It’s Vegan Month!

Let’s review…What is a VEGAN diet?  A vegan diet is a plant-based diet that avoids all animal products including meat, fish, insects, dairy, eggs and honey.  

And, good news, Benicia has several vegan options. 

Aung Maylika, our Burmese restaurant offers many vegan dishes, including Papaya Salad, Ginger Salad, Lettuce Wraps, Tea Leaf Rice Salad (Gracie’s favorite!) and more. Mai Tai and Pearl Thai have a selection of vegan menu items like vegetable curries, fresh vegetable rolls, coconut soups. The Cafe at The Inn at Benicia Bay has an incredible Vegan Porridge with gluten-free oats, coconut milk, chopped nuts and seeds, dried fruit and cinnamon. Wow! And let’s not forget the fabulous Fox & Fawn…serving up cakes and cupcakes and cookies…all vegan, all delicious. 

Most restaurants can accommodate a vegan diet with salads or pastas that have no meat or dairy. 

Try the Aglio Pomodoro at Venticello’s—Garlic, fresh tomatoes and fresh basil tossed with olive oil and linguine. Kimono’s offers an amazing Garden Salad with fresh asparagus, tofu, teppan vegetables and brown rice. The Tempura Vegetables are every bit as tasty as you want them to be. Sounds like anything is possible! 

All restaurants mentioned are in Benicia—check out their websites.

Now, for the Movies!

January gives us some down time after the holidays and during wintery weather.  Here are a few popular movies with a vegan theme. Forks Over Knives, an exemplary documentary exploring the possibility that switching from an animal-based diet to a plant-based diet can help eliminate or control diseases like cancer and diabetes. On a lighter note, Charlotte’s Web is a delightful, animated film that tells the story of how a spider named Charlotte weaves an elaborate web to save her friend, Wilbur the Pig, from the butcher block. Chicken Run is the hilarious, critically acclaimed, animated film about a group of chickens in the British countryside who engage an American rooster, named Rocky Rhodes, as their only hope to escape the farm when their owners want to turn them into chicken pies.  All are streaming on Amazon Prime. All are worth watching. 

Chicken Run movie art

Get cooking!

Just in case you want to spend some creative time in the kitchen, here’s an easy (vegan, of course) tasty and warming soup recipe: 

Asparagus Soup 

  • 5 cups chopped asparagus (can use frozen) 
  • 1/2 yellow onion coarsely chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves (or more to taste) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning 
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup almonds 
  • 2 cups good quality vegetable broth
  • Black pepper to taste 
  • Fresh herbs chopped for garnish

Place the asparagus, yellow onion and garlic in a saucepan.  Add broth; cover and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 5-7 minutes until all are tender. Remove from heat. Transfer to a blender*.  Add all remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Vent the steam from the blender as you go.  Pour into bowls and top with fresh herbs.

*An immersion blender works as well. 

Makes 2-4 servings. 

Note:  Asparagus is full of easily absorbable vitamin B, trace minerals and naturally detoxes while providing a much needed alkaline balance. The thicker the stalk, the more nutritious.