Archive for the ‘Franklin’ category

J. Alexander’s Update

May 30th, 2014

For a while J. Alexander’s had had an excellent veggie burger that has been vegan. However, on a recent visit I inquired about the veggie burger once again. I was told that the recipe for this burger had changed recently with a menu revamp and now contained eggs and that the bun now had an egg wash. Unfortunately, for the local veggie burger fans this is one less choice.

Do you have a favorite veggie burger in the Nashville area? Let us know in the comments where you find it and be sure to specify if it is vegan.

 

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Noodles & Company Giveaway

January 29th, 2013

Noodles & Company Japanese Pan Noodle

Everyone likes noodles. Some like them more when you can add tofu. That’s not an option you’ll find at many restaurants here but Noodles & Company does offer it for us vegans and vegetarians. There’s a good selection of bowls to choose from for the vegetarian or vegan at this fast casual restaurant so mixing it up is quite easy.

Their first Noodles & Company location in Nashville opened in 2010 in Green Hills. Since that time a new location has opened in Coolsprings. I’ve been given some free bowl vouchers to share and getting yours is a simple as commenting on this article. In your comment tell me what you would like to try from Noodle & Company’s menu or maybe something you would like to see added to the menu. I’m also giving away one pair on Twitter. To win there, follow me and tweet a link to this article. Also, include @Nashveggie and @noodlescompany in your tweet. I’ll pick 2 winners here and one on Twitter, all at random, on February 15th for a pair of free bowls. Yes, you can win here and on Twitter for a combined 4 free bowls if you’re that lucky. You don’t have to live in Nashville to win.

Noodles & Company
995 Meridian Blvd.
Franklin, TN 37067
(615) 771-3013

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My Veggie Chef

March 30th, 2012

 

Things I love: cooking, spending time in the kitchen, planning a great vegan meal and creating recipes. Just because I love those things doesn’t mean everyone does. For those that really don’t like meal planning and cooking there’s My Veggie Chef. Being one who loves all of those things and loves to put a dinner together form scratch I had to put myself in a different mode for this. I’m not accustomed to having a ready-to-cook meal supplied to me. I decided to go through this review with a mindset of someone who needs that ready to go meal waiting. I’ll put away my make it my way ideas and be the kitchen amateur for this. Well, a little bit at least. I did take a few liberties here and there. I couldn’t resist.

My Veggie Chef is a food preparation and delivery service in the Nashville area operated by Kristen Agee. No, Ms. Agee will not come to your home and take over your kitchen like to some high-priced celebrity personal chef in the Bentley-driven hills of Bel Air. Instead she will prepare your completely vegan meals in her kitchen and deliver them to your home. Individual ingredients are pre-measured and supplied in containers with easily followed instructions. All you add is a small amount of time and maybe water where needed. It’s very simple to have a healthy, vegan meal without all the pre-planning required and trips to the grocery store.

 

My Veggie Chef

My Veggie Chef meals are supplied frozen. Just thaw and follow the on-package directions.

 

The week of meals from My Veggie Chef that I was supplied were Veggie Burgers, Tuscan White Bean Soup, Roasted Corn Chowder, Pasta with Caramelized Cauliflower and Parsley Pesto and Tofu with Veggies over Tomato Couscous. All five meals were individually packaged in Ziploc bags with smaller bags inside for each ingredient. On the outside of the main bag is a sticker with preparation instructions. Everything is typed out neatly but the only thing I would consider adding to the instructions is prep time. Some people like to know exactly how long it will take from the time they start to pour the first ingredient in the pan to the time they’ll be taking their hot vegan din-din from the oven. For parents who pick up kids at school or whatever practice and have a short time at home before dinner must be served that knowledge is helpful. If I have five meals waiting at home for me to choose form ranging in 30 minutes prep to 2 hours and I know Wednesday night I’ll have only 45 minutes when I arrive home to get dinner made before the kid has to go to bed but Friday night I’ll have all afternoon to get dinner planned. I’ll be saving that 30 minute meal for Wednesday night and the 2 hour dinner will likely be made Friday. It’s better to know at a glance.

 

My Veggie Chef Veggie Burgers

Veggie burger ingredients

 

I’m a veggie burger lover and since the complete prep for a veggie burger is there (including buns!) I made that the first meal to try. A bag of TVP mixed with spices, corn starch and brown rice flour was supplied as well and a smaller bag of ketchup and vegan Worcestershire sauce. The instructions stated to boil a cup of water and pour it over the TVP mixture then empty the ketchup bag into that and stir to combine. Once mixed well I was to let the mixture sit for 15 minutes. OK, here’s where I had time to reflect on making veggie burgers and how I like them. I skewed just a little but not in the basic directions. A hot pan was ready and into it I put a sliced onion to caramelize while I waited for the burger mixture. Once the mixture was ready I made four patties and put them into my hot skillet. The directions stated to cook for 5 minutes on each side. Now, I’m sure that sufficient to heat the burgers through but my crazy cook mentality took over. I wanted to see if these things could hold up to the onions and that meant a nice crispy outside and that meant AT LEAST 30 minutes in the pan if not longer.

 

My Veggie Chef Veggie Burgers

My Veggie Chef veggie burgers frying up. I added some onions because that just how it should be done. Don't be afraid to fry these longer than indicated.

 

The moment you know if you have a homemade veggie burger patty that’s going to work is when you make that first flip with your spatula. I was unsure and honestly had little hope of flipping a burger and it coming down in one piece. No problem, a perfect flip. I covered the pan, a step not stated in directions but a staple in my own veggie burger cooking as it lets the heat cook the burger more evenly and provides a moister burger, and flipped them every few minutes. After about 45 minutes on medium-low the My Veggie Chef veggie burgers were ready. Next step in my veggie burger prep that was not in the directions: a toasted bun! Really, who wants a burger on a cold, clammy bun?I put the buns in the pan with the patties and toasted them well so they were nice and brown on the outside yet warm and steamy moist inside. Time to give these veggie burgers a taste, a patty on a toasted bun spread with some Earth Balance mayonnaise and topped with those delicious caramelized onions. I’m thinking these ingredients are too simple and likely I’m going to have a bland burger screaming for flavor. No, actually a very tasty burger! onions. The burgers were spiced well and the texture was excellent. Actually better that some veggie burgers I’ve had in local restaurants. Is it the most complex flavor with perfect fresh ingredients? Well, no but you’re looking for a ready to go meal and that’s what you get. Still, much better than the over-processed frozen patties you’ll find in the grocery freezer.

 

My Veggie Chef Veggie Burgers

My Veggie Chef veggie burgers ready to munch.

 

The next meal I tried was Tuscan White Bean soup. The contents were in two bags. One bag contained onions and a very important ingredient that was not listed on the ingredient list: garlic. Most wouldn’t think anything of this but if you’re allergic to garlic then this is a big issue. Mrs. Nashveggie is allergic to garlic so luckily I caught it which wasn’t hard since I have a nose in the middle of my face. The second bag contained a white bean tomato sauce mix. The cooking instructions for this one was simple. Saute the onion mixture for five minutes then add 3 cups of water and the contents of the bean bag. Cooking this for 45 minutes you should have a ready to eat soup. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. After the stated 45 minutes at a boil the beans were still hard and inedible. It took a full 3 hours before the beans were soft enough to eat.  For me this soup needed a signature addition to make it Tuscan White Bean soup: Kale. About 15 minutes before the soup was to be served I added 2 cups of shredded kale and it made the dish.

 

My Veggie Chef Tuscan White Bean Soup

Tuscan White Bean Soup ingredients

 

 

My Veggie Chef Tuscan White Bean Soup

My Veggie Chef Tuscan White Bean Soup. I added some kale and a little pasta for a one bowl meal.

 

Next up, Roasted Corn Chowder. Another two bag meal this one was stated to be ready in about 15 minutes with the combined cooking times of each stage. Instructions were similar to the Tuscan White Bean soup. One bag contained onions and peppers to be sauteed for five minutes. The next bag contained spices and corn to be added along with one cup of water. The next step left a bit of confusion. ‘Add soymilk’. How much soymilk? A guess? To taste? Being a seasoned cook I had a general idea but for the person likely preparing these meals it could be a loss. I added 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened soymilk and cooked for the stated time but the flavors just didn’t seem to mesh. I simmered another 30 minutes and this one was just flat. If I added too much soymilk causing the flavor to become bland then there would be very little soup between 2 people by adding any amount less. It definitely needs more in the flavor department.

 

My Veggie Chef Roasted Corn Chowder

My Veggie Chef Roasted Corn Chowder ingredients

 

My Veggie Chef Roasted Corn Chowder

Roasted Corn Chowder cooking directions where in step 4 it does not state the amount of soymilk to be added to the soup.

 

Pasta with Caramelized Cauliflower and Parsley Pesto I made for a quick dinner one night after getting home late.  I think “caramelized cauliflower” is a misnomer. It should be “roasted cauliflower” as you’re doing no more than roasting the cauliflower in the oven for a short time until it’s lightly brown. The cauliflower did roast nicely with a little salt and pepper and pasta is simple enough to prepare. The pesto, however, was a bit bland. It could have used some salt and was missing the key nuttiness I find a staple in pesto. I typically use walnuts or cashews in my pesto and I’m not a fan of the traditional pesto ingredient of pinenuts but any of the three would have been a welcome addition.

 

My Veggie Chef Pasta with Caramelized Cauliflower and Parsley Pesto

My Veggie Chef Pasta with Caramelized Cauliflower and Parsley Pesto ingredients

 

My Veggie Chef Pasta with Caramelized Cauliflower and Parsley Pesto

My Veggie Chef Pasta with Caramelized Cauliflower and Parsley Pesto

 

The final meal in the pack to be prepared was Tofu with Veggie over Tomato Couscous. This one took a bit more prep time than some of the others. Frying tofu then frying veggies as well as the plan ahead if following the package direction, which I did, meant knowing 24 hours ahead you’d be eating this meal.  The first step is to fry the tofu in a little oil. I did just that but quickly noticed that the tofu was just plain tofu, unseasoned. I did not waiver from the instructions by adding any seasoning but any vegan knows what unseasoned tofu tastes like, nothing at all.  Tofu prepared I sat it aside and went in on the veggies by frying them in the same manner. Nice chunks of artichoke with carrots and small slivers of peppers went into the pan and I quickly noticed this dish was heavy on the cumin as the scent quickly filled the house. Water and tomatoes boiled and couscous was ready. All together and ready to eat this one turned out fairly well except for the tasteless tofu. I would recommend some seasoning added to the tofu beforehand. It would make this dish stand out and give it the flavor where it was lacking. The veggies tasted very good with the couscous, however.

 

My Veggie Chef Tofu with Veggie over Tomato Couscous

My Veggie Chef Tofu with Veggie over Tomato Couscous ingredients

 

 

My Veggie Chef Tofu with Veggies over Tomato Couscous

My Veggie Chef Tofu with Veggies over Tomato Couscous

 

These meals when following directions needed a nudge here and there. If you’re comfortable enough in the kitchen then these will give you enough of a start to where you can add your own touches to make then a little better than out of the bag. As I stated a few places, some extra seasoning, and extra directions, would come in handy.

You can sign up for emails from My Veggie Chef as well. Doing so will get the weekly menu sent to you so you can decide if you’re feeling that weeks flavors. You can then go to the website and order your meals.

The meals I reviewed were enough for 2-3 people but My Veggie Chef has an option for meals for 4-6 people. Meals for 2-3 cost $80 for five meals and the 4-6 serving 5 meal plan is $160. Despite the shortcomings with some of the meals I tried this is an excellent service for local vegans, or vegetarians and even those who just want to eat a little healthier, and those who are in a time crunch to prepare dinner My Veggie Chef can help you out. My Veggie Chef only delivers within a 20 mile radius of downtown Nashville but outside of that delivery area pick-up is available.

 

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Vegan in Coolsprings – Brixx: Wood Fired Pizza

August 31st, 2011

A new vegan option has cropped up in the Coolsprings area. Brixx:Wood Fired Pizza has opened on McEwen Drive next to Whole Foods and behind Bricktops.  I managed to get a pre-opening invite to enjoy dinner while they practiced their daily motions thanks to Coolsprings.com.

The website and menu clearly states many of their items can be made vegan and that they offer vegan cheese as a substitute for regular cheese at no extra charge which is uncommon as there is typically an extra cost for this which most restaurants adopt. Brixx uses Follow Your Heart mozzarella (UPDATE: Brixx is now using Daiya mozzarella as their vegan cheese option)so you’ll be getting a quality vegan cheese and it’s truly vegan so no worries about whether it contains casein.

Our complimentary dinner included one appetizer, a salad, two pizzas, a sandwich and a pasta dish.

Brixx Menu Vegan

We chose the Wood Fired Pita Chips and Three Dips as our appetizer.  It was served on a large plate with three small scoops of hummus: black bean hummus, roasted red pepper hummus and traditional hummus. The hummus was served on a bed of greens and topped with roasted red peppers and cumin. Pita triangles, the equivalent of about three pitas, that had been toasted in the pizza oven were served around the perimeter of the plate. The hummus was very thick which made dipping a bit hard but flavorful and at $5.95 was a good appetizer though I would like a little more hummus. I didn’t get to eat much of this one as the kid really enjoyed it and decided to take it for her own. That’s a positive vote for the hummus.

Brixx Salad - No Cheese

Our salad was a modified Brixx Salad. We modified this one by simply leaving off the goat cheese. The salad is a spring mix topped with croutons and pistachios and served with a balsamic vinaigrette. It’s served with a large piece of focaccia which looked to have cheese toasted onto it so we just ignored the bread. I’ll be sure to inquire next time about it as it did look very inviting sitting on the edge of the plate. Another $5.95 selection and worth it. I would consider it a big salad. It’s enough to share if you’re having an entree as well.

We chose two pizzas, the Artichoke which is served with a basil pesto instead of red sauce. We asked our server if the pesto contained cheese and she quickly ran back to the kitchen to ask. She returned to tell us it did and we substituted red sauce instead. Substituting seems to be welcome at Brixx and didn’t throw any confusion into the process so have at it if need be. The Artichoke pizza is topped with artichokes, roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes. This pizza could be named the 80’s pizza. Anything with sun-dried tomatoes belongs in the 80’s. Not that I’m complaining about sun-dried tomatoes, I love them. Then again I love the 80’s, so there. Of course, we also substituted the mozzarella for Follow Your Heart cheese. Our second pizza was the Wood-Roasted Vegetable. This was more of a typical veggie pizza with mushrooms I couldn’t tell which type exactly, broccoli, bell peppers and onion. Substituting Follow Your Heart cheese this was also a very good pizza but I think I pick the Artichoke pizza as my favorite of the two. I just really like artichokes on a pizza and then there’s that 80’s thing. The kid got her own kid-sized pizza with red sauce and vegan cheese. She devoured the entire pizza, a good mark as this kid is a very picky eater.

Wood-Roasted Vegetable Pizza with Follow Your Heart Mozzarella

Wood-Roasted Vegetable Pizza with Follow Your Heart Mozzarella

All of Brixx’s pizzas are on a thin, crisp crust and baked in a wood oven. The crust is available in original white flour or whole wheat and both contain nothing animal-derived right down to the turbinado sugar used. These are 100% vegan pizzas when ordered with Follow Your Heart vegan cheese. Brixx also serves pizzas with a gluten-free crust option at a $2 upcharge giving the gluten-challenged a pizza beacon that some may have missed for some time. Prices for the pizzas range from $8.95 to $11.95 though a pizza without all of the animal accoutrements will be in the $8.95-$9.95 range.   These are 10-inch pizzas, six slices per pizza and with a good dose of toppings.  Another note to keep in mind, after 10pm all pizzas and appetizers are 2-for-1.  Get your late-night munchies on!

Artichoke Pizza with Follow Your Heart vegan cheese

Artichoke Pizza with Follow Your Heart vegan cheese

Brixx Kid's Pizza - Vegan Cheese Pizza

The Kid's pizza selection: A Vegan Cheese Pizza

We also ordered a Wild Mushroom Wrap. I expected the typical wrap: fillings in a run-of-the-mill tortilla. I don’t know why I expected that but that’s the typical wrap these days. That’s not what we got. We were served a mix of portobello, shitake and white mushrooms, spinach and Follow Your Heart cheese wrapped in a slightly toasted pizza crust. One of the franchisees came to our table and explained that they put the pizza crust in the oven for two minutes and then wrap the fillings in it. This is a great wrap.  The pizza crust made this wrap superb not to mention the fresh, tasty fillings. If you’re ordering this as a vegan be sure to leave off the sun-dried tomato (80’s) aioli and substitute the Gorgonzola cheese. $7.95 for the Wild Mushroom Wrap.  All sandwiches and wraps are served with a choice of pasta salad, bean salad, fresh fruit or chips.

Brixx Wild Mushroom Wrap with Follow Your Heart cheese and no sun-dried tomato aioli

Brixx Wild Mushroom Wrap with Follow Your Heart cheese and no sun-dried tomato aioli

Brixx Wild Mushroom Wrap with Follow Your Heart cheese and no sun-dried tomato aioli

Brixx Wild Mushroom Wrap with Follow Your Heart cheese and no sun-dried tomato aioli

We didn’t get a pasta as we were already feeling like pigs.  There are vegan options on the pasta menu and whole wheat pastas are available as well.

Brixx also has a wide range of beers on tap including Abita Root Beer for the sugar-fiends. With the 2-for-1 pizza deal and array of brews look for Brixx to be busy late nights and with the delicious food they should keep a good crowd at all other times. I’m proud to have a new vegan option in Coolsprings.

 

UPDATE: Brixx now uses Daiya mozzarella as their vegan cheese option.

 

(Brixx also has a location in Hendersonville at 300 North Indian Lake Boulevard.)

Brixx: Wood Fired Pizza
1550 West McEwen Drive Suite 10
Franklin, Tennessee 37067
(615) 771-7797

Hours: Monday – Saturday 11am-1am, Sunday 11am-11pm

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Chuy’s – Mexican Food Can Be Vegan

December 9th, 2009

A new restaurant has popped up in the middle of what used to be restaurant central where Beethoven’s once resided in Coolsprings. Chuy’s serves the standard Tex-Mex in an ambiance that seems like TGI Friday’s crossed with Joe’s Crab Shack. This location is the first one outside of  Texas and has been met with extremely long wait times.

Upon first hearing of their opening I brushed it off thinking there would be nothing vegan, let alone vegetarian, on the menu as most Mexican restaurants fill their beans with meat stocks or lard and chicken stock is a common find in the rice. After a bit of research I found this is actually not the case at Chuy’s and there’s actually a decent selection for vegans and vegetarians.

Chuy's Guacamole Tacos

Chuy’s Guacamole Tacos

Our first visit we had the Guacamole Tacos and Veggie Enchiladas. The only specification needed for the enchiladas and the tacos was no cheese. The ranchero sauce served on the enchiladas is vegan. You have a choice of Mexican or Green Chile Rice and Refried or Charro Beans, all vegan. The enchiladas, filled with squash, peppers and onions, were a little small but the sides made up for the lack of filling. They are wrapped in blue corn tortillas but I’m sure you can substitute any of the tortilla selections if you want. The Guacamole Tacos, choice of hard or soft, were larger than expected with two good scoops of guacamole in each shell and topped with lettuce and tomatoes they were quite filling. On our second trip we split these for a late snack.

The Nashville area already has its share of Mexican restaurants but few, if any, can make vegetarian selections, let alone vegan. (Don’t get me started on those Mexican restaurants that have a Vegetarian section on their menu with beans and rice listed that are chocked full of animal juice!)

As for the list of vegetarian and vegan choices at Chuy’s:

VEGETARIAN

Vegetarian Sauces

  • Ranchero
  • Tomatillo
  • Deluxe Tomatillo
  • Boom Boom

Appetizers

  • Chips & Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Nachos
  • Special Nachos
  • Cheese Quesadillas

Salads (all dressings are vegetarian)

  • Guacamole Taco Salad
  • Grilled Chicken Salad (no chicken)
  • Mexi-Cobb Salad (no chicken)
  • Dinner Salad

Sides

  • Flour, Corn, Blue Corn, Wheat Tortillas
  • Mexican Rice
  • Green Chile Rice
  • Refried Beans
  • Charro Beans

Tacos, Sopapillas & Burritos

  • Guacamole Tacos
  • Bean & Cheese Tacos
  • Bean & Cheese Burrito with above sauces
  • Bean & Cheese Sopapilla with above sauces

Chile Rellenos & Enchiladas

  • Cheese Chile Rellenos
  • Veggie Enchiladas
  • Cheese Enchiladas with above sauces

Combinations

  • #3 Taco & Enchilada (sub vegetarian taco & enchilada)
  • #4 Relleno & Enchilada (choose your own vegetarian options)
  • #5 Chalupa & Enchilada (no chicken on chalupa, sub cheese for chicken enchilada)
  • #6 Enchilada, Taco & Chalupa (sub vegetarian enchilada & taco, no chicken on chalupa)
  • #7 Vegetarian Combo

Desserts

  • All desserts are vegetarian but selections can vary by location so ask your server for options.

VEGAN

Vegan Sauces

  • Ranchero
  • Tomatillo

Appetizers

  • Chips & Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Nachos (no cheese)
  • Special Nachos (no cheese)

Salads

  • Guacamole Taco Salad (no cheese)
  • Grilled Chicken Salad (no chicken)
  • Mexi-Cobb Salad (no chicken or cheese)
  • Dinner Salad
  • Dressing: Cilantro Vinaigrette

Sides

  • Flour, Corn, Blue Corn, Wheat Tortillas
  • Mexican Rice
  • Green Chile Rice
  • Refried Beans
  • Charro Beans

Tacos, Sopapillas, Burritos & Enchiladas

  • Guacamole Tacos (no cheese)
  • Bean Tacos (no cheese)
  • Bean & Cheese Burrito (no cheese, with above sauces)
  • Bean & Cheese Sopapilla (no cheese, with above sauces)
  • Veggie Enchiladas (no cheese, with above sauces)

UPDATE 10/11/2013: I regularly request vegan option information from Chuy’s since this post is extremely popular.  With the last reply I received this veg menu from corporate.

UPDATE 3/3/2015: I have checked again with Chuy’s corporate and am told nothing has changed in preparation or ingredients in the original vegan/vegetarian menu as posted above. Eat on!

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