The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING TO THE VEGETARIAN RESOURCE GROUP WHEN MAKING YEAR END DONATIONS

Posted on November 06, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Please support The Vegetarian Resource Group and join our efforts to broaden awareness, educate, and instill values of ethical and environmental responsibility through vegan research and outreach.
To donate, visit www.vrg.org/donate

Here are a few ways your gift helps further vegetarian outreach:

  • $22 Buys 200 brochures for outreach to students
  • $100 Pays for registration and a table at a community festival.
  • $250 Buys 20 T-shirts for VRG volunteers who staff VRG booths at events around the country
  • $750 Prints 5,000 vegan stickers
  • $10,000 Enrolls donor as a VRG Patron and supports long term programming and research.

The Vegetarian Resource Group works year round to make it easier to live healthy vegan and vegetarian lives. Thank you so much for your support.

-Nina C
The Vegetarian Resource Group Volunteer Coordinator

To donate visit www.vrg.org/donate
http://www.vrg.org/catalog/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=4

Call (410) 366-8343 Monday through Friday 9am to 6pm ET.

Write: The Vegetarian Resource Group, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.

Vegetarian Resource Group Vegan Dinner in Atlanta — A Huge Success!

Posted on November 06, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Debbie King from the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group and Tracy Thomas from the Black Vegetarian Society of Georgia line up for delicious soul food.

On Sunday, October 19th, in conjunction with the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, The Vegetarian Resource Group hosted a vegan dinner in Atlanta, Georgia catered by Soul Vegetarian Restaurant. Thanks to all involved, the event was a huge success!

Thank you so much to volunteer Kayellen Umeakunne who did so much work to create a beautiful experience for attendees at the The Vegetarian Resource Group vegan dinner in Atlanta, held at Morehouse Medical School. Kay created a room to be inviting and reflect the school’s African American heritage. Kay is Research Bionutritionist/Bionutrition Core Manager a the Morehouse School of Medicine Clinical Research Center. In addition to helping us with the dinner, that week she also participated in the National Associaton of Bionutritionists First Annual Nutrition Clinic, hosted their tour of the Morehouse Bionutrition Core, and presented at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Meeting on “Food Fermentation: Connecting Ancient Traditions with Science.”

Staff of Soul Vegetarian serve up a delicious meal of Sweet Potatoes, Tender Greens, Green Beans, Tofu Lasagna, and Southern Style Baked BBQ.

A guest’s plate featuring vegan dinner rolls, Sweet Potatoes, Tender Greens, Green Beans, Cauliflower with CousCous, Smothered Steak with Gravy and Onions, Tofu Lasagna, and Southern Style Baked BBQ.

To find out about other vegetarian restaurants around the country, visit
http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php

Vegan Doughnut Business

Posted on November 05, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Dina Gharib
VRG Intern


When I discovered that there was a vegan doughnut business in my neighborhood supplying a vegan exclusive donut menu, I was quick to investigate. After taking a quick trip to their website, I discovered the holy grail of vegan doughnuts. Glory Doughnuts is a young business owned by two seasoned vegans, Alissa and Keirsten, who have a passion for vegan comfort food. By taking a look at their flavors it is obvious that these two are not interested in following the stereotypical, healthy vegan route. In fact, they credit the base of their business to be the animals. Besides providing a menu of vegan exclusive doughnuts, the Glory Doughnuts owners are active members in the vegan community stating,

“We do regular donations to various charities, and follow and promote the vegan community as much as possible, with like minded individuals as well as like minded businesses. We do a lot of shout outs… just to kind of help spread the message; always looking for opportunities to do that. Like most of the events we do, we watch out for pro-animal rights, and/or vegan friendly and/or environmentally friendly events. We’re always keeping it in mind because that’s honestly the base of the business, it’s the animals. We’re always looking for opportunities to support the huge cause!”

S’mores Doughnut

While their doughnuts have become notorious for their exotic flavors, Glory Doughnuts does not currently have a storefront, but managed to gather a strong and wide following of visitors at their summer farmer’s market pop-up stand. Their following, they credit to social media stating, “Everyone who comes up to our stand at the farmer’s market, are always like ‘Oh we saw you on Instagram.’ ‘We saw you on Facebook.’ ‘I saw the doughnuts this morning, and I had to have it.’” The raving reviews and strong following exist for a good reason. Glory Doughnuts are not your typical everyday doughnut. With exquisite flavors like The Carnivale featuring Traditional Yeast with Fair Trade Ganache, Kettle Korn, Roasted Peanuts and Rainbow Jimmies, or the Bootlegger incorporating Traditional Yeast with Apple Pie Moonshine Glaze and organic apples mixed right into the dough; these doughnuts are a force to be reckoned with.

When discussing their decision on having a vegan exclusive menu, Glory Doughnuts was adamant that there was never any pressure to sell non vegan goods, since veganism is such a major part of their lives.

Blue Ribbon Apple Pie Doughnut

“When we started, we set out to make a product that had to be vegan, like that couldn’t be compromised, and one where, I hate to use this term but people use it frequently, but carnivores will like it too.”

When I asked if there were any difficulties with selling their vegan goods to non-vegans, Alissa responded with a very affective yet interesting approach.

“In certain situations we don’t necessarily advertise the fact our product is vegan because we don’t want to deter people who might or might not try our products just because they’re vegan. So we kind of like to do a sneak attack and have people try our stuff, and then we kind of let them know that it doesn’t have any milk, dairy or eggs.”

While their plan may be effective, they did express troubles in creating
vegan doughnuts at an affordable price point.

“We also wanted to use local and organic ingredients as well as vegan ingredients and that isn’t necessarily cheap, so we’re constantly doing market research and constantly trying to find the lowest cost for our ingredients without compromising quality.”

As for their advice to vegans who would like to start a business,

Co-owners of Glory Doughnuts, Keirsten (left) and Alissa (right)

“You have to put your complete heart and soul into your passion. For the past year we’ve been doing this, I’ve also been holding a full time job, so there’s been long days, and we’ve been through some rough times. So now we’re both going full time on doughnuts. Anyways, don’t be afraid to take chances and don’t talk yourself out of doing things. Surround yourself with like minded people and people who support you and your purpose.”

As for the future, Glory Doughnuts is currently looking at spaces in
hopes of opening their first modest storefront location. To order from
Glory doughnuts visit: http://www.glorydoughnuts.com/

For more information about vegetarian and vegan businesses and jobs, see:
http://www.vrg.org/links/JobSearch.htm
http://www.vrg.org/links/
http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php

SUGGESTED METHOD FOR DE-SEEDING POMEGRANATES

Posted on November 05, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

I had to smile at your method of de-seeding pomegranates in your most recent issue of Vegetarian Journal, which is a traditional way but also loses a huge amount of the natural juice found in the pomegranate and makes the seeds taste watery.

There is a much easier way! Cut a pomegranate in half. Put a large plate or a bowl underneath the pieces. Pick up one half and use your thumbs to push down on the center where the stem is and loosen up the seed, kind of like you are going to turn it inside out (but you’re not). Once you’ve loosened up the insides a bit (you can kind of sense it), place the loosened half, seed side down, in the palm of your hand, fingers open. Take a wooden spoon and gently but firmly whack the outside of the pomegranate and be amazed as within 30 seconds ALL of the seeds will have fallen out into the bowl, and virtually none of the pith. No water, no wasted juice, no mess.

This is actually not my invention, I saw it on the internet and thought it was too good to be true – but it’s not, it’s amazing. The dry seeds can be frozen for months. I also run them through the juicer sometimes!

Rhonda Fosbinder
Avid reader of Vegetarian Journal
http://www.vrg.org/journal/
http://www.vrg.org/member/

UPCOMING VEGGIE THANKSGIVING EVENTS

Posted on November 04, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Below is a list of some of the veggie thanksgiving meals that are happening around the United States this year. Enjoy the holiday season!

The Vegetarian Resource Group, Baltimore, Maryland
Please join us at VRG’s 33rd Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Vegan Potluck on Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 at 5:00PM at North Baltimore Mennonite Church, 4615 Roland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21210.

Admission is $4 per adult; children are admitted free. Bring a vegan dish – made without meat, fish, fowl, milk, cheese, eggs, honey, or other animal-derived ingredients – that serves four as a contribution from each member of your party. Also, we encourage everyone to bring their own plate and utensils to reduce waste but will have some disposable ones available.

If you are unable to cook, you may bring a prepared vegan dish for four from a local natural foods store or restaurant. Also, we encourage you to bring a non-perishable vegetarian canned food item to donate to the church, who will distribute it to those in need.

We can always use some extra hands for this event! If you would like to volunteer, please contact Nina at ninac@vrg.org.

For more information contact The Vegetarian Resource Group: (410) 366-8343 or vrg@vrg.org

Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, Poplar Spring, Maryland
Saturday, November 22, 2014; 12 noon to 4 p.m.
Come celebrate Thanksgiving WITH the turkeys – join our friendly turkeys and all their friends in celebrating a cruelty-free Thanksgiving potluck. Please bring a vegan (no meat, dairy, or eggs) dinner or dessert item to serve 8. $10.00 suggested donation to benefit the animals. No charge for children under 16. For information call (301) 428-8128 or contact info@aniamlsanctuary.org.

Vegetarian Society of Washington DC, Bethesda, Maryland

Vegan Dinner and speaker
Thursday, November 27, 2014, 12-4 pm
Hyatt Regency Bethesda
7400 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
See: http://www.vsdc.org/Thanksgiving_Event.html

Farm Sanctuary’s Celebration for the Turkeys
Orland, California November 8, 2014
Acton, California (Los Angeles area) November 15, 2014
Watkins Glen, New York November 22, 2014

At Farm Sanctuary, we do Thanksgiving a little differently. At our shelters, the turkeys are the guests of honor! Celebrate with us this November as we treat our rescued turkey residents to a grand feast of stuffed squash, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. After spending the day getting to know the turkeys and other rescued animals that live at our sanctuaries, you will be treated to a gourmet vegan Thanksgiving feast of your own!

During dinner, guests enjoy a lively speaker program with presentations from Farm Sanctuary staff and special guests. This fun, feel-good event is perfect for families, individuals, long-time vegans, and those simply interested in learning a little more about animals. We welcome you to join us in celebrating this unique holiday tradition! For information see: http://www.farmsanctuary.org/events/2014-celebration-for-the-turkeys/

Florida Voices For Animals, Tampa Bay, Florida

See: http://tampavegthanksgiving.com/

Vegetarian Society of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii
See: http://www.vsh.org/thanksgiving/

Northern Vegans, Negaunee, Michigan

Please join us on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27th at 2pm. The potluck will be held at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Negaunee on 520 US-41 (on the corner of US-41 and Baldwin Ave.).

Please bring a vegan dish to share (Vegan omits all animal products including meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. Anything from the plant kingdom is vegan.). Also please bring a serving utensil for that dish.

Please bring your own table service: plate, utensils, and cup. We really appreciate that. This will help reduce waste and cleaning time and it is the most environmentally-friendly way to go (rather than using disposable items).

Water, tea, and coffee will be provided. Please bring your recipe or ingredient list to help those with food allergies. You can join this event on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1539457322950936/?context=create&source=49

Vegetarian Society of South Jersey Annual Thanksgiving Potluck and Vegan Bake Sale, Burlington, New Jersey
Saturday November 22, 4pm; Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 1308 Burlington-Mt Holly Rd (Rte 541), Burlington, NJ 08016
Please bring a non-dessert dish to the potluck. VSSJ members: $3; $8 family; Non-members: $6; $15 family (to cover hall rental). Be green: get $1 off ($3 family) if you bring reusable place settings!

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED for setup, cleanup, and to bake. To volunteer, RSVP, or for more info, please contact us at thevssj@gmail.com or 609-848-VEG1 (8341).

Vegan Thanksgiving at Katz JCC, Margate, New Jersey
See: https://www.facebook.com/TheVSSJ/posts/567043253395807

Triangle Vegetarian Society, Durham, North Carolina
The Triangle Vegetarian Society announced: We are again having our big Thanksgiving extended daytime seating at Cafe Parizade in Durham. For the past decade, we have been hosting the country’s largest vegetarian (in fact, fully vegan) Thanksgiving; in 2013, we had 620 people at Parizade and 184 at Kipos Greek Taverna the Monday before Thanksgiving. We started taking reservations on November 8th, 2013, 20 days before Thanksgiving, and received 611 reservations that first day, with fifty coming in the first minute and a half.

I am delighted to announce that we are again also having a pre-Thanksgiving feast. This time, it will again be the Monday before Thanksgiving (November 24) from 6-9p. The venue will be Irregardless Cafe in Raleigh. When Irregardless was opened in February 1975 by Chef Arthur Gordon, the area’s longest established chef, it was Raleigh’s first vegetarian restaurant. It no longer is all vegetarian, but features a number of tasty vegan dishes on its menu. Before we moved our huge event to Cafe Parizade, we had Thanksgiving at Irregardless in 1997 and 1998.

We expect to sell out both all-vegan events quickly. Please visit trianglevegsociety.org/thanksgiving for full and updated details, including about making reservations. The current plan is to open for reservations, for members (at a discounted price) as well as non-members on Saturday November 8th at noon. Thanks to our awesome webmaster Ken Guttman, you should find it easy to make reservations online, but Brian Donlon can be called 919-914-3504 for assistance. Please do not call the restaurants as they cannot make reservations.

The menu hasn’t been set yet, but is again expected to include some no-added-fat dishes and many soy- and/or gluten- free choices. We aim to again have a bountiful raffle of many exciting products and services. You will be able to purchase raffle tickets when you make your reservations, and we will also sell tickets at the events.

The all-inclusive price is the same this year, $27 for members, $30 for non-members, $8 for children ages 5-10, and no charge for younger children. An important goal of mine with this event is to show off how great fully plant-based food is, and we generally don’t turn people away due to finances. I try hard to keep prices low, but if a job loss or difficult financial situation presents itself, please contact me and we’ll see what can be done so that you can enjoy Thanksgiving with TVS. Northwest Veg, Portland, Oregon (Details to come!)

Join Northwest VEG, other vegans, vegetarians, and veg-curious people as we celebrate community and healthy plant-based food. This 11th annual vegan Thanksgiving potluck will stimulate your palate and give you the opportunity to meet new people. Doors open at 4:30pm; Event begins at 5pm. See: http://nwveg.org/thanksgiving

Vegetarian Society of East Tennessee
Annual Vegetarian Thanksgiving, Sunday, November 23, 6 pm, at the First Seventh-day Adventist Church, Kingston Pike, 3611 Kingston Pike. Bring a dish, bring a friend, renew your membership. Live music by Allen McBride on the hammered dulcimer. $5 members, $6 non-members, $3 child, $15 max per family. Extra $7 to attend without bringing food. Door prizes, books sales, white elephant booth. Volunteers needed! Contact: director Bob Grimac at 865-546-5643 or visit http://www.vs-et.com/

FLOWER CHILD RESTAURANTS

Posted on October 31, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

According to Restaurant News, Fox Restaurant Concepts is planning to
grow outside its home state of Arizona over the next three years, and
is ramping up expansion of its new fast-casual Flower Child concept.

Flower Child marks items on its menu as vegetarian or vegan, such as
Sesame Soba Noodles, Indian Spiced Cauliflower, Quinoa with Mushroom and
Rosemary, Organic Tofu and Mushroom Pho, and Thai Dye.
See: http://iamaflowerchild.com/

For information about restaurant chains, see: http://www.vrg.org/fastfoodinfo.php

For information about vegetarian restaurants, see:
http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php

The contents of this website and our other publications, including
Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice.
Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional.
We often depend on product and ingredient information from company
statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can
change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please
use your best judgement about whether a product is suitable for you. To
be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

National Plant-Based Prevention of Disease (P-POD)

Posted on October 31, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The annual national Plant-based Prevention Of Disease (P-POD) conference series is intended to offer an evidence-based look at how the risks of society’s major preventable diseases may be affected, and reduced, by certain plant-based approaches to eating. Our Nov. 14-16, 2014 1st annual P-POD Conference is being hosted by the Department of Health and Wellness, University of North Carolina Asheville. For details see: http://preventionofdisease.org/about-p-pod/

Lactation and the Vegan Diet

Posted on October 29, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant and will be breastfeeding your vegan child, you can find terrific information on Lactation and The Vegan Diet on The Vegetarian Resource Group’s website here: http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/lactation.htm

This information comes from Simply Vegan.

Vegan mothers may also be interested in The Everything Vegan Pregnancy.

WaWa Convenience Stores

Posted on October 29, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Please note that WaWa carries hummus and many fruit and vegetable snacks, so it’s easy to find alternatives to cheese if you are stopping there for gas while traveling. However, a reader of The Vegetarian Resource Group’s website www.vrg.org asked WaWa questions about the cheese they carry and we thought we’d share his letter and WaWa’s response.

Good Morning VRG!

I frequent vrg.org very often for news and insight into updates on the vegetarian world. I have learned so much from your website, and have been able to make much better decisions about what I eat and where because of your site. I would like to submit my own contribution in the form of information.

Wawa is a popular quick stop gas station and convenience store in the northeast as well as down the east coast. I get lunch there every so often. Since I have not seen anything on vrg.org about Wawa, I decided to do a little digging of my own. It went something along the lines of animal-derived rennet and animal-derived enzymes, and how many cheeses they use have it.

I’m forwarding the email I received as a response from them. Most of their other “allergens” can be found on: http://www.wawa.com/WawaWeb/Nutrition.aspx, as well as an ingredients list for many of their food items.

I did note in my original question to them that their response will be shared with online vegetarian communities unless they ask me otherwise, which they have not.

Thank you for the wonderful job you do on vrg.org. vrg.org is my go-to guide when I have a question about anything related to ingredients or restaurants.

Satisfied “Groupie”
-Navin Muneshar

Wawa Quality Assurance
260 W. Baltimore Pike
Wawa, PA 19063
October, 21st 2014

Dear Navin,

Regarding animal enzymes in cheese processing, enzymes are used as a clotting agent in the cheese vat to facilitate the separation of curd and whey. While most barrel and block cheeses utilize vegetable or microbial based enzymes; calf rennet, the traditional source, can be used in some specialty products.

Hydrolyzed protein can also be an ingredient in some cheeses and is protein that has been hydrolyzed or broken down into its component amino acids. While there are many means of achieving this, two of the most common are prolonged boiling in a strong acid (acid-HVP), strong base, or by using an enzyme such as the pancreatic protease enzyme to simulate the naturally occurring hydrolytic process. Enzymes used could be derived from animal, vegetable, or microbial.

Over our many different products, Wawa uses a variety of cheese that come from multiple different suppliers. Each vendor uses different processes and has different declarations regarding what kind of enzyme was employed in the production of their cheeses. In an effort to aid our vegetarian customers we have broken each of our used cheese products into four categories based on how each supplier declares their cheese enzymes:

“Animal Enzymes Used”

· Sliced Fontina Cheese

“Enzymes are of non-animal origin”

· All cubed cheeses in pre-packaged salads.

· All cubed cheeses in pre-packaged “Snacks”: Protein Pack, Pepperoni Pack, Fruit and Cheese Tray etc.

· Shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Natural Blend.

· Sliced Swiss Cheese- “Microbial Rennet- Vegetable base.”

· Sliced Pepper Jack Cheese.

· Sliced Provolone Cheese

To our current knowledge (in this next category only) – animal based enzymes have not been used for these products, to date, due to the inherent cost to the producers (Vegetable and Microbial are much cheaper and easier to use.) Our suppliers in this listing, however, leave the option open to use them if, and when, needed:

“Supplier does not specify a requirement with their suppliers and it is possible that either type could be present in trace amounts in the products we package or process.”

· Shredded Sharp Cheddar.

· Shredded Mozzarella.

· Sliced Sizzli Cheese’s

· Sliced Sharp Cheddar.

· Soft Cream Cheese (separate from cream cheese in pretzels.)

No comment or declaration in product specification:

· Pre-made Wraps and Sandwiches – These are made by one of our vendors who receives their cheese from their own suppliers, we unfortunately do not have access to this information.

· Sliced American- No official statement regarding the cheese enzymes. However:

· Hydrolyzed Protein (Animal/Vegetable)- Listed as ‘No’

· Beef and beef derivatives- Listed as ‘No’

· Pork and pork derivatives- Listed as ‘No’

· Macaroni and Cheese- No official statement regarding the cheese enzymes. The supplier does, however, declare Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten which is a vegetable based enzyme.

Again, based on price and ease of use; Vegetable and Microbial based enzymes are the primary enzymes used in common cheese productions. Generally speaking, only very expensive artisanal and specialty cheese’s use animal rennet’s in their production.

I hope this extra information was helpful to you and that you are still able to enjoy our product offerings! If we can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us via our website: www.Wawa.com.

With Regards,

Wawa Quality Assurance Team

The contents of this website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

For information on restaurant chains, visit http://www.vrg.org/fastfoodinfo.php

For information on vegetarian restaurants, visit http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php

For information on a few vegan cheeses, visit

http://miyokoskitchen.com/

http://chicagoveganfoods.com/products/teese-vegan-cheese/

http://us.daiyafoods.com/

http://www.tofutti.com/dairy-free-cheeses/

http://followyourheart.com/cheesekarma-gourmet

http://www.vrg.org/blog/2012/04/28/vegan-mac-and-no-cheese-with-zucchini-cream-sauce/

Vegan Grocery Shopping In a Local Middle Eastern International Supermarket

Posted on October 28, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Dina Gharib, VRG Intern

Koko Market is a small, international grocery store located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a family owned business, with a heavy emphasis on the Middle East, but also supplies goods from all over the world. What you may not know is that small ethnic stores such as this one are filled with a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian goods for half the price of your local supermarket. With much patience, and deep observation, you can find everything you need to satisfy your global taste buds, while supporting your local small business.

If you’re a tea enthusiast and American teas doesn’t satisfy your complex palette, Koko market offers a wide variety of traditional flavors like Earl Grey from England, to more exotic flavors like Darjeeling from India. If that doesn’t satisfy you, they also have Green, Ceylon, Back, Ginger, Sage, Hibiscus, and Star Anise teas, shipped from all over the globe. For the juice lovers, Koko market offers pure juices varying from mango, apricot, and pomegranate to guava, peach, and cherry. These juices are all vegan, and don’t contain any artificial additives or preservatives. For the date lover, Koko market offers a wide variety of fresh dates, for half the cost of your local supermarket, with a 30-ounce container of Delget Noor dates costing a mere $4.99. Other varieties for sale include fresh California grown Medjool dates, on the vine Bahri dates, or the sweet and sticky Khalas date.

In the canned goods section, you’ll find authentic Egyptian, Lebanese, or Palestinian Ful Medames (cooked and mashed fava beans) prepared according to each country’s tradition. After close observation I also found that all the canned and prepared stuffed grape leaves, stuffed cabbage, and stuffed peppers were all vegan. If that wasn’t enough to make me a happy patron, they also had a wall of canned hummus in multiple varieties. They also had canned Baba Ganoush, as well as cans of a hummus tahini mix. If you’re more of a tahini (sesame paste) fan, Koko market has endless varieties all for less than $5.

In the jarred food section I discovered a delicious eggplant and hot pepper vegetable spread, along with a vast amount of olives ranging from Green, Black, Stuffed, and Kalamata. For those looking to add a kick to their dishes, the store offers canned and jarred Harissa (hot pepper paste) for less than $4. If you’re a fan of pickled vegetables, they offered a whole section dedicated to a wide variety of pickled vegetables and fruit, from traditional Egyptian pickled lemons or turnips, to exotic Indian pickled mango.

In the freezer section, the items that I found to be vegetarian were the vegetable samosas, prepared falafel dough ready to be balled and fried, ready to eat falafel that came with a side of tahini dipping sauce, and a variety of vegetables ranging from Taro root to Molokhia (jute leaves) .

Craving a sandwich? Grab a quick $2 bag of pita bread that is delivered fresh daily! If you feel like preparing a meal, Koko market offers a large selection of dried legumes such as fava beans, lentils, chickpeas, and split peas. For hearty grain substitutes they offer, couscous (granules of durum wheat), freekeh (roasted green wheat), and Bulgur wheat. If you’re an avid rice eater, they offer a wide variety ranging from brown, basmati, jasmine, and white to traditional Egyptian rice. Finally to top off the endless possibilities of extravagant meals, they offer a huge selection of oils imported from countries such as Greece and Turkey. These oils include Sesame oil, Extra Virgin Olive oil, Avocado oil, Flaxseed oil and Grapeseed oil. Finally if you’re craving a heavily aromatic and flavorful dish, check out their wall of spices and seeds featuring Star anise, Flaxseed, Pumpkin seed, Mustard seed, Gram Masala, Ginger, Curry, and Turmeric, as well as their prepared spice packets for traditional ethnic dishes such as Biryani, Mihshi, Dahl curry, and Vegetable korma.

Don’t be afraid to visit local ethnic markets in your neighborhood!

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