Vegan at Denny’s: Amy’s Burger and MOAR!

Vegan at Denny's - Build Your Own Amy's Burger!
Yes it’s true, this gorgeous vegan burger can be found at America’s Favorite Diner, Denny’s! I discovered the existence of this menu item while scrolling through pictures in my favorite facebook group, What Fat Vegans Eat. I was really excited because Tete is always wanting us to have lunch together, but it’s hard for us to find a place we both enjoy. My favorite is Little Africa, hers is Bob Evans. But now I know how easy it is to be vegan at Denny’s, and everyone is happy!

I contacted Denny’s to try to get an idea of what other vegan options they have. They forwarded my email to a company nutritionist, and I waited for a response for about a month and a half. I finally got a response after sending a second followup email. I don’t like to give up! I wanted this information so badly just so I could share it with all of you…and so I can stuff my face properly next time. So without further ado, here are the things you can order to make a complete meal for yourself – this is like my dream combo of diner junk food, the best you could expect from a non-veg restaurant, anyway:

Fit Fare Veggie Skillet minus the eggs (comes with side of salsa)
Santa Fe Skillet minus meat, eggs & cheese
Loaded Veggie Omelette, minus eggs and cheese – really! Basically just grilled veggies, and comes with side of fruit or English Muffin
Still hungry? Add
-Apple Sauce
-Seasonal Fruit

Amy’s Burger on a White Sesame Seed Bun*** (wheat contains honey) topped with…
Sauteed Mushrooms
Sauteed Onions
Black Beans
Standard burger veggies (lettuce, onion, tomato, etc)
*For a little extra, you can request multiple patties on your burger!
***UPDATE*** I went to Denny’s tonight (1/30) and discovered the vegan sesame seed bun was replaced with a brioche sesame seed bun. . . . Okay, I emailed Denny’s, and the brioche bun is actually vegan! It is safe. They also re-confirmed wheat contains honey.

Side of Hash Browns, French Fries, or Seasoned Fries
Or for a lighter side…
Fresh Sautéed Zucchini & Squash
Fresh Steamed Zucchini & Squash
Red-Skinned Potatoes
Whole Grain Rice

You’ll have to veganize the salads by requesting no meat, cheese, or eggs (all contain one, both or all three). Top with:
-Balsamic Vinaigrette
-Italian Fat Free

Apple Pie without Caramel Sauce
*The peanut butter sauce appears to be vegan, but it’s not that great on the pie

Have you tried the vegan burger at Denny’s yet? What did you think??? If you love the idea of having vegan options at Denny’s, and would REALLY LOVE them to have a vegan menu available for easy ordering, I encourage you to email Denny’s. Even though they are very slow to respond, they do at least see the emails. Let’s thank them for the great options already available, while slipping in a request for a few other things we’d like to see…a vegan cheese for the burgers (Daiya, Chao?), Just Mayo, dairy-free onion rings, margarine or coconut oil for our grits and oatmeal. Maybe a non-dairy milk? OH, or non-dairy ice cream so we, too, can enjoy those shakes???? PLEASE, Denny’s!!!!!!!! Please. We will love you forever. Send an email or snail mail and make it known: We love being Vegan at Denny’s!

P.S. During the time I was fretting over the bun situation (the waitress couldn’t tell me if the brioche bun was vegan, and brioche generally is Not), someone suggested get the Amy’s Burger on an English muffin. That sounds like a great idea for a breakfast sandwich!

You can use the form letter on their website to contact them, or send an email to . Call 1-800-733-6697 8am to 8pm Monday thru Friday, or send snail mail to:

Denny’s Call Center
203 East Main Street P-7-3
Spartanburg, SC 29319

Week of Greek: Stewed Green Beans (Fasolakia)

Wow, is it already day four of our magical Week of Greek?! IT IS, and that means we finally get to see what I was talking about when I mentioned Greek foods swimming in oil 😀 And yes, we will need a nice loaf of bread for the fasolakia, the green beans stewed in tomatoes.

And speaking of tomato sauce, check out the Soutzoukakia from 2 Broke Vegans – Greek meatballs made vegan with walnuts and mushrooms – trust me, the combination is superb! After we make the green beans, I’ll give you another bulking-up idea using the meatballs.

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So for the beans, we start with tons of onion to really pack the flavor into this one,

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and season it simply with salt, pepper, and fresh parsley.

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And there it is – Greek gold!

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So slice up your favorite savory bread, preferably something rustic and crusty (yes, crusty is a good quality when it comes to bread!), and get ready to clean your plate.

Stewed Green Beans
2# fresh green beans, de-stemmed and cut or snapped into bite size pieces
1 C oil
2 C canned tomatoes*
3 to 4 onions, chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

In a big pot, arrange two or three layers of onions with parsley, and beans on top. Add tomatoes, oil, salt and pepper. Cover pot and cook on low heat until tender.

This simple recipe could serve 8 as a side dish. And once again this is very similar to a Syrian dish, we serve the Syrian version over rice – that could stretch it to a main course for 6. Syrians also add meatballs, so by adding the soutzoukakia to the pot (after baking them) you can have a meal for 8 to 10! Add a side of Lahanosalata and you’re in business with another budget-friendly meal that just so happens to be vegan and gluten free.

The recipe is great as-is, but I did add double the tomatoes, and there are a couple other ways you could mix things up with beautiful results.
-Instead of layering onions & beans, saute the onions in the oil. When tender, but before they brown, add remaining ingredients.
-Add 2 Tbsp tomato paste to the canned tomatoes to make a nice sauce
-Remove the lid on the pot for the last 15 minutes of cooking to let some of the juice from the beans cook out and reduce the sauce

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In Thessaloniki there was a beautiful little 15th century church nestled in between towering apartment buildings and storefronts covered in neon graffiti. I walked around it taking pictures,

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and suddenly my brother and I found ourselves at a little restaurant, ΤΑ Κουμπαρακια, which turned out to be our favorite restaurant in the city – we ate there three times!

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There we had the most wonderful fasolakia, cut lengthwise with little bits of eggplant in the sauce. I can’t tell you how often I sit and dream of the day I’ll be back in Thessaloniki, sitting at my favorite restaurant, next to that lovely little church. But this will have to do for now.

What’s your dream vacation?

Week of Greek: Spinach Pie (Spanakopita)

For our third course today, we’re making a classic Greek dish I bet nearly all of you have heard of and probably tried. Although I’m more accustomed to the Syrian spinach pie – a triangle-shaped soft bread filled with spinach and onions, seasoned with plenty of salt and lemon juice – I’m sure I had spanakopita at least a few times before going vegan. And I was happily surprised when I flipped through my cookbook and saw a recipe that doesn’t even mention feta! Of course you would traditionally brush the phyllo dough with butter, but I veganized that part easily enough.

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You can make your own phyllo dough from scratch, but I found mine at the Mediterranean market. They had three different kinds, and each of them were vegan! You may even be able to find it ready-made at your local grocery store.

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Now, this very basic recipe doesn’t make much, and that’s a shame because when you taste the flaky phyllo together with the spinach and dill you are going to want more, more, more.

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So when we get to the end here, we’ll talk about bulking it up.

Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)
1 lb spinach*
6 green/spring onions, finely chopped
1/2 teacup dill, finely chopped
1 1/2 teacup olive oil*
salt & pepper
1 pkg phyllo dough

Note: A teacup equals approximately 1 C, but you’ll have so much fun using a teacup instead of a regular measuring cup!
Preheat oven to 350. Oil a 9×9″ pan.
Clean spinach and drain well (or buy triple washed spinach that’s ready for use).
Saute green onions in the oil over medium heat until tender. Shred spinach and add to onions, season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook spinach over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes, or until the liquid has cooked out of the pan. Stir in the dill. Remove from heat.

Line the oiled pan with one pastry sheet. Brush it with olive oil (or margarine, or refined coconut oil) and add another layer, repeating until you’ve done five layers total. Spread the spinach mixture over the layers of phyllo dough.
Now top spinach with another pastry sheet, brush with oil, and repeat until you’ve done five layers.
Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Cut into squares or triangles. Can be served hot or cold, cold is my preference.

*Now about bulking it up. One pound of spinach really cooks down and leaves you with just a thin layer. At the same time, there seemed to be too much oil – I drained it because I didn’t want to wait forever for it to cook out while meanwhile my spinach shrank and shrank (I used that excess oil to brush my pastry dough).

I recommend cooking two pounds of spinach in 1/2 cup of oil, and adding more as needed. You could also double the amount of green onions while you’re at it.
Cheese is really not necessary, but if you miss it, find a vegan feta or ricotta to mix in after you’ve finished cooking the spinach and onions. You can also make your own using this Vegan Feta Cheese recipe from 2 Broke Vegans!

Week of Greek: White Cabbage Salad (Lahanosalata)

2015-7-14 White Cabbage Salad Lahanosalata
For our next course, I have chosen another very simple dish – light, clean, and the most basic version of the White Cabbage Salad recipe I could find. You may garnish the salad with shaved carrot just for a little pop of color. Cabbage is low in calories and packed with Vitamin C. And like our tahini soup in the first course, it is super inexpensive!

White Cabbage Salad
1 medium white cabbage
juice of two lemons
olive oil

Quarter the head of cabbage, cutting around and discarding the core, then slice each quarter thinly and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt (perhaps 2 teaspoons) and turn to disperse evenly. Let the cabbage weep for approximately 15 minutes – don’t worry, it won’t make a sound! After 15 minutes, drain liquid from the bowl.

Add to the cabbage the juice of two lemons. Drizzle with olive oil to taste – I recommend beginning with 2 Tbsp and slowly adding from there, to taste. Season with additional salt to your liking.

This should make approximately 6 good servings.

Even though I’m an olive oil freak, I personally enjoyed this with minimal olive oil. It actually reminded me of Syrian salad, salata. I was afraid the leftovers would be completely wilted, but the cabbage still had a crunch to it the next day. Maybe with your leftovers, you could get all fancy like Marie Catrib’s and use them to top a vegan chili dog!

Oh! And be sure to Like & follow my facebook page for links to Athanasia’s Greek Week specials at 2 Broke Vegans. Greek vegan recipes from an actual Greek vegan in Greece! And all her recipes are gluten free!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND THIS CABBAGE SALAD IS GLUTEN FREE, GRAIN FREE, RAW, PALEO, LENTEN, VEGAN. Man, this recipe has it all.

What’s your favorite Greek word?

P.S. Yesterday for the first course of our meal, we had Tahini Soup. Be sure to check it out!

Week of Greek: Tahini Soup (Tahinosoupa)

If you’ve been around here a while you know I adore tahini, so it’s no surprise I have worked it into the first course of our week-long Greek meal! Tahini Soup is a traditional Lenten recipe – fast, cheap, good for ya, no frills, and SO easy to whip up a huge batch for the whole family, or to share with neighbors and friends.

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There are many variations if you search online, but I chose to go with the great Tselementes on this one. In this very old cookbook, he writes that peanut butter may be used since it is so difficult to find tahini in stores. I’m glad that’s not the case anymore! In my local Middle Eastern market there must be at least half a dozen varieties of tahini to choose from.

Another fun thing about these old cookbooks I used, they measure things out in teacups!

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Any small pasta will do for this recipe, you could even break up spaghetti or angel hair pasta, and some recipes use rice. Just keep it simple.

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It looks very Lenten, doesn’t it? But don’t let the plain looks deceive you – this soup has a surprisingly wonderful flavor thanks to the nuttiness of the tahini. It was *almost* cheese-like.

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Mumra and I did add a bit of this beautiful, chunky pink salt and a touch of black pepper, but only because we are food snobs and wanted to fancy it up. Tahinosoupa is filling, nutritious (thanks to iron-rich tahini, which also provides a little calcium), and budget-friendly.

This gave me an idea. What if we ate Tahini Soup for dinner every day for one week, how much money would we save? We could take those few dollars and donate them to the IOCC, and the Jaharis Family Foundation will match our donation to help the people of Greece! To read more about what the IOCC is doing in Greece, CLICK HERE.

Tahini Soup
4 1/2 C water + more for sauce
salt to taste
2 C small pasta (I used occhio di pernice)
2 tsp tahini per serving

Boil water salted to taste. Add pasta to boiling water and cook until done, according to instructions. DO NOT DRAIN.
In each serving bowl, mix 2 tsp tahini with just enough additional water to reach a mayo-type consistency. Spoon pasta and its broth into each bowl, and stir to combine with tahini sauce.

Makes several large servings, or TONS of 1/2 C servings!

If you want the soup to be less ascetic, you may wish to add:
Nutritional yeast
Sliced green onion
A bit of turmeric to make it beautiful
Bulk it up with beans (another dirt cheap ingredient!)

Feel free to use gluten free pasta. Be sure to enjoy!!!

And check out our 2nd course: White Cabbage Salad (Lahanosalata)

Easy Beer Bread to Kick off A Week of Greek

Okay, so this beer bread recipe is not a Greek one, as far as I know, but bread plays an important role in Greek meals and I needed something I could whip up quickly for a week’s worth of GREEK FOOD! “A week’s worth of Greek food?” You ask.

2015-7-11 Greek Recipes
I am pleased to announce I’m partnering up with Athanasia of 2BrokeVegans to bring you a new Greek dish each day for the coming week! Most of you are probably aware of the situation in Greece now, and we want to show our support for the Hellenic people and also show off their great food!
And though I already have a whole page about my adventures in Greece, including a handful of recipes, I’ll be sharing recipes this week I’ve never tried before – and using ingredients imported from Greece when I can.

Now onto the bread.

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In Greek cuisine, most vegan/fasting dishes are referred to as “lathera,” pronounced lah-the-RAH, which means “in oil.” This is because the veggies are basically SWIMMING in delicious olive oil. That’s one reason bread is so important, you want to use it to sop up all that wonderful oil combined with the spices and flavors of the food that cooked in it. Sadly that was an afterthought for me, so I went with a quick bread instead of a traditional Greek bread. I promise to do a Greek bread very soon!

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For now, enjoy this guy:

Quick n Easy Beer Bread
3 C flour*
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 12oz beer (lighter is better)
2 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Make a well in the center, pour beer in the well along with olive oil. Stir to combine. Pour/scoop into a greased bread pan and bake at 375 for 45 – 55 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing.

*For my flour, I used 2 C all purpose white, and 1 C teff. You can use all white flour, or experiment with whole wheat or gluten free (not sure how all gluten free will turn out, though!). Using different flours will result in slightly different flavors; for example, teff has a mildly sweet flavor.

Chickpea Salad Sandwich with Chive Blossoms

I cannot often enough extol the virtues of JustMayo. Although the original plain flavor tastes great, and is very versatile, garlic mayo is my current favorite.

And if you have garlic mayo from Hampton Creek (makers of JustMayo), you can make this wonderful salad.

1 C cooked chickpeas, drained
1/2 peas
2 – 3 Tbsp garlic JustMayo
salt & pepper to taste
a sprinkling of chive blossoms
4 slices of bread, lightly toasted
baby romaine

Mix mayo with chickpeas, stir in peas being careful not to crush them. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently fold in chive blossoms. You can eat the salad as-is, or make a sandwich with lightly toasted bread and baby romaine, or your favorite sandwich greens.

Eat it and love it.

A Vegan 4th of July

These aren’t real recipes, just ideas for you since everyone loves a holiday-themed post. Even though I don’t have a bunch of red, white, and/or blue foods for you, just junky food that’s fun to eat when you can use a holiday as an excuse.

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Swiss Chard. I sauteed onions and a couple chopped cloves of fresh garlic in Magic Vegan Bacon Grease along with the chopped stalk of the chard. Once the garlic and onions are soft, add the greens – all torn up – and cook over medium low heat until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and Crescent Dough are both egg and dairy free! Use either one to wrap your favorite vegan ‘dog or sausage to make Pigs in a Blanket. I used Field Roast brand Apple Maple breakfast sausage and it is So. Good.

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Tried out these Garden Veggie Nuggets from MorningStar Farms for the first time. They have a meaty texture, but then there are whole peas and corn kernels inside. It’s strange but good.

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I also did a baked version of Fried Green Tomatoes. I need to perfect this recipe as far as getting them nice and crispy and browned, I think I just really needed to use my fried pickle recipe as a guide but I was too lazy. So I’m stealing those instructions now and adding them here, but this is still a test recipe:

Faux-Fried Green Tomatoes
3 medium-size green tomatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
1/2 C flour, divided
1/2 C cornmeal
1/2 C plain unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp salt
several dashes pepper
garlic to taste

Preheat oven to 375 with baking sheet inside.

In a shallow bowl combine cornmeal with half the flour, and the salt, pepper, and garlic. Put remaining flour in a separate shallow bowl, and in a third shallow bowl combine almond milk and vinegar. Dredge tomato slices first in the flour, then dip in milk mix, then coat in cornmeal mix. Pile them nicely on a plate.

When you’ve finished coating the tomatoes and the oven is heated to the correct temperature, carefully remove the baking sheet and spray the baking surface with cooking oil. Arrange tomatoes in a single layer on the pan (you may have to do two batches). Then spray the top side of the tomatoes with oil.

Bake tomatoes at 375 for 8 – 10 minutes, spraying with a bit more oil if you notice they’re drying out. Then flip and bake an additional 5 minutes.

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I baked the pigs in a blanket at 375 for about 10 – 12 minutes.

I made the sauce for the mac n cheese by melting down 1/2 C Daiya shreds in about 1/2 – 2/3 C plain unsweetened almond milk and added a little salt and pepper. And I ate everything a day early just so I could share this with you in case you need inspiration for tomorrow!

What are you eating for the holiday weekend??

Arizona Qrunch: Guest Post by the Wine Monk!

Watch out, there’s a man in the kitchen today! I’m still catching up on Things I Should Have Posted Last Week! My friend Cody, aka the Wine Monk, sent this to me over a week ago while we were still in the Apostles’ Fast, and I shamefully neglected to post until….now. But the wonderful thing about good vegan food is that it can be enjoyed by anyone, vegan or not, at any time of year. Or in this case, when prickly pear pads are in season 🙂

I’ll hand you off to the Wine Monk now. At the end of his recipe, you’ll find a link to Cody’s review of the wine used here. Have fun!

Howdy everyone, I’m Cody the Wine Monk, and I’m doing a guest post for Katherine today. But you probably already realized that before I even said anything. Normally I’m a wine critic and blogger who lives in the old mining town of Jerome, Arizona, in the heart of Northern Arizona’s wine country (Yes, we have one–well, actually four major wine regions. Yes, the grapes do fine in the heat and dryness. No the entire state doesn’t all look like Phoenix, with cactus, I promise. Yes, seriously, I’m not kidding! Just do a google search for the Verde Valley. Not now. We’re talking about food now. Just.. do it later.)

However, it so happens that since I’m Eastern Orthodox, I dabble in vegan cooking for a good portion of the year… and therefore I seem to be the only wine critic out there who cares about vegan food pairings with wine.

A while back, Katherine posed a challenge courtesy of Qrunch Foods and Daiya Cheese (not the same challenge she posted about on June 10th, this was earlier), and I came up with the below recipe, complete with associated wine pairing. I’ve been meaning to cook it for a while, but things came up before Lent was over, and now since it’s fasting season again for me once more, I finally got a chance to cook it. The idea I had behind this meal was to make an homage to the local landscape in which I live. You can tweak it a little and use ingredients more local to where you live if you so choose.

This meal will produce four burgers, so it’s great for friends.

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Here’s what you need:

1 Toaster oven (or regular oven)
1 cooking pan
1 cookie sheet or other flat oven food-carrying thing
2 Nopales (prickly pear pads. You can also use more. Use as many as you’d like. If you live in the Great White North, check your local hispanic market. I got mine a mile from my house in the desert)
1 box Qrunch Burgers (don’t thaw out too much, otherwise it will be hard to glaze them)
1 thingy Daiya Cheese (I chose provolone, but cheddar would also work)
1 small can diced Hatch Green Chiles
Sprouted Wheat Burger Buns (Or whatever gluten free apparatus you use for a burger)
1 jar Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly (Make sure that it uses citrus pectin. If you want to be adventurous, make your own! I am not that adventurous.)
Olive Oil (or some other oil of your choice–I used some made from olives down at St. Anthony’s monastery)
Salt and Spice. I used a blend made from a local gentleman who mixes his own spices. I chose the spiciest, because in my mind, the spice must always flow.

1 Bottle of Arizona or New Mexico White wine. I chose a bottle of the Vino de la Familia Blanca, from Page Springs Cellars; a blend (you may replace with white wine from a region near you if wines from these regions are not available, and I’ll get into that more in a moment. You will want a wine that has some acidity; this makes a wine more flexible for food pairings. Don’t give me flack about there “not being a winery in your state.” Every state, and several Canadian provinces all have licensed and bonded wineries.)

So, why white wine? Well the main reason is that white wines will pair better with this meal, but there’s a secondary reason I suggest it. The fact is that white wine is far more likely to be vegan than reds, especially if you’re hunting in the supermarket. Why? Filtration and fining in whites is a different process known as bentonite filtration, or cold stabilization, which is essentially pouring the wine through a filter made of, well, bentonite, which is a volcanic clay, or bringing the wine close to its freezing point by sticking it in a very cold room. For reds, the process usually involves egg whites or isinglass, which are animal products. Avoid supermarket reds and go for the red wines made from small producers and boutique vineyards, and look for red wines that are unfined and unfiltered–those are your key words for finding vegan red wines. Now, don’t worry about sulfites because those are native to wines in quantities that are far below what you find in your glass of orange juice in the morning! Sulfites are NOT dangerous, unless you are actually allergic to them. Now let’s get on to cooking.

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Your first step is to prepare the Nopales–the prickly pear pads. You need to remove the glochlids. These are the areas where the thorns are, and you must, of course, be careful lest you get them lodged in your skin because they are super annoying. And you don’t want them stuck on your tongue! Use a knife to cut out the areas where the thorns are, and then cut the sides and top, and the bottom off, to make it square. This will make it easier to prepare.

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Cut the cactus pads into strips that are about ring-finger length. Prepare your pan! Crack open your bottle of white wine now, and pour a little into the pan along with some olive oil (enough to cover the whole bottom of the pan), and put the sliced pads in the pan on the burner. Add a dash or two of the spice collection you’ve decided on, and a pinch of salt. Let it sit at a low to medium heat for a time, while you’re working on the next step.
Also, pour yourself a glass of your wine of choice.

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Now begins a fun part; glazing the burgers with the prickly pear jelly. Use a butter knife to spread the jelly on both sides. This is why you are using a cookie sheet or some other flat surface. After you have coated the Qrunch burgers with jelly, then put the diced green chiles on the top part of the burger. It will be messy, but prickly pear jelly is delicious so if you get any on you…

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Just lick it off your fingers. It’s fine.

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Stick your glazed and peppered burgers into your toaster oven, or regular oven, at 450 Degrees Fahrenheit for about 18 minutes. Now, let’s attend to the nopales while your main dish is cooking.

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Raise the heat now to High, and stir fry! If you want, add a bit more of the spice and salt to taste. After all, these are going to be the equivalent to French fries for this dish. And, well….Stir fry. Do so for the next 15 minutes. The color will change and they will become a little wrinkly in appearance, and your oil will be almost gone. Leave them to rest in the pan while you attend to the next step…

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It’s time for the Daiya Cheese. Place them on the burgers, then slide them back into the oven or the toaster oven for another five minutes while the cheese melts. Then take them out…

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And arrange as you normally would for a burger. You’ll need a fork for the nopales–they won’t be as “dry” as normal French Fries would be. The Green Chili and Prickly Pear has mixed with the Daiya cheese on the burgers to create a sweet, and savory spicy combination. You won’t necessarily need extra sauce, but if you want to, use something that also has that same combination–I used a peach habanero BBQ sauce from a local saucemaker in Tuscon that worked brilliantly with this dish (I suppose you COULD use a local organic ketchup, but…why in this case?).

This, incidentally, is also why you want a wine with a high acidity and strong fruit notes–to cut through the spice and mesh with it. Yes, this may be a bit spicy for you, but it’s delicious, and in the summer climate of Arizona, you WANT something spicy–it will make you sweat, and therefore, it will cool you down.

Enjoy! And CLICK HERE to read my review of the Vino de la Familia Blanca.

Vegan Bites & Brews at Kingma's Market

Sorry for the delay in posting this, I was extremely busy last week because my church was hosting the Midwest Parish Life Conference. So just pretend I posted this sometime last week.


Saturday was a very happy day! Mumra and I drove over to Kingma’s Market for the Vegan Bites & Brews event hosted by Vegan Grand Rapids.

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I was surprised to see the front of the store was packed with people waiting in line for samples of delicious vegan food. Before we hit the main row of tables, we were greeted by a woman at the door with a big chunk of an EcoTrek Fitness Whole Foods Bar. It had the definite taste of a “fitness” bar, but…it was also chocolate. I made sure to buy one.

It was hard to stop and take pictures of everything because I didn’t want to slow the line, but there were samples of Earth Balance Aged White Cheddar flavored Puffs, and their yummy P.B. Popps. There were also The Redheads brand veggie burgers, made here in Michigan.

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An eggless egg salad made with tofu and Follow Your Heart brand Vegenaise.

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But my favorite was the grilled cheese sandwich. Jon, of Vegan Grand Rapids, whipped these up with Follow Your Heart slices. And instead of buttering the bread, he used Magic Vegan Bacon Grease!

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Kingma’s Market is currently the only place in town selling this stuff, and about $2 cheaper than I’ve found anywhere else.

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Kingma’s is also one of the few places you can find these lovely vegan asparagus tamales by El Cardenal, another Michigan-based business. We actually went back for seconds 🙂 They also make a wonderful salsa. You can find the tamales in the freezer section.

We also found Qrunch Burgers, including the elusive Green Chili flavor! They had a couple flavors of Daiya Cheese, and a big selection of foods made in Michigan, and some right here in Grand Rapids.

OH! I almost forgot to mention The Brinery, based in Ann Arbor, had a table where we sampled their tempeh and sauerkraut (and they make hot sauce!). And everything we tried is available at Kingma’s.

The Qrunch Burgers are overpriced (find them at Meijer or Target for $5-something), but Daiya shreds were only $4.99. Great overall value if you know your prices.