Fresh and local

November 14th, 2010 · Lisa · gluten-free, Recipes, Savory, sugar-free, vegan mofo · Comments

All of your comments on yesterday’s breakfast buffet made me smile. Sometimes it is the simplest idea that bring the most enjoyment. I was happy to hear that some of you went right to work and created a buffet of your own. I am a bit behind in responding to the comments since I went away for the weekend. But I should be caught up by tomorrow.

This week’s fantasy restaurant tour has been great fun. It has encouraged me to play with new ingredients and crack open cookbooks that have sat on my shelves for years. Today, I’m going to share a recipe that is not at all new. It is my favourite dish at a vegetarian restaurant in Toronto, one I’ve been visiting for more than a decade.

I grew up about an hour outside of the city and I remember the first time I ate at Fresh (it was called Juice for Life back then). I had never before been to a place where I could order anything on the menu. I remember ordering a smoothie – this is way before I owned a blender – it had mango and blueberries in it. After the first sip, Fresh became my favourite place to visit any time I made the trek to the big city.

It is a wonderful restaurant to bring your friends and family (there are 3 locations now with 2 more about to open up). There is always an amazing, seasonal soup, an array of rice and noodle bowls and sweet potato fries that particularly impress the younger generation. I don’t eat at Fresh very often these days, as I tend to enjoy the time I spend preparing meals at home. But when life demands a meal out, a night off, Fresh is always a reliable option.

My favourite order is their Green Goddess bowl. It is typically served with brown-rice but I like to double up on the greens instead. Tonight, I’m going to share this delightful dish with you. Maybe one-day you’ll come to town and we can catch-up over kale and ginger. You can find this recipe in the cookbook refresh, one of three published by Ruth Tal and Jennifer Houston. I have heard number four is currently in the works.

Local kale is wonderful now that we’ve had some frost. I find it becomes a little sweeter once the cool autumn nights hit.

This green goddess demands a lot of emerald-coloured foliage.
And some Asian flavour from white pickled ginger and toasted nori.
Once the greens are steamed all you have to do is sprinkle and stir.
Start with the drizzling on the two sauces.
The Simple Sauce adds a spicy kick with some serious ginger.
The Tahini Sauce is a great creamy counterpoint to all the delicious greens.
Green Goddess Bowl
Serves 4
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1 head bok choy, torn
1 bunch green kale, torn
1 batch Tahini Sauce (recipe below)
2 sheets nori, torn
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1 batch Simple Sauce (recipe below)
1/2 cup white pickled ginger

Steam the broccoli and greens until they are tender and bright (I just pour boiling water over top and wait 2-4 minutes). Separate the greens into four large bowls. Drizzle 2 TBSP of Tahini Sauce on each bowl. Add the pieces of nori, the sunflower seeds and the ginger. Drizzle the 2 TBSP of Simple Sauce on each bowl.

Simple Sauce
Makes 4 servings
1/2 tamari (or Braggs)
3 TBSP sesame oil
1 1/2 inch ginger root, peeled and minced
4 TBSP lemon juice

Put all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Tahini Sauce
Makes 4 servings
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/3 cup filtered water
1/2 cup tahini

Whiz the garlic, parsley, salt and lemon juice in a food processor. Add the water and tahini. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice.

I really hope you enjoyed all the great recipes from vegan restaurants across North America. I would love to hear your favourite vegan dish at a restaurant in your neighbourhood. What do you order most often when you’re out on the town? Is that a vegan restaurant cookbook that I didn’t include? I’ve heard recommendations for BloodRoot but I would love more suggestions.

We’re quickly approaching the mid-point of Vegan MoFo. I still have lots of recipes and ideas to share so stay tuned for more.


  1. Posted November 14, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    I had the same experience with Fresh–it was the first restaurant I had ever been to where I was able to order anything off the menu, and I fell in love with it. My favourite dish is the Green Destiny (yes, it's a salad, but what can I say? I love salads!) as well as their daily soups.

  2. Posted November 14, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    I also use and love the reFresh cookbook! I hope to get to Fresh someday.

  3. Posted November 15, 2010 at 1:41 am

    This looks perfect! So green and delicious.

  4. Posted November 15, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Ooh, that looks and sounds so yummy! Love your simple steaming technique also.

    I just had the opportunity to visit a very nice vegan restaurant in London – a new one. Blogged about it. Am hoping to hit one more before we go home later this week. I'm not a big eater-out, for all kinds of reasons. No vegan restaurants in Alaska, let alone raw! And many other things. But I'm always a sucker for smoothies (especially now that you can get lower glycemic and dairy free ones).


  5. Posted November 15, 2010 at 9:17 am

    fresh is opening two more locations? amazing, where!?

  6. Posted November 15, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I think I can actually make this with a few subs & changes and I am so excited about it – sounds so good it made my mouth water.
    We don't have any vegan or vegetarian recipes near by, but I'm hoping to go to visit one in Bordeaux soon! Will tell.

  7. Posted November 15, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    I have always hoped that I have some fresh veggies at home. But it is really hard nowadays to get some.
    dining table

  8. Posted November 21, 2010 at 7:09 am

    I do feel very lucky to have so many veggie options in my city. I've lived in many places with nothing vegan to speak of. I try not to take Toronto's food scene for granted.

    Jessica- both will be in the East end of the city. I don't know any addresses yet.

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