More and more Albertans are embracing vegetarian and vegan eating. Here are a few favourites for plant-based dining, purchasing fresh produce and learning more about the veg-friendly lifestyle.
It’s now trendy to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, but some of Alberta’s best plant-focused eateries have been at it for decades. Take Café Mosaics in Edmonton. Open since the ’90s, its owners recently introduced a second spot—The Moth Café, which serves up veg-friendly fare alongside events like community plant swaps and herbalist-led medicinal plant walks.
Likewise, Calgary’s The Coup has been plant-forward—while also taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of restaurant dining—since 2004. “There’s been undeniable growth in awareness around plant-based eating,” says co-founder Dalia Kohen. She believes better access to information has helped educate and inspire Albertans toward green eating. “I think some people have made the switch for affordability and environmental reasons. And then entrepreneurs have found the confidence to open vegetable-forward restaurants or make vegan products, knowing that availability and awareness often leads to greater demand.”
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SEEDS OF KNOWLEDGE
Head to the web for more vegetarian resources. Edmonton-based advocacy group Vegetarians and Vegans of Alberta regularly updates a free dining and shopping guide, which can be downloaded online at vofa.ca. And for Albertans who eat with their eyes, Instagram hashtags such as #yegvegan and #yycvegan are a gateway to discovering tasty plant-based eats in real time.
DOUGHNUT FORGET DESSERT!
Given the recent boom in gourmet doughnut making, it’s only natural for vegan variations to spark interest. Hoopla and Mountain Rhino in Calgary, for example, offer creative flavour combos like strawberry-guava, cider-glazed apple and lime-coconut cream. In Edmonton, dairy- and nut-free Bliss Baked Goods has maple, old-fashioned cinnamon and a vegan Boston cream.
HOT HOUSE HERO
The summer farmers’ market season may be long past, but you can still get your local-produce fix during winter. Just hit the road to Redcliff: The sunny town on the outskirts of Medicine Hat is known as the “Greenhouse Capital of the Prairies” for its collection of, well, greenhouses—which grow tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and more. Most of the greenhouses have self-serve market shops to help you get Alberta-grown veggies any time of the year.
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RECIPE: VEGAN MINT CHOCOLATE GELATO
Make this refreshing treat for yourself—at any time of year.
1 Gently bruise a few sprigs of fresh mint. Add to saucepan with 2 cups of water. Simmer, then set aside to steep for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, discarding mint.
2 In the same pan, stir together 1 cup sugar and 3/4 cup cocoa and set over medium-high heat.
3 Whisk in minty water; simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 50 to 100 g chopped dark (dairy-free) chocolate. Rest for a minute, then stir again until smooth. Allow to cool, then refrigerate until chilled.
4 Pour cold mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Makes about 1 litre.