Eating vegan or gluten-free is hard enough for anyone. But what if your diet eschews both animal and wheat products? Are veggies, nuts and seeds all that’s left?
Veganessa is a West Island-based business that has been making difficult diets delicious for the past 3 years with her home delivery service offering everything from cruelty-free dinners to wheat-free treats to clients across Montreal. Recently owner Vanessa Percher decided to set up shop in a small storefront in Beaconsfield. She still sends out her weekly menu (you order on Monday for a Thursday delivery, $25 minimum, $5 delivery fee), which changes every week, but now you can pop in to pick up ready made salads, soups, desserts, frozen meals and a few key grocery items to help you mix ethics, health and fun all on the same plate. But you’d better go early in the day: “I’m trying not to overstock because it’s important to me that the food is fresh,” Explained Vanessa. “So if you come in and it’s all sold out, too bad!” Word to the wise: Today (February 14) Vanessa has made some vegan, gluten-free red velvet cupcakes for Valentine’s Day. Go get ‘em!
We ordered a hearty moussaka made with eggplant, onions, lentils and sweet potatoes, topped with a cashew nut cream that was tasty and incredibly satisfying. The South Indian curry made with chick peas, eggplants, peas, string beans and potatoes simmered in a coconut and almond broth was also deliciously spicy. Percher told us: “I like to cook with a lot of spices. I love to make south Indian food and i have an Italian background so I tend to be inspired by Mediterranean cuisine.”
Percher actually really loves cooking with so many restrictions. “It’s so easy to do regular baking, but when you have to make it vegan and gluten-free, it’s much more interesting,” she said. “I see it as a challenge and I get a kick out of it!” Percher’s lentil oatmeal cookies are one of her best sellers: “I like to bake with beans so that everything has a little more protein and fibre and kids don’t know they’re there.” We tried an out-of-this-world raw carrot cake made with carrots, nuts and dates and topped with a rich coconut cream. Indulgence doesn’t often come with a full serving of veggies!
Percher is planning to share her skills with cooking classes beginning at the end of February. She explained that the classes aren’t just for vegans:”Once you can cook vegetarian you can cook anything! It’s all about the flavours!”
Percher shared one of her recipes so you can cook vegan and gluten-free at home
12 small corn tortillas (taco size)
240 grams tempeh
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large tomato, diced
¼ cup wheat free tamari (soy sauce)
1 heaping tbsp. Mexican chili powder
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. agave
Preheat oven to 375F
In a hot frying pan, add 4 tbsp. canola oil and brown each side of the tempeh
Once the tempeh is browned, remove from heat and pat dry any excess oil and let cool.
In the food processor, pulse the cooked tempeh until granular.
In the same frying pan, sauté the onions and garlic for one minute
Add the sliced pepper and tomato
Add the spices and tamari
Add the cooked tempeh and season to taste
To assemble the Quesadillas, take ¼ of the tempeh mixture and spread over one tortilla
Optional: Add your favorite vegan cheddar cheese and sliced avocado
Add the other tortilla to the top
Bake in the oven for 8-10minutes
Serve with favorite vegan sour cream and salsa