Meatless Monday – Cashews and Coconuts

Another September and another vegetarian food festival done. This weekend saw the 30th edition of Toronto’s Annual Vegetarian Food Festival. It is considered the largest of its kind in North America and is put on by the TVA, Toronto Vegetarian Association. The festival is free and features talks, cooking demos, films, and the ubiquitous booths selling all manner of vegetarian/vegan food products and food prep tools. There are also a number of animal rights group giving out information.
This week’s Meatless Monday serves up some of the highlights from this year’s festival.

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival
Toronto Vegetarian Association

  • Veni, Vidi, Vici Vegan!
    He came, he spoke, he conquered. Bryant Terry, author, chef and activist gave a talk on food justice and a cooking demo on one of the recipes in his book Afro Vegan. Both workshops were packed. I was turned away at the door for his talk because the venue was at capacity. With perseverance and hope, though, I managed to get in as some people had left early. And I got him to sign the cookbook of his that I just bought, The Inspired Vegan.
  • Mac and cheese X 3
    I had the most divine gluten-free mac n’ cheese made by Doug McNish. There was no fake cheese product in it, just butternut squash and nutritional yeast as the base for this creamy cheese-like sumptuous goo; a recipe I intend to replicate now as his cookbook containing said recipe is only due to be published in the spring of 2015.
  • The Evolution of Vegetarianism
    The TVA presented a chronological pictorial of the history of plant-based and animal-cruelty free eating. It was a succinct way to show all attendees of the festival that this vegetarian thing is world-wide and has been around since the time of the Buddha.
  • Terry’s Back
    Terry Hope Romero returned to offer some cooking demos from her new book Salad Samurai.
  • Everything’s coming up…
    Coconuts and cashews. From sweet to savoury, creamed or mashed these ingredients du jour are in just about everything. Versatility, taste and health benefits make them popular and marketable to a vegan and/or raw food crowd.
  • Food activism
    Though animal rights, sustainability and food security have long been issues of concern in the vegetarian world, they are now coming to the forefront in discussions around plant-based eating.
  • Don’t sweat it!
    Tip of the day came from Ikelia Wright of One Love vegetarian restaurant in Toronto. Instead of cooking your onions in oil, cook them in water on slow heat. Doug McNish offered a similar tip by saying to cook onions low and slow to caramelize them. No need to add unnecessary fat and sugar to make your allium member taste good. Patience is key in the kitchen.

allium – a genus of flowering plants that includes onion, garlic and chives.


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