Want to go vegan or vegetarian for Lent? This guide shows you how. Vegan for Lent features 40 days of scripture meditations, meal plans, and over 60 recipes, in addition to information on eating out, common ingredients, and...Read More
Live in line with your ethics and create sustained energy by embracing clean, compassionate living. Clean, because you’re aiming for the purest, freshest foods. Compassionate, because you’re honoring the planet and those who share it.
What I’m saying is, I like to eat a lot of doughnuts.
So I’m immediately at odds with anything that impedes my doughnut eating plan. Which is where Voodoo Doughnuts comes in, because eating more than one (actually, more than half of one) results in an unbridled sense of gluttony I generally like to avoid.
When you’re eating a light, fluffy, reasonably-sized doughnut, this is not difficult to do (even if you happen to be eating several). But when the doughnut is coated with centimeter-thick frosting and covered in children’s breakfast cereal, or topped with chocolate and chunks of Chick-O-Stick, or in the shape of something with three eyes and a pretzel sticking out of it…well, the gluttony sets in pretty quickly.
A considerable section of the menu at Voodoo is vegan, which is nice. But when you put grape pixie stick powder on top of marshmallowy white glaze and call it the Grape Ape, you cross over into gimmick territory. Voodoo tries really hard, and at the heart of all the dirty joke branding and mass-produced nonchalance and whatever, I don’t care what you think! vibe, is a doughnut shop that really, really wants you to like it.
Voodoo doughnut are novelty doughnuts. There’s the “Cock and Balls,” the “Triple Chocolate Penetration,” the doughnuts named for various iterations of marijuana or covered with pentagrams, all branded with naughty trademarked slogans like Good things come in pink boxes and The magic is in the hole.
They’re fun for a bachelorette party or as the object of hipster snark if you’ve had too many late-night libations. They are not, however, for eating and enjoying. This should be clear when you notice fifty people waiting in line outside the establishment in a town full of perfectly good doughnut shops, but it becomes more evident when you encounter the doughnuts up close.
There’s the Captain my Captain doughnut, a raised doughnut topped with glaze and studded with the popular children’s cereal. It’s just crazy, that’s all there is to say about it. And if you want a few more words: sweet, overwhelming, stale. Crazy.
The Chick-O-Stick doughnut, a chocolate cake doughnut slathered in chocolate frosting and chunks of bright orange candy, is really fun to look at. The glaze and Chick-O-Stick is a nice touch, but it’s undermined by the doughnut, which leaves an artificially greasy mouthfeel. Fortunately, you can purchase the best part of the doughnut separately; Chick-O-Sticks are available at gas stations nationwide.
There are a few exceptions to all the contrivance. The maple glazed is very good, and the plain glazed (a giant one is called the Texas Challenge) is on par with something from Ronald’s in Las Vegas, which sets the vegan raised doughnut bar. There’s a nice PB&J doughnut that’s covered in surprisingly unsweetened peanut butter, filled with raspberry jam, and tastes just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (although you don’t really need a doughnut for that, do you?). And you can always get the chocolate-glazed, raspberry-filled Voodoo Doll and split him with a friend.
Our service was friendly, despite reports to the contrary; we never felt hurried in spite of our indecision, and our server was patient and thoughtful. Prices are reasonable, and there’s Stumptown coffee brewing if you need a beverage. The establishment is cash only, but there’s an ATM nearby.
If you want an experience, Voodoo is the place. Visit if you’re a tourist looking for a fun stop after Portland’s Saturday Market, or want to make a late-night doughnut run. If you’re looking for excellent vegan desserts, skip it and try Dovetail, Sweetpea, or Back to Eden, all of which have less hustle and more taste. If Voodoo is your pick, order one doughnut—one!—and the experience will remain a good one. Any more than that, and…well, you’ve been warned.
22 SW 3rd Ave or
1501 NE Davis St
20 E Broadway at Willamette Ave
The menu features panninis, pizettas, daily specials, and plenty of desserts. Nearly everything can be made vegan, and it’s wonderful to browse a bakery case and see vegan on tags for Red Velvet Cake and Orange Cream Torte.
The Veggie Tuna Melt and Veggie Ham and Cheese are great for a quick snack. If you’re staying longer, try the Vegan Taco Salad (basic but good) with Molten Chocolate Cake for dessert. Skip the baked fries and have a salad instead; it’s a nice way to balance all that soy cheese and sugar, which Red Velvet still manages to make you feel light and healthy after.
Red Velvet Cafe
vegan-friendly bistro food and desserts, $$
7875 W. Sahara Ave. Suite 103 / 104, Las Vegas, NV 89117
I have an instant aversion to any restaurant that serves Sour Dreamor surrounds words like cheeseand beans with quotations, but I really want to like this place.
With two locations, these cafes inside raw retail stores provide Las Vegas with plenty of living food options. Their menu is full of classic, comfortable dishes like burritos, salads, pastas, and burgers.
I order the Mexicali Toast (Mexi pate, guacamole, salsa, sour dream, and hemp seeds) and the Traditional Pizza (buckwheat crust, “almond cheese,” basil pesto, marinara, veggies, and “walnut sausage”). The dishes are fine, but when you eat lots of raw food, you begin to want inventive stuff like Pepita Lime Apple Tiers (tart apple layers filled with pepita lime cashew cheese, jalapeno, and cilantro) and Persian Chia Pudding (chia-based rice pudding with rosewater, cardamom, and pistachios).
Umm, sorry. That was a shameless plug for my book; it features both recipes.
Ahem. I can’t resist a cool glass of coconut water, so I order a large. It’s delicious. When it’s time for dessert, there are layered pies and cheesecake. Nothing really tempts me, so I skip it. I just can’t stop thinking about Ronald’s Donuts.
Go Raw Cafe
raw vegan cuisine and retail, $$
2910 Lake East Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89117
2381 East Windmill Lane #18
Las Vegas, NV 89123
This family-owned sushi bar is such a treat, I visited three times during my stay in Vegas. The owners are knowledgeable about vegan diets, and happy to recommend their favorites from the extensive vegetarian menu. Even the tempura is vegan.
With choices like the Kimpira Gobo Roll (seasoned burdock root, ohba, and spicy goma sauce), the Spicy Satoimo Roll (spicy taro root with cucumber), or the Kanpyo Maki Roll (seasoned gourd), this isn’t your typical carrot-avocado-cucumber vegetarian menu. Try the Yakisoba or Ramen for a bowl of comfort, or the Miko’s Special (spicy satoimo roll, futomaki, tempura roll, spinach hand roll, green beans hand roll, potato teriyaki, kimpira and hijiki). At less than $15, this sampler is the perfect introduction to excellent vegan Japanese.
vegan-friendly Japanese, $$
500 E. Windmill Ln. Ste. 165, Las Vegas, NV 89123
This unassuming donught shop is housed in a strip mall a few minutes from the Las Vegas strip. About 80% of the doughnuts are vegan, and the owners are happy to point out the shelves which hold them.
With simple favorites like tiger tails, maple bars, apple fritters, and doughnuts filled with cool soy cream, most people don’t guess they’re vegan. And you’ll be surprised the prices are just like any “regular” doughnut shop; put Ronald’s in downtown and fill it with hipsters, and the doughnuts could easily command $5 each.
I can’t say enough good about Ronald’s; some people visit Vegas simply for this place, and there’s no question why.
vegan-friendly doughnuts and pastries, $
4600 Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89102
Sweetpea Baking Company, part of Portland’s “vegan mini-mall” (which also comprises Herbivore Clothing, Food Fight Grocery, and Scapegoat Tattoo), is housed in an large, airy space with a view straight back through the open-concept kitchen. This view comes in handy the moment you realize that despite the huge variety and the tremendous volume (Sweetpea is also a wholesale bakery), the attention to detail and genuine contentment of the employees is still firmly intact. It’s a great thing to observe.
My first bite at Sweetpea is a Gluten-free Chocolate Raspberry Cupcake. It’s good, with a mildly chocolate flavor and light, velvety texture. The pink frosting is fluffy and not crazy sweet. There’s also a Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie, which is too ordinary at the time to care about, but tastes absolutely delicious later in the day after a long hike.
The danish—and let me take a moment to properly explain this—is superior, flaky where it should be, rich and dense under dollops of raspberry and cream cheese filling. It’s sweet, but not overly so. The raspberry jam is thick and filled with pulp and seeds, and you want to measure out each bit with the pastry because they compliment each other so well. In a world where many vegan sweets are made with that ubiquitous puff pastry dough (which isn’t suitable for danishes or croissants, not at all), Sweet Pea is in a class by itself; they’ve absolutely mastered danish pastry. Don’t miss this one.
When The Hooten (named for Josh Hooten, founder of Herbivore Clothing Company, which is located next door) arrives, I’m not impressed. It’s a biscuit and some tempeh bacon swimming in thin brown gravy. Ours comes with a square of dense fried tofu, which my kids immediately snatch up. Then I dig in. It’s amazing. These are the fluffiest vegan biscuits I’ve ever encountered, and the gravy suits it—along with the salty house-made bacon—wonderfully. By the end, what seemed like way too much gravy has absorbed nicely, and it all makes sense. This is more than simply putting things together that taste good; it’s thoughtfulness and repeated attention to get it just right.
The same thoughtfulness is evident in a Pumpkin Chai Bar, which first seems impractically tough on the bottom. I can’t even cut it, and I have to crack off a chunk with a fork instead. But in the mouth, it’s a different story. The crust is crisp, with a touch of caramelization on the bottom, the perfect foil for the creamy pumpkin custard that sits on top. I am hesitant to call it a revelation, but that’s the term that springs to mind when I remember it, which I do with a big smile on my face.
Sweetpea represents some of the most positive elements of Portland’s food scene: its earnestness and care for everything that comes out of the kitchen. You can tell these are people who care about food and want to do it well. It’s a pleasure to partake of the food and the overall atmosphere.
The bakery serves a full menu of espresso drinks, in addition to drip coffee, with a choice of soy, rice, almond, or hazelnut milk. Lattes are excellent. Service is friendly and helpful. Sweetpea also features daily soups, sandwiches, and quiches, with fresh doughnuts every Saturday morning. And oh—if you’re getting married, this is the place to get that picture-perfect vegan wedding cake.
Sweetpea Baking Company
1205 SE Stark Street
Portland, OR 97214
For vegan tamales, this is the place. The filling is simple: zucchini, squash, red pepper, green chile and corn, encased in a masa shell and steamed. If you order from the restaurant, try them smothered in red chile (it’s vegan), along with the beans and rice, which are also free of animal products. Not in Santa Fe? They also ship. If you don’t have vegan tamales locally, these are definitely worth trying.
Plaza Santa Fe location
3538 Zafarano #A2, near Albertsons
The Factory & Restaurant location
1514 Rodeo Road
It’s technically no longer Vanilla Month, but I can’t let a short February get the best of me; I have two more vanilla recipes, and my goodness, I’m going to share them!
I’m often reluctant to make raw cookies, since they usually require a dehydrator. But these moist, vanilla-flecked macaroons are the simplest. And who doesn’t love a raw twist on a delicious classic cookie? Vanilla Coconut Macaroons, here you go:
Vanilla Coconut Macaroons
1 dozen cookies
½ cup raw cashews
¼ cup raw agave nectar
seeds scraped from 1” of vanilla bean
1 cup dried shredded coconut
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder, sesame seeds, hempseeds, or raw cacao nibs (optional)
Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Set aside.
In a food processor or blender, process cashews until finely ground, and set aside. Stir together agave nectar and vanilla bean seeds until clumps of seeds are slightly broken up. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine ground cashews, agave mixture, and dried shredded coconut. Mix thoroughly, using a firm spatula. Stir in additions, if desired.
Using a wet tablespoon, scoop up a spoonful of dough, pressing it firmly against the side of the bowl to compact. Transfer to prepared baking sheet, and leave at room temperature, or in an oven with only the pilot light on, overnight.
Serve with a glass of fresh almond milk or raw chai.
This recipe comes from Vegan for Lent: A Guide to 40 Days of Plant Based Eating. It’s a favorite in my home, whether served with raw brownies and fruit at teatime or poured over morning cereal. Flax or chia seeds add creaminess, while several ingredient options make it super versatile.
Let everything sit in the refrigerator overnight, and the next morning it will be ready to use anywhere non-dairy milk is called for. If you like the appearance of extra vanilla seeds, add the vanilla bean after straining, and blend once more.
Watch below as I make it with Miss Four. Please forgive the sister wife hair I have going on; it’s not a usual thing. Here’s the video:
4 cups water
1⁄2 cup raw cashews
1⁄2 cup raw almonds
1⁄2 cup coconut (you can also use sunflower, sesame, or another kind of seed here)
1 teaspoon chia or flax seeds
3 dates or 1 tablespoon agave nectar
Seeds scraped from 1” of vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
Combine all ingredients in the jar of a blender, and soak several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
Blend as smooth as possible; this may take several minutes. Strain through a mesh bag (the same as a paint straining bag) into a jar, and adjust the sweetener, if necessary. The milk will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.
Want to go vegan or vegetarian for Lent? This guide shows you how. Vegan for Lent features 40 days of scripture meditations, meal plans, and over 60 recipes, in addition to information on eating out, common ingredients, and obtaining ample protein on a vegan diet.
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