EP Veg News, November 2015

Thinking that it’s hard to be a vegetarian in El Paso is so ten years ago! Yet, I still get people asking me this same question. It’s a great time to be vegetarian/vegan in El Paso and Las Cruces! For some reason November has brought a flurry of vegetarian activity. Don’t miss out!

Best Vegetarian Food of El Paso Awards

Vote for your favorite vegetarian food and restaurants in town by this Sunday, November 8 (we extended the deadline!). This is the third year that the Vegetarian Society of El Paso and I are running these awards, and this will give you an idea of all the great local options there are in town. We have not included any chains or franchises, but you are free to include them if you feel they are the better veg option. So, go vote at fluidsurveys.com/s/2015BestVegetarian/ 

BV 2015 corrected

VSEP Annual Compassionate Thanksgiving Dinner: Saturday, November 14

Every year the Vegetarian Society of El Paso hosts a vegan dinner with a special guest speaker. This year’s menu sounds really good, and the speaker is Lisa Levinson, director of the Sustainable Activist Campaign for the national organization In Defense of Animals and founder of Vegan Spirituality. Here are the details:

  • The Summit Ballroom & Conference Center, 120 N. Festival
  • 6 pm meet and greet, eat at 6:30 pm
  • Cost: $22 members; $15 students w/ID; $25 nonmembers; $10 children under 12 years of age.
  • Paid reservations are due Tuesday, November 10.
  • Reserve your space & pay online with a credit card or PayPal www.vsep.org
  • OR email vsep.reserve@gmail.com OR text/call 915-877-3030. Then, make check or money orders payable to VSEP & mail to: VSEP, 6757 Gato Rd., El Paso, TX 79932
  • Menu:
  • Fall Harvest Salad
    Seitan en Croute
    Garlic Mashed Potatoes w/ Maderia Sauce
    Green Bean Casserole
    Candied Yams
    Pumpkin Pie
    Rosemary Foccacia Bread

7th Annual Chili Cook Off @ Hope & Anchor: Sunday, November 15

This is a really fun event where proceeds benefit the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence. They even have a vegetarian category! I haven’t been to this event in a couple of years because of conflicting events, and once again, I will have to forego defending my title. I’m attending an event in the evening, so hopefully I’ll get to attend early on to taste your chili creations. I really hope that you’ll either be competing or attending this annual chili cook off.


Vegan Beer Dinner @ Eloise, featuring Real Ale Brewing Co.: Tuesday, November 17

This is the second vegan beer dinner that Eloise hosts! Hurry and get your tickets, because the last one sold out. I didn’t get to attend, but I heard from both vegans and meateaters that the food was excellent. The cost is a little steep at $50, but you do get 5 courses with 5 beers. Check out the details, menu, and pairings here.

Also, Eloise has a new fall menu and a happy hour menu. As always, they’ve got plenty of vegan options!

The High Five Bowl at Eloise available on both the regular and happy hour menu!

The High Five Bowl at Eloise available on both the regular and happy hour menu! basmati rice, black rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, long green chile, artichoke hearts and assorted root vegetables

Ramen Popup Beer Dinner @ TradeCraft: November 18

Last month, after tickets sold out quickly for TradeCraft’s first popup beer dinner, a second one for November was immediately promised. Well, the date was released tonight folks, so snag your tickets now. Chef Enrique Lozano will make both the ramen noodles and broth from scratch. Once again, there’ll be a vegan option! Three courses and three beers for $30!ramen

Other Vegetarian Food News:

  • Le Green Gourmet is new food truck that’s serving up a couple of veg options, including a housemade black bean burger. Find them on social media to find out their next location and latest menu offerings.
  • Ode Brewing added a decadent grilled cheese to their menu that comes with beet chips. The Grilled Queso has manchego, gruyere, triple cream, asadero, and chanterelle mushrooms. It’s really yummy & the balsamic reduction drizzle really ties it together.

    Grilled Queso @ Ode Brewing with La Gringa Blonde Ale

    Grilled Queso @ Ode Brewing with La Gringa Blonde Ale

  • Tacoholics inside Funkmeyer’s Rec Room has added new menu items! Three different chicharrones including flour ones are perfect for snacking. Best of all, they’ve paid tribute to Chico’s Tacos with tacos ahogados in a delicious green chile sauce. You get to choose the filling, including tofu!

    Tofu tacos ahogados at Tacoholics

    Tofu tacos ahogados at Tacoholics

Thai Restaurant Roundup

Once again, I have fallen way behind in updating this blog, which is a huge shame because I’ve been cooking up a storm and eating at a bunch of delicious new (and old) spots in El Paso that I need to tell y’all about! So, to make up for it I’ve rounded up some Thai curry spots around town into one post! Please tell me about your favorite places, as well as your experiences at Thai joints.

Thai curry is one of my absolute favorite dishes because it is so flavorful and complex. I love and hate that you get options; I can never choose between red, green, or yellow and I never know whether to go hot or Thai hot, but I always choose tofu as my protein! It’s also one of those dishes that is hard to replicate at home due to the laundry list of ingredients that are at times hard to find.

I was first introduced to green curry in Denver at Tommy’s Thai Restaurant over on Colfax. My cousin has an adventurous palate and she takes me to all the good spots when I visit. Unfortunately, no other Thai place has lived up to Tommy’s for me, but we do have some pretty good options in El Paso now. As you’ll notice in the following pics, I’ve since moved onto red curries. One thing I’ve noticed about El Paso Thai restaurants is that they are expensive and servings can be small. They also don’t seem to be very stringent with vegetarian options; either I’m paranoid or they are not omitting the fish sauce/ingredients.

5 Local Thai Restaurants:

  1. Tara Thai (UTEP area)
  2. Thai Chef Cafe (northeast)
  3. Mekong Thai (eastside)
  4. Thai Delight (Mesilla, NM)
  5. Renoo’s Thai Restaurant (Las Cruces & the only one I haven’t tried)
Honestly can't remember if this is red or green curry. Looks like green, but I could've sworn I ordered red.

Red Curry tofu at Thai Chef Cafe. Looks like green curry.

Thai Chef Cafe

This review was originally published in What’s Up Weekly on June 11, 2014, and can be found here.

What used to be the Siam Chit Chat Club on Lower Dyer is now Thai Chef Cafe. Fans of Tara Thai will rejoice in the similarity between the two restaurants, most likely due to familial owners. You’ll find the same popular green, yellow and red curries, but in a casual setting with slightly lower prices.

Meals at Thai Chef begin with a small, complimentary lettuce salad dressed in a sesame-ginger dressing. You can also start your meal with cream cheese and crab wontons, peanut chicken satay, wings and fried chicken gizzards with sweet chili sauce. Most will have a hard time deciding between the curry menu and the noodle bar menu. Further indecision is driven by four enticing soups, three fresh salads and over ten dishes, including classics like larb (ground pork or chicken served on romaine) and Prik Khing (similar to red curry, but dry). Customer favorites include Thai Beef Salad and Panang Curry.

Curries are made from spice and herb pastes mixed with coconut milk, simmered with vegetables, your choice of chicken, beef or pork and steamed jasmine rice. Not noted on the menu is the vegan option for most dishes, where tofu is subbed for meat and fish sauce omitted. The curries pack a huge amount of flavor with a perfect balance of sweet and savory and your choice of heat – mild, medium or Thai spicy.

The noodle bar menu contains both soups and entrees that contain rice, egg or glass (bean thread) noodles. The quintessential Pad Thai is available, but other favorites are chicken and shrimp noodle soup and Pad Kee Mow (rice noodles, protein, chili, mint leaves, onion and tomatoes over romaine lettuce).

Besides fountain drinks, the restaurant serves Singha beer and Thai iced tea, as well as a mango sticky rice dessert. Although portion sizes tend to be small, this two-year-old spot has its customers touting it as the best Thai in town.

Additional Veg Snob Notes: I tried the Red Curry and liked it better than Tara Thai, which I swear always has a fishy taste even though I specify veg and no fish sauce. My only complaint is that the portion size of the curries are ridiculously small for the price they’re charging; although, the noodle soup bowls that I saw other customers ordering looked very large.

Thai Chef Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
4800 Dyer St. • 915-566-8050 Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-9 p.m Saturday 12-9 p.m. Closed Sundays facebook.com/thaichefcafe $5.95-8.95 • Vegan friendly

Red Curry Tofu at Mekong Thai

Red Curry Tofu at Mekong Thai

Mekong Thai

This review was originally published in What’s Up Weekly on December 10, 2014, and can be found here.

The eastside has the answer to anyone who has ever had a craving for sushi, Thai curries and pho all at the same time. Mekong Thai is a tiny 12-table restaurant in the busy Zaragosa area near Saul Kleinfeld. What’s not tiny is their spiral-bound booklet of a menu as well as the serving sizes.

Besides egg rolls and spring rolls, you’ll find papaya salad, Thai beef jerky, deep-fried pork ribs in a spicy paste and more on their appetizer menu. The usual Thai standards are served here, like Pad Thai, larb (a spicy ground beef salad), as well as red, green and panang coconut milk-based curries. Pad Kea Mao is a popular dish that has wide rice noodles stir-fried with bell peppers, onions, carrots, basil leaves and your choice of chicken, beef, pork or tofu.

Over forty sushi rolls are on the menu, as well as nigiri, sashimi and the ability to order combinations of the three. Customers recommend the chef tempura roll, which combines smoked salmon, cream cheese and avocado into a tempura-battered and fried roll. Diners also love the July 4 roll with its combination of crab meat, cucumber and avocado topped with shrimp tempura and spicy crab roe.

The Vietnamese menu is the smallest of the offerings, but still has plenty to choose from including various rice noodle dishes and a Banh Mi sandwich with liver sausage. Pho soup with beef and meatballs can be ordered as a small or large serving. The most popular dish is the BBQ pork, which comes with veggies, rice noodles and an egg roll.

Mango sticky rice, fried banana ice cream and Asian sweet corn are just a few of the many desserts served here. They also serve red or green cream soda with basil seeds and boba pearls.

Prices might seem a bit steep for a tiny casual spot, but servings are enough for two or saved as tomorrow’s leftovers. Note that the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.

Additional Veg Snob Notes: Same issue with fishy taste. I also wasn’t a fan of their tofu preparation and texture. Good serving size though.

Mekong Thai Vietnamese and Sushi Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
1816 N. Zaragoza, Suite 106; 915-856-0299; Monday, Wednesday & Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday & Saturday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Closed Tuesdays; $3.99-19.99; Vegan friendly

Salad served before your meal with choice of dressing. Carrot ginger or ranch is the way to go.

Salad served before your meal at Thai Delight with choice of dressing. Carrot ginger or ranch is the way to go.

Red Curry at Thai Delight.

Red Curry at Thai Delight.

Thai Delight

My last visits to Las Cruces have been for the sole purposes of visiting Mountain View Market Co-op, Spotted Dog Brewery and/or Bosque Tap Room. Spotted Dog is located in Mesilla, and Thai Delight is probably only a couple of blocks up the street from Spotted Dog. I had been wanting to check it out, because the Yelp and Zomato (formerly Urbanspoon) reviews were good. Thai Delight has by far the quirkiest menu I’ve ever seen at a Thai place, and apparently Renoo’s is very similar. Besides the Thai standards, they offer American-style sandwiches (like Clubs and patty melts) and German stuff like yeager schnitzel. Weird right? Well, even weirder is that their onion rings are pretty delicious. So, you might not want to snub the other non-Thai options.

All of the Thai dishes are $10.29, served with miso soup or salad (try their house ginger carrot dressing), a good-sized portion, and can be ordered with chicken, beef, pork or tofu (shrimp costs extra). I tried the red curry with tofu my first time here, and thought it was pretty good, but I could taste a hint of fishiness even though I specified vegetarian, no fish sauce. The second time, I ordered the green curry and it was much better although it looked red (I asked for it hot, so I guess the chile made it red). My partner had the panang curry both times and highly recommends it. This place is a must when in Las Cruces, and they’ve got great hours, as most most restaurants in Mesilla close early.

Bonus: You can bring your picky children here; they have a kid’s menu. Try not to steal all of your child’s onion rings.

Thai Delight de Mesilla Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
2148 Avenida de Mesilla, Mesilla, NM; 575-525-1900; Daily, 11 am-9 pm; $4.05-15.29; vegan friendly

El Taco Tote Introduces New Tacos!

Juarez often conjures up fantastic nights of revelry for many of my peers. The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18, so many El Paso teens had (have?) fake IDs that got (get?) them into bars and clubs where drink-and-drown specials were the norm, meaning $5-10 got you bottomless drinks. Not me. My standout memories of Juarez go back to my childhood when we visited my dad’s cousin, but not necessarily for familial reasons. My name might as well be Lisa Simpson, because I had a massive overbite. Fortunately for us, my dad’s cousin was an orthodontist.

Worry not folks, there is a silver lining to the Saturday mornings in the dental chair and nights of headgear. Not only did I have less of an overbite to look forward to, but there was also El Taco Tote. Yup, there once was a time when The Tote solely existed in Juarez. Even though I ate meat back then, my fondest food memories were of their salsa bar, quesadillas, and papotas (translation: awesome baked potatoes). Fast forward to the 2000’s, a world where 20 El Taco Tote locations are scattered throughout Mexico, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. At one point, Denver was graced with a location. As much as I love Denver, I don’t know what’s wrong with those people. They also used to have Taco Cabanas! Those people don’t know when they’ve got a good thing.

The legendary salsa bar. Taco Cabana needs to step up their game & offer complimentary chips.

Well, the point of this post is not to reminisce about my geektastic childhood, nor to berate Denver’s bad taco decisions (they’re not all bad. Hooray for Chipotle!). The point is to announce once more that The Tote now has a vegetarian (possibly vegan. I didn’t ask as I was already being annoying by asking too many questions) taco option!!! Last month, they added two new tacos and there was a whole teaser campaign on social media as to what they were gonna be. I commented on Instagram about about how it should be a veg option, and then the time came to announce the newcomers, and by golly it was a veg option! So, then I got to thanking them and they invited me to try them. :D 
The new mushroom veggie taco is currently only available at El Paso locations (score!). At $2.99 a taco, you get a taco loaded with sliced  mushrooms and chopped onions and peppers sauteed in Maggi seasoning. Maggi liquid seasoning, also known as Jugo de Maggi is popular in Europe and also Mexico, where it’s usually used in Micheladas and soups. It tastes kinda like if soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce had a vegetarian baby. It gives everything a nice “meaty” umami flavor without any animal products. Anyways, I liked the taco and thought it was a good size for three bucks, although it had way too much onion and was a little on the salty side (probably due to the Maggi). Fortunately, the onion was well-cooked and didn’t dominate everything. If you’re vegetarian, be sure to order it on a corn tortilla, the flour ones are made with lard (refried beans also have lard).

I recommend ordering one or two tacos, one papota and trying every salsa on the complimentary chips and salsa bar! There’s even cucumbers and radishes! If you’re one of those salsa-squeamish people, by all means do yourself a favor and try the avocado salsa. It’s like liquid guacamole, but way better than I just made that sound. You’ll want to drink it and no one will judge you. People here bypass the little condiment cups to load up the paper boats. Other vegetarian options would be a cheese quesadilla on corn tortillas. They also have red cheese enchiladas, but the rice and beans that they come with contain chicken stock and lard.

For more info, visit tacotote.com or follow them on Instagram @tacotote.


I love each salsa equally. That’s a lie. I won’t even touch the pico (ew to raw onions) & guacamole is everyone’s favorite. The rest are loved equally.

My Instagram post.

Disclaimer: El Taco Tote asked me to come in to one of their locations to try three of the mushroom veggie tacos free of charge. They did not ask me to review or promote their new tacos. All opinions are my own.

El Paso True Food Buying Club

Update: Some good & bad news, but mostly good! True Food is growing, and has added an eastside location at Just Fit Foods. The library is no longer a pickup location (sad face); Belle Sucre is the new westside pickup.  The $10 and $20 bag options have been discontinued, but actually they have merged into one $30 box. Be sure to visit the website (www.elpasotruefood.com) to see all the changes and most importantly, to get your orders in!

ep true food 1

We have another CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) option in El Paso! Unfortunately, it is another west and downtown option, but at least Skarsgard Farms has added eastside pick-up at The Herb Garden, and a Sprouts is slated to open on Zaragoza in 2016.

Through blogging and Instagram, I’ve met sisters, Vanessa and Adriana. They are awesome people who are also library advocates, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence! ;) Vanessa has this amazing blog that should have won the Best of Best Blogger award every single year, but it hasn’t because it looks so fancy and professional, I don’t think anyone has figured out that she’s local! Go check it out, it’s called Tried & True: www.triedandtrueblog.com. Anyways, we were able to form a partnership, making the Dorris Van Doren Library a pick-up location.

True Food Buying Club is affordable and best of all, the produce is local and organically-grown. Visit their website, www.elpasotruefood.com for all of the details and to place an order. You pay online by Wednesday (midnight is the cutoff time to order) and then pick up your bag at either Belle Sucre Bakery (7500 N.Mesa), Dorris Van Doren Library (551 Redd Rd.), downtown at Mom’s Fresh Juice (518 W. San Antonio), or east at Just Fit Foods (12115 Montwood) on Saturdays from either 11 am-1 pm or 12-2 pm (check the site for exact times). Unlike Skarsgard, you don’t get to choose the contents, but the contents have varied enough to keep me ordering each week. I’m not a fan of chard, so that was the only thing I disliked getting, but I just tossed it in a smoothie and I was good to go! You can order a $10 bag of produce that comes from Sol y Tierra Farms over in Anthony or a $20 bag that comes with a bit more items and is from Preferred Produce (certified organic) in Deming. The $30 box has produce from these two farms along with Mountain View Co-op in Las Cruces. There is also now the option to add a loaf of bread from Belle Sucre Bakery, which will also change weekly! This week’s option is cranberry walnut loaf.

Here are some of the previous $10 brown bags:

Adriana has been reaching out to local chefs to showcase their talents in the form of a monthly recipe card. The Chef of the Month creates and shares a recipe using in-season and/or the bag’s items. Past chefs have included Chef Rulis of Rulis’ International Kitchen, Chef Lawrence of Tom’s and Dark Horse, and Chef Rudy of the Pan y Agua Group (Crave & TI:ME restaurants at Montecillo).

These were the sweetest, yummiest strawberries I’ve ever had! So tiny, too!

ep true food 2

Sometimes you get fresh herbs like mint, oregano, thyme, or sage!

ep true food belle sucre

Add a loaf of Belle Sucre bread for $4! I was lucky enough to be one of the first to order this basket and win this loaf :D

Review: Tutu’s Burgers & Hand Carwash

Best way to describe this housemade veggie burger? Delicious monstrosity. It’s a panko-crusted patty similar to falafel that’s slathered with tahini sauce and salsa, topped with lettuce and pickled cucumbers on a fresh-baked bun from Seham’s Bakery.

This review was originally published in the August 6, 2014 issue of What’s Up Weekly.

Tutu’s is the kind of place you’d expect to be featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives show. Located on Zaragoza, across from the bowling alley, this bustling little two-in-one spot is no greasy dive. Meat is ground fresh daily, condiments are made in-house, vegetables are pickled in-house and brioche buns come baked fresh from Seham’s Bakery.

An eclectic cast of 10 gourmet burgers are available, with their descriptions scrawled across the chalkboard wall. Baskets come with a ginormous half-pound burger or sliders in orders of one or two (which are rather large for sliders) and a bucket of regular or sweet potato chips. Their homemade chips are thickly sliced and fried. Regular potato chips are seasoned with parmesan and herbs, and sweet potato chips come sprinkled with nutmeg, drizzled in honey and topped with feta.

Customer favorites include the Chihuahua burger with cheddar, caramelized onions and roasted green chile. The Lebanon has quickly become a second favorite, where lamb is ground with pistachios, almonds, cashews and walnuts and topped with feta, yogurt, cucumber and mint. Tuscany is a lighter option of chicken ground with parmesan and then topped with pesto, pickled bell peppers and a house blend of melted mozzarella and sundried tomatoes. Vegetarians won’t miss out with a panko-crusted patty similar to falafel that’s slathered with tahini sauce and salsa, topped with lettuce and pickled cucumbers that offer a refreshing crispness.

At Tutu’s, you’ll be able to check a couple of items off your to-do list, including relaxing on their patio with an ice cold beer while you wait for your car to be washed. Best of all, Tutu’s runs the gamut of hours; grab breakfast during the mornings or a late night eat up until midnight during the weekends. Visit their facebook page to view new and off-the-menu items like hummus and salads.

1641 N. Zaragoza
Monday-Wednesday 8 a.m. -10 p.m., Thursday-Sunday 8 a.m.-12 a.m.
Find them on Facebook & Instagram
Vegetarian friendly

Click to add a blog post for Tutu's Burger on Zomato

Review: Pho Tre Bien Express

This review was originally published in the September 3, 2014 issue of What’s Up Weekly.

Pho Tre Bien basically pioneered Vietnamese cuisine in El Paso, so it was only a matter of time before the El Paso staple expanded. Instead of opening another full service location, owners decided to open a stripped down express version in the northeast near highway 54. The tiny, divey location embodies everything a pho joint should be – generous portions, good prices and fresh and flavorful comfort food.

It’s almost a requirement to order spring rolls here, which come in pairs wrapped in rice paper and stuffed with rice vermicelli noodles, vegetables and your choice of grilled beef, chicken, shrimp, pork or tofu and a side of creamy peanut dipping sauce. Other appetizers include fried eggrolls, lumpia rolls and fried chicken wings marinated in Asian spices. Another requirement is ordering a large steamy bowl of pho. Fragrant beef broth is served over rice noodles with the option to garnish with bean sprouts, cilantro, basil, fresh jalapenos and lime. Pho options include rare steak, brisket, meatballs, chicken, shrimp, veggies and tofu or a combination of meats. If you’re indecisive, brisket is the most popular pho here.

This is also one of the only places in El Paso where you’ll find banh mi, a traditional Vietnamese sandwich served on a crusty baguette that’s slathered with mayonnaise and pate and topped with julienned carrots, jicama, cucumber, jalapenos and cilantro. Sandwiches can be ordered with ham and headcheese, grilled beef, pork or sautéed lemongrass tofu. If you’re not craving soup or sandwiches, plenty of rice noodle and steamed rice dishes are available, including charbroiled meats and curry chicken.

No Vietnamese restaurant would be complete without boba tea, the milky tea served with tapioca pearls that comes in various fruit flavors. If you visit during lunchtime, you may want call in your order or take it to go; seating is limited and the kitchen gets backed up.

Additional Veg Snob Notes: Order the tofu sandwich, pictured above. The lemongrass tofu has a perfect texture; a bit on the salty side on my visit, but still oh so good. Ask for it without mayo to make it vegan. They have a vegetarian section on their menu that includes the lemongrass tofu on noodles or rice. They’ve since added a third location in the UTEP area called Pho Tre Bien Bistro at 3737 N. Mesa, but I have yet to try it.

Pho Tre Bien Express on Urbanspoon
10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Vegan friendly
Children’s menu available

Harvest Chowder

So far, El Paso has been treated to some unusually great spring weather. We are used to windy-dusty-allergy-infested springs, but instead it’s been warm, then cool with a bit of rain, and now it’s warming up again. In March, the El Paso Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (eatrightelpaso.org) held its first annual Delicious and Nutritious Recipe Contest. I thought it would be a fun challenge and the $5 entry covered a detailed nutrition analysis of your recipe with tips to make it healthier. Entering a soup recipe with harvest in the title was risky since it’s warm and springtime, but I was thinking more about the ease of transporting and keeping a dish warm if I was to be selected as one of the finalists. Also, soups are easy to make and a great way to sneak in a bunch of veggies.

Well, I was selected as a finalist and ended up winning 2nd place! I was really surprised that I won because a couple of other entries were desserts and I started doubting my entry. 1st place went to shrimp tacos that used a paper thin slice of jicama as the taco shell. I tried the taco shell with the salsas she made, and one was really good because it had vegenaise in it. FYI, Cafe Mayapan sometimes serves tacos with jicama shells and they can probably do a vegetarian version if you ask. 2nd place went to my soup which had sweet potatoes, navy beans, arugula, corn, chipotle. 3rd place went to a nopal salad that had feta cheese and fresh oregano in it. It was really refreshing and the nopales (cactus) had a good texture. I only got to try one of the desserts, which was raw fudge, and it was so good! She will soon be posting her recipes on her sister’s blog Tried and True, but in the meantime you can follow her on Instagram: triedandtruefood. I was waiting until they sent me the nutritional analysis before I posted the recipe, but they never sent it or posted it, so here it is!

harvest chowder aerial

Harvest Chowder

I must admit that this recipe draws inspiration from The Hoppy Monk’s veggie monk burger, except it doesn’t have black beans and isn’t nearly as delicious. I used navy beans instead, because they have a perfectly creamy texture that blend well.

Yields about 4-6 servings
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 canned chipotle pepper, minced & 1-2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce (La Costena brand)*
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups vegetable broth (I used 1 Rapunzel brand vegetable bouillon no salt added cube diluted in 2 cups boiling water)
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups cooked navy beans or 1 15-oz. can navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup or more arugula or your favorite greens or frozen spinach
1/2 tablespoon oil (I used canola)
*if you don’t like chipotle or want to reduce sodium, try using about 1 teaspoon of a mild chile powder or smoked paprika
Optional garnish:
1 poblano pepper
Lime juice from half a lime
handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
Preparation Instructions:
  • If using the garnish, roast the poblano on a grill or open flame on stovetop until charred on all sides. Set aside in a covered container to steam and cool.
  • Saute shallots for about 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add sweet potato, cumin, oregano, and chipotle (or paprika or chile powder), and stir and saute for a few more minutes.
  • Add broth, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through and soft.
  • While the soup is cooking prepare the garnish. Peel and rinse the poblano, and dice. Toss poblano with lime juice and cilantro and season with salt and pepper if desired.
  • Add 1 cup of the navy beans to the soup and puree until desired thickness is reached (use an immersion hand blender or transfer soup to a blender).
  • After blending, add frozen corn, greens, and the rest of the beans. Simmer for about 4-6 more minutes, or until greens are wilted and corn is cooked through.
  • Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Serve in bowls topped with garnish.
If you want a richer soup, you can also add a bit of milk or half & half, or top with sour cream and cheese. Other good garnish toppings would be pepitas and tortilla strips or crumbled tostadas.
harvest chowder side