Vegan Five Spice “Beef” Vermicelli Bowls

While fall is my favorite season, this year, I’ve actually found myself fondly holding onto the last few days of summer. It’s not that hard to do here in Texas, because it’s still hot AF. This past summer has honestly been one of the best I’ve ever had: graduation,  traveling to Taiwan, Vietnam, Tanzania and Kenya, and some exciting collaborations (involving pizza and the Dallas Farmers Market), with many more exciting projects to come!

With the weather being so warm, I find myself still sticking to refreshing foods full of cooling greens and herbs, like spring rolls and vermicelli bowls. Vietnamese vermicelli bowls (bún) are heavy on veggies, quite easy to assemble, and there is lots of room for improvisation. Traditional Vietnamese vermicelli bowls feature various protein toppings, which include grilled pork (bún thịt nướng), lemongrass beef (bún thịt bò xào sả), eggrolls (bún chả giò, or sometimes lemongrass tofu (bún đậu hũ xào sả). Nowadays, these toppings are easily veganizable. Today I am sharing a vermicelli bowl featuring my five spice beef as the protein!

Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowls + Five Spice "Beef" | plantcrush.co

In Vietnamese, this would be called bún thịt bò chay (which translates to rice noodles & vegan beef).

Continue reading

Exploring Vegan Options at the Dallas Farmer’s Market | The Shed

The weekend has arrived, which means it’s time to go to brunch at the Dallas Farmer’s Market! A couple weekends ago, I had the absolute joy of taking part in a collaborative veggie takeover organized by my good friend Brooklynne (@beetsbybrooke) and the Dallas Farmer’s Market. Brooklynne did an amazing job showcasing all the vegan finds at The Shed at the farmer’s market–you can check out her stories here on the Dallas Farmer’s Market’s VEGAN highlight!

Spread

We were joined by our good friends Courtney (@colormecourtney_), Malinda (@kindred.vegan.souls), and John Francis (@johnfmfilms) which was great because we needed a lot of help to eat all the food. One thing to know before brunching at DFM: bring your whole crew! Don’t forget reusable containers!

Continue reading

Rainbow Smashed Purple Potatoes + 5 Spice Peanut Sauce

POTATOES. That’s it, that’s my intro for this recipe. Are you hooked?

Rainbow Smashed Purple Potatoes + 5 Spice Peanut Sauce | plantcrush.co

Well, now you’re hooked!

Hi friends! I’m back with another recipe, and this time it’s in collaboration with some blogger friends, in honor of #NationalPotatoDay! What an awesome concept–a day to celebrate one of my favorite ingredients. Most, if not all, of the following recipes can be veganized–let me know if you guys need advice or have questions about going about that! For the event, I decided to feature the beautiful purple Japanese sweet potato!Rainbow Smashed Purple Potatoes + 5 Spice Peanut Sauce | plantcrush.co


Happy National Potato Day!

Thank you to Valentina from The Baking Fairy for organizing this event!
Check out all of the delicious potato recipes we made for the occasion:

Air Fryer Garlic Herb French Fries by Daily Dish Recipes
Banh Mi Potato Skins by The Spiffy Cookie
Baked Tornado Potatoes by For The Love of Food
Brunede Kartofler (Danish Caramel Potatoes) by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Campfire Potatoes by Our Good Life
Cheesy Smashed Potatoes by One Sweet Appetite
Chutneywale Aloo by Food Trails
Gnocchi with Sage and Pancetta by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Hearty Beef and Potato Soup by Tip Garden
Individual Pommes Anna by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Loaded Cincinnati Potato by Palatable Pastime
Loaded Mac and Cheese Stuffed Baked Potatoes by Big Bear’s Wife
Paleo Zuppa Toscana by Frugal & Fit
Potato and Spinach Curry by Savory Moments
Potato Dinner Rolls by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Sour Cream and Chive Mashed Potatoes by Cheese Curd in Paradise
Spinach Gnocchi with Roasted Tomato Sauce by The Baking Fairy
Rainbow Smashed Purple Potatoes + 5 Spice Peanut Sauce by PlantCrush
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Herbs by Lemon Blossoms


Spreads2

As you may know, my mom raised me on a lacto-vegetarian diet, and she has always emphasized the importance of intuitively eating lots of colors for optimal health. Thus, from a young age, I developed a habit of eating colorfully at every meal. Research indicates that my mom was right (aren’t mom’s always right)! Colorful, plant-based foods are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that help us thrive.

Spreads3

Here are just a few general benefits of eating the rainbow (not Skittles):

Red foods are good for the brain and circulatory system
Orange foods are best known as immunity boosters
Yellow foods promote good digestion among other benefits
Green foods strengthen muscles, bones, and teeth
Purple foods have been shown to lower the risk of some cancers
White foods helps boost the lymphatic system

Rainbow Smashed Purple Potatoes + 5 Spice Peanut Sauce | plantcrush.coThese smashed purple potatoes are one of my favorite meals because they are absolutely gorgeous, filling, and wholesome, but they don’t take that much work to put together. You can prep the components at the beginning of the week and just assemble throughout the week. Measuring isn’t even necessary for this recipe–it’s all to your taste and needs. The ingredients below are for about 4 servings, but you can multiply according to your needs.


Rainbow Smashed Purple Potatoes
makes 4 servings


Active prep time: 10 minutes
Wait time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 4 Japanese purple sweet potatoes (I got mine at the Asian market!)
  • 2 cups steamed edamame (1/2 cup per potato, or more–for example, if I’m eating this after a workout, I would make it 1 cup of edamame per serving)
  • 5 Spice Peanut Sauce, for serving (recipe here, 1 batch should cover 4 potatoes!)
  • mango salsa (see below)

Tropical Mango Salsa
makes 2 cups


Toss together the following in a medium bowl:

  • 2 cups diced mango (1 large mango)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 10 Thai basil leaves (about 1 handful), roughly chopped
  • 1 small carrot, shredded (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 pinch Himalayan pink salt (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce (to taste)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse and clean the potatoes. Using a fork, prick the potatoes all over.
  3. Place the potatoes on a non-stick or parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Roast until the potatoes are fork tender (about one hour).
  5. Using a knife, split each potato in half and smash with a fork to open them up more, to hold the toppings.
  6. Load up the toppings on each potato: edamame (about 1/2 cup per potato), and spoon on mango salsa to taste, adding additional herbs (cilantro, scallions, etc.) to your taste. Drizzle with 5 Spice Peanut Sauce and serve immediately.
  7. These make great leftovers and should be good up to a week! I also like to enjoy the leftovers on top of a huge bed of greens (air-frying the leftover sweet potatoes is a game-changer). Complex carbs + colorful veggies + lots of greens…a recipe for HAPPINESS. Enjoy!

Rainbow Smashed Purple Potatoes + 5 Spice Peanut Sauce | plantcrush.co

Exploring the Vegan Pizzas at Tutta’s in Dallas West End

Hey Dallas pizza lovers, mark your calendars for August 9th, because Tutta’s is having a pizza party, to celebrate the addition of 9 vegan pizzas to their menu! I’m not a party person…but if you’re having a 4 course vegan pizza party, you can count me in! Last week, my dear friend Courtney Garza (@colormecourtney_) invited me and the girls to check out the new vegan pizza menu at Tutta’s in Dallas West End to promote this event, and we were all thoroughly impressed. You can get tickets here!

A_topdown

Vegan pizza spread at Tutta’s! Photo by @beetsbybrooke.

Tutta’s owner and head chef, Jeremy Scott, is really creative about their toppings and they make everything from scratch, in house! For those wondering, the vegan cheese they use is Teese–I loved it because it’s not too heavy or greasy. You must come to the pizza party and try all their new vegan pizzas! Tutta’s vegan menu isn’t on their site just yet, but not to worry, I got you covered here! Here’s everything we tried… Continue reading

Eating Vegan in East Africa

1.Samosa.jpg

On the road in Kenya | Veggie samosa from a gas station in Kenya–filled with potatoes and spinach! I loved the addition of greens, since I don’t usually see samosas with greens in the U.S.!

Hi friends! Ever wondered what it’s like being vegan in East Africa? Read on, I’m about to tell you all about it. But first, you may be wondering, what in the world was I doing in East Africa, and why has my blog been silent for so long?! Well, after graduating in May (yes, y’all, finally!) I had the great opportunity to participate in a study abroad session in Tanzania with UT Arlington and the University of Cincinnati. I asked my mom if that could be my graduation gift–to go to Tanzania with my classmates and learn how to give back using my recently acquired landscape architecture skills. My mom was absolutely supportive of this idea, and she also suggested that I expand my trip to include Taiwan (for a personal meditation retreat) and Vietnam (for vacation with family), before embarking to Tanzania. So I have been abroad for a month this summer, and am finally back home now, settled enough to start blogging more about the experiences! Continue reading

Green Papaya Salad | Gỏi Đu Đủ

Summer is almost upon us! Time for all the refreshing foods, like this green papaya salad!

Green Papaya Salad | plantcrush.coMy apologies for the huge hiatus on the blog, y’all, my design thesis has been my main priority for about a year now! I am happy to report that I have successfully defended my thesis to graduate. This past weekend, I finally graduated with my Master’s in Landscape Architecture! It still feels so surreal to type those words. I’ve been an emotional, nostalgic mess, and am preparing for an international trip to 3 countries, but that didn’t keep me from getting back in the kitchen!

I’ve had a few potlucks in the past couple weeks, so I’ve been making this green papaya salad a lot. Everyone has been loving it! It’s a classic Thai/Vietnamese dish, and yesterday I made it again for mom for Mother’s Day. Besides spring rolls, Vietnamese salads are one of my mom’s favorite things to eat! Continue reading

Lemongrass “Beef” Spring Rolls | plantcrush x It’s Jerky Y’all

What’s the one food you could eat everyday? For me, the answer would be spring rolls! There have been weeks where all I eat for dinner are spring rolls, especially during the long blazing heat of Texas summer. There are just so many ways to make them–they’re so fresh and fun! Plus, I think it’s the best way to get a lot of greens in (I’ll take spring rolls over salad any day).lime

It’s actually amazing that I don’t have a spring roll recipe on the blog yet, considering how much I eat them. Today, I am happy to share this spring roll recipe with you, in collaboration with one of my favorite vegan brands based in Texas: It’s Jerky Y’all! My dear friends at Sprinkles Creative and I teamed up to make this adorable how-to video for the recipe. I’m so happy my friends and I got to work together on this; we all had a blast. For the full written recipe, scroll down.

Continue reading

Nana-politan Ice Cream Parfaits | plantcrush x Beets by Brooke

Who else gets excited when they can sneak veggies into their desserts? I like to make healthy choices most of the time, but I’m also not opposed to treats, like this nana-politan ice cream parfait I whipped up with my friend Brooklynne (@beetsbybrooke)!process-3.jpgWe got together to create a Galentine’s Day menu featuring beets! We made a divine heart beet pizza and salad for the main meal, and for dessert, we decided to go crazy and put beets in our banana ice cream too! Beets have a lovely sweetness that is truly marvelous. #beetcrush Continue reading

Heart Beet Pepperoni Pizza | Plantcrush x Beets by Brooke

 

IMG_0487This recipe is for that girl you can’t live without. Final Process PicYour best friend, your sister, your mom, whomever it may be–show them you love them by making this delectable heart beet pizza, complete with a side salad! Ok, you can also make this for your male/other friends too, but the point is, this pizza came about because of the spirit of Galentine’s Day! Continue reading

Q&A With a Pig | BB Addresses Her Fans

For those of you who celebrate, I hope your Lunar New Year week has had a beautiful start! I’ve been spending a lot of time with family, eating great food and treats, and re-visiting childhood memories. In honor of the year of the pig, I asked you guys on Instagram to send in your questions about BB, the adorable pig I fostered a couple years ago. She has graciously taken the time to answer your queries below–enjoy!

How did Ann end up fostering you?

I was found wandering the streets in Fort Worth, and was taken to the Fort Worth Animal Care and Control Center. I had a couple scars…we’re not sure what happened to me, but thank goodness the animal shelter took care of me. They posted a picture of me on Facebook, and Ann found it through a local vegan group. Those people were so nice, helping me when they didn’t even know me! Ann shared the post with her former boss, V, who has had a pet pig before. V wanted to adopt me, but she was in the middle of moving, so Ann offered to foster me! She became my foster mom. 🙂 We lived together for about 3 months! Continue reading

UT Arlington gets Down to Earth | Finally, a vegan place on campus + a giveaway!

“The best feeling is when my customers tell me they feel the love I put into my cooking. The mission of Down to Earth is to bring you good food that’s good for you!”

— Alma Rangel, founder of Down to Earth

My university, UT Arlington, hasn’t always been the best place for vegans, vegetarians, or earth and health conscious folks. Having been a student there for almost a decade (yes, I’m in grad school now), I’ve seen it all–the struggle of choosing a bruised banana or a greasy hashbrown for morning fuel was real. I remember at orientation, I made my first friend over a sad/hilarious vegan bonding experience over the slim pickings at the salad bar. We rallied with other forward thinkers (veg and non-veg!), advocating for more plant-based options on campus in various ways, earning unanimous support from Student Congress.

resolution

Photo courtesy of Richard Hoang (The Shorthorn).

Options got better overall, but they weren’t particularly amazing or consistent. La Blue Casa had a great run at College Park, until it went down in an unfortunate turn. If you wanted vegan tacos, your best bet would be to make your own (which we did). Now, with the arrival of Down to Earth at College Park, students can get a variety of vegan tacos and other authentic, plant-based Mexican fare on demand. Read to the end to find out how you can win a free meal at Down to Earth!

Tacos and Lime.jpg

Down to Earth offers a variety of taco fillings, including nopalitos (cactus), calabacitas (Mexican squash), spicy sweet potato and black beans, and aguacate a la Mexicana (avocado fans rejoice)!

Continue reading

Chinese 5 Spice BBQ Jackfruit Bánh Mì Bites

Happy 2019, friends! I’m just popping on the blog to share a quick recipe with you today, as I’ve gotten many messages about these jackfruit bánh mì bites on Instagram. I made them for a vegan NYE potluck my friends Christina and Courtney hosted, and they were a hit! The five spice is the lingering aroma that makes this dish epically memorable. I’ve used this warming spice in literally everything, from my go-to peanut sauce, to gingerbread cookies to faux beef stir fries, jackfruit bao bites, and even protein bars! It’s been my recent obsession and also is an homage to a lot of the food I had growing up in a Vietnamese household. This spice holds the ultimate expression of nostalgia for me.Chinese 5 Spice BBQ Jackfruit Bánh Mì Bites | plantcrush.co

As I get older, I have really loved leaning into my Vietnamese roots more, after many younger years where I pushed my culture away in order to assimilate/avoid being bullied for being “different.” Now, it always feels so damn good to embrace my family’s heritage and blend it with my own personal experiences/influences. This dish is kind of a fusion dish–5 Spice BBQ jackfruit on bánh mì bites! I’ve made 5 Spice BBQ fusion jackfruit bao bites before, and this recipe is basically the same thing but with bánh mì fixings. Continue reading

2 Ingredient Chocolate Mousse With Citrus + Lychee

Lychee is one of my favorite southeast Asian fruits, second only to mangosteen. Its pink-white flesh is glossy, delicate and aromatic…the vibrant taste is absolutely unique. Think of a grape, but juicier, with smooth floral, rosy notes and pear undertones. Even comparing it to a grape is slightly insulting, because its freshness and flavor is on an entirely different level.

lychee fruit (1 of 2)

Clearly, lychee is my valentine this year.  Lychee is also considered a lucky fruit in Chinese culture, symbolizing family abundance and harmony, so this dessert would be a fun fusion dish for Lunar New Year gatherings this weekend. Red and golden hues make a lucky color palette. Continue reading

Beet + Ginger Vitality Soup for Chinese New Year // A Cup of Joan Collab

The Lunar New Year (commonly known as the Chinese New Year) is tomorrow! I’m so excited to finally share this collaboration that my friend Joan La (A Cup of Joan) and I have been working on. Joan is an ethical, vegan fashion blogger. Her content exists in a genre somewhere between storytelling, activism, and art. Ultimate goals–I love this babe so much!

I love the way Joan expresses herself and stands up for what she believes in. I’m Vietnamese (with some Chinese, but culturally I’m Viet) and Joan is Korean. We have passionately discussed the need for a bigger presence of Asian American and persons of color in the vegan movement. We’ve both noted that vegan versions of traditional Asian dishes are not as widely known, and it’s especially irksome when our cultural food is either looked down on or appropriated by “trendsetters” with no cultural context (vegan fish sauce as a start up venture, for example…). I could go into it more but this post is going to be long as it is, so I must save that for another time–let’s get to the good stuff! For our CNY collaboration, we decided to each post a recipe and share interviews with our moms, to celebrate our different cultures and share the similarities. Yesss, Asian female empowerment and solidarity! I urge you to check out Joan’s post here, and follow her beautiful inspiring Instagram here–you won’t regret it. Continue reading

Lemon Lavender Candied Ginger (Mứt Gừng) for Chinese New Year (Tết) | plantcrush.co

Lemon Lavender Candied Ginger for Chinese New Year (Mứt Gừng)

Like any new year celebration, Chinese New Year is about new beginnings. Sweet treats are popular cross-culturally, as they symbolize a sweet, joyful start to the upcoming year. I think we can all agree that we definitely need more joy this year. This year, I was honored to be invited by the lovely Christine (Vermilion Roots) to participate in a Chinese New Year sweets party with several other Asian bloggers. It’s kind of like a virtual potluck—I urge you to check out the participating blogs below, to get a taste of the lunar new year from various parts of Asia! Continue reading

Fusion Jackfruit Bao Bites

Hi lovelies! It’s been way too long–I literally haven’t blogged since last year! I owe you a lot of recipes. But I will make it up to you guys, starting with these adorable little bao bites…yes, I knooow, they look incredible and more importantly, they taste just as delicious as they look–you’re welcome. 😉

sharp-final

 

Continue reading