And the winner is…

We did it. We picked the winner of our first Vegan Recipe Contest! Drumroll, please…It’s a delicious, easy-to-make Pea Pesto Pasta with Basil and Mint.

Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Heaton with contest judge Mark Reinfeld

Readers across the nation submitted more than 500 recipes for our esteemed judges, Chef Mark Reinfeld and Food Network host Ellie Krieger, to review. And judging wasn’t easy because there were a plethora of healthy, tasty, creative options, all using at least one Simple Truth product. Keep your eyes peeled on our website, as we’ll be trickling out an array of the top recipes for you to enjoy.

View our vegan recipe contest winners and their prizes here! 

A few issues back I wrote about trying to eat more vegan. Dairy cheese is still the challenge for me, but I’ve been having fun experimenting with plant-based cheeses like Miyoko’s, Treeline Treenut Cheese and Kite Hill. I’ve also discovered that nutritional yeast is a flavorful substitute for grated cheese on popcorn or pasta, or as the main cheese in mac and cheese.

I was recently on a hike with a girlfriend who shared that her husband is wanting to eat better, with less meat. She was all for healthier meals but was feeling like she was in a rut, making the same things over and over. So, we had a fun conversation in which I recounted how I’ve been working to expand my meal repertoire with more options and a variety of dishes.

Have a Bowl

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One trick I learned is building a bowl. Start with a grain like brown rice, quinoa, couscous, farro or buckwheat; next add some raw, steamed, or roasted veggies and greens; then add a protein (beans, tofu, tempeh, seitan); and top with a homemade sauce or dressing. One of my favorite quick dressings is a blend of tahini, soy sauce, water, crushed garlic, a bit of chile paste and freshly ground ginger. I also like to sprinkle on some seeds, like flax or pumpkin, for added crunch and nutrition.

In this issue, we have a selection of fast and flavorful bowls, including a Kale Bowl with Lemon-Tahini Dressing; a Deconstructed Egg Roll Bowl with Sweet and Sour Sauce; and an Acorn Squash, Chicken Sausage and Sage Brown-Butter Bowl. Although they’re not all vegan, they are delicious. And you can always substitute ingredients.

We also have a section of hearty soups to keep your tummy warm and satisfied on those cooler fall days, including Vegetable Broth with Chickpea Dumplings and an Artichoke, Barley, Chicken and Lemon Soup.

Get Your Gourd On

What would a fall issue be without squash? Our friends at Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts created a menu of options using different types of squash. There’s a Delicata Squash, Garbanzo and Tofu Curry; a Spaghetti Squash Teriyaki Bowl; and Calabaza en Tacha (candied squash). And have you ever tried a Butternut Squash Lassi? It’s delicious!

Fall is one of my favorite seasons for cooking because when it’s cold outside, I want to be inside by a warm stove. Enjoy this time of year and let me know what you’re doing to add more variety to your meal rotation. I would love to hear from you.

Rebecca Heaton, Editor

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Pick up our new issue at your local Kroger store or download it here.