Blog Article Contributed By: Julia DeCecco
Every month The Philadelphia Catering Company sends out customer satisfaction surveys to a sampling of our customers (see PhillyFeed$back blog). One of the questions we ask is, “What would you like to see added to our menu?” The number one answer is more vegetarian and vegan offerings. So, the PCC test kitchen has been busy this summer testing and creating, with the goal to make some truly delicious vegan dishes that anyone can like.
Veganism is an up and coming lifestyle that is taking our country by storm. While many people have a negative connotation to the word “vegan,” this lifestyle is actually centered on cruelty-free practices and compassion. A vegan diet means abstaining from eating all meat based products, all dairy based products, and anything else that has come into contact with an animal, such as honey and eggs. Some vegan diets are based in ethics; others are based in wellbeing, while still others are based in environmental causes. Whatever the reason, vegan diets are shown to be optimal for health by promoting heart healthy eating habits.
While the perks of the lifestyle may seem convincing, vegan diets can be inconvenient to say the least. Cooking at home may not be a problem, but when eating out, most foods contain meat and dairy, and even if they don’t many times vegan foods are cooked on the same surface as animal products. Philadelphia Catering Company has made it a goal to offer vegan friendly dishes that are so creative and delicious, even non-vegans will enjoy them.
Testing new vegan foods is a unique challenge that is different than anything our kitchen has tried before. While stereotypical vegan foods such as tofu and meat substitutes are what most people would expect in a vegan dish, we’ve tried to expand our scope of vegan foods. Our test kitchen has tried numerous new fun and exciting dishes in the past months, experimenting with spices, herbs, and unique fruits and vegetables that enhance the flavor of each recipe. One of the newest, most unique recipes we’ve tested is based from a distinctive fruit from Southeast Asia: Jackfruit.
With the consistency and texture like pulled pork, jackfruit has a subtle taste that easily takes on the flavor of whatever it’s seasoned with, making it the perfect hearty base for a variety of vegan recipes. In our test kitchen, we decided to make jackfruit tacos, seasoned with distinct spices such as cumin and chili powder and mixed with fresh herbs like cilantro. When opening the can of jackfruit, we were at first wary of the artichoke-like fruit in the can. But as the recipe came together, it was clear that we were onto something.
The final product looked so much like pulled pork it surprised everyone. From the presentation to the texture, pulled jackfruit won over even the staunchest non-vegans that tried it. The flavor is light and refreshing, and at just 90 calories per one cup serving of jackfruit with no cholesterol or saturated fat, it makes it a much healthier alternative than pulled pork.
Pulled jackfruit tacos are just one of the many new things we are testing to add to our vegan options on the menu, along with other new recipes like zucchini boats – see our Chef’s Corner – http://www.philadelphiacatering.com/recipes/index.asp.
As veganism continues to rise in popularity and the consumption of meat products decreases, we will begin to add more of these delicious and creative items to the menu.
Article By: Julia DeCecco