Souley Vegan

Happy Sunday, my friends. My mind and body are in a feast-induced stupor after the meals I’ve had this weekend. S came up from Santa Cruz to visit, and we pulled out all the stops, starting at Souley Vegan, where we’ve seriously been trying to eat at for two years. They used to open during odd hours, but it improved and now they even have Sunday brunch what what! Can you blame me for loving Oakland? Only here does vegan and soul food coexist.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the restaurant looked like a soul food joint, first and foremost. There were barely any indications of veganism. Inside, it was simple and airy, like a large bar. Order at the front and wait just minutes before the food arrives.

Souley Vegan offers lots of veggie burgers, gumbo and deep-fried goodies. There's only one real option for newcomers, though.

The Everything Plate (25) with fried okra, ranch dressing, red beans and rice, herby mustard greens, steamed black eyed peas, spiced lentils, agave yams, BBQ tofu, Southern fried tofu, mac and cheez, potato salad, corn bread. Not included, but also offered were fried kale and mashed potatoes and gravy.

My first experience with fried okra wasn't a shock. I like the sliminess and with a crispy cornmeal coating, it's still enjoyable. What we really fought tooth and nail over was that vegan ranch sauce. So tangy and flavorful, while everything else on this dish was slightly bland. I got to know the bottle of hot sauce on our table real well.

The only thing I didn't completely enjoy on this plate was the BBQ tofu. Not a huge fan of chewy tofu skin and uber-smokey sauce. The beans and greens evoked my healthy home-cooked meals, but I probably wouldn't order them again. Everyone agreed that the fried tofu and mac and cheese were phenomenal and we can't wait to come back for them again. The tofu tasted so much like catfish in flavor and texture it was bizarre, and the mac and cheese reminded me of my favorite childhood lunch, tuna casserole. I felt like I was being hugged by hot blankets of soft mac and cheese, without the taste/smell of feet. (I know I just lost all my friends by admitting I hate real cheese.) Three of us struggled to finish all this food, but not a crumb was left in the end. That's how it's done son!

Of course we couldn’t finish the meal without loosening our belts for dessert. Sadly, the apple cobbler was soggy and forgettable, while the sweet potato pie tasted too sticky and sweet, without a strong flavor. If you want a hxc vegan dessert, go to one of the real bakeries in Oakland. Personally, I'd just get another round of mac and cheese.

Plans to return asap have been solidified. And newly inspired, I’ve dug out my old vegan mac and cheese recipes. Stay tuned for an even better dinner in which we eat many animals…

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Mental for Lentils

I’ve never had Sloppy Joes before, but hundreds of vegans agree that the PPK version is uncanny. I had the night off for once, and really wanted to cook something despite having eaten dinner. A recipe like this would continue to get better overnight, so I had to try it out (with a few adjustments to the original). I’m not delusional enough to believe that lentils are anywhere near the same neighborhood of flavor as beef, but luckily, I like lentils. I’d probably choose soy or beans on most days, but the lentil’s health benefits make it a worthy addition to my kitchen.

Speaking of which, here is a brief tour of the new avo a-go-go digs before we get on to the recipe.


Upon entering, we have the living area. The futon is very comfortable--now ya'll have no excuse not to visit! Like the decor? Way more where that came from.



Huge $10 TV. I keep the door open a lot because it's so hot this month.



Welcome to the kitch. The dining area is on the left but if i remember correctly it was extremely messy when I took photos.


Snobby Joes turned Lentil Soup

1 can lentils
1 dash olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced small
1 green pepper, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 T chili flakes
2 t Italian seasoning
1 t salt
10 oz tomato sauce
1 T honey
1 T yellow mustard

Saute onion and pepper in oil until softened.
Add garlic and saute a minute more.
Add lentils, chili flakes, Italian seasoning, salt, tomato sauce and mix.
Cook for about 10 minutes.
Add honey and mustard and heat through.


I found all the ingredients without having to go to the store!



The humble little onion is one of my favorite veggies.



Finished, and smelling nothing like the Sloppy Joes my elementary school used to serve.


I have a heavy hand with it comes to tomato sauces/pastes/ketchup (must be that delicious lycopene) so this turned out a little runnier, like a thick soup. I’m all about putting some avocado on it and eating it that way.

The health freak in me has a couple things to add:
This stew is a great way to get in your iron, protein, and calcium. I had a conversation with a long-time vegetarian who recently started eating meat again because her body craved it and her doctor said people with O blood types (holla) thrive on veggies and meat. I’m still convinced most cravings and deficiencies can be avoided if you get in enough protein, iron and vitamin B, so I’m making sure they’re included in every single meal I eat. The verdict is still out on the risks of massive soy consumption (Bummer. I could eat soy all day every day) so I try to squeeze legumes in at least one meal. With more protein, I haven’t been feeling as ravenous before meals and don’t want nearly as much sweets.
End of spiel.