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Jackfruit carnitas tacos

For the final dish of taco week, I give you vegan carnitas (pulled pork) tacos, two ways.

Because surely you have also asked yourself: what makes a better taco, jackfruit or hearts of palm?

Let’s break it down:

Jackfruit = the darling of the vegan community these days.  Recipes everywhere.  Can buy relatively inexpensively in a lot of Asian supermarkets but not in most groceries (at least where I am.)  The texture and look (once they’re pulled apart) has been praised for its meatiness.
Hearts of palm = not as popular/not many recipes out there (although there are a few, like these barbacoa tacos on Minimalist Baker).  Easy to obtain – I got mine from a local grocery.

So, who won?

Jackfruit…

Jackfruit carnitas tacos

Or hearts of palm…?

Hearts of palm carnitas tacos

The winner is…

Hearts of palm carnitas tacos

Well, I hate to break it you, internet, but the hearts of palm won, hands down.  While they started out less promising (they didn’t pull apart as well as the jackfruit and didn’t look as deeply coloured), they seemed to absorb a lot more flavour than the jackfruit.  Bonus points for being more readily available than jackfruit, too!

What do you need to know about this recipe?

  • It’s easy and hands off (just dump everything in the slow cooker and leave it for the day
  • According to my boyfriend/non vegan taste tester, you could easily serve it to an omnivore and convince them they were eating meat. I just used a non-vegan recipe and subbed hearts of palm for pork so it would have the same flavourings.
  • The spices give it loads of flavour, so go easy on the toppings (I just went for salsa and lettuce) but add whatever is your favourite
  • You need a little sugar to make it go crispy when you fry it up – some carnitas recipes use Coke but I opted for an orange

Spices for carnitas tacos, vegan style

Hearts of palm carnitas tacos

Hearts of palm carnitas tacos

Vegan Carnitas Tacos

Ingredients

  • 6 gluten-free corn tortillas, heated up (if you have a gas hob/stove, definitely heat them directly over the flame – they taste slightly charred and so good! Just be careful with the flame!)
  • 220 g / 8 oz hearts of palm or jackfruit
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and minced
  • 2 oranges, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Cashew crema (see recipe below)
  • Your favourite salsa
  • Shredded lettuce

Instructions

  1. Place the spices, onion, garlic, jalapeno, oranges and hearts of palm or jackfruit (depending which you opt to use) in a slow cooker and cover with water or vegetable browth (add just enough to cover the ingredients).  Heat on low for 8 hours (or high for around 4 hours).
  2. After 8 hours, turn off the heat, remove the oranges and drain the liquid off.
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the hearts of palm mixture (or jackfruit mix if you used jackfruit) and fry for a couple of minutes until browned and slightly crispy.
  4. Serve the tacos by heating the tortillas, then topping with the hearts of palm/jackfruit, shredded lettuce, cashew crema and your favourite salsa.

 

Cashew Crema

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight or ground in spice grinder
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp agave, to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine everything in blender.

 

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Courgette flower (zucchini blossom) tacos with tofu cotija cheeseand roasted tomatillo salsa

Have you ever had zucchini blossoms (courgette flowers)?  Apart from the sheer novelty of eating a flower, I love zucchini blossoms – they’re a little bit floral tasting, a little bit zucchini-esque.  They’re delicate and yet they stand up to being stuffed with cashew cheese and fried.  What’s not to love?

When I found out they’re a traditional taco ingredient, I have to admit I was floored.  First, I had no idea they held any place in Mexican cooking – I’d only ever heard of them being fried, Italian style.  Second, I just couldn’t imagine what they’d be like in a taco.

The answer: freaking delicious.  Get your hands on zucchini blossoms in any way possible (growing them, asking around at the farmer’s market, begging a friend with a garden), or wait until you see zucchini blossoms available next (sadly they’re out of season in most places now).  They’re worth the wait.

Zucchini blossom tacos

Zucchini Blossom Tacos

Ingredients

  • 6 gluten-free corn tortillas, heated up (if you have a gas hob/stove, definitely heat them directly over the flame – they taste slightly charred and so good! Just be careful with the flame!)
  • 12 courgette flowers, fried (or more, up to 24, if you can get your hands on them and they aren’t exorbitantly expensive like in London!)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 courgette, grated and water strained out
  • 1 courgette, diced very finely
  • Mexican spice mix (the one I used was onion, Mexican oregano and chilli – use your favourite combination!)
  • 1/2 onion roasted (you can use the 1/2 of the onion not used in the tomatillo salsa)
  • Vegan cotija cheese recipe (see recipe below)
  • Vegan crema (see recipe below)
  • Tomatillo salsa (see recipe below)

Instructions

  1. Fry courgette flowers in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Remove from heat once cooked.
  2. Heat the other tablespoon of vegetable oil.  When hot, add grated and chopped courgette pieces and Mexican spice mix.  Fry until courgettes pieces are soft and begin to brown.
  3. To serve, heat up your tortillas.  Then top with the grated and diced zucchini and zucchini blossoms, drizzle crema on top, crumble some vegan cotija cheese on, add some tomatillo salsa and finally finish them off with roasted onion.

Vegan Cotija Cheese

Ingredients

  • 400 g/14 oz firm tofu, drained and pressed and then crumbled
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp miso paste (make sure to get a gluten-free variety if you’re making this GF)
  • 1 tsp tahini

Instructions

  1. Mix the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, miso paste and tahini into a sauce.  Mix with the crumbled tofu.

Cashew Crema

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight or ground in spice grinder
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp agave, to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine everything in blender.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients

  • 500g/1 lb tomatillos, husks removed and sap rinsed off in warm water (trust me, these guys are super sticky, you will need to rinse them really well!)
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 onion, peeled
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander/cilantro
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • Pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C/400 F/gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil.
  2. Place the tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic (with skins on) and onion (peeled).  Peel onion but leave everything else intact.  Coat all of them in a bit of vegetable oil.
  3. Roast in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until onion begins to brown.  Remove skins of the garlic cloves and the stems from the jalapeno. Combine everything in blender.

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Chipotle potato tacos with roasted tomatillo salsa and vegan crema

Potatoes?  On a taco?  Well, I’m not averse to a bit of carb on carb action (see case in point: BBQ mac & cheese pizza), so when I read that tacos de papa, or potato tacos, were a thing (and apparently a common breakfast food at that – what?), I wanted needed to try them.

For these, I’d definitely recommend getting fresh, locally-made corn tortillas if you can.  I miss having a Mexican supermarket near me, but luckily I discovered Cool Chile in London, who are at Borough market as well as shipping from their online store, and they do the only fresh corn tortillas in London that I know of!  They are really good, and they do fantastic blue corn tortillas too.  I love heating them over the gas flame – they come out a little charred and a lot amazing!

These tacos wouldn’t be complete without some cashew crema and vegan cotija cheese.  I don’t know how authentic it is, never having had cotija, but I read it’s a crumbly, slightly salty cheese yet mild traditionally used in tacos…so I just had to recreate it using another mild, crumbly vegan ingredient…tofu of course!  Last, the roasted tomatillo sauce really takes this up a level.  It’s even better than regular old tomatillo salsa – the roasting brings out all the flavours!

Chipotle-Potato Tacos

Chipotle-Potato Tacos

Ingredients

  • 6-8 gluten-free corn tortillas, heated up (if you have a gas hob/stove, definitely heat them directly over the flame – they taste slightly charred and so good! Just be careful with the flame!)
  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 90g/3.2 oz chipotle in adobo paste (this is the one I used)
  • 2-3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • Vegan cotija cheese recipe (see recipe below)
  • Vegan crema (see recipe below)
  • Tomatillo salsa (see recipe below)

Instructions

  1. First, make the potatoes.  Chop and boil 1 kg of potatoes. When they are cooked through and tender, drain the water and remove.
  2. While the potatoes are boiling, saute onion in vegetable oil. When it starts to go translucent, add garlic and cook until brown.  Add the chipotle in adobo paste and the tomato paste.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes until the sauce begins to fry.  Remove from the heat.
  3. Add the drained potatoes to the chipotle sauce and mix thoroughly to cover.
  4. To serve, heat up your tortillas.  Then top with the chipotle potatoes, drizzle crema on top, crumble some vegan cotija cheese, add some tomatillo salsa and finally finish them off with some chopped green onions.

Vegan Cotija Cheese

Ingredients

  • 400 g/14 oz firm tofu, drained and pressed and then crumbled
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp miso paste (make sure to get a gluten-free variety if you’re making this GF)
  • 1 tsp tahini

Instructions

  1. Mix the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, miso paste and tahini into a sauce.  Mix with the crumbled tofu.

Cashew Crema

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight or ground in spice grinder
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp agave, to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine everything in blender.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients

  • 500g/1 lb tomatillos, husks removed and sap rinsed off in warm water (trust me, these guys are super sticky, you will need to rinse them really well!)
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 onion, peeled
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander/cilantro
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • Pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C/400 F/gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil.
  2. Place the tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic (with skins on) and onion (peeled).  Peel onion but leave everything else intact.  Coat all of them in a bit of vegetable oil.
  3. Roast in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until onion begins to brown.  Remove skins of the garlic cloves and the stems from the jalapeno. Combine everything in blender.

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Table full of vegan tacos
Lately Halloween recipes are popping up all over the internet.  I don’t know about you, but while I dig Halloween, I also sometimes want something a little bit different.  In other words?  I’ve been thinking about how to avoid total. pumpkin. overload.

Day of the Dead

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, seemed to me to be the perfect excuse to make tacos (not that you need one!), and neatly avoid over-saturating myself with pumpkin recipes, all in one go.  It’s celebrated on the 1st and 2nd of November, and may be a major holiday in Mexico, but it’s not as well known outside the country, in spite of being thousands of years old. Day of the Dead was celebrated even in pre-Columbian times, and is a day to honour dead loved ones.  It’s typical to build an altar to dead loved ones and even include some of their favourite foods, because it’s believed that their spirits roam the earth on this day.  I would love to go to Mexico one day during Day of the Dead.  Or really any time of the year!

If you can’t make it to Mexico…

Have you been to Mexico?  Love Mexican food, or at least want something to balance out the sugar overload of Halloween?  I present you with: TACO WEEK!!  Now, tamales might be more traditional Day of the Dead fare, but they are complicated and not everyone has access to masa and corn husks.  This week in the run up to Day of the Dead, I present you with a series of tacos!

They did satiate my wanderlust.  A bit.  Or at least my desire for Mexican food (which is hard to come by in London!).

Typical Tacos

Did you know that vegetarian tacos in Mexico are not ones of the crispy shelled variety stuffed with black beans? (surprise surprise!)  In my day of taco research (yes, I whiled away an entire lazy afternoon reading about tacos!) I discovered that while there are a huge variety of typical vegetarian taco fillings, I didn’t really see beans don’t featured among them.  Some vegetarian taco fillings including:
-nopales, or cactus (I have yet to find these, but I am very curious about trying them!)
-rajas, roasted pepper strips
-potato
-courgette flower/zucchini blossom
-huitlacoche (a specialty of corn smut, yes, corn smut – a fungus that grows on corn!)

Tacos Coming to You This Week…

Out of this list, without cactus or corn fungus to hand, I decided to begin my taco adventure by making:

tacos de papas (potato tacos)

Chipotle potato tacos with roasted tomatillo salsa and vegan crema
and tacos de flor de calabaza (courgette flower/zucchini blossom tacos)
Courgette flower (zucchini blossom) tacos with tofu cotija cheeseand roasted tomatillo salsa
Plus! I made a carnitas (pulled pork) style taco out of both jackfruit and hearts of palm, and then did a side by side taste test!
Vegan carnitas tacos

I also made an amazing roasted tomatillo salsa, vegan cotija cheese and vegan crema.

 

Stay Tuned: Taco Recipes Coming Your Way This Week

Want to know which turned out better, jackfruit or hearts of palm (what would you guess?)  Look for the recipes coming up this week, starting tomorrow!

 

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BBQ Cauliflower Mac & Cheese Pizza
Mac & cheese.  I don’t know about you, but while in adulthood I may have experimented with sophisticated, grown-up versions like cashew and roasted red pepper mac & cheese with caramelised onions, or beer-infused vegan cheddar mac, the blue box, comfort food mac & cheese from my childhood will always hold a special place in my heart.  Even if, I found the cheese packet goop kinda gross even as a child.  It’s still classic childhood food.  So I was over the moon when I heard about Earth Balance’s new mac & cheese – and also incredibly jealous of all the lucky people in America who have easy access!  And I was incredibly thrilled when the lovely Cadry sent me a care package that included a box of the stuff.
Earth Balance Mac & Cheese

If you still haven’t tried Earth Balance’s mac & cheese, there are two things you should know:

1. It is eerily reminiscent of boxed mac & cheese. You might find yourself double checking the package. Yes, it’s really vegan!

2. One box is not enough to feed 2 people, unless you have really tiny appetites.  But don’t worry, I’ve solved this problem for you by creating the extreme carbo-load BBQ cauliflower mac & cheese pizza below.  You’re welcome! Proceed with caution, and serve with a side of spinach salad so you don’t get scurvy or something from only eating carbs.

BBQ Cauliflower Mac & Cheese Pizza

BBQ Cauliflower Mac & Cheese Pizza

Ingredients

  • Head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
  • One box Earth Balance mac & cheese, prepared according to instructions on package
  • Pizza dough (instructions to make pizza dough below, or buy a premade pizza dough base if you want to make this meal even faster and easier)
  • BBQ sauce, approximately 125g or around half a bottle

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 C/400 F/gas mark 6.  Put chopped cauliflower florets in a pan. Coat lightly with 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  2. Prepare the mac & cheese according to package instructions and stir the roasted cauliflower and 1/2 the BBQ sauce in.
  3. Roll out the pizza dough and place on a greased baking tray.  Preheat oven to 230 C/450 F/gas mark 8.
  4. Top the dough with the mac & cheese mixture and bake for 10-15 minutes at 230 C/450 F, until the edges of the crust are browned.  Top with more BBQ sauce.

Pizza Dough

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp lukewarm water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water.   Let rest for 5 minutes, until yeast begins to foam.
  2. Add the oil, salt and flour and mix using a wooden spoon, incorporating the flour as much as possible.  Knead the dough for 10 minutes, until it becomes soft and elasticky.  Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towl.  Leave to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  It should double in size.
  3. When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, then roll out the amount desired and put on a greased baking tray.

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Chocolate coconut kahlua brownie chunk ice cream

Autumn might be upon most of us in the Northern hemisphere, but that doesn’t mean we can’t cling to the very last few summery days until every single leaf has dropped off the trees in our city.

Because I spent the last couple of weeks in warmer climates (Santorini, Greece, followed by Barcelona), I’m finding myself even more reticent than usual to accept the fall.  There’s a chill in the air, and I’ve had to dig a coat and scarf out of my closet, it’s getting dark soon after I leave work and I’m finding myself craving roasted butternut squash soup, but there’s still a part of me that refuses to put my sundresses away and insists on eating ice cream.

thirassia

If you don’t want to let go of summer yet either, then you should definitely make this ice cream.  And eat it while imagining sitting on a warm beach somewhere on the Mediterranean.  Or eat it in the rain – you need to eat this ice cream even if it’s not ice cream weather.  Because simply put, this is my favourite ice cream (vegan or not) I’ve ever had.  It combines so many of the best ingredients into one decadent, incredibly creamy and slightly alcoholic ice cream (which reminds me a lot of gelato!)…

Coconut milk to make it creamy and rich and give it a slightly tropical, summery feel.

Chocolate because chocolate should be in everything and double chocolate? Even better.

Kahlua – since alcohol and coffee make everything better, and a coffee-flavoured liquer is the best of both worlds.  Plus alcohol makes your ice cream stay a little softer!

Corn syrup makes your ice cream creamier – but use another liquid sugar (like agave or maple syrup) in its place, or plain old sugar, just be warned a solid sugar will make your ice cream a touch less creamy.

Brownie chunks because as hard as it is to save these for your ice cream and not eat them all, it makes ice cream oh so decadent.

chocolate kahlua brownie chunk ice cream

Chocolate Kahlua Brownie Chunk Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 oz/400 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 small can (5.4 oz/160 ml) coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup (approx 50 g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (62.5 ml) corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (62.5 ml) kahlua
  • Handful of crumbled brownie chunks

Instructions

  1. Freeze your ice cream maker overnight according to the ice cream maker’s instructions.
  2. The next day, blend coconut milk, coconut cream, sugar, corn syrup, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and corn starch.  Pour into a saucepan.
  3. Heat over medium heat in a saucepan until it begins to bubble.  Remove from heat and cool in the fridge for at least 4 hours.  After it’s cooled down, add the kahlua and mix.
  4. Make ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.  About 5 minutes before the ice cream is done, add the brownie chunks.  You stir more swirls of brownies into the ice cream after it’s done, if you wish.
  5. When done, the ice cream straight out of the ice cream maker will be a texture similar to soft serve.  You can eat it as soft serve now if you prefer, or freeze it in a container for a few hours before serving for a harder ice cream.

 

Want to escape back to summer, or at least a warmer climate, and sit on the beach eating ice cream?  Get $100 off your next flight plus a personalised vegan guide written by me, just for you! (Sorry, ice cream not included!)

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passports

I love traveling as a vegan – as any vegan who’s ever traveled can probably tell you, it’s not without its trials and tribulations, but it’s so rewarding.  In many ways, I prefer it to travel before I was vegan.

I try restaurants I never would have tried before (or even have heard about).

I make new vegan friends all over the world.

I end up wandering around neighbourhoods where there’s a vegan restaurant that most tourists never would have ended up in.

And best of all?

I get to eat the most amazing food all over the world!

I want to share the joy of vegan travel with everyone, which is part of why I put my Hungerlust series together.  I want everyone to experience vegan travel, which is why I’m offering you the chance to win $100 off your next flight (with the airline of your choice) + a personalised guidebook written just for you.

What will the winner get?
-$100 gift card to the airline of your choice!!
-Tell me where you’re planning to fly, and I’ll put together a completely personalised guidebook for you of the very best vegetarian and vegan restaurants where you’re going, which dishes to try, and any accidentally vegan foods plus translations of local phrases!

When you sign up below you’ll also get all my free guide to vegan airlines & airports, including how to order a vegan meal and what not to eat (what’s almost definitely not vegan), vegan meal options on the top 10 airlines and vegan foods in the top 10 airports, plus a few recipes and tips on what to pack.

Sign up below:

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theveganword-mofo-keepinitkind

I have long been a huge, huge fan of Keepin’ it Kind – Kristy’s recipes are amazing and she writes some of the best recipe intros I know of.  And I’m using her Barcelona guide series right now to plan my upcoming trip to Barcelona this weekend!  So, I was extremely excited to interview Kristy for my vegan traveler interview series!  Check out the interview below.

How long have you been vegan?  How many places and where have you traveled since you’ve been vegan?
I’ve been vegan 3 years this month. Since being vegan, we’ve travelled within the U.S. to New York City, Hawaii, Portland, and San Francisco. Outside of the country, we’ve been to Italy and Spain.

theveganword-mofo-keepinitkind-italy

What’s your favorite place or places you’ve traveled as a vegan?
I think my favorite would have to be New York City. It’s amazing to actually stumble upon vegan restaurants or bakeries without even looking for them. They’re everywhere in that city!

theveganword-mofo-keepinitkind-gopal

What was the best vegan meal you’ve had while traveling?  How did you find the restaurant?
That’s so hard to say. Candle 79 in NYC (everything on the menu is phenomenal) is probably near the top of the list, as well as Millennium in San Francisco (You must try the Crusted King Trumpet Mushrooms!). Both of those restaurants are pretty famous so they were both part of our agenda while in those cities. The best restaurant we discovered while traveling would probably be Gopal in Barcelona. Chocolate-covered donuts, cinnamon rolls, tortilla espanol, and potatas bravas- all vegan and all incredible! We found it while looking for another restaurant that I’d been to on a prior visit to the city.

theveganword-mofo-keepinitkind-sanfran

What was the hardest place to be a vegan?  How did you find food?  What did you eat?
I’ve never been anywhere where it was hard to be vegan. I’ve always found something to eat- some places you just have to look a little harder than others. Oddly, the most difficult searches have arose while visiting our families in northern California (Tracy & Merced). It’s kind of the “Midwest” of California and people haven’t really caught on to the wonders of vegan food yet. We usually look on Happycow.com (or use their app) or we search for vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants on Yelp but in those cities, the search results are very sparse. In Tracy, we found that Freebirds World Burrito has great vegan options and in Merced, well, we usually end up going to another nearby city.

Where are you planning on going next and what vegan places will you be checking out?
We’re really hoping to make it to Omaha, Nebraska sometime in the near future so we can go to Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s new restaurant Modern Love. Her restaurant is one of the main reasons we want to go there. We’re hoping to do a trip to France sometime in the next year or so. I haven’t begun doing a lot of research but it looks like there a lot of options in Paris. Other cities might require a little more homework.

If you had to give some advice to a new vegan planning their first holiday as a vegan, where would you tell them to go (and what would you tell them to eat?)?  Any advice you’d give them?
I would choose to go somewhere where the cuisine is very vegan-friendly, like Italy. It is very easy to get a vegetable pasta or pizza or salad without having to alter the order that much (you may have to ask them to hold the cheese). Wherever you choose to go, larger cities will have better options so I would plan accordingly. Also, you can’t be too prepared. Do as much research beforehand as possible. Make lists that you can carry with you (if they’re in your phone, it may be hard to access due to internet limitations) and if needed, print maps. At the very least, learn what sorts of vegan options are available in that city/country so you know what to ask for when you stumble into a random restaurant.

Check out Kristy’s travel section here for her super handy guides to various cities!  And stay up to date by following Keepin’ it Kind.


This post is part of my Hungerlust series. Hungerlust. That insatiable craving for both food, and travel. Preferably combined. And vegan, naturally. My Vegan Month of Food (MoFo) theme this year is all about feeding it. We’ll be doing a journey around the world (airfare not included – sorry!) from the comfort of our sofas – or desks, wherever you happen to be sitting. 

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IMG_2961

Dry, bland and tasteless.  Typical complaints about airline food, although it may not be entirely justified (flying changes tastebuds and sense of smell and makes everything taste flavourless).  But what if you get no meal at all?

My worst experience with air travel (and sadly, it seems not all that uncommon) was when they forgot to pack my vegan meal on the plane.  I was strapped into a tin bucket for the next 8 hours or so with no dinner in sight.  After rummaging around in my bag for awhile, I pulled out a can of Pringles and a dark chocolate bar and ate that for dinner, while the flight attendants made fun of my ‘poor meal choice’.  Thanks a lot!

Another time they accidentally served my vegan meal to someone a few rows in front of me – by the time I figured it out, it was too late.  Again, this unfortunately seems like a not uncommon experience amongst vegan travellers.  So how to make sure that you don’t starve on your next plane ride?

1. Order your vegan meal well in advance, by contacting the airline at least 72 hours before your flight – and confirm at check-in!  (Most airlines use the code VGML; some also offer Indian Vegetarian and Chinese Vegetarian options but definitions vary wildly and some airlines make these vegan while others don’t.)

2. Carefully inspect (or just avoid) the ‘extras’ that come with your meal on the plane.  While the main components of the meal are usually prepared by a commercial catering company, often the extras like bread, spread and salad dressing are added on the plane.  While some airlines are more clued up than others, often they add butter or dairy-containing margarine, or salad dressing with milk in it.

3. Never come unprepared – bring some snacks, like dried fruit and nuts, energy bars or an apple in your carry-on.  Remember that pastes like peanut butter and hummus will count against your liquid limit.

4. If possible, bring your own meal like a wrap, sandwich or pasta, to have on the plane or in the airport.  (Although be warned that apparently pasta doesn’t fare well on the plane and is one of the worst options for plane food)

5. Find out what vegan options are in the airport in advance, so you know where to go to grab a bite to eat!  I’ve put together a guide (see below) with options in the top 10 airports worldwide.

6. If worst comes to worst and your meal doesn’t arrive, ask nicely and you might find the flight attendants can rustle something up (usually a jacket potato and salad, or fruit plate – not the most exciting dinner, but hey, it’s better than nothing!).  And if that doesn’t work, those nuts will come in handy!

Want more information on vegan air travel?  I’ve put together a free guide which includes vegan options by airline and vegan options (terminal by terminal) at the top 10 airports worldwide.  Sign up below to get it!

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dandelion communitea cafe cadry

In today’s vegan traveler interview, I interviewed Cadry of Cadry’s Kitchen.  I absolutely love Cadry’s Kitchen – anyone who creates a Mister Rogers MoFo theme is a star in my book!  So it was a pleasure to interview Cadry and hear about her experiences traveling as a vegan!  Read on for the interview…

How many places and where have you traveled since you’ve been vegan?
I have been vegan for a little over 7 years and was vegetarian for a couple of years before that. Since I’ve been vegan I’ve traveled to England, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin.

What’s your favorite place or places you’ve traveled as a vegan?
I went to New York City at the beginning of this month, and that is a pretty amazing place to be vegan. So many places that I travel, there are just a handful of vegan or vegan friendly restaurants. It’s easy to hit them all on a trip. In New York City, that was impossible. You could be there for weeks and still not see them all! As someone coming from a state with only two vegan restaurants, it was really overwhelming to open up my Happy Cow app and have pages and pages of options. It made it so hard to choose! Obviously, that’s a wonderful problem to have, and almost everything I ate there was outstanding.

blossom on columbia

I particularly enjoyed the meals I had at Candle Café West, Blossom on Columbus, V-Note, and Bunna Café in Brooklyn. But even just your average bagel place there has tofu cream cheese in a variety of flavors. There’s not much better than sitting in Central Park eating a fresh New York City bagel.

cadry rahels ethiopian

Along with New York City, I have a huge soft spot for Los Angeles since I lived there for 13 years. Somehow on a lot of “best of” lists it gets ignored, but there are few places in the world that have the kind of quality, variety, and number of options that they do. Whenever I visit, I have to hit Rahel Ethiopian (my favorite restaurant anywhere) and Sun Café, an amazing raw restaurant. And oh, my gosh, the vegan donuts from Donut Friend are the stuff of legends.

What was the best vegan meal you’ve had while traveling?  How did you find the restaurant?
modern love
I’m going to have to pick a meal I had this summer in Omaha, Nebraska of all places. I was lucky enough to enjoy one of the early tastings at Modern Love, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s new restaurant. The seitan marsala was one of those dishes that stops you in your tracks. I had to take a moment to just savor it and watch my husband’s face, so that I could see his reaction. It was so tender and delicious and served with a vegetable mash. The Nebraska Tourism Board should be sending Isa regular shipments of flowers. There were people there that night who had flown in from California just to visit! I know my husband and I will be visiting Nebraska a lot more often now.

What was the hardest place to be a vegan?  How did you find food?  What did you eat?
My husband and I drove across country a couple of times when we were moving, and that had some challenging moments. We packed a cooler full of food, but the trip with a trailer took longer than anticipated. (That happens when you’re only able to go about 50 miles an hour.)

middle of nowhere dinner

For one particularly memorable dinner, we drove through a town that was seriously no longer than a mile or so. In the “main” part of the town, there was a convenience store, a gas station, and a Subway. Obviously, we could have gone to Subway for a veggie delight, but instead we went into the convenience store to check out our options there. They actually had a few different kinds of non-dairy milk, which was surprising. So we picked up a box of cereal, rice milk, an avocado, chips, and salsa. It was a very weird meal, admittedly, but all in all, not too shabby!

Where are you planning on going next and what vegan places will you be checking out?
I don’t have any definite trips on the horizon, but I’m hoping we’ll be able to return to the Orlando area again next year. I’d love to revisit Ethos Vegan Kitchen and Dandelion Communitea Café.

If you had to give some advice to a new vegan planning their first holiday as a vegan, where would you tell them to go (and what would you tell them to eat?)?  Any advice you’d give them?
The planning is the best part! I seriously plan trips that I may never take. I’ve heard that one way to know if someone is vegan is if they can tell you about vegan restaurants in cities where they’ve never visited and even list one or two of their top dishes. That is so true!

Obviously, Happy Cow is a great place to start for searching vegan options in a city. I also like googling “vegan” and whatever the city is in question. It usually brings up reviews from bloggers with lots of pictures and inside information. Yelp can be handy too for finding less-publicized vegan options.

Outside of that, my advice would be to look for vegan-friendly cuisines like Indian, Ethiopian, Thai, and Mediterranean. I’ve also had good luck getting vegan sandwiches and meals at natural grocery stores.

Finally, a lot can happen with a friendly attitude. On our honeymoon I was vegetarian and not yet vegan. We were in Switzerland, and I was trying to explain to the server what I did and didn’t eat. Neither of us spoke each other’s language, and so I pulled out a scratch paper and a pencil. I made a drawing of a pig, a cow, a fish, and a chicken, and put X’s through all of them. A flash of understanding went across her face, and I was brought a delicious meal. A positive attitude and a smile goes a long way!


Check out Cadry’s travel posts here to read more about her vegan trips and keep up to date on her latest travels on Cadry’s Kitchen!  Just prepare to be extremely jealous reading posts such as this one on her unforgettable meal at Modern Love.

Do you also plan trips that you might not take?  (I know I definitely do!!)

This post is part of my Hungerlust series. Hungerlust. That insatiable craving for both food, and travel. Preferably combined. And vegan, naturally. My Vegan Month of Food (MoFo) theme this year is all about feeding it. We’ll be doing a journey around the world (airfare not included – sorry!) from the comfort of our sofas – or desks, wherever you happen to be sitting. 

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