Easy Vegan Recipe

This particular vegan recipe was created from my craving of something fresh, mediterranean, and filling. Serve this gluten free pasta dish with a juicy orange and all the food groups are represented. It’s simple to make and satisfies hunger.

Here’s what you will need:

2-4 oz of your favorite Banza pasta (I used shells and elbows)

1-2 teaspoons of olive oil

3-4 jarred red bell peppers

1/2 cup organic canned sliced mushrooms

5 large stuffed green olives

1 teaspoon of garlic

1/2 teaspoon of parsley

1/4 teaspoon of red chili flakes

pinch of salt

Juice from 1/2 of lemon

How to:

Boil pasta, drain and add to large bowl. Add the olives, drained mushrooms, and peppers. Finely chop the garlic and add to olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. Drizzle over the pasta, stir, and serve. Enjoy!

Vegan Pasta Salad

 

Autograph Brasserie- Part 2 The Menu

Last month I visited Autograph Brasserie in Wayne Pennsylvania for the first time and enjoyed a fabulous dining experience. As previously mentioned in my review article, today I am featuring the scrumptious menu that Chef Ralph prepared. Keep in mind that if you suffer from multiple dietary restrictions, Autograph is a dining option for you. The entire staff and of course Chef Ralph are willing and happy to create a dish that you can enjoy without the stress and worry of contamination.

I began the night with fingerling potatoes in a balsamic glaze that Chef Ralph served while I was reviewing the menu. The potatoes were cooked perfectly, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside while the glaze was packed with flavor.

FingerlingPotatoes

Roasted root vegetables followed and all I kept thinking was, “how can I reproduce this dish?” Although, part of the fun of dining out is having someone else create the meal for you, without all the work. This is definitely a dish that I would recommend for plant eaters and carnivore’s alike.

RoastedRootVegetables

Autograph can accommodate all restrictions, including serving fresh gluten free rolls from a local baker with gourmet dipping olive oil. Most alcohol contains gluten as well and for true Celiacs, try the signature Autograph mocktails. The King Palmer is cool and refreshing and contains lemonade, iced tea, agave, and fresh lime juice.

Gluten free rolls

Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables, versatile and filling. Chef Ralph created an absolutely delicious roasted cauliflower with fresh apple and scallions. This dish was seasoned perfectly and is a satisfying side dish, but could be served as a main.

cauliflower

However, my main included mushroom risotto. This showstopper really needs no description. Suffice it to say by the time the main course arrived I was stuffed, but it was so delish that I just had to take it home to enjoy later!

mushroom risotto

Please be sure to make a reservation at this lovely restaurant with delectable food options for everyone!

Six Courses by Liberté Urban Lounge Executive Chef Luke Rogers

Video and Photo credits: Aubrey Basla

As promised here is the detailed description of my most delicious meal, prepared by Chef Luke Rogers at the Liberté Urban Lounge Sofitel Philadelphia.

Menu The Sofitel Philadelphia

My special menu included five delectable courses, but Chef Luke added a bonus course.

Hors d’Oeuvre

Beet Tartare- orange, chili avocado oil, avocado, chickpea served with taro chips

Beet tartare

Beet Tartare

Salade

Tomato Discovery- grilled cherry peppers, frisée, strawberry

Tomato Discovery

Roasted Carrot Salad- pickled carrots, artichoke, watermelon radish

Roasted Carrot Salad

Soupe

Watermelon Gazpacho- spicy ice

Watermelon gazpacho

Entree

Eggplant Cannelloni- cauliflower, tomato, romesco, basil puree

Eggplant Cannaloni

Eggplant Cannelloni

Les Desserts

Strawberry Popsicles- watermelon, strawberry pearls

Strawberry Popsicle

Popsicle

Each course was more scrumptious than the next. I was impressed with the complexity of flavors in each dish. Bitter, sweet, salty, spicy all perfectly working in harmony to create a truly unique experience.

At The Sofitel Philadelphia, 240, 000 bees reside, providing honey for the guests. There is a beautiful rooftop garden with over 3,000 pounds of soil that produces most of the herbs provided for the meals. Chef Luke Rogers curates this fabulous garden and many of the items on my menu were picked fresh for my meal!

Garden

Garden

Garden

Liberté Urban Lounge Sofitel Philadelphia – Hotel Series Part 1

Liberte Lounge- Sofitel Hotel

I have never gone to a restaurant, completed six courses and left feeling healthier. However, this was the case last week after eating one of the best meals of my life at the Liberté Urban Lounge in the Sofitel Hotel. The food was prepared by Executive Chef Luke Rogers. Let’s backtrack just a bit before I dive into the dining experience.

When I first decided to feature a hotel series on Sugarpeel, I wanted to capture the unique differentiators that make some of the best hotels in Philly special. Each one that I cover will focus on something different- whether it is food, stay, services. I focused on the Liberté Urban Lounge in the Sofitel. Prior to confirming my reservation, I gave my dietary restrictions to Chef Luke, convinced that it would be an inconvenience. Nothing could be further from the truth. Chef Luke agreed immediately and began his homework and prep for my visit.

As a Celiac, Vegan, and allergy sufferer it is usually an anxious experience to dine out. I also have an unsettled feeling wondering if there is a cross contamination in the kitchen that will leave me fishing for my Epipen. The moment I entered the Liberté Urban Lounge and sat down there was a beautiful personalized menu with a series of courses specifically designed by the Chef. I had a wave of relief; knowing that I would not have to worry and cautiously eat my food.

Each server was kinder than the next. I would like to personally thank Michael, Kurtis, and Mary who were exceptionally attentive, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to meet. The courses utilized all of the fresh ingredients that I could eat. Chef Luke played with textures, complex flavors, and modern plating. He describes his cuisine as “refined yet approachable.” Everyone should be able to experience a delicious meal.

Chef Luke leads by example by treating his staff with respect in order to foster a creative and healthy atmosphere in the kitchen. Fear is not the way to produce excellent food. To ensure this atmosphere, Chef Luke prefers a hands on approach by hiring each new employee, making sure that everyone is on the same page and works as a team. You will not see anyone throw a pan in his kitchen!

It was an overall inspiring experience as I often find myself struggling to create a satisfying meal without defaulting to something plain and flavorless.

The Sofitel is just minutes away from Rittenhouse Square, which is one of my favorite locations in the city. The park is beautiful, lively, and a great spot to people watch. Friends of Rittenhouse  provide a complete guide of the events and happenings in the square. If you are staying in the area of the Sofitel, make sure to visit Rittenhouse, which has something for everyone, every age. If you love shopping, walk on Walnut street in the shopping district for luxury boutiques.

Stay tuned for my next post including a video and detailed description of the scrumptious menu customized by Chef Luke at Liberté Urban Lounge!

Chef Luke Rodgers

Chef Luke Rogers, Ashley

How to make vegan treats for Fourth of July

Sea Isle City

Sea Isle City New Jersey

Happy Fourth of July! I hope everyone is having a safe and fun holiday weekend. I have some really delicious and simple recipe ideas that I would love to share with you. All would be wonderful to pack for the beach, a picnic, or if you are hosting a BBQ. If you have guests that suffer from Celiac disease or are vegans, these are the perfect recipes to offer.

My favorite kind of hummus…fresh and homemade. It is so simple to make hummus and the secret to making truly great hummus, fresh squeezed lemon. Using a white bean like Cannellini beans are an excellent alternative to traditional hummus. It creates a smoother, fluffier texture.

Ingredients:

1 can of chick peas

1/2 lemon

pinch of parsley

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon of curry powder

1 teaspoon of tahini paste

1 teaspoon of olive oil

How to:

Simply blend all ingredients at once until smooth and creamy. Use a blender or food processor.

Curry Hummus

White Bean Hummus

White Bean Hummus

Glutenfree Vegan Potato Salad

Ingredients:

3 Yukon Gold Potatoes

1 celery stalk

8 black olives

1/4 red onion

1 teaspoon of turmeric

pinch of salt

pinch of parsley

1 tablespoon of Vegenaise

How to:

Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender. Drain and allow to fully cool. Chop the celery and red onion to small pieces. Finely chop the olives. Dice potatoes and add the celery, onion, and black olives. Stir in Vegenasise and spices. Serve and enjoy!

Potato Salad

Mango Nice Cream (vegan)

Ingredients:

1 frozen ripe mango

How to:

Simply blend the frozen mango in a food processor until smooth. Serve and enjoy!

Mango nice cream

Vegan soup recipe

It could be sweltering hot outside and I still crave soup. There is something comforting and filling about this type of meal. I like to make this vegan recipe for lunch time. I usually make a large pot and nibble all day long. I developed this healthy recipe after craving ramen noodle soup for months on end. It was time to take action. If you are suffering from celiac disease or simply on a gluten free diet this is the perfect option.

Here’s how to make this delectable vegan soup recipe!

Ingredients:

2-4 oz of Thai rice noodles- depending how hungry you are

1/2 san marzano tomatoes

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon of turmeric

pinch of basil

1 container of veggie broth

2 medium carrots

1 medium yukon gold potato

1 teaspoon olive oil

How to:

Begin by adding the olive oil to a pan. Add the potato and carrots on low heat until slightly caramelized. Pour in veggie broth with coconut milk and tomatoes. Add seasoning and let simmer until carrots and potato are fork tender. Begin boiling water and cook rice noodles. Add the noodles to the pot to finish cooking. Serve and enjoy!

vegan soup

vegan soup

 

Vegan and Gluten free in Miami

I was more than a little nervous to travel to Miami with all of my dietary restrictions. I prepared myself to buy food and store snacks and fruit in the hotel room if it was a challenge to dine out. I had no idea that Miami was so inclusive and understanding when it comes to food particulars. Miami is already known for innovative culinary experiences, a melting pot in cultural feasts, but now I recognize this unique city as being vegan and gluten free friendly.

In case you are traveling to Miami or thinking about taking a trip, here are some delicious restaurants serving more than just french fries and salads as a vegan options.

Let’s begin with The Marseille Hotel directly across the street from The Catalina on Collins Ave. Mostly, I enjoyed breakfast and the pool menu for a snack. The tables are outdoors like so many restaurants in South Beach, great for people watching. For breakfast I ate a fresh fruit bowl and roasted potatoes with cilantro and spices. The potatoes were crisp and delicious without any excess oil. The service was fast and all servers were friendly. Guacamole was my go-to snack with mango and salsa served with tortilla chips.

AuntSharon

RoastedPotatoes

Guacamole

On beach days, the sun can really zap your energy and make you hungry. On these days I ordered delivery from Carrot Express which offers a full range of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options. I tried the Teeka Salad with cilantro dressing, which was so fresh and tasty that I had to order twice! The salad was made with kale, avocado, carrots, bean sprouts, cucumber, tomatoes, sunflower sprouts, and quinoa.

KaleSalad

Full Bloom was quite the sensory experience. Located on the mezzanine level overlooking the water; perfect for a sunset dinner. The decor was serene and beautiful with fountains, rose petals, and candles. Full Bloom is completely vegan and zagat restaurant with soy, nut, and gluten free options. Aunt Sharon and I had quite the challenge picking from the extensive and delectable menu. Our server was all too happy to make recommendations and the choices were mouthwatering. We started with the South West roasted asparagus and corn and the smashed roasted cauliflower parsnip. Both absolutely scrumptious. For our main meals, my Aunt ordered the gnocchi and I had the fajita platter with roasted veggies, which I gobbled in under 10 minutes.

Ashley

FullBloom

FullBloom

Veggies

FulBloom

Gnocchi

Fajitas

The Cleo is a restaurant that specializes in sharable meals with mediterranean and middle eastern cuisine and was named one of the top 50 hottest restaurants in the U.S. by OpenTable. Cleo is located within The Redbury and is a pretty special place. The restaurant manager, Rima was sweet and inviting. She made sure that our server was aware of my allergies and diet. Anything that was not specifically nut free for instance was modified so I did not have to be deprived of any meal option. We ate at this restaurant the most during our vacation and were treated like VIP’s. Our favorite starters were brought to the table as soon as we sat down. The atmosphere was lively and warm. The servers were knowledgeable and fun, the food was amazing! So many complex flavors and fusion bites. The curry hummus with veggies was a staple and my Aunt ordered the lebenah with feta. We shared the brussels sprout hearts that were made delicately and uniquely by separating each one of the leaves. We also tried the artichokes with nicoise olives, which was lemon and garlic infused. Each time I could not resist ordering the quinoa salad with roasted veggies and frisee, without the almonds. My Aunt ventured to try something new including the garlic shrimp and the wagyu kebab. You can not go wrong with anything on the menu!

Spices

Hummus

BrusselSprouts

CauliflowerSalad

Artichoke

Homemade Naan

Time for a delicious vegan gluten free recipe. I have been craving a sandwich for the past month. Also craving cheese. My Aunt Sharon did a little digging online and found a recipe for Naan. Of course, I made a few adjustments and to satisfy my craving found the perfect toppings to make an open faced sandwich. The most fabulous part about this recipe is the versatility. You could keep the naan plain and make a dipping sauce, you could eat with curried rice and veggies, or make a mini pizza.

Here’s how to make the naan:

Ingredients:

1 cup of King Arthur’s All Purpose gluten free flour

1 and 1/3 teaspoon of Rumford baking powder

1/3 teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons of olive oil

1/3 teaspoon of lemon juice

6 tablespoons of coconut milk

How-to:

Mix dry ingredients in bowl. Then add the oil, lemon juice, and coconut milk. Create a smooth dough ball. Dough does not need to raise. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium. Cut dough into quarters. Flatten each quarter on wax paper. Place one on the non greased skillet at a time and cover with lid. Cook for a minute and then flip. Continue to flip until the texture is to your liking. You may want them extra crispy which will take slightly longer to cook.

image

image (1)

My open faced sandwich two ways. First I sauteed a head of radicchio lettuce until it is delicately wilted. I layered the naan with Vegenaise, added Daiya monterey jack brick cheese, and topped with the radicchio and kalamata olives.

image (2)

Second sandwich is layered with the vegenaise, avocado, slice of romaine lettuce, chedder cheese, and a pickle.

image (3)

Enjoy!

Vegan comfort food

One of the most important things that I have learned about being a vegan and gluten free is preparation. If you do not factor in cooking time then it becomes way too easy to just snack, grab an apple here or hummus and veggies there. The problem with all of this snacking is that it takes away from sitting down and eating a satisfying warm meal.

Even though I am a vegan of course I crave comfort foods. My comfort foods still include pasta. I have tried many gluten free pastas including corn, quinoa, and garbanzo, but I have found that rice pasta tastes most similar to traditional pasta. When using tomato sauce, sometimes corn pasta tastes a little weird in my opinion. I much prefer it with olive oil and fresh vegetables.

Here are a couple of recipes that are easy and delicious comfort foods.

Pasta and Potatoes

Ingredients:

1-2 servings of rice spaghetti

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove of garlic

4 new potatoes (small potatoes in red, white, or purple)

2 roasted red peppers

Seasonings including a pinch of salt and black pepper

Begin by parboiling your potatoes in lightly salted water. Take the potatoes out of the water just before they are fork tender. Slice potatoes thinly and add to pan. Slice peppers and garlic. Add all ingredients to a pan to sautee. Boil water for pasta and submerge spaghetti in boiling water. Once the potatoes are golden brown and the pasta is cooked, add the pasta to the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Mix and serve!

pepper pasta

 

Arrabiata rice

Ingredients:

1 Poblano pepper

1/2 cup jasmine rice

1 quart of tomatoes

1 clove of garlic

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 cup of vegetable broth

Begin by dicing poblano pepper and garlic and adding to pan to sautee on low heat. In a saucepan, add the canned tomatoes and turn heat on low. Cook the jasmine rice as instructed only substitute  vegetable broth for the water. Once the peppers are caramelized and the garlic soft, add to the tomatoes and raise the heat slightly. The rice should be cooked by this time. Just keep the lid on and set aside. Allow the sauce to simmer for at least an hour to cook out any raw tomato flavor. Once the sauce is to your liking, use an emersion blender to create a smooth sauce. Add the rice to the sauce and let stand for a few minutes. This will allow the sauce to thicken with the rice. Serve and enjoy!

Arrabiata rice

 

 

The Pub at Wegmans

As an upstate New York native, I have grown up with Wegmans. I feel about Wegmans the same way I feel about Wawa now living in the Philadelphia area. Something about the store is comforting and the selection is always expansive. I know that I can always find the specialty items that I require with all of my dietary restrictions. It can be challenging to eat at a restaurant when you have as many restrictions as myself and so many others do. I never even stopped to consider eating at The Pub in the Wegmans in the Providence Town Center in Collegeville, PA. On a night out with a friend we tried the Pub and had a wonderful experience. There were plenty of vegan, nut and gluten free options. My server was also more than willing to make any special requests to make sure that I could eat my dinner without worry. The attention to detail and cleanliness as well as the friendly laid back atmosphere made this a enjoyable dining experience. Check out The Pub menu here.

I ordered the white bean hummus with truffles and veggies. If you are gluten free kindly request that the rosemary bread is left off and replaced with extra veggies. This dish was absolutely delicious. The hummus was flavorful, smooth, and creamy; perfectly paired with the fresh cucumber and roasted sweet red peppers.

Hummus

I also ordered the portabella mushroom entree served with artichoke hearts, red peppers, and an arugula salad lightly tossed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil without the mozzarella. Satisfying and scrumptious!

Mushroom

Try the Tuscan Fries, deliciously fried potatoes perfectly seasoned with rosemary, sage, Italian parsley, and garlic.

Rosemary Tuscan Fries