento box also includes a big bowl of brown rice and a small bowl of the daily soup. it’s a fantastic lunch deal for $10!

Shojin's bento box!

and now to my favourite, dessert! i tried the spiced pumpkin tart with chocolate ice cream and thought it was really good. i was a bit hesitant because i usually don’t like to mix pumpkin with chocolate but it actually went together quite nicely. on my last visit to Shojin i ordered the chocolate and banana parfait and thought it was exquisite. there were layers of vanilla ice cream, fudgey sauce, almonds, and bananas. i don’t have a photo but you can find it on their website.

Shojin's spiced pumpkin tart

i’ve also tried the shitake avocado sushi rolls and enjoyed them. there are so many things to try.. i can’t wait for my next visit! to see my part one review of Shojin you can go here.

by the way, i took my meat loving family to Shojin and everyone, including my finicky-eater-10 year old niece loved it!

Shojin Organic & Natural
333 S. Alameda St. Suite 310
(Little Tokyo Shopping Center 3F)
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 617-0305

Posted in japanese, los angeles, vegan | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

goodbye thanksgiving, hello shopping madness

Posted by vegetablediaries on November 29, 2009


brussel sprouts, parsnips, and butternut squash all ready for roasting

well, now that the big feast is behind us and the mad rush of shopping has begun i find it quite appealing to hole up in the house and roast the remaining year away! to start things off i roasted these vegetables on t-day with fresh thyme, olive oil, cracked black pepper and kosher salt. it’s so easy to just take a big bowl and dump all of your veggies in it, add the oil, etc. and toss with your hands. i line a baking sheet with foil and spread the vegetables evenly on it and bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes (depending on how big the veggies are). tonight i roasted brussel sprouts with whole cloves of garlic, et al. and it smelled so magical. everything gets so caramelized and delicious you will never want to leave the house!


Posted in gluten-free-friendly, recipes, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

more millennium, yayyayyay

Posted by vegetablediaries on November 19, 2009

french fries from millennium

mmm, Millennium!! i recently made a visit to the world’s finest vegan wonderland and here are the plates… this was the first time i tried the french fries are they are truly fantastic!

my friend's plate- tempeh something something..

everything was amazing.

my plate- forbidden black rice, curry something something..

i really loved all the flavours and the nutty black rice.

sweet potato tart with ginger ice cream

what a heavenly meal! to see more of my past millennium adventures you can go here.

580 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, sf bay area, vegan | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

sacred chow part two

Posted by vegetablediaries on November 18, 2009

sacred chow tapas

i know i already did a post about Sacred Chow, which you can find here, but i recently visited NYC and had the lovely opportunity to eat more hardcore vegan organicness. i think this was probably one of the best Sacred Chow experiences I have had (and I have had many!). my friend and i ordered three tapas each and i loved the way they served it to us in tiers.

i ordered the curried steamed broccoli, cilantro hummus, and indonesian roasted tempeh. my friend ordered the orange blackstrap BBQ seitan, grilled western tofu, and sliced ginger soba noodles with spicy peanut sauce. everything was delicious. i usually don’t rave about hummus because it is so ubiquitous and so easy to make, but wow (!), the hummus is rave worthy and i would definitely order it again. i’m especially fond of the indonesian tempeh.

Sacred Chow also has desserts but my lunch stuffed me to the gills in a very good way. thank you, Sacred Chow!

Sacred Chow
227 Sullivan St
(between 3rd St & Bleecker St)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 337-0863


Posted in gluten-free-friendly, new york city, vegan | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »


Posted by vegetablediaries on November 16, 2009

blackened tempeh burger from Seed

it’s a little bit difficult to find parking around Seed’s venice location, but if you’re on your bicycle or walking (which, hopefully you are) around the beach path then you might want to stop in for a quick bite at Seed. there are so many vegan and vegan-friendly eateries cropping up around los angeles these days! Seed offers ‘macrobiotique’ vegan cuisine brought to you by chef eric lechasseur. you might know him from his famous cookbook, “love, eric,” and he’s also been featured in many notable magazines. he also did a second cookbook with his wife, sanae suzuki titled, “love, eric & sanae.”

the food: i only tried the blackened tempeh burger with sauerkraut for $9.95. i thought it was average as it didn’t send my tastebuds singing. call me crazy but for ten dollars i was expecting more. it was filling but it wasn’t really what i had in mind for a blackened tempeh burger. i needed more flavour and i would have enjoyed more sauce because it seemed too dry. however, i would still go back to Seed to try other things. their menu includes salads, soups, one-dish grain bowls, paninis, curry bowls and desserts. i appreciate the philosophy at Seed, which you can learn more here.

1604 Pacific Avenue
Venice, CA 90291

Posted in los angeles, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

more things i miss from NYC: sahara’s turkish restaurant

Posted by vegetablediaries on November 16, 2009

falafel plate from Sahara's

a weekday lunch at Sahara’s Turkish Restaurant is probably one of the best values and overall excellent lunch experiences i have had in NYC. i think i paid around $13 for a four course meal, which included the most heavenly bread in the world! yes, the world! the servers were all very prompt and professional and easily tended to my vegan needs. here is what i ordered:

*eggplant salad (wow! this is incredible… you will want more! i like to scoop it up with the bread.)
*mediterranean salad sans the cheese (again, wowo! i think they use a lemon vinaigrette, it’s so fresh and tangy.)
*falafel plate (i’m usually full by the time my main lunch comes around thanks to the bread, but who cares, i’m going in.)
*baklava (they told me this is vegan… it is seriously sweet.)

they will also serve you turkish coffee or tea, but i’m well past my food coma at this point and decline.

eggplant salad from Sahara's

mediterranean salad from Sahara's

baklava from Sahara's

although Sahara’s is quite meaty, there are plenty of vegan items to choose from. some things are even gluten-free, but always ask to be sure!

Sahara’s Turkish Restaurant
513 2nd Avenue (29th & 2nd)
New York, NY

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, new york city, turkish, vegan-friendly | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

manzanita restaurant- organic vegan macrobiotic cuisine

Posted by vegetablediaries on November 15, 2009


carrot soup from Manzanita

i recently visited Manzanita Restaurant in oakland after hearing how wonderful and fresh it is (in addition to being vegan and macrobiotic). i must say it is wonderful and fresh, and quite affordable at $11.95 for a moderate meal, which includes a medium-size bowl of soup. however, i was really put off by the grain portion of the meal, which in the picture below is a mixture of brown rice and quinoa. the texture seemed awkward and too mushy for words, but everything else was quite a delight. the vegetables were flavourful, and not what i would expect from a macrobiotic restaurant. i also enjoyed the atmosphere. there is plenty of outdoor seating, and inside you can seat yourself.


moderate meal at Manzanita

the moderate meal is a good size, but if you’re feeling extra hungry they also offer a full meal for $13.95. my plate featured brown rice & quinoa mush (i will forgive them), black beans, spring salad, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and dinosaur kale. i think the sauce was ginger-based, and everything was gluten-free. this place is a winner! i didn’t try any of the desserts but they seemed to have a lot going on. oh, and the menu changes daily.

Manzanita Restaurant
4001 Linden Street
Oakland, CA 94608

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, sf bay area, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »