Written by Beth Harding
Quick! When you think vegan food what springs to mind? The veggie burger and salad? Well, think again. Edmonton’s vegan food scene is evolving tastily with passionate menus and driven chefs. Vegan food in our city is becoming more about culinary adventure mixed with mainstream accessibility than you may realize.
What may have once been considered a lesser option on restaurant menus for animal-aware folk, vegan food in Edmonton is in the midst of a culinary rise.
“Vegan food is the untamed wild. It’s the final culinary frontier,” says Rylan Krause, one of the founding members of Mirepoix Trio. Comprised of three motivated, vegan chefs, who, coincidentally, met while working at Noorish, Mirepoix Trio is becoming quickly known in Edmonton as the go-to vegan pop-up restaurant.
Without the typical flavor bases of animal fat, dairy and eggs, creating satisfying and accessible vegan fare for vegans and omnivores is as exciting as it is challenging.
“Vegan cuisine offers a chance to play mad scientist, combining unique flavor profiles in a way that excites the eyes and the palate,” says Adam Zarycki, another of Mirepoix Trio’s chefs.
Mirepoix is holding a tapas pop-up at the Clever Rabbit March 16. Although this tapas will be atypical — without sardines and prawns — there is no doubt Mirepox can pull it off.
“There have been so many people we’ve cooked for that went in assuming one thing, and came out pleasantly surprised at how accessible and good vegan food can actually be,” says Jade Wu, the third in the Mirepoix Trio.
Veganism has its roots in animal and environmental ethics, but there are nutritional and health benefits to eating a plant-based diet as well. According to Allison Landin, registered holistic nutritionist and owner of Truffula Modern Delicacies, “plant foods have many phytonutrients, fibre, and enzymes which you cannot get from animal foods.”
Landin takes her clients through culinary and nutritional journeys focusing on a vegan and plant-based diet. She has also created a raw and fermented cashew cheese which is rich in flavor and nutrition, and shows up under the Truffula label. “Cheese” has never tasted so good.
Landin’s cheese can be found at Noorish Conscious Eatery, which has been pushing the culinary palate of Edmontonians for over two years with vegan food. Noorish mixes local, seasonal ingredients with vegan flavor blasts like cashew cream, avocados and coconut milk. What excites Sheniz Kassam, owner of Noorish, about vegan food?
“The culinary potential to develop more plant-based food alternatives for the human diet,” Kassam says. Try their flagship Laughing Buddha Belly Bowl for divine vegan green curry.
With folks like Mirepoix’s team, Landin and Noorish leading culinary adventures into vegan fare, even the carnivores are likely to be enticed.
Beth Harding has lived in Edmonton off and on for about a decade and is still finding wonderful nooks and crannies to explore. She is an avid foodie and knows her local farmers well. Beth has trained in energy healing in the Algonquin Indian tradition and takes that training with her into her heart-centred business coaching and development business, BEST Events & Other Stuff. Beth’s greatest joys in life: her child, music and cooking for people she loves.