Sunday, September 9, 2012

Vegan Dinner Event at Whole Foods

I recently relocated to the Northern Virginia area a few months ago and one of my favorite events in my new area is the vegan dinner and movie night at the Whole Foods in Reston, VA.  Once a month on a Friday night Whole Foods at this location hosts a dinner with an exclusive vegan menu, and a documentary on plant based living.   For $15 each event participants is served a delicious and healthy vegan meal with several courses, all while meeting with other vegans in the area.  The best part about the event is that all of the profits go directly toward the local Humane Society in Fairfax County.  This monthly vegan and film night has now become my favorite way to spend a low key Friday night with my Split Plate counterpart. 

Two months ago we attended this event for the first time (unfortunately we had to both miss last month's event).  We watched the film “Vegucated” and had a great dinner that included quinoa stuffed roasted peppers, sweet potato salad with blueberry dressing, wheat berry salad with pineapple mint dressing, mushroom burgers with Dijon mustard, and watermelon and lime salad with thyme.  The highlight of the meal was definitely the mushroom burgers with Dijon mustard. 

  I am very different from most vegans in that I am not a mushroom fan and I almost never eat them.  I was very impressed with the burger and ate all of it!  My favorite part of the entire event was watching the film “Vegucated" for the first time.  Vegucated is a documentary that follows three omnivores who agree to eat vegan for 6 weeks.  The film depicts the health benefits of eating a plant based diet, as well as the evolution and change among each person as they learn more about animal agriculture and the benefits of becoming a vegan.  Anyone interested in learning more about the vegan lifestyle would benefit from watching this film.    

For the most recent vegan event at the Reston Whole Foods I was highly impressed once again with the dinner, but not so much the movie.  The film "Grow" wasn't terrible, it was just not very captivating.    “Grow” is a documentary about the growing movement of educated young people who are leaving the cities to take up an agrarian life in order to pursue their dreams of running an organic and sustainable farm.  While I fully support organic and local farmers I unfortunately had a hard time paying attention to the entire documentary.  Maybe I was too distracted by the several courses of amazing food that the Whole Food chefs kept placing in front of me!

The dinner was definitely the highlight of the evening at this event.  The Whole Food Chefs put together a menu that included:  green salad, Italian florentine soup, penne with kale, tomatoes, and olives, kale pie, and sweet potato pudding. The meal was not also delicious but was very healthy and left me feeling full but in a good way!  We were allowed to select from 3 different dressings to go with our green salad with my favorite being the Fig Dressing from one of Dr. Furman’s recipes. 

I actually enjoyed this dressing so much that I did a Google search for Dr Furman's recipes on my phone right away.  I definitely plan on creating this homemade dressing in the near future.  The Italian Florentine Soup was spicy as others around us were complaining that it was a little too much for their tastes.  I really enjoyed the soup…. The more spice the better!  The penne with kale was a great entrĂ©e as I love kale and the kale pie on the side was a great addition.  My favorite part of the meal was the sweet potato pudding.  I am really excited that we received recipes for everything that we ate as both Beth and I have decided that the sweet potato pudding is going to be on our holiday menu list this year for desert.

Overall I was very satisfied once again with my vegan dinner at Whole Foods.  I plan to attend these every month if I am able to, as I feel that it is important to both support vegan events in my area as well as nonprofit/animal welfare organizations.  If you live in the DMV area and you are a vegetarian, vegan, or just interested in this diet I highly recommend attending one these dinners!

- Kerry

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