A Search for Great Vegan Food in San Diego

Veg-Appeal: 100% Vegan

What is Veg-Appeal?


Veg-Appeal is a company focused on helping individuals and groups achieve their health goals through whole-food, plant-based eating.  Co-Directors, Tracy Childs and Ami Chitalia, offer cooking classes, individual nutritional consulting, workshops, presentations, and corporate programs.    I recently attended their class focused on healthy holiday eating.  They teamed up with Cherie Leonard, a Weight Watchers group leader, to present some truly tasty and nutritious vegan holiday foods.


The Class:


This class took place at “Cooking-4-Life” in Kearny Mesa (Veg-Appeal is always on the move, popping up in different locations across San Diego County).  Tables and chairs surrounded the kitchen, ensuring attendees were comfortable and had a clear view of the action.


[caption id="attachment_1472" align="alignnone" width="640"]Veg Appeal Class Preparation Veg Appeal Class Preparation[/caption]


Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad:


First up was the Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad.  The base is kale, Brussels sprouts, and a healthy serving of cabbage.


[caption id="attachment_1476" align="alignnone" width="640"]Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad[/caption]


Add some toasted almonds, dried cranberries, and a light lemon dressing, and the result is a salad with various tastes and textures.  I will definitely be making this salad at home in the near future!


[caption id="attachment_1477" align="alignnone" width="640"]Plate of Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad Plate of Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad[/caption]


Garlicky Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes:


These mashed potatoes, made from cauliflower and Yukon gold potatoes, were savory and smooth.  How are they healthier than normal mashed potatoes?  Three reasons.  First, there is no cream or butter.  Second, the recipe calls for unpeeled potatoes.  Many of a potato’s nutrients are in the skin.  Finally, it is a great way to get a serving of cauliflower.  Seriously, you only taste the potatoes.


[caption id="attachment_1474" align="alignnone" width="640"]Preparing Garlicky Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes Preparing Garlicky Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes[/caption]


Tempeh Meatloaf:


I was excited to taste the Tempeh Meatloaf.  (I have tried out a few lentil loaf recipes, but the results have been mediocre at best.)  The tempeh, nutritional yeast, and spices ensured that this loaf was full of flavor.  The surprise ingredient, the rolled oats, worked with the tempeh to give the loaf substance.  This loaf will fill you up!


[caption id="attachment_1492" align="alignnone" width="640"]Tempeh Loaf Tempeh Loaf[/caption]


Simple Mushroom Gravy:


The holidays would not be complete without gravy.  Or in this case, vegan gravy made from a mushroom base.  This thick gravy was a perfect topping.  If you’re wondering whether the gravy tastes good on top of the meatloaf and the mashed potatoes, the answer is yes!


[caption id="attachment_1486" align="alignnone" width="640"]Tempeh Loaf and Mashed Potatoes with Gravy Tempeh Loaf and Mashed Potatoes with Gravy[/caption]


Stovetop Apple Pie with Oat Crumble Topping:


This pie showcases the naturally sweet taste of quality apples.  Mixed with spices and a little maple syrup, the apples simply simmered on the stovetop.


[caption id="attachment_1482" align="alignnone" width="640"]Stovetop Apples Stovetop Apples[/caption]


After throwing some nuts, oats, dates, raisins, ground flax (I told you this recipe was healthy!), and a few other ingredients into the food processor, the crumble topping was ready.


[caption id="attachment_1480" align="alignnone" width="640"]Preparing Oat Crumble Topping Preparing Oat Crumble Topping[/caption]


Whipped Cashew Cream


My favorite recipe of the day was the whipped cashew cream. This cream (made from only 3 ingredients!) tastes rich and decadent.   I could have eaten it like a bowl of ice cream.


[caption id="attachment_1473" align="alignnone" width="563"]Tracy making cashew cream Tracy making cashew cream[/caption]


But it was also good as a dessert topping!


[caption id="attachment_1488" align="alignnone" width="640"]Close Up of Stovetop Apple Pie Close Up of Stovetop Apple Pie[/caption]




I would recommend signing up for a Veg-Appeal class soon!  The instructors are passionate about plant-based, whole-foods.  They enjoyed answering questions and explaining the health benefits of each dish.  For a list of upcoming classes and events, click on:



Their website can be found at:



Ami Chitalia: 858.335.0623

email: info@veg-appeal.com



  • Anfdrea Oldakowski says:

    Hi Emily, My daughter, Emily, and I were seated next to you at the Veg-Appeal class. I enjoined and agree with your reviews. The OB restaurants sound interesting. May have to go. Thanks, Andrea

One Trackback

Post a Comment

Your email is kept private. Required fields are marked *