Food & Shoes

By Kelly Behr

Native Foods had an opportunity to be part of a great event at Amour Shoes, an all vegan shoe and accessories store located by our River Forest location.


Students were treated to Native Foods eats and were able to hear our Pals at Mercy For Animals speak about living a cruelty free life! It was like the full vegan circle. Learning about the harmful effects of factory farming to animals and the environment and then treated to both vegan food and fashion, showing these kids how easy it is to incorporate vegan options into their everyday life…great tasting and looking ones!


It is so awesome to expose a whole group of students to plant based cuisine who may have never eaten vegan food before. Thank you Amour Shoes for inviting us to participate!


V-Lish is Delish

Farm Sanctuary offers a great resource for even more delicious plant-based meals! Try this Mushroom Burger and many more.


Native Foods uses this image courtesy of

When you choose to go meat-free for lunch, you will soon discover the incredible variety of meat-free foods out there, from standbys like stir-fry to fun new favorites like Southwest Black Bean and Corn Mini Burgers (yes, we have a recipe for that!). Plus, you are taking an important step toward a more vibrant you and a better world for farm animals. Try one of these recipes for lunch today! Click here for the entire recipe!

Native Foods Washington D.C. Video Contest Winners!

DC pic

In the spirit of our new D.C. area vegan restaurant opening next week in Falls Church, Virginia (WOOHOO!!) we wanted to give a little shout out to some of our most passionate, loyal and creative guests EVER– all of our winners from the Native Foods D.C. Grand Opening Video Contest!! Your entries were seriously above and beyond what we expected…from hilarious to touching to just plain wacky! Thank you again to all of our winners and to anyone who submitted an entry. Today’s post is for all of YOU!

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Go Pick on Someone Your Own Size!

By Kelly Behr


One big (huge) company is suing little Hampton Creek who are the creators of Just Mayo. Just Mayo, if you are not familiar is a vegan brand that comes in delicious flavors like chipotle & sriracha not to mention the tastiness of the original. 

Just Mayo found themselves smack dab in the middle of a lawsuit the other day brought on by it’s much larger competitor, Hellmann’s. Their problem? Hampton Creek “mayo” wasn’t using real eggs!! I mean how dare they! Hellmann’s is claiming that Just Mayo is participating in fraud by making people think the product contains real eggs and by definition should not be allowed to use the word Mayo. Looks like someone is a little scared of this up and coming brand if you ask me! Continue reading


by Kelly Behr 

Native Foods Cafe


Meet Micah Risk, mother, business owner, runner, vegan and the newest cover model for Ruuner's World. And what a more perfect match for the October Nutrition Issue. Run, vegans, run!




I had the pleasure of meeting Micah at DC Veg Fest where I learned a little more about her and her business which just happens to be in food…healthy & delicious food, we already had so much in common.. well except for the whole, her being a marathon runner thing. 


She has started this rad business called Ligher Culture which is designed to make it easy for people to eat healthier, stick to their diets and stay within their budgets. They offer food coaches who tailor your food preferences just for you! Then you are given a special meal plan, set up a time for your groceries to be delivered and boom…you are your own gourmet chef. Lighter is going on a national launch soon, so stay tuned! 

I was able to stay and watch her cooking demo as she showed the crowd a few simple recipes that they could easily make at home. Her tacos sounded delicious, I really should have taken notes! 


I am excited to hear how Lighter is expanding, click here to sign up to hear when the food delivery service is available in your city!

I Think….Therefore I Cook….

Chef Susen A. Hunter

Native Foods Cafe


People often ask me how I come up with recipes so I thought I would take a minute to explain the “process” for me.   The explanation is that there is NO process.  I can find inspiration in a variety of ways –  from tweaking an existing recipe or using a “new” spice, to having a visual in my head and trying to create it, or even just thinking ”what if I…..”.   I LOVE the “what if” game!

There is nothing I find more refreshing than having 3-5 days with nothing do to but be creative in the kitchen.  I may start out with tweaking a recipe only to think of additional new recipes or methods that I want to try.  Or, I may have a theme in mind and try to brainstorm new ways to present foods/flavor profiles that represent that theme. 

I love it when I’m creating new foods and I have a few friends available to try what I’m making…then I don’t have to constantly eat/taste everything myself!!!  I love getting instant feedback during the creation process because it helps me narrow down the precise amounts of ingredients – most usually the spices and salt content. 

I try never to google any of my ideas before I try them….that way I know my recipes are original and I haven’t been subliminally influenced by some other recipe.  Overall, I rely on my decades of cooking/baking/creating experience to guide me in my inspiration. 

I can tell you that as a chef, there is a great feeling of accomplishment when hundreds of people have tried your food and have responded positively.  That, for me, is why I love doing cooking demos for the public…that sense that I shared a unique recipe and the members of the audience love enough to go home and make it.  How cool is that?

Here is a recent creation!




1 C of Black Forbidden Rice – Steamed/cooked according to instructions

1 C of Black Beans from can – rinsed/drained

1 C of Black Lentils – Steamed/cooked according to instructions

1 TSP Better Than Bullion Vegetable base dissolved in 8 oz water

1 TSP Adobo seasoning

½ TSP Chipotle seasoning +/- by taste

1 C of baked sweet potato – cubed

½ C carrot – diced fine

¼ C orange pepper – diced fine

Vegan Butter- approx. 1 TBS

Pinch of garlic powder, pinch of onion powder, pinch of sea salt


In a large skillet over medium heat, add the water/veggie base and adobo and chipotle seasoning.  Stir and add in the rice, beans, and lentils stirring to get the flavoring distributed evenly.

In a separate skillet, melt the butter over low heat and toss in the sweet potato, carrot and pepper.  Sprinkle with onion powder, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt.  Stir gently over low heat for about 3minutes then gently fold into the beans/rice/lentils in the larger skillet.  Serve with a dollop of chipotle mayo.


Optional — Carve orange peppers into Jack-O-Lanterns, rub with EVOO, and stuff with pilaf.  Place in covered baking dish and bake in oven on 350⁰ for about 25 minutes



Vegan Recipe: Arugula-Cashew Crudite

by Kelly Behr

When Chef Susen first made this and brought it to our offices no one could get enough! We were like you must present that as a demo recipe. This crudite is so versatile it can be eaten as just that, a crudite but can also be used as a sandwich spread. This tasty treat is great with chips, pita crisps and or fresh cut veggies. It takes about 2 mins to make from scratch and is both delcious and healthy, a true win win.


Vegan Recipe: Raw Sweet Potato and Apple Salad With Maple Vinaigrette

By Steve Petusevsky
Director of Culinary Innovation
Native Foods Cafe

A perfect salad to make on these hot summer days!

Serve as is or over spinach, arugula or field greens.

•2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled

•1 skin-on Granny Smith or Gala apple, grated

•1/4 cup golden raisins

•1/4 cup dried cranberries

•1/4 cup chopped raw almonds or cashews

•2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

•1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

•1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

•Fresh-ground black pepper

•1 tablespoon natural brown

sesame seeds

Cut the sweet potatoes into matchstick using a mandoline or julienne them by hand. Pile sweet potatoes and apples as high as they will stand (like a haystack) on a large plate. Sprinkle raisins, cranberries and nuts over top. Drizzle with maple syrup and rice vinegar. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and sesame seeds. Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Vegan Recipe: Chile Rellenos Stuffed with Vegetable Estofado and Lime Crema

By Alex Placencia

Executive Chef

Native Foods Cafe

Chile rellenos is one of my favorites.  A traditional Mexican dish, it gained popularity during the period of Lent, in which Catholics would not eat meat on Fridays.  I have made a vegan version here that is pretty amazing.  Also fun for summertime not only because of the lime crema sauce, but you can prep the peppers on a grill!  (Which vegans just don’t get to do enough of in the summer).  I hope you enjoy!

Chile Rellenos Stuffed with Vegetable Estofado and Lime Crema

Zucchini, Diced                                                                        1 Count

Yellow Squash, Diced                                                                1 Count

Yellow Onion, Diced                                                                 1 Count

Mushrooms, Diced                                                                     2 Cups

Potato, Peeled and Diced                                                          1 Count

Garlic, Chopped                                                                        1 Tbs

Fresh Cilatntro, Chopped                                                           2 Tbs

Vegan Cheese, Shredded                                                          ½ Cup

Salt and Pepper                                                                       To Taste

Olive Oil                                                                                  1 Tbs


1)     On a grill or gas stove top, place poblano peppers and to cook for about 1 minute on each side, until the skin gets charred and blistered.

2)     Place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let cool.

3)     In a sautee pan over medium heat, place the potatoes and ¼ tbs of garlic and ¼ tbs of oil in and cook until they start to brown.

4)     While the potatoes are browning, you can start to peel the peppers.  Place under cool water and just slide and pull the skin off with your fingers

5)     After the potatoes are soft and browned, remove and place in a large mixing bowl.

6)     Over medium heat, cook the onions ¼ tbs of garlic and ¼ tbs of oil and cook until they become translucent.  Remove and place in the mixing bowl.

7)     Repeat with the squash and zucchini ¼ tbs of garlic and ¼ tbs of oil.  Remove when cooked and place in bowl.

8)     Repeat with the mushrooms ¼ tbs of garlic and ¼ tbs of oil and add to the mixing bowl.

9)     Toss all veggies and mix with cheese and 2 Tbs of cilantro

10)  Slice the top of one of the peppers lengthwise and carefully sever the seed sac from the stem without breaking apart the pepper.

11)  Stuff the peppers with the vegetable cheese mix

12)  Place the stuffed pepper on a plate, (maybe with some refried beans on the bottom!) and drizzle with the lime crema.  Garnish with cilantro if you like, and ENJOY!


Lime Crema

Veganaise                                                            ½ Cup

Lime Juice                                                          ½ Count

Salt                                                                        Pinch

1)     Place veganaise, lime juice, and salt in a small bowl and mix well.



In the Spotlight: Kelly O’Neil

By Kelly Behr

Native Foods Cafe

If you read our newsletters that we have in the stores you are used to seeing someone featured as our, "In the Spotlight" special guest. This month we were very excited to feature Kelly O'Neil. She is the Education and Outreach Coordinator for Farm Sanctuary. Farm Sanctuary has become very near and dear to Native Foods. We have recently entered into a partnership with them that will allow us to work together on many fun and exciting things coming up. 

I was able to visit the Farm Sanctuary in Acton, CA and meet Kelly and all the awesome animals that call the sanctuary their home. There was a baby cow who we heard mooing when we were walking away and realized he had been following us all the way down to the hill and wanted to stay with us wherever we went. 


I learned about all their unique personality traits and how cool it is to hold a rooster, did you know they love belly rubs too? Well they do! 



Here is Kelly holding Li Mu Bai a Silkie rooster who loves laying on his back for a good belly rub!


Kelly O’Neil


Position with Farm Sanctuary:

Education and Outreach Coordinator


How did you get involved with Farm Sanctuary? 

I previously worked at an animal shelter and after becoming vegan I realized that there was a much bigger problem than just dogs and cats being mistreated and killed needlessly. By becoming vegan my compassion extended to all living beings especially those used in the food industry. After learning that over 9 billion farm animals are killed for human consumption each year in the United States alone I knew I wanted to do more to help spread the message that you do not need to consume animal products in order to live a happy, healthy life.


Favorite part of your job? 

Educating the public about the horrors of modern animal agriculture and helping people make changes in how they view and treat farm animals. The United States is a nation of animal lovers, and a lot of people don’t want to think about what happens to farm animals, but I believe knowledge is power and that is why I work to expose and end the abuses of factory farming through education and advocacy.


It might be like picking a favorite child, but do you have some favorites at the sanctuary? 

I have quite a few but I would have to say that I was most surprised by how intelligent and social chickens are. They have such distinct personalities but unfortunately, chickens are among the most abused of farm animals in the United States, with over 8 billion being killed for human consumption each year. That’s 279 every second! Not only are chickens exploited for their meat, but for their eggs as well. Li Mu Bai is a Silkie rooster that I am particularly fond of at Farm Sanctuary’s Los Angeles area shelter. You can cuddle and kiss him just like you would your dog or cat and he will fall asleep in your arms as you pet his feathers. He’s such a love!


What is the one message Farm Sanctuary really wants to make sure they portray? 

That farm animals are intelligent, emotionally complex individuals, just like the dogs and cats we share our lives with, and they deserve the same respect and consideration.


Does Farm Sanctuary educate on eating a vegan diet? 

Yes, Farm Sanctuary’s Los Angeles area shelter gives 1-hour guided tours to the public on Sundays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. On these tours we introduce guests to farm animals that have been rescued from situations of cruelty and neglect, teach them about the conditions animals face on factory farms and talk about compassionate vegan living. At Farm Sanctuary we support any movement in the direction of plant-based eating. Every time someone chooses a plant-based meal instead of one containing animal products, they’re making a difference.


Do you have any advice for people new to trying a vegan diet?

Try eating vegan just one meal a week or for a whole day, and see how you feel. It’s a lot easier than people think and even little changes make a big difference. And fortunately now there are plant-based alternatives for nearly every type of meat, dairy and egg product on the market that are delicious and healthier for you and our environment, too! Farm Sanctuary has a great resource called V-lish ( that has recipes, videos and tips that can help you plan your plant-based shopping trip, cook delicious meat-free meals and experience vegan dining made simple.


What is your favorite menu item at Native Foods

It’s so hard to pick just one knowing that everything on the menu is plant-based and cruelty-free! The Yo Amigo Taco Salad is probably my favorite because it is healthy, filling and delicious.


What is the one food you couldn't live without? 

Definitely dark, leafy vegetables like kale and spinach. They are full of protein and calcium and perfect for salads, stir-fry’s, smoothies, and juicing!


Please stay tuned for more exciting events Native Foods will be doing with Farm Sanctuary. Our first event will be Monday, July 28th. We are having a giveback day for Farm Sanctuary where a portion of sales from all Native Foods will go back to Farm Sanctaury and a FREE DESSERT for YOU with the purchase of an entree, side & Native Drink.