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Meatless Monday

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Protein Sources for a Vegetarian

Every week, across the country, more food trucks are joining the Meatless Monday project. Whether they have full on vegetarian menus, or trucks that serve meat but offer meatless options, more and more questions are coming in from our readers about the best ways to serve their vegan or vegetarian customers. Today we want to share a list of ingredients that can be mixed or matched in your menu items, to provide protein dense options.

You may be wondering why you would want protein dense items on your menu, well, there are a few reasons. Protein is a macro nutrient composed of amino acids that is necessary for the proper growth and function of the human body. While the body can manufacture several amino acids required for protein production, a set of essential amino acids needs to be obtained from animal and/or vegetable protein sources.

There is considerable debate over the amount of protein a person needs to consume per day, the current recommended daily intake (RDI) of protein is 46 grams for women aged 19-70 and 56 grams for men aged 19-70. Any excess protein consumed is turned into energy by the body, and it is controversial whether this excess protein causes a strain on the liver. A deficiency in protein leads to muscle atrophy, and impaired functioning of the human body in general.

Top 5 Protein Sources for a Vegetarian with the highest protein density:

Cheese

Of all cheeses low sodium Parmesan cheese provides the most protein with 41.6 grams per 100 gram serving. It is followed by regular whole Parmesan at 35.8 grams of protein per 100 grams. That is 10 grams of protein per ounce, and 3.6 grams per cubic inch. Other cheeses like Romano, Mozzarella, and Swiss provide around 28-30 grams of protein per 100 gram serving. Softer cream cheeses, or spreadable cheeses, provide the least protein with only 16 grams per 100 gram serving.

Mature (Large) Beans

The older, larger, and more mature a bean gets the more protein it carries. Mature roasted soybeans have the most providing 39.6 grams of protein per 100 gram serving, or 68 grams per cup. They are followed by mature Lupin beans which provide 15.6 grams per 100 gram serving. That is 25.8 grams per cup.

Roasted Pumpkin, Squash, and Watermelon Seeds

A popular food in the Middle East and East Asia pumpkin and squash seeds provide 33 grams of protein per 100g serving, that is 74.8 grams per cup and 9.2 grams per ounce. Watermelon seeds provide slightly less at 28 grams of protein per 100 gram serving. If you can’t find these seeds in your local supermarket you will surely find them in Middle Eastern or East Asian specialty stores. Alternatively, you can also save any pumpkin, squash, and watermelon seeds you have and roast them in your oven. The seeds are typically consumed by cracking the outer shell and eating the seed inside.

Yeast Extract Spread (aka: Marmite)

Yeast extract spreads are popular in Britain and Europe, and have started to gain popularity in the U.S. A good vegan source of vitamin B12, the spread also packs a lot of protein. One hundred grams provides 27.8 grams of protein, that is 1.7 grams per teaspoon.

Top 5 Protein Sources for a VegetarianLentils, Pulses, and Peanuts

Lentils, pulses, and peanuts (a legume) are a great vegan source of protein. Peanuts provide the most protein with 23.7 grams per 100 gram serving or 6.6 grams per ounce, 0.2 grams per peanut. Lentils provide the most protein when consumed raw at 25.8 grams per 100 gram serving, and 9 grams per 100g serving cooked (17.9 grams of protein per cup).

While there are plenty of additional protein options, ( i.e. Low-Carb Flat Breads, Chick Peas, Kidney Beans, Baked Beans, Tofu, Almonds, Peanut Butter, Soy Milk, Dried Apricots and Avocado), these 5 items are the most dense in protein.

If you think we missed something in our Top 5 Protein Sources for a Vegetarian list, please feel free to post your comments below.

Please do your part today and join the Meatless Monday movement? Signing up is fast and easy! Follow them on Twitter.

Mobile Cuisine looks forward to continued coverage of Meatless Monday for our readers!

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Protein Sources for a Vegetarian

Each week new Meatless Monday participating restaurants and food trucks are popping up worldwide. To do our part in supporting Meatless Mondays we believe that sharing information, recipes, and news about vegetarianism and leading a more conscious life overall is beneficial for everyone, vegetarian and omnivore alike.

From large chains to fine dining, chefs and restaurateurs are discovering the many benefits Meatless Monday offers to both their patrons and their pockets. So what can Meatless Monday do for your food truck business?

• By signing onto the Meatless Monday movement, you’re joining forces with eateries nationwide! From delis in D.C. to five-star bistros in Santa Monica, this is a public health campaign that everyone can get behind. Even celebrity chefs like Mario Batali and John Fraser now have Meatless Monday specials.

• Meatless Monday is a creative way to combat an otherwise slow day in the mobile food industry. Weekly specials are a great way to increase traffic and gain new customers. Meatless Monday also lends itself to a wide variety of one-time events and promotions; get them talking about you one week and dining with you the next!

• Offering a Meatless Monday special couldn’t be easier! Simply highlight the meat-free options you already have on hand. Just like Sodexo, the world’s premier food services provider, does for its 10 million meals served every Monday. Remember- you don’t have to take meat off the menu to participate. For an exciting start to the week you can also use Monday to launch new meatless options or to highlight a local or seasonal dish.

• Meatless dishes are usually much cheaper to produce and take less time to prepare. Highlighting meat-free entrees means an increase in profits from each dish sold. Low costs also mean you can offer attractive discounts and specials without breaking the bank.

• Meatless Mondays are an easy way to show customers that you care about issues in your community. Rates of obesity and chronic preventable disease have soared in recent years. So too have concerns about the environmental impact of what we eat. Meatless Monday addresses both of these issues in an approachable way, allowing restaurants to be part of the conversation.

WHAT’S A MEATLESS MONDAY FEATURE?

There are limitless ways to bring Meatless Monday to your restaurant. But they broadly fall into two categories:

Highlight What You Have

If you already serve meatless dishes, simply highlight them as Meatless Monday options! You can gather them under one menu heading, use a little “MM” insignia next to each item, create your own Meatless Monday logo, make a Monday menu inset, or highlight Meatless Monday meals on a specials board. Ultimately, it’s just a matter of drawing attention to the delicious meat-free items you already serve.

Add Meatless Dishes

If you don’t already offer meat-free items, it’s easy to create and/or add these dishes. Half the fun of Meatless Monday is trying new, tasty meat-free fare – and this is a great opportunity for chefs and restaurateurs to get creative, experiment with different vegetables, or try new combinations of veggies, grains and beans. If you’re looking for recipes, MeatlessMonday.com is just one place where you’ll find a bounty of possibilities.

IT’S ALL ABOUT CHOICE

We encourage our restaurants, whenever possible, to offer meat-free options alongside meat dishes. Meatless Monday is a campaign of choice – it’s fundamentally about adding options, not taking them way. We want to introduce people to new, healthy foods and new ways to prepare and eat greens, grains, beans and fruits. The restaurants around the country that have had the most success with Meatless Monday offer choice to their customers.

GO FROM MENU TO MOVEMENT

When you offer Meatless Monday specials, you’re joining an ever-growing network of restaurants, organizations, schools and communities across the globe who have taken the pledge for better personal and environmental health. To tap into the power of the movement, make sure your patrons and staff know the message behind your menu!

Brief your employees on the Meatless Monday Movement – including benefits, history, and why your restaurant is participating – so they can easily answer customer questions.

ADVERTISE ONLINE

• Let the world know that you’re going meatless on Monday! Add an announcement to your restaurant’s homepage or menu section- you can even use the logos available on www.MeatlessMonday.com. If you’re featuring a full Meatless Monday menu, post a link so site visitors can get a taste of what you have to offer.

• Let them know you’re going Meatless Monday! Send an e-mail to info@MeatlessMonday.com and they’ll add you to their list of participants on site!

USE SOCIAL MEDIA

Utilizing social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is a quick, easy way to share the movement with your favorite customers:

• Remind your followers about your Meatless Monday special on Sunday night or Monday morning.

• Reinforce your reasons for going meatless by sharing informative health and environmental articles on Monday.

• Use social media to ask for customer feedback- that way you’ll be able to share your successes and see where there’s room for improvement.

• Show your follows what they’re missing! Post pictures of your Meatless Monday entrees, smiling customers, busy cooks or your Monday night full house!

• Make your followers feel important with exclusive discounts, giveaways, meal deals and other “social media specials”.

• Take advantage of the Meatless Monday network! Send a shout-out to Meatless Monday on Facebook or Twitter so they can cross promote you.

www.Facebook.com/MeatlessMonday

www.Twitter.com/MeatlessMonday

POINT OF SALE PROMOTION

Don’t forget to advertise at your food truck! A few well-placed signs and a knowledgeable staff are all it takes to bring your Meatless Monday special to the next level:

• Place a Meatless Monday cling in your service window so passersby can see that you’re part of the movement.

• On Monday try putting specials on the menu board. Monday is your opportunity to make a positive impression that will last all week.

• Train your wait staff to ask customers if they’re celebrating Meatless Monday today. Provide them with general information sheets so they can answer any questions customers might have.

• Call attention to your Meatless Monday meal choices- add a graphic to your existing menu, or simply create a separate menu board for Monday.

Please do your part today and join the movement? Signing up is fast and easy! Mobile Cuisine Magazine looks forward to our continued sharing of Meatless Monday articles with our readers!

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meatless monday food truckOfficials with the Animal Agricultural Alliance say they’ve contacted lists of participants in Meatless Monday, finding many of them never have been or no longer are involved in the program, which asks people to go without meat at least one day a week. Unfortunately, nobody from this organization felt the need to reach out to Mobile Cuisine who has been a backer of the Meatless Monday program for the last 3 years.

We have supported Meatless Monday as a way for the mobile food industry to give their customers more choices from their menus and even open themselves up to sales they may not have seen by no providing meatless options. In a recent report by the Animal Agricultural Alliance laid out some pretty outrageous claims against Meatless Monday and the program’s supporters.

Today’s Meatless Monday campaign is not what it seems. It’s not a grassroots effort to celebrate healthy eating. This well-funded, radical campaign pushes an extreme animal rights and environmental agenda by promoting false claims about animal agriculture. The campaign’s clever marketing and celebrity endorsements may be misleading but the public deserves to know the truth.

Bottom line: Meatless Monday seeks to eliminate consumer choice the ability that we each have to determine the right food choices for ourselves and our families. The Alliance believes this is unacceptable and not in line with the beliefs of most Americans.

So according to the Animal Agricultural Alliance, Meatless Monday’s a highly funded group of animal lovers and the groups that have backed them over the years are only useless idiots who merely spout the word of their extremist overlords.

Well, I am here to say that Mobile Cuisine is a backer of the Meatless Monday Program, but at no point have we or the Meatless Monday project managers we have worked with have ever claimed that consumer choice be limited. In fact it’s just the opposite, Meatless Monday is a program that gives consumers more choices.

Please do your part today and join the movement? Signing up is fast and easy! 

Mobile Cuisine looks forward to our continued sharing of Meatless Monday articles with our readers!

 

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More than ever, food truck owners find themselves responding to requests for healthy, meatless meals. Through years of work in the mobile food industry and partnering with the Meatless Monday program, we provide weekly articles about the program as well as information on products that can be added to food truck menus. This week we will look at quinoa.

quinoa-pilaf

Quinoa pilaf from the Wheel Good Food Truck | Anchorage

If your food truck hasn’t jumped on the quinoa bandwagon yet, after reading this article we hope to see more food truck owners add this versatile ingredient to their menus. With a nutritional profile that has most nutritionists calling it a “superfood”, plus a plethora of yummy ways to get it into recipes — we’re willing to bet quinoa’s going to be your new favorite food.

Pronounced “KEEN-wah,” this faux-grain has been eaten for 5,000 years by the people of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile, and dates all the way back to the Incas, who believed it to be sacred. It’s considered a “pseudocereal” since it’s technically not a grain; it actually comes from the same botanical family as sugarbeet, table beet, Swiss chard and spinach.

Here’s why you’re going to love it:

  • It’s extremely high in protein (18%) and is a source of “complete protein,” which means that it includes all nine essential amino acids — a factor that makes it perfect for vegans whose diet often lacks the protein carnivores get from animal products.
  • It contains about twice the protein of regular cereal grains and fewer carbohydrates.
  • It’s low in cholesterol and sodium.
  • It’s higher in lysine — which is essential for tissue growth and repair — than wheat.
  • It’s a great source of manganese and a good source of magnesium, iron and phosphorus.
  • It cooks more quickly than rice.
  • It’s gluten-free, which makes it suitable for those with celiac disease.
  • It’s non-dairy and a good source of calcium, so we’re talking to you too, lactose-intolerant folks.

You can find quinoa in the rice aisle or health-food section of your grocery store. It’s as easy to cook as pasta: Boil water in a large pot, add quinoa, reduce the heat to low and cook about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain, let it cool and serve.

Perhaps the best part about quinoa is its versatility. Whether you want to make breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack or dessert, there’s always a way to include this pseudocereal.

Please do your part today and join the Meatless Monday movement? Signing up is fast and easy! Follow them on Twitter.

Mobile Cuisine looks forward to continued coverage of Meatless Monday for our readers!

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More than ever, food truck owners find themselves responding to requests for healthy, meatless meals. Through years of work in the mobile food industry and partnering with the Meatless Monday program, we have compiled the following suggestions for mobile food vendors who wish to become more involved in helping to introduce healthier options to their food truck menus.

First, it is important that the criteria for a vegetarian diet be clearly understood by all of your food truck staff. Vegetarians do not eat meat, poultry, fish, or other sea animals. They also avoid hidden animal products such as beef and chicken stocks, lard, and gelatin.

Some vegetarians avoid cheese made with rennet, a substance taken from the stomachs of unweaned calves and sometimes from pigs and other animals. Vegans are vegetarians who also avoid dairy products, eggs, and honey; they also try to avoid the use of animal products in all aspects of their lives.

You of course may also be serving people who are not yet vegetarian, but headed in that direction. They may eat some red meat, chicken, or fish, but would like more vegetarian meals served. The easiest way to meet the needs of the different categories of customers is to offer menu items which are vegan. To check with your existing customers you can survey those who want more vegetarian items to find out what type of vegetarian food they would like served (as long as it fits into your truck’s concept).

The following criteria should be taken into consideration when planning vege­tarian options:

  • When possible, start with minor changes to the existing menu.
  • Changes should be easy to implement. Begin with changes that do not in­volve excessive staff time, retraining, or equipment purchases.
  • The cost of new menu items should be equal to, or less than, existing menu items (including the cost of preparation). The potential cost savings of vegetarian options can be a selling point to some vendors.

Simple Modifications To An Existing Menu

The first step is to examine the existing menu. Are there items already on the menu which are vegetarian: baked potatoes, salads, breads, soups (which don’t contain chicken or beef broth), macaroni and cheese, meatless lasagna, pizza, etc.? These can be indicated to customers by a special marking on the menu board.

Changes which can easily be incorporated into an existing menu might include:

  • Make a vegetarian soup a daily menu item. The addition of salad and bread will provide customers with a nutritious and satisfying meal.
  • Offer a meatless prepared salad, such as a bean or a grain salad, every day.
  • Offer cooked pasta or a baked potato with one or more meatless toppings every day.
  • If a selection of hot entrees is offered each day, make one of them meat­less.

Simple Modification Of Existing Recipes

The addition of vegetarian items need not involve a complete overhaul of your menu. Often, simple modification of existing recipes will make them acceptable to vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians.

  • Many soups can be made vegetarian simply by changing from a meat-based stock to a vegetable stock. Try tomato, minestrone, lentil, split pea, or potato-leek soups.
  • Replace meat stock with vegetable stock in pilaf, other grain dishes, and sauces.
  • Lasagna can be prepared with a meatless sauce, and vegetables such as spinach, eggplant, or zucchini can be substituted for the meat filling. Again, the preparation time and ingredient cost will be competitive with that for the meat-based version.
  • When preparing a spaghetti or pasta sauce, prepare part without meat. This will make many existing pasta dishes acceptable to vegetarians. Like­wise, leaving meat off pizza will make it an acceptable alternative for many vegetarians.
  • Use vegetable oil instead of animal fat for frying and sautéing. This simple change may make a variety of items acceptable to vegetarians. It will also be a popular change with non-vegetarians who are concerned about eating more healthfully.
  • Prepare or purchase pastries, crackers, rolls, and cookies made with vege­table fat instead of animal fat. Offer non-fat versions, too.
  • Prepare or purchase yeast breads without eggs or dairy products. Breads should be made from whole grain flours whenever possible, and should contain little or no fat. If fat is an ingredient, make sure that it is vegetable rather than animal fat.
  • Milk can be replaced with soy milk, rice milk, or with water in most re­cipes, without altering the taste or appearance of the food.
  • Buttermilk can be replaced with soured soy milk or rice milk. For each cup of buttermilk, use 1 cup soy milk plus 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Replace 1 cup of yogurt with 3/4 cup soy milk plus 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
  • Crumbled tofu can be substituted for cottage cheese or ricotta cheese in lasagna and similar dishes.
  • Offer vegetarian baked beans in place of pork and beans, chili beans instead of chili con carne, and refried beans made with vegetable oil, or no fat at all.
  • Vegetarian hot dogs are also available from a number of companies and in natural food stores.
  • To produce a chewier, meatier tofu, freeze the tofu for about three days. Thaw, squeeze out water, and crumble. The tofu will have a chewy texture.
  • Some people prefer not to go heavy on the beans in tacos, chili, and other dishes. Adding bulgur to the beans makes a great-tasting, easier-to-digest dish. You can also lighten up some dishes like tacos by using more vegetables than beans. As a variation, try pureeing the beans for tacos.

Additional Ideas For Recipe Modification

With just a bit of experimentation, additional recipes may be made acceptable for vegetarians such as:

  • Replacing eggs which are used for binding, such as in burgers or loaves, try:
  1. Mashed potatoes
  2. Quick-cooking rolled oats
  3. Cooked oatmeal or cooked rice
  4. Fine bread crumbs
  5. Tomato paste
  • Diced or mashed tofu can be used in some salads and sandwiches in place of chopped egg. Scrambled tofu is an excellent alternative to scrambled eggs.
  • Replace the ham in bean or pea soup with sliced vegetarian hot dogs added at the end of the cooking time, or simply leave the ham out and add other seasonings, such as marjoram, cumin, black pepper, and salt.
  • Liquid smoke may be added to soups for a “meaty” flavor, though some indi­viduals may object to this product due to personal health beliefs.
  • Replace the meat stuffing in bell peppers or cabbage rolls with a stuffing of rice, nuts, and raisins.
  • A number of meat-like products, such as tempeh or seitan, can be substituted for meat in recipes. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and normally is bought in blocks about 1/2″ thick. Seitan is made from wheat gluten and is often more appealing taste-wise to the public than tempeh.
  • Gelatin, which is an animal protein, may be re­placed with Superfruits, a plant-derived jello available from natural foods distributors.
  • Instead of clam chowder, prepare a corn/potato chowder.
  • White sugar alternatives (Some vegans will not use white sugar since it may be whitened with animal bone char, depending on the source.): concentrated fruit juice, dates, raisins, sweet fruits, blended fruits, banana.
  • Non-dairy frozen desserts include Rice Dream, frozen tofu desserts, sor­bet, etc. Beware that items such as sherbet may contain gelatin, dairy, or eggs.
  • In chili, mix different varieties of beans, such as chickpeas, navy beans, and kidney beans. Add some corn for extra color.

Please do your part today and join the Meatless Monday movement? Signing up is fast and easy! Follow them on Twitter.

Mobile Cuisine looks forward to continued coverage of Meatless Monday for our readers!

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Mobile Cuisine is always proud to provide our readers articles designed to share a multifaceted culinary lifestyle program that is spreading throughout the country and world. As many of you already know, we have designated our Monday features to help promote the Meatless Monday’s program which not only do we support on the website, but our staff actually has adopted in our Monday dietary lifestyle.

vegetable arrangement

In today’s article we want to follow up a recent article in which we asked our readers to submit their choice for America’s favorite vegetarian or vegan food truck or cart. The submissions have been counted and the top 10 have been calculated, the problem we had we with coming up with a tie. Because of this, the pool of trucks will be the top 11 submissions.

If you are a food truck that feels you should have been included, we apologize, however, the trucks selected for this poll were determined by our readers, and by the number of votes they received in the first phase of the contest.

Bombay Food Junkies – St. Louis, MO: The Cinnamon Snail – NY, NJ; Good Karma Kitchen – DFW, TX; Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ – Portland, OR; Liba Falafel – San Francisco, CA; Like No Udder – Providence, RI; The Purple Carrot – East Lansing, MI; Roti Rolls – Charleston, SC; The Seabirds Truck – Orange County, CA; Taco Party Truck – Boston, MA; Wong Way Veg – Denver, CO

THE POLL IS CLOSED.

This poll will stay open for 2 weeks to make sure everyone gets a chance to vote for in the poll and the truck operators will have a chance to let their fans know to come help them with their votes. The poll will close on July 26th at 12AM CST, at which time we will announce the results shortly thereafter.

If you run into issues with submitting a vote in the poll, you can submit via email (contest@mobile-cuisine.com), however we will be making sure that only 1 vote is counted per person.

The winner of this contest will be featured on Mobile Cuisine in a feature article, to help share information about the vendor, their menu, and how they came up with the idea for serving meatless fare.

Tell your friends and family, spread the word.

Please do your part today and join the Meatless Monday movement? Signing up is fast and easy! Follow them on Twittter.

Mobile Cuisine looks forward to continued coverage of Meatless Monday for our readers!

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The summer is the perfect time to serve delicious, sizzling meals straight off the grill of your food truck. Meatless grilling is an easy way to share seasonal flavors from your food truck menu. Plus, the occasional vegetarian dish can help your customers incorporate more vitamin-packed vegetables into their diet and reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases.

meatless monday food truck

It’s easy for your customers to remember to cut back on meat consumption when they start the week with a meatless meal. So fire up your truck’s grill with the help of these 10 tips shared by the Meatless Monday website:

  • Kabobs are a BBQ staple that can easily go meatless. Add tofu cubes, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, roasted potatoes or any other vegetable that strikes your fancy.
  • Many vegetables can be thrown right on the grill. Try fresh corn, asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, squash or bell peppers.
  • You can also add fruit to the grill for a sweet side or dessert. Try peach halves, pineapples, melon, kiwi or figs with a touch of honey marinade.
  • Swap your burger for a portobello mushroom or grilled eggplant slices. Put it on a bun and add interesting toppings like avocados, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, or an olive spread.
  • Try a veggie burger recipe that celebrates hearty ingredients like black beans, lentils, quinoa and chickpeas.
  • All you need is pizza dough, the usual toppings and your favorite thinly sliced or pre-grilled vegetables to make a delicious, smoky pie right on the grill.
  • Use your favorite marinade recipe to add flavor to extra firm tofu cubes. Grill them up and add them to a salad, serve with veggies, or  their own.
  • Try grilled vegetables to make a filling summer salad. Add a bit of fruit, feta or olive oil to complete the dish; or think beyond lettuce and concoct a bean or grain salad.
  • Consider your sides when planning a meatless BBQ menu. Pasta salads, raw vegetables and hummus dip are great ways to turn your plant-based dishes into a full meal for customers following the Meatless Monday program.
  • End their meal on a healthy note with a tray of fresh fruit, a parfait or homemade smoothies.

Please do your part today and join the movement? Signing up is fast and easy! Mobile Cuisine Magazine looks forward to our continued sharing of Meatless Monday articles with our readers!

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Treating vegetables with the same respect you would a nice cut of meat and knowing how to cook them and which seasonings might enhance them is critical to a food truck’s menu.

roasted veggies

Whether it’s a deeply golden-brown portobello mushroom to top a veggie burger or roasted corn and chiles for a quinoa-chipotle salad; many food trucks feature vegetables across all menu options.

Many mobile chefs have found ways to leverage the farmer’s bounty into satisfying vegetarian main courses or side dishes that really stand out. Here are some flavor-amplifying cooking methods, herbs, spices and sauces from food truck owners who are amplifying veggie volume.

Roasting

Dry heat can bring out the best in vegetables.

The naturally occurring sugars are browned while roasting (caramelization), and that brings out a new sweetness. You have to know how to treat the vegetables because a dish can be served so right, but you can also serve it so wrong.

It’s important to cut vegetables uniformly so they cook at the same rate and cover the roasting pan with foil for most of the cooking time to keep some moisture in the vegetables.

In addition, like vegetables should be roasted together (i.e. a pan of carrots, a pan of diced squash), as cooking times will not be the same from veggie to veggie.

If you want to elevate oven-roasted vegetables try splashing some red wine in the pan. This gives the vegetables a layer or richness, and by the time they come out of the oven, a rich burgundy color.

Grilling

When grilling vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, blanch them first (just a bit), this will make them tender and still allow them to get an amazing char, halved and face down on a grill, with some olive oil and lemon pepper.

As with roasting, food truck chefs can use grilling as a time-saving technique: grill vegetables beforehand, and have them ready for cook-to-order sandwiches, pasta and sides.

Marinating

Marinating creates layers of flavor and adds a little variance. It adds appeal by making vegetables more interesting with sweet or sour or savory flavors.

You can grill vegetables (which have been marinated in olive oil, vinegar and fresh herbs), then toss them with a light cream sauce and serves over pasta, making for a vegetarian main dish with punch.

Seasoning with Herbs and Spices

While there’s no denying the wisdom of keeping things simple in terms of seasoning vegetables, sometimes just one or two added spices can take things over the top—but in a good way.

Simple salt and pepper and minimal oil to enhance vegetables’ natural flavors is preferred, but aside from basic seasoning, it’s important to understand other seasonings and flavors that might enhance them.

You can roast cauliflower with paprika, this will give additional flavors which work best to bring out the flavors in chicken or beef.

Here are some of our favorite vegetable/herb/spice pairings:

  • Ginger works really well with orange vegetables; carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash
  • Basil (fresh) can enhance just about any vegetable, usually added raw at the end of the recipe, chiffonaded.
  • Cardamom brings out the flavors of vegetables cooked in a curry.
  • Cinnamon plus winter squash equals balanced flavors.
  • Cumin is great on fresh-picked summer veggies such as green beans, corn, tomatoes, zucchini and summer squash.

Saucing

Chimichurri comes up often in conversation about amplifying veggie volume. No wonder: it’s one of the most vibrant sauces around. Argentinean in origin, chimichurri is a zesty combination of chopped parsley, oregano, red chiles, garlic, lemon zest, vinegar and olive oil.

Food truck owners can toss roasted vegetables in with their chimichurri, which will become a menu item that vegetarians really appreciate.

You can switch things up a bit by using grilled vegetables as a sauce. Charred, pureed poblano peppers become a light cream sauce that goes wonderfully on angel hair pasta. A grilled sweet Vidalia onion vinaigrette can become a signature salad dressing or a topping for grilled vegetables.

We hope this article sheds some light on the use of vegetables on your food trucks menu.

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U.S. beef prices jumped to a 10-year high last week as the arrival of warm, dry weather over much of the country could have food truck chefs looking at alternative menu solutions to keep their menu prices in check.

meatless monday food truck

The wholesale price choice beef, or cutout, on Wednesday jumped $3.10 to $199.49 per 100 lbs, the highest since $200.65 on Oct 20, 2003, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Consumers already are paying record high prices for beef and the latest surge in the wholesale market may push supermarket prices even higher. At supermarkets the average beef price in March was a record $5.30 per lb, eclipsing the previous record of $5.15 set in November, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service.

Those higher beef costs and reduced consumer discretionary spending may cause some food truck owners to switch from beef to other competitively priced meats or vegetables to fill the void.

We found in a recent poll that 66% of food truck owners have been forced to raise their entree prices (in the past year) due to rises in food costs they’ve seen at retail groceries.

Food Truck Menu Price Increases

 

Many of those who have not raised prices, are worried that if their food costs continue to increase that they will have to buckle and increase their menu items. Another concern is that they may begin using ingredients that do not cost as much as those that have increased in price the most which may require the removal of some of their most popular menu items.

Meatless Monday would be one way food truck owners can shift their food costs at least once a week. If you have interest in learning more or joining the movement? Signing up is fast and easy! Follow them on Twitter.

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A recent study published in Global Environmental Change shows by cutting meat and dairy consumption by 25 percent, we could reduce two greenhouse gases by 80 percent. So if you’re thinking about moving to a more plant-based diet, welcome aboard and thanks for helping the environment. Not only will you be helping your wallet, (because plant-based protein is cheaper than most animal protein), and you’ll be helping yourself — plant-based protein is low in fat and contains zero cholesterol. Still, what people want to know when they find friends or family that are vegan is, do they get enough protein.

mythbusters_bustedProtein is a big deal. It’s the 20 amino acids your body needs for healthy muscles, blood and skin. Fortunately, it’s in a lot of what you eat, including plants.

The Food and Drug Administration’s basic formula for calculating protein needs is .8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. If you’re an average guy of average weight, that’s 56 daily grams of protein. For a woman, it’s 46 grams. And if you’re pregnant or nursing, that number bumps up to 71. Even then, it’s easy to get your protein RDA. The fact is most Americans get twice that. This is not a case of more being better. Too much protein can increase the risk of heart disease to impaired kidney function. You want your heart to keep beating and your filtration system to be in optimal condition.

Then there’s the myth of incomplete protein. The blame for this falls on the otherwise fine Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet. Lappé advocated a plant-based diet in her book which first came out in 1971, but said plant-based protein sources must be combined at each meal. This seemed to give people a license to dismiss a vegetarian diet as requiring too much effort. A few years later, Lappé reversed her decision, the 1982 edition of Diet sets the record straight, stating plant-based protein requires no eye-crossing combination or calculation, it’s great by itself. Even the American Dietetic Association is on board and released a statement as much.

So how does a vegan get enough protein? Tempeh is king, with 20 grams per 4-ounce serving. Tofu has about 9 grams per serving. For those who’d miss the taste and texture of meat, faux meats — veggie burgers, veggie dogs and the like  — make an excellent soy-based substitute, averaging around a dozen protein grams per serving.

For those who prefer their protein unprocessed and plant-based, you can use beans like chickpeas (15 grams per 1-cup serving) and lentils — (18 grams per 1 cup serving), nuts (5 grams in a small, handful) and whole grains like oats (6 protein grams per 1/2 cup serving) and quinoa. It looks like a grain, but is really a grass, cooks up quick, is mild-flavored, fun in the mouth, versatile as hell and half a cup has a dozen protein grams. Even broccoli contains protein (4 grams per serving).

Please do your part today and join the Meatless Monday movement? Signing up is fast and easy! Follow them on Twittter.

Mobile Cuisine looks forward to our continued coverage of Meatless Monday for our readers!

 

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