Veggie-centric Meals That Are Genuinely Delicious
Bedford-area restaurants have invented some new dishes, renamed others, and shown off their creativity skills upon joining Bedford 2020’s Meatless Monday campaign.
Photo courtesy of Village Social
Bedford 2020, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing local greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020, launched the campaign on February 4; it runs through April 23.
“Many people are aware of the health benefits of cutting back on meat consumption but not as aware that it can also help the environment,” says Olivia Farr, co-chair of the initiative and senior vice president of the organization. More than 300 families have taken the pledge and around 200 of those will be part of a post-initiative study by the Meatless Monday Campaign and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“Anything we can do to reduce our carbon footprint is beneficial and healthful to the planet,” says Leslie Lampert, owner of Ladle of Love in Mount Kisco and Bronxville, and Café of Love in Mount Kisco. She created a soup for the campaign - the Bedford 2020 - which she’s serving in both Ladles of Love locations. The soup is a mixture of vegetable stock, white beans, kale, and a number of spices.
At Village Social in Mount Kisco, William Eschner, corporate chef Village Social Group, says, “We’ve definitely seen an increase in vegetable-centric requests – and our vegan customer base has grown tremendously.” Jun Lee, new executive chef at Village Social, put a spin on his native Korean bibimbap, substituting mushrooms for beef, with a sunny-side egg, and chili paste. It’s delicious and packs a kick. Meatless Monday specials have included such items as cauliflower steak and a plant burger.
Photo Courtesy of Blue Dolphin
Learning of the Meatless Monday campaign led Katonah’s Blue Dolphin to add to its vegetarian menu choices and to devise a vegetarian /wine dinner tasting at sister restaurant Le Fontane. While not on a Monday, the dinner, on March 22, “Will allow our vegetarian customers a chance to enjoy our popular food and wine pairing dinners,” says Blue Dolphin owner Alfredo Abbate. Items on the menu include a taro root taco and a beet gnocchi with goat cheese and roasted vegetables.
Photo Courtest of G.E. Brown
The Katonah Reading Room, Bedford’s G.E. Brown, and Mount Kisco’s Siegel Brothers are offering customers myriad meatless salad, soup, and sandwich options. The Reading Room’s popular dark salad, with kale, vegetables, a spiced nut mix and Parmesan cheese, has been renamed the Bedford 2020 salad. G.E. Brown’s co-owner Jennifer Vellano says they’ve been active with Meatless Monday for some time. “Our chickpea burger is very popular and we try to offer an ethic vegetarian dish, such as a mulligatawny soup. And Jenni Mendez, the Siegel Brothers chef and director of catering, says “We’re mindful of those customers who want to eat plant-based and it’s a labor of love to provide them with food that doesn’t sacrifice taste.” Recent Meatless Monday specials have included vegan mushroom Wellington, with couscous as a substitute for puff pastry and a Mediterranean stuffed eggplant, stuffed with the eggplant meat, quinoa, and herbs.
Crabtree Kittle House’s Executive Chef Jay Lippen has been on the forefront of the Meatless Monday movement, serving on Slow Food USA’s Chef Alliance. “This campaign is a great way for people to take small steps at home and to look to possibly try some new dishes at restaurants.” Lippen, Matt Safarowic, operator of Katonah’s The Whitlock and Nancy Roper, owner of Bedford’s Truck (the latter two are closed on Mondays) all promote meatless options on their social media feeds. Both Lippen and Roper highlight the farms they get their produce from on their menus. “Gone are the days when customers looking for meatless meals came into restaurants and cobbled together a meal of side dishes,” Safarowic says.
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