Two reasons to eat vegan in the boston area – the boston globe

Boston-area vegan cuisine just keeps getting better. Recipe banana bread Two breakfast-and-lunch spots — one in Cambridge, another in Watertown — are updating notions about dishes that use no animal products. Simple banana bread Both cafes offer plenty to savor for vegans and non-vegans alike.

At VO2 Vegan Cafe near Harvard Square, chef-owner Mimi Loureiro knows her regular customers by name.

Banana bread recipe easy But she’s also familiar with the bewildered looks on the faces of newcomers who don’t realize, at first, that the eatery is vegan. Healthy banana bread recipe “I’ll tell them, ‘It’s OK! Taste this!,’?” she says, offering a sample of from-scratch soup or a freshly made smoothie. Recipe for banana nut bread More often than not, they approach the counter to order. Banana bread recipe moist “They’ll say, ‘Can I have that?’?”

Loureiro, together with husband Steven Carpenter, owns the 2?-year-old eatery, housed within the Cambridge branch of O2 Yoga (the original studio — sans a cafe — is in Somerville), which the couple also owns. Simple banana bread recipe Enter into the cafe and peer up the staircase. Banana bread recipe best You’ll see yoga wear and mats for sale. Easy recipe for banana bread Hidden from view are studios where Loureiro (a yoga teacher for 20 years) conducts classes when she’s not helming the open kitchen. Quick banana bread “I’m a big proponent of comfort food,” she says.

Soups are a specialty here. The best banana bread recipe Moroccan chickpea soup ($4.25 cup, $5.50 bowl) is hearty and warming, full of sweet potato, carrot, onion, and kale in a beautiful cinnamon-scented tomato broth. Easy banana nut bread recipe Broccoli soup, with finely minced florets and cashew cream, offers a lush texture.

A pressed sandwich called the North End ($7.95) dresses up grilled, pressed tofu with a bright, garlicky pesto, black olive tapenade, spinach, and non-dairy cheese. Homemade banana bread It’s excellent on Iggy’s ciabatta. Award winning banana bread recipe A dining companion asks for the filling of banh Mimi ($8.50), a take on the Vietnamese sandwich, to be plated on mesclun greens instead of bread. Moist banana nut bread recipe The barbecued seitan (springy wheat gluten) with sesame dressing is tasty but needs ciabatta to really shine. Easy banana nut bread A scoop of “chuna” — mashed chickpeas, diced pickles, and onion — would be excellent on greens, like tuna salad. Banana chocolate chip bread We enjoy ours as a pressed sandwich ($7.95) with tomato and spinach. Recipe for moist banana bread A satisfying, frothy Green Monstah smoothie ($6.25) sports a light-green hue, with kale, lime, apple, and the zing of pineapple and ginger.

Seeing the delight on the faces of customers, both old and new, pumps up the joy in Loureiro’s sun salutations. Quick and easy banana bread “The cafe feels like my home,” she enthuses. Low fat banana bread Fortunately, we can drop by any time we like.

On a quiet street alongside Watertown Mall is Wild Rice Vegan Cafe, a 3-month-old eatery painted in vivid hues of violet and poppy red. Basic banana bread recipe Chef-owner Pankaj Pradhan is already well known for his Red Lentil Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurant, a 5-minute walk from the new place. Moist banana nut bread Opening an entirely vegan spot as a second business was an easy decision. Banana bread easy recipe “Many of my [Red Lentil] customers would ask, ‘Can you make this dish vegan? Without dairy?’ They were all over it,” he says.

Here, you also order at the counter and take a seat. Banana walnut bread Tempeh “crab” cakes ($10.99) feature cultured pressed soybeans that are finely ground, formed into patties, and deep-fried to achieve a crispy exterior, like falafel. Banana bread cake Two of these rounds, drizzled with a raita of cilantro and cucumber, rest on top of plump pearls of couscous with roasted butternut squash, tossed in a spicy chile sauce. The best banana bread The dish is full of vibrant flavors, as is an “omelet” ($9.50), which rolls home fries into a chickpea-flour crepe, garnished with avocado slices and herb aioli.

Some items are still being fine-tuned. Receipt for banana bread The thin pancake in crepe Suzette ($8.50) is deliciously stretchy and lacy at its crisp edges, but the banana and toasted walnut halves get lost in the simmered slurry of filling.

Pradhan is detailing a list of ingredients in an excellent lentil soup with kale ($5.50 cup, $6.50 bowl), seasoned with turmeric and mustard seeds, when he pauses. Best banana nut bread recipe “It’s made with a lot of love,” he concludes. Eggless banana bread To him, it’s the most important part of the dish.

1001 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square. Peanut butter banana bread Cambridge, 617-492-2233,

Prices Salads and soups $4.25-$9.50. Banana loaf bread Sandwiches and wraps $6.25-$9.50. Good banana bread recipe Smoothies $6.25-$8.25.

What to order Moroccan-chickpea soup, broccoli soup, the North End pressed sandwich, “chuna” melt, Green Monstah smoothie.

Prices Breakfast $8.50-$10.50. Make banana bread Lunch $5.50-$10.99. Super moist banana bread recipe Juices and smoothies $5.99.

What to order Tempeh “crab” cakes, “omelet,” lentil soup with kale.

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