The Big V

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You don’t have to forgo flavor just because you’re going Vegan (if only temporarily). Here, four local dishes even carnivores will love.

 The Valedictorian, Boylan Heights

On the Corner, gourmet burger joint Boylan Heights has a choice homemade vegan burger. The Valedictorian is made from brown rice, toasted pecans and carrots. Slathered with hummus and sun-dried tomato tapenade on a hearty multigrain roll, the Valedictorian holds its own against those, ahem, other burgers. Order yours with sweet potato fries.

 Pad Thai, Pad Thai

Looking for truly vegan Thai fare? Just say, “Hold the fish sauce, please,” and the folks at Pad Thai will oblige. Go for their namesake dish, with tofu (and extra chilis if you’re feeling brave).

Grilled Tofu sandwich, Revolutionary Soup

Over at Revolutionary Soup, ask for the Grilled Tofu sandwich. Made from seasoned tofu, arugula and red onions on fresh sunflower-wheat bread, this sammy’s flavored with a generous spread of house-curried fig Dijon.

Vegetarian Protein Special bento box, Café 88

Finally, don’t miss Café 88, one of the city’s best-kept secrets. A freshly prepared Vegetarian (vegan, actually) Protein Special bento box is delicate, yet satisfying, with its layers of fried golden tofu-skin seasoned with a tasty ginger sauce.—Christy Baker

Vegan at home

Closet bacon-of-the-month club members and vegans alike can benefit from indulging in some plant-based snacks once in a while. Here are a couple ideas for indulgence from your own kitchen.

Tropical smoothie pops: Blend 1 cup frozen mango chunks with 1 can of light coconut milk and 2 tbs. of frozen orange juice concentrate. Pour into ice pop molds and freeze at least four hours or overnight.

What you get: calcium, magnesium and a balance of heart-healthy omega-3 and -6 fats.

Crispy kale: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Toss kale leaves (with the ribs removed) with a tbs. of olive oil. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake 20-25 minutes or until just crisp. Season with salt, black pepper and lemon. Serve immediately.

What you get: Vitamins A, K, and C along with fiber and iron.—Meredith Barnes

Food regimes for thought

With so much to eat and drink and so little time, hearing of someone with dietary restrictions often makes us wonder: Why? While many regimes are by choice, others are dictated by one’s religion or tolerance. Here’s a look at a few of these diets governed by a force beyond the brain.

Kosher: Judaism’s set of dietary laws derive from the Torah. Overly simplified, the restrictions include pork, shellfish and meat paired with dairy.

Halal: This dietary code observed by Muslims forbids the consumption of pork, carnivorous animals and alcohol.

Hindi and Buddhist vegetarianism: A religious objection to eating meat and fish due to the belief that killing a living thing creates harmful karma.

Lactose-free: People who lack sufficient lactase (the enzyme responsible for metabolizing dairy’s lactose) may choose to eliminate dairy from their diets, take an enzyme prior to consumption or stick to aged, fermented versions of dairy products.

Gluten-free: Those with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, have an allergy to the gluten protein found in wheat, kamut, spelt, barley, rye, malts and triticale.—Megan Headley

What’s a vegan, anyway?

 

Vegan (n.): A strict vegetarian who consumes no animal food or dairy products; also: One who abstains from using animal products (as leather). [See also: Alicia Silverstone]

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