Vegan Sandwiches that are Terri-rific

Meatball subs have been on my mind lately. Clearly, this would pose a problem for a vegan, seeing as “meat” isn’t exactly the item lowest on the ingredient list. Little did I know that there was a stellar sandwich shop in the Flatiron District where I could find a vegan alternative to this classic sub. Terri Vegetarian wow-ed me from the first moment I walked in and tried their Buffalo “Chicken” sandwich. Most of their sandwiches are served on panini bread, which was weird to me at first, considering I expected the typical soft Italian baguette. However, it wasn’t an issue for me after I sank my teeth into the sub. It was delicious! I forgot it wasn’t actual meat. Plus, the cafe atmosphere is delightful, and their cupcakes are heaven!

Terri's "Meatball" sub was SO GOOD! Served with a side of marinara in a basket...delicious!

They have dessert too! I got this cupcake, made with "buttercream" frosting. I aspire to make cupcakes this good.

In addition to fabulous organic vegan sandwiches, Terri also serves up some pretty scrumptious snacks…including donuts, muffins, chips, and parfaits!

Vegan donuts!

The snack spread at Terri's counter.

Kale chips...which, if you haven't tried, I highly recommend that you do. They're delicous, and a great alternative to the highly processed stuff.

 

They even have vegan parfaits with soy yogurt!

Terri also has freshly-made juices, shakes, and smoothies!

If you are ever in New York, and you want to try out a new place, definitely check out Terri. Their prices are decent, the food is fresh and delicious, and they have a very friendly staff. I recommend taking a look at Terri’s menu before you go in, because you WILL be that indecisive person at the counter blocking the rest of the rushing customers.

A Hot Dog Cart for Vegans

One thing I did NOT think I would ever find is a hot dog cart that would cater to vegans. Much to my surprise and delight, Good To Go Organics carts are popping up around New York City providing VEGAN HOT DOGS!! Plus, you can stop by this cart with friends who prefer the non-vegan option, since the carts do provide the standard hot dog made with organic meat. This cart is a little mobile home for organic snacks and healthful options for Central Park wanderers.

This cart happened to be a few feet north of the Central Park West and 7th Ave entrance to the park. They're consistently there every time I've been to Central Park.

The Good To Go Organics cart offers a decent array of organic and vegan snack options, including dried fruit and chips.

From Honest Tea to those squishy aluminum drink packs with lemonade (organic, of course!), this cart provides portable vegan sustenance AND hydration.

The full menu for the Good To Go Organics cart is neat and clear, just to the right of the window where people order. My recommendation: the Jumbo Veggie Soy Dog with ketchup, mustard, and relish on whole wheat pita. Grab an Orange Mango Honest Tea, and you're Good To Go.

Breakfast On-the-Go, Vegan-Style

Usually, it’s really hard to find vegan breakfast foods at non-vegan places. With eggs, sausage, and buttermilk pancakes abound, it’s not so easy for a vegan to get morning fuel. However, nestled between the usual options are a few vegan staples for a sufficiently energizing and filling breakfast:

At least in New York City, there is fruit on most street corners. All plants, no problem. Forget Skittles...here, you really get to taste the rainbow.

...or you can opt for the delicately arranged variety.

Nuts are a great source of protein, iron, and omega-3's. Plus, you can always save them for a mid-morning snack.

Oatmeal is a fiberful and filling option for breakfast. Plus, you can add little extras like fruit, nuts, or brown sugar! Just be sure it's made with water, and not milk or cream, if you're buying it ready-made.

Juice will help fill you up surprisingly quickly, and it has vitamin C! Plus, you can save the bottle to fill up later.

If you're the lunch-for-breakfast or all-food-is-breakfast-food type, maybe a hummus and veggie sandwich on whole wheat will be just what you need for the morning. Pret a Manger has a few good vegan options.

If you're less hungry in the morning than other times of day, or would prefer not to commit to a full meal in the morning (which is often the case for me), a small cup of soup may be your ticket for morning satiety. Pret a Manger has vegan soups!

Smoothies are always a great option for breakfast, especially if you can't stomach a full meal just yet. Make sure it's all-fruit or has a non-dairy base.

Then, of course, you can always get coffee...

...or tea.

…and if all else fails, and you can’t stomach the real food…

...then you can always opt for the cookie! (and get the real food later)


Why Vegan?

After I tell a person that I’m a vegan, usually the first question that person will ask is “Why?”

I’ll tell that person that it started out as an experiment, then I grew to love the lifestyle.

“Don’t you miss meat and dairy?”

Yes, dairy I miss. Meat, I don’t…but regardless, it doesn’t matter whether or not I miss meat and dairy. There are so many other reasons why I love veganism.

  1. Compassionate Lifestyle. Vegans often choose the lifestyle they choose because they care about how their choices impact other people, other species, or the environment. Yeah, yeah, people often see it as one of those treehugger things…but it’s also kind of cool to be able to say (and mean it), “I did something that positively impacted someone/something else today.” How about having that feeling at every meal…at every snack…at every picnic…every moment that your food goes through your system. Veganism is full-time, feel-good contribution.
  2. It Tastes Good. In my experience, most vegan food tastes better than a lot of non-vegan food. Most cheese tastes synthetic and leaves me with a sour feeling in my stomach later anyway. Vegan desserts often taste better as well…and there are a lot of creative vegan desserts out there.
  3. Simplicity. Oftentimes when buy food, there are so many choices…in many cases, overwhelmingly so. I like the feeling of going into a diner and knowing that I’m getting the veggie burger and sweet potato fries…or going into a Thai restaurant and ordering the vegetable curry with brown rice. Veganism is only hard when I make it hard. When I set myself up to eat at a restaurant or at a friend’s party, it’s so much easier to not only be present with people, but also remain confident in my choice to be vegan.
  4. Consumer Awareness. With any dietary restrictions, there often comes the continuous practice of scanning food labels. While most might find this to be a cumbersome routine, I find it enlightening. Many people buy food without thinking about what goes into it, and when you look at the ingredients in your food, you are aware of what is going into your body. It’s a mini version of knowing the fine print on a contract. Sure, it takes more time, but it the end, you’re leaving yourself more informed and in control of the situation.
  5. Community. A sense of belonging is really important to me. There are vegan communities all over the world and in most major cities. There are meet-up groups, rallies, organizations, publications, and major events for this lifestyle that I lead and support. Even if I am completely alone or dealing with difficulties in my life, it is comforting to know that I am a part of a community no matter where I go.

That pretty much sums up my major reasons for staying vegan. I was sitting in Jivamuktea Cafe eating a grilled cheese sandwich and got inspired. So, to finish off this post…

Vegan Grilled Cheese

Vegan grilled cheese sandwich with salad at Jivamuktea Cafe

Bootleg Breakfast Becomes Vegan Paradise

When you’re a vegan, breakfast becomes a much different meal from most people’s breakfasts. No milk, eggs, honey, sausages, bacon, or other standard American breakfast staples. What? No eggs? No sausage? It seems unlawful! The great thing about these circumstances is that they don’t mean that you lose any of the sweet deliciousness and the morning zing that breakfast has to offer. Even the most unconventional of breakfasts can be flavorful and satisfying…

Sweet Strawberry Coconut Oatmeal

Just throw together a few ingredients, and you have breakfast in under 5 minutes:

The super-oatmeal ingredients for my bootleg breakfast are all pictured above. Nothing too fancy or too hard to find.

  • Quick-cooking Irish oatmeal
  • Strawberries
  • Almond butter (The one I used happens to be Saratoga’s Trifecta, which is almond butter with dark chocolate and cherries, but don’t feel like you HAVE to use these exact ingredients. Get creative. Oatmeal is versatile.)
  • Shredded coconut
  • Maple syrup (or whichever syrupy sweetener works best for you. You can substitute for agave nectar, brown rice syrup, or whatever you prefer.)

Here's the finished product. For the step-by-step guide on how to make it, see below.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Cook about a quarter cup of Irish oatmeal (with water) in the microwave as per the instructions.
  2. Slice the strawberries while the oatmeal cooks.
  3. When the oatmeal is done, stir in about a tablespoon and a half of the almond butter.
  4. Stir in about 2 tablespoons of maple syrup.
  5. Sprinkle and stir about two teaspoons of shredded coconut into the oatmeal.
  6. Throw the strawberries on top.
  7. Pour yourself a glass of help milk and celebrate your craftiness.

Hemp milk is a great addition to most meals as a beverage. I've been growing fond of Tempt lately, but there are other brands.

Voila! Bootleg breakfast in under five minutes. Totally vegan, and totally filling.

Plum Chutney, Bread Alone, and Farmers Market Gold

I thought that leaving NYC to come home for the summer would be a bit of a bummer…however, it’s been more of a win than I expected, especially in the realm of vegan-ness.

The largest farmers market in CT opened at the Danbury Fair Mall on June 1st, and my first thought was “This cannot, in any way, be better than NYC Greenmarket.” Little did I know that I would find a little bit of NYC and a few great vegan finds at this grand tented event.

#1 Great Vegan Find: Saratoga’s Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Butter

This tent is the home of several all-natural peanut and almond butters that they let passersby taste. The Saratoga Peanut Butter Company tent had a smattering of delicious spreads, including the yummy vegan find of the day, their Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond butter. This spread won me over with its rich, creamy sweetness and deep dark chocolate bass-ey taste tones.

Saratoga Peanut Butter Company had a wide range of nut butters to choose from. They're all-natural and delicious.

#2 Great Vegan Find: Bread Alone

Many breads have eggs and milk in them, unbeknownst to vegan diners at restaurants outside of the comfort of their marketplace food labels. The vendors of the Bread Alone tent happily informed me that they have a selection of breads that are egg-free and dairy-free. Mostly their multigrain breads and their Focaccias are delicious vegan finds. Some of the breads have honey in them…but you can tell which ones do, since they post all ingredients for each product online, and of course, the farmers and vendors are happy to inform their customers. We got the Organic Nine Mixed Grain. It was $4.50, and they don’t charge tax at farmers markets. It will fill you up way quicker than regular bread, and you’ll feel great after eating it. It’s a bread winner.

Bread Alone makes many of their breads with organic and all-natural ingredients. Their breads are totally filling and delicious.

#3 Great Vegan Find: Royal Plum Chutney

The Bombay Emerald Chutney Company was one of the last booths my mom and I visited at the Danbury Fair market, and stopping there was a winning decision. We left with a jar of the sweet and spicy Royal Plum Chutney. Those with a taste for spicy dips will enjoy anything that this gourmet chutney company has to offer. They also have Royal Kofta, which is a vibrantly flavorful veg-friendly alternative to meatballs.

The Royal Plum Chutney is the least spicy of the varieties that Bombay Emerald Chutney Company had. Watch out for the mint chutney though...that stuff is only for the bravest of spicy food eaters.

When the Body Screams “Gimme Meat!”

Hello, again! It’s been a while, but I am back. Lately, a few of my friends have been asking me: How do you stay vegan when you’re craving meat or dairy. Mostly, I’ve just been referring them to books I’ve read, but books don’t always do the trick. Sometimes a few quick go-to solutions are the best bet for quelling cravings. So, to save to a few hours of sifting through text, I’m giving you some quick-and-easy tips:

1. Find Fun Food From Different Cultures

One of the things that was helpful to me when I was transitioning from omnivore to herbivore was finding foods from different cultures that I liked. As it turns out, there are numerous different cultural styles of eating that don’t usually include animal products. Thai, Chinese, Indian (most vegetarian dishes without yogurt…like Dal Saag…though some dishes are made with ghee, which is a type of butter made with milk), Mediterranean (falafel), Japanese (veggie sushi and hand rolls), Korean, Vietnamese, Mexican (veggie burritos/fajitas), Ethiopian, and numerous other foods from different cultures have a handful of vegan options. Just about any Asian restaurant will have several good veg-friendly options readily available.

Okay, this isn't something I got at a restaurant, but it's super-easy to make a vegan burrito.

2. Find Stupid-Simple Delicious Recipes.

Exploring a few simple recipes helps with the cravings and/or omnivore to herbivore transition too. This I know for sure…when I’m craving food in general, there’s no room for logic or patience. For that reason, stupid-simple cooking works for me while in crave-mode. One of my favorite meals to make is vegan chili with brown rice and sauteed kale w/garlic&olive oil. Here is the chili recipe I’ve been using. Also, The Vegan Stoner has been my favorite blog for stupid-simple recipes. Do some searching, some throwing-together-of-food, and see what you like!

3. Discover Your Fav Vegan Soups and Frozen Foods 

Having a few frozen packaged vegan foods or vegan soups in stock can help with the cravings. Soups can fill you up quick, and depending which soup you get, they can fill you up for a while. The Amy’s brand has some really good soups (the Tom Kha is my favorite, mostly because I’m crazy for Thai food). Also, Trader Joe’s has a really good frozen Panang Curry and vegetable gyoza (Chinese dumplings).

Trader Joe's Vegetable Gyoza. They taste great with most types of peanut sauce.

4. Meatless Meat & Dairy-Free Cheese…The Mockery That May Melt the Cravings

If you’re craving dairy (which I have been lately…bigtime), SoySation and Daiya have some good dairy-free cheeses. Sometimes just the cheese taste and texture will be enough to satisfy a hankering for the melty stuff. When the craving hits me, I make a bootleg vegan pizza with a whole wheat tortilla, some pesto, some tomato sauce, dairy-free Mozzarella cheese, and some mushrooms on top (Molly Clemens helped me out with that one). Also, Smart Dogs are a great veg substitute for hot dogs…plus, they’re less acid-y and easier on the stomach.

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