A Search for Great Vegan Food in San Diego

Tag Archives: raw food

Vegan Raw Balls

One of my all time favorite cookbooks is Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet.  It is a wonderful vegan resource full of appetizer, breakfast, soup, salad, and dessert recipes.  The recipes are truly unique and always delicious.  My mouth always begins watering when I get to the dessert section of the cookbook.  And the Raw Balls with their chocolately nut base are no exception — they are a rich and decadent treat!

[caption id="attachment_2708" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pair of Vegan Raw Balls Pair of Vegan Raw Balls[/caption]

 

First, gather up the ingredients for the Raw Balls.  I always enjoy seeing the natural and fresh ingredients laid out on my kitchen counter.  No refined sugar here!

 

[caption id="attachment_2699" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Raw Balls Ingredients Vegan Raw Balls Ingredients[/caption]

 

The first step is to grind the walnuts in the food processor.

 

[caption id="attachment_2700" align="alignnone" width="640"]Almonds in Food Processor Almonds in Food Processor[/caption]

 

Then add the dates…

 

[caption id="attachment_2701" align="alignnone" width="640"]Adding Dates to Food Processor Adding Dates to Food Processor[/caption]

 

And mix together!

 

[caption id="attachment_2702" align="alignnone" width="640"]Dates and Almonds Mixed Together Dates and Almonds Mixed Together[/caption]

 

Then add the carob powder and the almond butter to the mixture.

 

[caption id="attachment_2703" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mixing in Almond Butter and Cacao Powder Mixing in Almond Butter and Cacao Powder[/caption]

 

Finally, add in the almonds.

 

[caption id="attachment_2704" align="alignnone" width="640"]Adding in Almonds Adding in Almonds[/caption]

 

Make sure not to over process the almonds!  These balls taste great when there are small almond chunks mixed in for added texture.

 

[caption id="attachment_2705" align="alignnone" width="640"]Raw Ball Dough with Almond Chunks Raw Ball Dough with Almond Chunks[/caption]

 

Next, it’s time to roll the mixture into small balls.  It helps if you wet your hands before trying to do this as the mixture is sticky.  Spread out the coconut flakes on a flat surface and lightly roll the balls until covered in a snowy white layer.

 

[caption id="attachment_2706" align="alignnone" width="640"]Coating Raw Balls in Coconut Flakes Coating Raw Balls in Coconut Flakes[/caption]

 

Store the Raw Balls in the freezer, and enjoy!

 

[caption id="attachment_2707" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pile of Vegan Raw Balls Pile of Vegan Raw Balls[/caption]

 

Raw Balls
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup pitted dates
  • ½ cup carob powder
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ sea salt
  • ½ cup almonds
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
Instructions
  1. Process walnuts in food processor until coarsely ground.
  2. Add dates and process until combined.
  3. Add carob powder, syrup, almond butter, vanilla extract, and salt and process until the mixture is thick and smooth.
  4. Add almonds and pulse a few times -- there should still be pieces of almonds mixed in
  5. Form mixture into golf sized balls with hands and roll in shredded coconut.
  6. Place in sealed container and freeze until hardened.

 

Harmless Harvest Coconut Water

Harmless Harvest Coconut Water:

 

I love coconut water — I sample every new brand I see.  And Harmless Harvest is by far my favorite.  It’s sweet (but not too sweet!) taste will quench your thirst in the most delightful way.  What’s in Harmless Harvest 100% raw and organic coconut water? Just coconut water. Harmless Coconut water is not from concentrate, not pasteurized, not irridated, not UV treated, and does not have any added sugar added. Specifically, Harmless Harvest is made from the Cocos nucifera coconut grown in Thailand.

 

Why is Harmless Harvest Sometimes Pink?

 

Harmless Harvest’s coconut water is clear when bottled.  The water sometimes spontaneously turns pink when antioxidants interact withe the light — the bottles that contain the highest levels of antioxidants are those that may turn pink over time.  I can attest to the fact that when I bought my bottle of Harmless Harvest coconut water it was clear.  It sat in my refrigerator a few days before I had a chance to take pictures.  When I took the bottle out this morning it was pink!  It still tasted delicious 🙂

 

[caption id="attachment_2522" align="alignnone" width="504"]Harmless Harvest Raw Coconut Water Harmless Harvest Raw Coconut Water[/caption]

 

Is Harmless Harvest Raw?

 

Yes! Harmless Harvest uses high pressure processing (HPP) to process its coconut water.  Basically HPP works like this: the product is subjected to elevated pressure (up to 87,000 pounds per inch!).  The pressure eliminates bacteria to maintain natural freshness and extend shelf life and can be completed without the use of heat.  If you want to read some scholarly work on HPP check out this site.

 

Coconuts and Formaldehyde:

 

Young coconuts (the white ones) are shaved down and often dipped in formaldehyde to preserve the shell. There is currently a debate as to whether trace amounts of formaldehyde are able to make their way to the coconut meat and water. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer yet, but happily, Harmless Harvest uses coconuts that are NOT dipped in formaldehyde. If you want to learn more about the great coconut debate, click here!

 

[caption id="attachment_2523" align="alignnone" width="640"]Harmless Harvest Raw Coconut Water in a Mason Jar Harmless Harvest Raw Coconut Water in a Mason Jar[/caption]

 

If you have any additional questions about Harmless Harvest, I suggest taking a look at their informative FAQ page.

Melinda’s Maca Balls

Chocolate treats that are good for you?  Count me in!  Melinda’s Maca Balls are an organic, vegan, raw, snack bursting with rich, chocolate flavor.  And there is one teaspoon of maca in each ball!

 

What is Maca and Why is it Good for Me?

 

Maca has been around for a long time.  Legend has it that Incan warriors used to ingest large amounts of maca for strength before heading into battle.

http://www.thewellnesswarrior.com.au/2011/03/superfood-profile-maca/

 

David Wolf, a vegan who is well known for his dedication to raw foods, superfoods, and longevity, summarizes some of maca’s benefits in the following YouTube Video.  (Mr. Wolf will be familiar to you, if you have seen the documentary “Hungry for Change.”)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJd49HdMDn0

 

Mr. Wolf notes that maca supports healthy hormones, is rich in fatty acids, and contains important trace minerals and amino acids.  Maca is also important, because it helps the body adapt to stress.

Maca’s other possible benefits include increased libido, decreased cholesterol, increased stamina, reduction in post-menopausal symptoms, regulation of hormones, and reduction in migraine headaches.  For additional information on these topics, click on:

http://www.naturalnews.com/maca.html

 

Melinda’s Maca Balls:

 

Melinda’s Maca Balls are made from whole, organic ingredients and come in 3 flavors: (1) Chocolate Walnut, (2) Double Chocolate Chip, and (3) Chocolate Mint Chip.  Agave nectar, cacao, maca, coconut oil, cacao butter, vanilla bean, and Himalayan pink salt make up the base of each ball.

The Chocolate Walnut Maca Ball with its dense, chocolate center is coated with walnut pieces.  It is my favorite — in my opinion, chocolate and walnuts can and should be mixed together as often as possible!

 

[caption id="attachment_1199" align="alignnone" width="640"]Chocolate Walnut Maca Balls Chocolate Walnut Maca Balls[/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_1203" align="alignnone" width="640"]Chocolate Walnut Maca Ball Container Chocolate Walnut Maca Ball Container[/caption]

 

The Double Chocolate Chip Maca Ball has the same dense, chocolate center but is covered with cacao pieces.  It’s chocolate on chocolate – perfect for those who are looking for their next sumptuous treat!

 

[caption id="attachment_1201" align="alignnone" width="640"]Double Chocolate Maca Balls Double Chocolate Maca Balls[/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_1200" align="alignnone" width="640"]Double Chocolate Maca Ball Cut in Half Double Chocolate Maca Ball Cut in Half[/caption]

 

So far, I have not been able to find the Chocolate Mint Chip Maca Balls in a store.  However, if the other flavors are a barometer for the Chocolate Mint Chip flavor, I am in for a treat!

 

Melinda’s Maca Balls are a decadent maca delivery device.  I recommend enjoying them sooner rather than later!

 

 

More information on Melinda’s Maca Balls can be found at:

http://www.macaballs.com/home.html

 

For a list of stores where Melinda’s Maca Balls can be purchased, check out:

http://www.macaballs.com/stores.html

 

 

Ranchos Cocina: Vegan Friendly

[caption id="attachment_913" align="alignnone" width="600"]Ranchos Sign Ranchos Sign[/caption]

 

NORTH PARK AND OCEAN BEACH.  Long-time San Diego vegans know Ranchos.  Both locations feature a multitude of vegan options, including vegan pancakes, burritos, tortas, soups, salads, enchiladas, tacos, and desserts.  YUM!!

First, no Mexican restaurant would be complete without chips and salsa.   Here, we have a hand-crafted, mild salsa that disappears almost immediately.

 

[caption id="attachment_907" align="alignnone" width="600"]Chips and Salsa from Ranchos Chips and Salsa from Ranchos[/caption]

 

Second, I love that Ranchos serves breakfast all day, because sometimes dinner is the perfect time for breakfast.  On my most recent visit, I ordered the Vegan Breakfast Burrito, a mix of tofu scramble, house made tempeh sausage, potatoes, and beans and wrapped in a tortilla.  The tempeh sausage is spicy, which compliments the light scramble and hearty potatoes and beans.  This is a well-rounded burrito, a personal favorite, and something that I would recommend to vegans and non-vegans alike.

 

[caption id="attachment_909" align="alignnone" width="600"]Vegan Breakfast Burrito from Ranchos Vegan Breakfast Burrito from Ranchos[/caption]

 

Next up was the Grilled Tofu and Black Bean Torta.  Recently, I learned that a torta is really just a sandwich!  And this particular torta comes stacked with hearty tofu slices, black beans, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, and onions.  The tangy guacamole is excellent.  Another great dish.

 

[caption id="attachment_910" align="alignnone" width="600"]Grilled Tofu and Black Bean Torta from Ranchos Grilled Tofu and Black Bean Torta from Ranchos[/caption]

 

If you are craving a burrito, but aren’t in the mood for breakfast, the Chipotle Seitan Burrito is a great option.  You might be thinking, “What the heck is seitan?”  Seitan is made from wheat.  It has a firm texture, making it a popular meat substitute.  If you want to know more about seitan, click on the link below!

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/glossary/g/Seitan.htm

Back to the burrito in question.  The chipotle seitan in the burrito gives the burrito a smoky flavor.  The guacamole helps to temper the spice of the seitan, resulting in a tempting burrito.   I planned to eat only half, so imagine my surprise when when I looked down and saw a clean plate!

 

[caption id="attachment_911" align="alignnone" width="600"]Chipotle Seitan Burrito from Ranchos Chipotle Seitan Burrito from Ranchos[/caption]

 

Even though I don’t drink dairy, I still enjoy creamy beverages.  So I was excited when I saw that Ranchos had a vegan Horchata drink made from soymilk, cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla.  This drink can definitely pass as a dessert.  It tastes like a sumptuous, vanilla, cinnamon milkshake.

 

[caption id="attachment_908" align="alignnone" width="301"]Vegan Horchata from Ranchos Vegan Horchata from Ranchos[/caption]

 

Things to know about Ranchos.  Although there is some overlap, Ranchos North Park and Ranchos Ocean beach have DIFFERENT menus.  My blog post is based my most recent trip to the North Park location.  However, both locations offer numerous vegan options!

Ranchos Ocean Beach is also known for their salad bar.  Aside from having the usual fresh produce and veggies, the salad bar also boasts a wide variety of raw, vegan options and salad dressings.  (For an explanation on raw food, see my post on Go Raw L.I.F.E. Center: www.thefussyfork.com/go-raw-life-center)

Both locations have a relaxed and inviting interior with wooden tables and chairs.  But, again, the following photo depicts the North Park location.  Both also have a few tables outside for outdoor dining.  This option is particularly popular with dog owners!

 

[caption id="attachment_912" align="alignnone" width="600"]Interior of Ranchos Interior Ranchos[/caption]

 

North Park

3910 30th Street

San Diego 92104

619.574.1288

 

Ocean Beach

1830 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

San Diego, CA 92107

619.226.7619

 

 

 

Lotus World Foods: 100% Vegan

Lotus World Foods Sign

 

LA JOLLA.  Does anyone remember how cold it was last weekend?  Gray sky, wind chill, and San Diegans bundled in layers.  On Sunday morning, my boyfriend and I were coming off of a 48 hour juice cleanse (I will be adding a post about my cleanse experience later this week), and we were H-U-N-G-R-Y!!

We wanted something substantial, but healthy.  We wanted something delicious, but did not want to burn the benefits of the cleanse.  So we went to an old favorite – Lotus World Foods, a unique gem of the La Jolla Farmer’s Market.

Sarah Nee is the woman behind the creative parfaits, salads, and soups at the Lotus booth.  Sarah talks passionately about preparing foods that makes can help people achieve better health.  In fact, her personal story involves the dramatic reversal of serious ailments through the enjoyment of food that is raw, nut free, gluten free, and vegan.

 

Sarah Nee at La Jolla Farmers Market

 

On Sunday, we started with a vegan parfait.  A bottom layer of raw, sprouted quinoa with blueberries and strawberries.  The top layer, strawberry chia seed.  (Superfoods, like chia seeds, are central to Sarah Nee’s creations.)  Further, the parfait was smooth and creamy, with vibrant flavor from the fruit.

 

Raw Quinoa and Strawberry Chia

 

Sarah understands that people love sweets.  To that end, she has created a delicious chia pudding with a raw chocolate topping.  The chocolate is sublime.  It is not the overwhelming “sugar sweet” found in candy bars, but a complex chocolate that reveals its flavor as you slowly savor it.

 

chia pudding with raw chocolate

 

The salads are special.  These are not the salads that commonly sit next to an entree as an after-thought.  Rather, they stand center stage as the products of careful thought, experimentation, and focus.  The salad pictured below features arugula and sprouts, topped with a homemade ginger dressing.  This description, however, does not do it justice.  The component ingredients are all fresh and crisp but the real treat is the way in which all of these greens combine with the homemade ginger dressing.   The result is a salad that I can’t stop eating.

 

Ginger Salad

 

Sarah likes to experiment with food and frequently updates her offerings.  One dish I can’t wait to try is the Raw Cactus Tostada.  The cactus acts in place of a tortilla and cradles the seaweed salad, sprouts, and squash blossom filling.

 

raw cactus tostada

 

I would also recommend that if you are ever at Lotus World Foods’ booth and there is soup available, buy it.  Sarah’s coconut soup is literally the best soup I have ever had in my life.   

Sarah can be found every Sunday at the La Jolla Farmer’s Market from 9am – 1pm, and the Lotus World Foods’ Facebook page can be found at:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lotus-World-Foods/411045545610272?fref=ts

If you are interested in learning more about raw food—and the potential health benefits—click on the following link:

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianlifestyle/f/rawfoods.htm

Evolution Fast Food: 100% Vegan

IMG_0385

 

BANKERS HILL.  Fast food that is good for you?  An oxymoron no longer, thanks to Evolution.   Located in Banker’s Hill at the corner of Quince Street and 5th Avenue, Evolution provides an entirely vegan menu with a vast selection of burgers, sandwiches, wraps, soups, smoothies, juices, baked goods, and ice cream.  I cannot cover them all.  This is a blog, not a book.  But I will highlight some of my favorites . . .

I love burgers.  Always have.  In fact, when I recently reconnected with an old friend, his immediate reaction to my vegan path was: “But your favorite food used to be cheeseburgers!”  Indeed.  So thank goodness for Evolution, where there is no “wrong choice” on the burger menu.  There are six ways to dress the burger – but I usually go for the Southwest Burger, packed with guacamole, jalapeno, lettuce, tomato, onion, and salsa.

Then, you choose from two types of vegan patties.  For those who miss the “feel” of a meat patty, I recommend the “Gardein” patty, made from soy, wheat, quinoa, amaranth, and kamut.  Otherwise, the home made black bean patty is worth the extra dollar.  Also, if you are feeling ambitious, add an order of the sweet potato fries, served hot, crisp, and salty.

 

Evolution Vegan Burger and Fries

 

Putting the guilty pleasures aside for a moment, Evolution also has a “Raw Specialties” section with hyper nutritious options.   If you are interested in learning more about raw food – and the potential health benefits – click on the following link!

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianlifestyle/f/rawfoods.htm

Evolution’s Raw Burger (I told you I love burgers!) is my favorite raw option in San Diego.  This “burger” is a ground nut and seed patty, topped with raw hummus, sprouts, and red onion, wrapped in a cabbage leaf.  After I eat it, I feel light and full at the same time.  And happy.

 

Evolution Raw Burger

 

What about desserts, you ask?  Don’t worry, Evolution dedicates an entire cold case to vegan brownies, cookies, crumbles, and more. On my most recent trip to Evolution, I tried the Raw Lime Tart, which is made from walnuts, coconut, agave, avocado, sea salt, lime juice, vanilla extract, and coconut oil.  The tart had a sticky and sweet crust, and the lime layer was sweet and tart.  Again, happy.

 

Evolution Vegan Lime Tart

 

Then there are the juices and the shakes!  (This is the danger of Evolution.  If you are disciplined, you can manage lunch for under ten dollars.  Otherwise, hand them your credit card and look away.)  My new favorite shake is the Mystic Monk.  You choose soy or almond milk, which is blended with chocolate powder, banana, and tahini.  Yes, tahini.  Which made me both curious and skeptical.  But I should have had faith in Evolution’s smoothie scientists, because the Mystic Monk surpasses the classic chocolate milk shake.  The chocolate is strong, but the tahini curbs the sweet before it becomes too sweet.  Bottom line, it is delicious, and I will be having another one soon!

 

Evolution Vegan Mystic Monk Shake

 

Although it is hard to imagine becoming bored with Evolution’s menu, they offer daily specials and a variety of pre-made “take away” options that are not listed on the menu.

 

Evolution Special's BoardEvolution "Take Away" Shelves

 

In the true spirit of fast food, Evolution provides a drive thru window for those customers who are short on time

 

Evolution Drive Thru Window

 

If you do have time to stay and eat, I would suggest taking advantage of Evolution’s outdoor patio.  It is a great spot to enjoy the food, the people, and the day.  It’s also a great spot to bring your dog!

 

Evolution Outdoor Patio

 

2965 5th Ave

San Diego, CA 92103

619.550.1818