Vegan, vegetarian, keto, gluten-free, nut-free. You all know the words, so it's no secret that our food culture has shifted from one where everyone pretty much ate the same thing to a hyper-individualized one. But it is possible to find unity in the age of dietary division by embracing recipes that can satisfy most, if not all, of these restrictions, while still offering something delicious for those who are willing to eat just about anything.
As the number of people with dietary restrictions rise, so does their awareness about where our food comes from and what it can do to our bodies. Food awareness can definitely be seen through the popularity of veganism and plant-based diets, which have been shown to help people lose weight. But that's not the only reason some people choose to go that route. Some people refrain from eating meat due to ethical reasons because they believe eating animals is morally wrong. Other people decide to lead a plant-based lifestyle to reduce their carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.
Alexi Mandolini, Chef of Creative Development for Catering By Design, and Matt Heikkila, the chef for By Design Collective, embraced the growing vegan trend on the Catersource Conference & Tradeshow's Culinary Experience Stage during their session "No Meat? No Problem."
Take a look at Heikkila's recipe for vegan scallops for inspiration on how to elevate your plant-based cooking.
Yield: 6 servings
3 king oyster mushrooms
1 cup English pea puree
1 cup fava bean, blanched
¼ cup marcona almonds, toasted
¼ cup lemon oil
salt and pepper to taste
2¼ cups shelled fresh peas (from about 2¼ pounds peas in pods) or frozen peas
1 T (packed) fresh mint leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
- Cook peas in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about fice minutes. Set 1 cup of peas aside for garnish. Place remaining peas in food processor. Add mint leaves and garlic. Puree pea mixture, gradually adding pea cooking liquid to form light and creamy puree. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Slice the king oyster mushrooms in 1.5” thick slices.
- Using a paring knife, score the flat sides of the sliced mushrooms (this will help create great texture when searing).
- Sear the mushrooms in a hot frying pan or cast-iron skillet (about three minutes or until golden brown) season with salt and set aside.
- To plate: place the pea puree down on the plate first followed by the seared king oysters.
- Garnish with peas, fava beans and marcona almonds.
- Finish the plate with a drizzle of lemon oil.