Today we’re going to be controversial, our dear friends. We’re going to write about veganism the buzz word of the day, that appears in all Social Media influencers’ posts, Marketing campaigns, organic stores packaging and general family banter. You read it well, the word that provoques as many claps as funky expressions, and everything in between. At Lisbon Cooking Academy, we believe in freedom of opinion and lifestyles, so here’s what we think of it.
You don’t have to be a vegan to eat vegan food. Eating vegan is like eating anything else. An option. The same way you go for pizza, noodles or to a tasca, why couldn’t you go for a vegan meal every now and then? Sound pretty obvious. Oh, but is it healthy, you are asking? Is it carbon footprint free? Is all vegan food organic? It depends. When it comes to food, the key is to choose fresh, wholesome ingredients, on season and ideally bought from local producers. In other words, eating vegan food can be as healthy or unhealthy as eating any other type of diet. It depends on how you do it. Variety and balance are key.
What is vegan food?
First things first, vegan food is plant-based food, meaning everything that does not come from animal sources. Think of meat, fish, seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy. More strict vegans go a bit further and they don’t eat honey – bee we love you, nor wear anything made from leather such as shoes, jackets or bags. Is it the same as being vegetarian? Well, this is a bit different from being a vegetarian, which itself has several subcategories. Long story short, you have a lot of people that call themselves vegetarians but they eat dairy and eggs. There are many names you can call them. We call them humans.
Preferences apart and, trust us, we love vegetables, grains and fruits, we believe in a balanced wholefoods diet aka comida de verdade. This means, the majority of the food we like to eat is plant-based, but occasionally, due to work, social commitments or even cravings, we treat ourselves with a delicious caldeirada, arroz de polvo ou bochechas de porco. And cake. Real cake.
Back to veganism and vegetarianism, we believe it can be seen as a positive trend, like recycling, carrying your cotton tote bag or buying a reusable water bottle. Those are all signs of a developed society, one that cares about the planet. Does it work for everyone? It surely not. Hence we are not big fans of extremes, as those are more than proved not to be sustainable, neither for us individually or as a group. You know, whatever you do, make it work for you.
Opinions or marketing strategies apart, and keeping up with the spirit of exploring our neighborhood, we went to Las Vegan restaurant to try out their vegan food. Here’s what we think about it.
Las Vegan, a vegan restaurant in Arroios
Las Vegan, as the name sais, is a small vegan restaurant with a simple menu full of veggies and bread. There you will find exclusively vegan options for lunch and dinner, named as a fun alternative to the originals like Arroios Doce or Gerard Vurger. Most of the options there are served inside bread. If you’ve been reading our articles, you now know how much we Portuguese love carbs. At Las Vegan, their bread is from Micro Padaria, a delicious artisanal bakery in Anjos that bakes their focaccia. Tasty.
From the sandwich range, we’ve tried their vurguer, which changes every now and then. We were lucky to have the black bean ‘and other things’ option, served in a generous bun with vegan mayo, caramelized onions and extra cheese. We liked their cheese and, trust us, vegan cheese itself is a whole other post. Think of cheese made from nut and yeast with a cheesy consistency.
Also on the menu, there are a few salads served inside a bowl, as we like to eat it. We had a tailor-made option of black rice, mushrooms and leaves, which was tasty. Special dishes are not always possible due to the small size of the kitchen. There are hot dogs and other salads available. What we really enjoyed were the kale crisps, crunchie and with sea salt, the organic balanced wine (seriously, full body and fun) and the not-so-sweet desserts. Try out the peanut butter fudge or their version of energy balls with almonds and coconut and you won’t be disappointed. Have another glass of wine, served in a copo de três, like old tascas do. Food preferences apart, Las Vegan gave a new life to where there used to be a very lisboeta tasca. And that is a reason for a visit itself.
Hungry, curious, inspired to try out vegan food? Keep an eye on our page for vegan and veggie friendly workshops. All diets welcome, all with extra flavor.
Your Lisbon Cooking Academy Team
Rua Cavaleiro de Oliveira, 53B