Veg out for a Week: Boston Vegetarian Food Festival

Boston Vegetarian Food Festival in a few words: crowded…

…and cupcakes.

Let’s do this part up front: I’m not a vegetarian. If anything, I would wear the slightly cutesy “flexitarian” label. But in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been mulling the idea over more and more lately. There are a lot of factors – environmental, ethical, economic and I-can’t-find-a-way-to-make-“health”-start-with-E – that support the choice of a meat-free diet. I’m armed with enough nutrition science know-how that I’ve got no fears about getting enough protein, iron, or tastiness in a vegetarian diet. And with the way I eat now (more meat-free meals than not), the change wouldn’t be that dramatic.

So while I’m not all-in just yet, I was interested in checking out the food festival. Tim, Miles & I headed to Roxbury Saturday before the snow arrived, and it turns out that every other person near Boston had the same bright idea. The event room was slammed when we got there, but we braved the crowds to check out the vendors (after the jump).

We tried some of Sacha Vida’s cold-pressed oil from sacha inshi seeds, protein bars, pretend-chicken nuggets, and several kinds of non-dairy milks. The Sproutman booth immediately got my attention with the lush green growth on their table. It even enticed Miles (who is 5, let’s remember, and argues stridently and totally inaccurately that he is allergic to broccoli), who insisted that we buy a sprouted adzuki bean, pea and lentil snack mix from Jonathan’s Organics.

We also saw and tried a lot of desserts. After visiting the food festival, one could be forgiven for thinking that vegan cuisine is 45% cupcakes, 40% cookies, and 15% protein shakes. But in their defense, it’s hard to dole out hot slugs of slow-simmered coconut lentils at a food expo, so the easy-share items predominated. Miles got a coconut lemon cupcake from Miss Vegan, and was gracious enough to share some with me.

But one of the best parts of the festival was about 180 degrees away from the cupcakes, in the Corner of Vegan Sports (unofficial name, but they should think about a group banner next time).

There I met Matt from No Meat Athlete in person – he wrote the half marathon training guide that I followed for the recent Newport halfathon, and is a great advocate of plant-based fuel for athletes. Always nice to put bloggers’ faces to names, and Miles got a kick of Matt’s running-carrot logo shirts.

Following the vegetarian theme, this week I’m listing seven meat-free recipes. I think these will appeal to omnivores, flexitarians, vegetarians, and any versions in between, so keep them in mind the next time Meatless Monday (or any day) rolls around:

 

  • Grilled Portobello and peach sandwich, from Serious Eats (here)
  • Mustardy Portobello pasta, from No Meat Athlete (here)
  • Quinoa and spinach stuffed acorn squash, from Greatist (here)
  • Roasted butternut squash and sweet potato lasagna, from How Sweet It Is (here)
  • Southwestern black bean burgers, from The Athletes Plate (here)
  • Vegetable Pasta bake, posted in baking dish week (text file here). My original recipe calls for ground turkey, but if you replace it with vegetarian faux-meat crumbles it’s just as tasty.
  • Zucchini enchiladas, from Food To Run For (here)

2 comments

  1. Sacha Vida says:

    Thank you very much for stopping by our booth and trying Sacha Vida oil! We hope that you liked our product and would love to submit a recipe for your blog (with your permission of course). Good luck with your studies and congratulations on completing the half marathon!

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