When Pingala Café opened its doors in 2013, it was the only vegan eatery in Burlington — though it won’t be holding that distinction for much longer. Word has it that soon it will be in good company, reflecting the exponential growth of the plant-based revolution.
From the get-go, Pingala’s aim was to exceed expectations of how hearty and tasty plant-base meals can be, and offer familiar foods in good-for-you, good-for-the-earth versions. Burritos, burgers, falafel, French toast, and grilled cheese are on the menu, but in meatless, dairy-free versions. For clean food enthusiasts, there are smoothies, juices, salads, and bountiful bowls.
Another mission of Pingala (which means “sun energy and life force” in Sanskrit) is to use house-made products whenever possible to enhance the flavors of fresh foods — savory dressings like Thai peanut and luscious sauces like Korean BBQ sauce among them. But it was one unique Pingala-created product that has completely caught fire (not literally, of course): the café’s homemade vegan eggplant bacon. more→
Summer is the time to enjoy lots of fresh produce and herbs straight from the garden or farm market. Here are a few unique kitchen gadgets — tools that are inexpensive, compact, and will help ensure that you use up and enjoy your market finds to the fullest! more→
Are Oreos vegan? The short answer is yes, kind of.
It’s one of the most frequently cited, debated, and disputed food facts: “Did you know Oreos are vegan?” Strangers to plant-based cooking might be surprised that chocolate cookies and creamy frosting don’t contain milk or eggs. But, as those of us with plant-based kitchens know, it’s not far-fetched at all.
Here is an abridged Oreos ingredients list: unbleached enriched flour, sugar, palm and/or canola oil, cocoa, high fructose corn syrup, leavening (baking soda and/or calcium phosphate) cornstarch, salt, soy lecithin, vanilla, and chocolate.
Are Oreos Vegan?
By most definitions, it certainly looks vegan. But, many vegans swear off refined sugar, some of which is processed with animal bone char. There’s also the milk issue. Like many processed foods, Oreos are produced on the same equipment as other, non-vegan products. So, you might be ingesting trace amounts of dairy with your Oreo cookies. Some vegans stay away from these types of food while others leave room for the small error.
So, that’s the gist of the “Are Oreos Vegan? debate. However, it begs another question.
Are Oreos healthy?
Some adopt a vegan diet purely for ethical reasons while others are at least partially motivated by health. And if that’s a concern of yours, you might want to take a second look at the unabridged ingredients list. Oreos are made with highly processed ingredients, and chock full of sugar – three cookies contain 14 grams of sugar, or 2.95 teaspoons. That’s half the recommended daily allotment.
If you want to stay away from processed ingredients and high fructose corn syrup, then opt for an organic, but still vegan, cookie like Newman O’s. Organic sugar isn’t refined with bone char, which is another big plus.
But, a word of warning: organic products can contain as much sugar as their highly processed alternatives. Three organic Newman O’s cookies contains 16.5 grams of sugar – even more than Oreos. So, if you’re watching your sugar intake, indulge in packaged cookies in moderation if at all. Instead, try low-sugar or sugar-free dessert recipes from VegKitchen.
Contributed by Hannah Brown.
Image: Evan Amos, Wikimedia Commons
I can whip up decent Asian-style dishes, but I never got the hang of making authentic-flavored Indian dishes at home. It’s not all that difficult, as demonstrated by the brilliant Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. The truth is that I’m just too lazy to deal with roasting and grinding and mixing and measuring all the myriad spices that add up to those amazing flavors.
For me, making a curry has always meant dumping curry powder into something or another, and If I’m feeling really ambitious, adding some ginger. And while that’s not terrible, doing so doesn’t give the dishes the deep, complex flavors of Indian cuisine. more→
How I wish these contemporary bento boxes were available when my kids were growing up! I stood there in the kitchen at 6:30 a.m. every school day for 14 years, packing healthy, but for the most part boring lunches. My kids were vegetarian until ages 10 and 12, then vegan, and never wanted to buy lunch at school. They would have loved today’s bento-inspired lunch kits, and packing them would have been a lot more fun for me. more→
If you like the idea of gifts that keeps on giving to the cause of compassion toward animals, you might enjoy choosing your holiday gifts (and beyond) that will benefit to Animal Place. This non-profit operates two sanctuaries in California that have rescued and sheltered hundreds of animals.
Bare Bones Body Care
Unisex, non-toxic, and animal-friendly Bare Bones Body Care offers a stylish line of skincare, a vegan deodorant that really lasts, and even tattoo balm. Founder Monica Schrock uses ingredients made from scratch, and from organic and local suppliers, and all products proudly feature Animal Place’s logo to help raise awareness. Prices start around $3 up to $35 for gift sets. more→
Buying groceries is an investment. We spend our time at the grocery store carefully reading food labels, checking to see if items are organic and where the produce comes from, for example. I could easily spend a good two hours in the grocery store. We might also plan our meals for the week ahead and create a very specific shopping list. With all this work, planning, and time, it’s incredibly disappointing when produce goes bad before we get a chance to use it! I often find I buy cilantro to use throughout the next two weeks and, to my disappointment, it goes bad after just a few days. Keeping fruit and vegetables as fresh as the day we bought them is no easy task. But what can we do. Allegedly, we can avoid opening the fridge to spoiled produce by using FreshWorks™ Produce Saver, an innovative storage container that claims to incorporate patented technology to keep fruits and veggies fresher for up to 80% longer, #LongLiveProduce! more→
A new kind of snack recently made it’s debut —Ginger’s Healthy Habits has created Veggie Trail Mix, made from a mixture of vegetables, nuts, sprouted seeds. VegKitchen recently got the opportunity to sample tasty, all-natural Pepperoni Pizza (which should be in air quotes, since there’s nothing pepperoni or pizza about this snack other than the flavor—it’s all plant-based!) and Maple Cinnamon. One other variety that’s available is Garlic and Herb. more→
One of the perks of running a site like VegKitchen is receiving great products to review and beautiful cookbooks to review and excerpt. We got a goldmine of lovely products from Colavita to cook with and taste, and we can’t wait to dig in. And while these products aren’t specifically geared toward the vegan market, isn’t it great that they are, incidentally, completely plant-based? more→
Are you a coffee lover who just can’t handle any amount of caffeine? Do you like the idea of sipping on something hot and soothing, but just aren’t enamored of tea? Kaffree Roma might be just the alternative you’re looking for. It’s an instant beverage made just the same way as instant coffee — a spoonful or so stirred into a cup of hot water. Made of roasted barley and malt barley with a bit of chicory and rye, it’s not meant to imitate coffee so much as to be a comforting, caffeine-free cousin to it. more→
I’ve long been a fan of Real Pickles products, so when I found out they’ve introduced Real Pickles Turmeric Kraut, I was eager to try it. Real Pickles, located in Greenfield, MA produces an array of naturally fermented products. Though pickles and relishes are familiar foods, most pickling these days is accomplished with vinegar. This method doesn’t give you the valuable, natural probiotics that naturally fermented foods do — a hallmark of Real Pickles products. more→
Going vegan no longer means having to give up cheesecake! Sirabella’s Vegan Cheesecake recently sent VegKitchen their dairy-free, egg-free, completely luscious New York-style cheesecake to sample, and it is out of this world. We all enjoyed it immensely — at last, a vegan cheesecake with the look, taste, and texture of traditional cheesecake, with a fraction of the calories and none of the guilt. more→