Our January ‘Nourish Yourself’ has been a huge hit among Vegans, Vegetarians and veggie loving meat eaters. The portion sizes we have been serving are identical to our regular meals, but the difference is that 2 out of 3 days, we are substituting animal protein with nutrient dense vegetable options.
For years, the Red Apron has been trying to ‘encourage’ our clients to eat more vegetables and less meat. We are not vegetarians ourselves, but believe that reducing our consumption of animal proteins is both good for our health and the planet. This thinking has not been wholeheartedly embraced by our meat loving customers in the past, although this year we seem to be winning a few more people over.
However, I think it’s important that all of our customers understand some of the challenges we face in moving this goal forward. First, regardless of how popular a vegetarian or vegan menu is, it is never as popular as our meat based meals. In fact, on average we see 50 to 75 people fewer people sign up for each vegan of vegetarian ‘Dinner to your Door’ Menu than those with meat. As you can imagine, this takes it’s toll on our bottom line. Additionally, we see that the meatless meals are being enjoyed by meat eaters looking to expand their vegetable intake, but we don’t see a lot of vegans and vegetarians step up to order these meals. Often their commitment to being vegetarian/vegan is combined with other food intolerances, allergies, and preferences.
With all this in mind, we have decided to carry on with at least one Vegan or Vegetarian dish each week, rotating it around the days on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Over the next few months we will evaluate the feedback and the numbers and hopefully we will the interest in those meals continue to grow. So please, tell your vegan and vegetarian friends to check out those menus online!
We want to remind all of our customers that we have a large, and growing selection of Vegan and Vegetarian meals in our retail store. These items can be added to your deliveries on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
There are many ways to squeeze more veggies into your diet each day:
Make a vegetable soup! Most of our soups are vegetarian or vegan, and many of them are pureed. They are super popular, especially with people who have young kids. It seems that a kid who would not eat a vegetable unless forced, would happily slurp up a creamy cauliflower and potato soup without blinking. Chunky soups make a delicious and hearty dinner, served with warm bread and butter or olive oil. They also provide you an opportunity to use bone broths which are extremely good for your skin, bones and hair.
Blend veggies into a smoothie! A fruit based smoothie can be made more delicious and nutritions by adding a veggie or two. Beets are nutritious and add beautiful colour. A handful of spinach or kale can make a smoothie vibrantly green and nutritious.
Start every meal with a salad! Make a small green salad and load it up with other vegetables to enjoy before your meal. For young children, put a plate of carrots, snap peas, radishes, and cucumbers out before dinner so they can snack on vegetables. Then you don’t have to argue over whether they eat veggies on their plate. I did this often when my kids were young, and I was always surprised by how many vegetables a ‘hangry’ kid will eat.
Build a Bowl! We have a new cookbook in house from America’s Test Kitchen called ‘Bowls – vibrant recipes with endless possibilities. It’s available in our retail store and it’s full of veg-forward ideas to build a bowl. It’s a beautiful and creative book that will get you enjoying vegetables in many different ways, and with every meal, including breakfast. Here is a photo of my breakfast bowl, which was vegan chili, served over sweet potato, with a poached egg and avocado on top.
This week I am sharing a few recipes for soups that are easy and adaptable.
Potato & Leek Soup
Note: The basic recipe is very versatile, and you can easily adapt this recipe to accommodate different vegetables. Some examples are Butternut & Fennel, Carrot & Ginger, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Jerusalem Artichoke etc.. If you want to add some depth of flavour, the root vegetables can be roasted beforehand.
Olive oil or canola oil
1 medium white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 pounds of potatoes (preferably organic)
3 – 4 large leeks
1 cup white wine
4 cups or vegetable chicken stock
1 pinch thyme
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper
Peel and chop potatoes into 1 inch pieces.
Wash and slice leeks. Sometimes with leeks it is easiest to slice them up and then rinse them in a colander, as they can get quite a bit of dirt wedged in between the layers. Sauté onion and garlic in oil until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add leeks and sauté until tender. Deglaze with white wine and cook until wine is almost evaporated. Add potatoes and stock. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
Add cream and remove from heat and cool. Blend in batches in a blender until smooth. Add more water/stock if necessary to achieve the desired consistency. Re-heat until warmed through and serve.
White Bean, Kale & Potato Soup
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled & minced
1 can organic white beans (rinsed & drained)
1 bunch of kale (rough chopped)
3 medium potatoes (peeled, cubed & cooked until tender)
1 liter of chicken or vegetable stock
Juice from can of tomatoes (1 can of tomatoes will be used in 3 recipes)
Fresh time & oregano (1 tablespoon each, chopped)
Sauté onions & garlic in soup pot in 2 tablespoons of oil. Add kale and cook until wilted. Remove from pan. Put white beans, potatoes, stock, tomatoes and juice in the soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add herbs and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add back kale & onion mixture and test for seasoning. Add salt to taste and serve.
This meal would be best served with crusty bread. The soup can be garnished with fresh chopped parsley and grated cheese (parmesan or cheddar).