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Nekter Juice Bar, Greenwood Village

Nekter Juice Bar | www.thatwasvegan.com

You know I love smoothies (with beets, with cabbage, it’s all good), but sometimes I don’t feel like making them at home. Or cleaning up the mess after! Those are the times when I’d much rather stop my my local juice/smoothie bar and let them do the hard work. The problem, of course, is that most smoothie places use dairy products in their drinks so you have to be careful when ordering… Which is the beauty of Nekter Juice Bar – There are no animal products on their menu! The only milk they use is cashew milk, how perfect is that?

Their menu is separated into 3 main categories: Juices, Smoothies, and Açaí Bowls (they also offer specialty drinks/shots, and cleanse programs). We started with what I will now proclaim to be the most delicious thing on their menu, the PB Bowl: A nourishing blend of peanut butter and strawberries gives this bowl a boost of delectable flavors reminiscent of a PB&J sandwich, without the bread!

Nekter Juice Bar | www.thatwasvegan.com

Nekter Juice Bar | www.thatwasvegan.com

The bottom layer is basically a really thick, Açaí based smoothie made with bananas, strawberries, peanut butter, vanilla bean and cashew milk. It’s so thick, it’s almost like eating really healthy ice cream. The next later was a slightly sweet hempseed granola, topped with fresh fruit. 

I’d describe it as a sundae you can eat for breakfast! The peanut butter and strawberry combo was rich without being over the top. It was a really comforting flavor, because you did sort of feel like you were eating a PB&J. I’d go back in a nanosecond for another PB Bowl!

Now, normally a person would just order a bowl OR a juice OR a smoothie, not all three… and the bowl was very filling (it really would make a meal on its own), but since I had been invited there to review the whole menu, I had to push on (tough job, right?)…

Next up was The Buzz juice: Carrot, orange, lemon and ginger:

Nekter Juice Bar | www.thatwasvegan.com

We have a juicer at home but hardly ever use it because it’s so messy, so getting to enjoy fresh juice like this is a treat. The Buzz promises an instant buzz of energy, and I will say that citrus and ginger flavor really did perk me up! After that we made short work on the Banana Berry Burst smoothie (the purple one above), made of fresh whole berries, banana, raw vanilla beans and cashew milk. It was so thick and creamy, I loved it (although I couldn’t finish it, so it went home with me to spend the night in the fridge). Those banana berry combos are the ones I always want when I go to a smoothie shop, but they usually have yogurt or something in them, so it’s been a long time since I’ve actually had one!

In addition to their fresh products, Nekter also offers pre-packed juices, cleanses, and other snacks to round out your healthy meal:

Nekter Juice Bar | www.thatwasvegan.com

I hadn’t noticed while I was there, but there are small single-serve dairy milk packages in their refrigerated case, but it’s okay since they’re not using it in their smoothies! They also have boxed water, apparently, and I’m not even sure what that is.

I wish I had gotten more/better shots of the store’s interior, because it was really beautiful, very light, bright and contemporary. I also have to give a shout-out to Alexa and Tiara who were working yesterday and took such good care of us!

And I have some good news- Nekter is a chain, so there might be one near you! They’re all over California, Texas, and Arizona, and they now have two locations here in Colorado as well (Greenwood Village and Boulder).

 *I was provided with free product to review, but the opinions are 100% mine!

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Mile High Vegan Eats: Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs

Mile High Vegan Eats: Steve's Snappin' Dogs | www.thatwasvegan.com

You guys know how I love to review restaurants with options for everyone, and Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs on East Colfax in Denver is exactly that kind of place! Obviously they have a ton of omni options, as most places do, but they also have a surprising number of vegetarian and vegan options, as well as gluten-free, all of which are clearly marked on their menu! When I was in earlier this month I actually got to sit down with the owner, Steve, and grill him (ha!) a little bit. He takes a lot of pride in offering so many choices for all kinds of eaters. He’s also very honest and upfront about the possibility of “cross-contamination”, although they do make all reasonable efforts to avoid it. Veggie dogs are cooked on their own corner of the grill, etc. Works for me! They have a small indoor eating area, as well as an outside(ish) area with picnic tables and even a water bowl for your doggy friends.  Because of course a hot dog joint would be dog friendly, right?

I actually ate here once or twice years ago, but hadn’t been back in a while until a friend reminded me of it. Then I ate there twice in one week…

On my first trip I had the regular Veggie Dog, loaded with red onions, mustard, and relish. And ketchup. About a gallon of ketchup that I waited to add until after I took the picture because you literally wouldn’t have been able to see the dog, haha. On the side I had Fried Carrots & Green Beans instead of fries:

Mile High Vegan Eats: Steve's Snappin' Dogs | www.thatwasvegan.com

The veggie “fries” were crunchy and salty and really good! The hot dog was delicious too, and the bun was all hot and toasty. Yum!

On my second trip I got a little fancier and ordered the Chicago Veggie Dog which had tomatoes, a pickle, spicy mustard, relish, and celery salt. It was enormous and hard to eat, but really good! I also had the Sweet Tots and maybe stole a couple fries…

Mile High Vegan Eats: Steve's Snappin' Dogs | www.thatwasvegan.com

Mile High Vegan Eats: Steve's Snappin' Dogs | www.thatwasvegan.com

The fries and tots were both perfectly fried and completely addicting. I can’t wait to go back for more!

Steve’s in located at 3525 E. Colfax Ave AND now at DIA, Concourse B. I highly recommend you stop by one location or the other and get your veggie dog on!

 

Want more Denver-area restaurant reviews? Check out my Mile High Vegan Eats page!

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Creamy Kimchi Pasta with Bacon

Creamy Kimchi Pasta | www.thatwasvegan

Kimchi, Pasta and Bacon, oh my!

Seriously you guys, if I was able to come through your computer screen and force you to make something for dinner tonight, it would be this Creamy Vegan Kimchi Pasta with Bacon! Just looking at these pictures while I write this post is making my tummy growl.

I love me some kimchi, but it turns out I love it even more when it’s paired with bacon, sauteed garlic, and some super creamy sour cream. I can barely describe how well these flavors work together!

Creamy Kimchi Pasta | www.thatwasvegan

Each bite was like a big flavorful punch in the mouth… But in a good way!

As the weather turns colder I find myself craving pasta more and more, and this is a really great way to keep it from getting boring. Plus finding vegan kimchi is pretty easy these days, so you don’t need to worry about making it yourself. I’ve actually never even attempted to make it myself because, honestly, it seems like a huge pain in the lady-balls. Much easier to just hop on down to my local Whole Foods (or Sprouts, Natural Grocers, etc) and pick up a jar. Plus, that way you’ll have a little extra to make some Kimchi Relish for your veggie dogs!

Creamy Kimchi Pasta | www.thatwasvegan

Okay, that’s my spiel. Please just promise me you’ll try this dish the next time you’re craving pasta! Not convinced yet? Ok, here’s one last look…

Creamy Kimchi Pasta | www.thatwasvegan

Creamy Kimchi Pasta with Bacon
Serves 4
Korean pasta? YES!
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Ingredients
  1. 8 oz your favorite bite-size pasta
  2. Olive oil
  3. 1/2 red onion, sliced
  4. 2 cloves garlic, diced
  5. 4 strips vegan bacon (I used lightlife smart bacon), thinly sliced
  6. Sea salt
  7. 1 1/4 cups Kimchi, roughly chopped
  8. 1 cup non-dairy unsweetened milk
  9. 2 tablespoons vegan sour cream
  10. 1/2 cube 'not-chicken' or veggie bouillon
  11. Chopped scallions for topping, if desired
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta per package directions.
  2. In a large pan, saute the onion, garlic and bacon in the oil, and sprinkle with a bit of salt, for 7-8 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the remaining ingredients, stirring until thickened and heated through. Stir in the pasta, top with the scallions, and serve immediately!
Notes
  1. If you have applewood smoked sea salt, sprinkle a bit of that on the bacon, onion and garlic while they're cooking!
Adapted from My Korean Kitchen
Adapted from My Korean Kitchen
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
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Tex Mex Breakfast Casserole

Looking for a hearty breakfast that will keep you full all morning? Something that will fuel your for a nice long hike, or perhaps just something you can make ahead of time and throw in the oven for guests? Well, how about some Tex-Mex Breakfast Casserole!?

Tex-Mex Breakfast Casserole | www.thatwasvegan.com

There’s so much in there… Tofu scramble, kale, potatoes, tomatoes, corn tortillas, and Daiya cheese.

Layer upon layer of vegan goodness:

Tex-Mex Breakfast Casserole | www.thatwasvegan.com

I made this a couple weeks ago and we had it for breakfast before hiking Stanley Canyon. If you live along the front range you’ve probably heard of this hike… It starts on the US Air Force Academy and it is guaranteed to kick your butt. It reminded me a lot of Mt. Bierstadt because it was so steep and rocky, but it was (thankfully) much shorter.

And because I eat plant strong breakfasts like THIS casserole, I was ready. See?

Tex-Mex Breakfast Casserole | www.thatwasvegan.com

Yes, I’m a total goofball. But you guys already knew that!

Tex-Mex Breakfast Casserole | www.thatwasvegan.com

Okay, casserole. I started with a batch of tofu scramble and just went from there.  You can make it as spicy as you like, add in whatever veggies are calling your name, and it’s all good. Sweet potatoes and black beans would be amazing in there as well!

Tell us: Do you like big hearty breakfasts, or are you more likely to stick with a smoothie, or maybe some oatmeal?


Tex-Mex Breakfast Casserole
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 batch tofu scramble (with kale!) (Also I skipped the sausage in this, but that's up to you!)
  2. 1 medium/large russet potato
  3. Oil for cooking potatoes (if desired, you could also use water)
  4. 10 oz can red enchilada sauce
  5. 2 tomatoes, chopped
  6. 10 corn tortillas
  7. 2 cups Daiya shreds (I mixed mozzarella and cheddar)
  8. Non stick spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Spray casserole dish lightly with no-stick spray
  2. Wash and chop the potato, and cook in a pan over medium heat with just a bit of oil till tender on the inside and crisp on the outside, then stir into the tofu scramble.
  3. In your casserole dish, layer in this order: 2 tablespoons enchilada sauce, tortillas (3, torn in half for best coverage), half the tofu mixture, 1/3 of the tomatoes, 1/3 of the cheese.
  4. THEN: 1/2 the remaining enchilada sauce, 3 tortillas, the rest of the tofu mix, 1/2 the remaining tomatoes, another 1/3 of the cheese. Finally, top with the last 3 tortillas, the rest of the sauce, tomatoes and cheese.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, with a minute or so at the end under the broiler to melt the cheese in necessary. Enjoy!
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
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Mile High Vegan Eats: Seasons 52 Fresh Grill

I was invited to dine at the brand new Seasons 52 Fresh Grill in Lone Tree last week, and it turns out that I am The. Luckiest. Girl. In. The. World. It was amazing you guys!

I barely even know where to begin.

Mile High Vegan Eats: Seasons 52 | www.thatwasvegan.com

If you frequent Park Meadows then you’ve seen the building… brand new, prairie-style (think Frank Lloyd Wright), and very fancy on the inside. It’s where Champs used to be, although they tore down that building and started from scratch. We went on a Friday night and the place was packed, yet the acoustics are such that you can whisper to the person sitting next to you, and they can hear you perfectly. Try doing that in a crowded bar anywhere else and see what happens! (Nothing happens, because they didn’t hear you…). The finishes are all high end, it’s beautiful and romantic, and absolutely perfect for a special night out!

If you’re not familiar with Seasons 52, they’re all about offering seasonal, sophisticated dishes with an eye toward health. They change their menu four times a year, and each dish has 475 calories or less. They also offer multiple special menus: Vegan, Vegetarian, Sodium-Friendly, Gluten-Sensitive, Garlic-Sensitive, and Lactose/Dairy Sensitive. This makes me very happy. It’s so nice to sit down with the vegan menu and see all my options laid out before me, rather than having to grill the server about how dishes are prepared. And speaking of the servers, the service was amazing. They had only been open for about three weeks when we went it, but it was running so smoothly you’d have thought they had all worked there together for years!

And now, the food…

We started with a couple of the New Old Fashioned: Breaker Craft Bourbon, Apple Bitters, and just a hint of cherry. And rock candy. Seriously. It’s for stirring the drink, so you can sweeten it up a little. Or you can let it soak in the bourbon for a few minutes then crunch away at it, like I did. One of the best drinks I’ve ever had.

Mile High Vegan Eats: Seasons 52 | www.thatwasvegan.com

Pre-dinner drinks were accompanied by Artichoke Flatbread topped with leaf spinach, balsamic onions, and roasted peppers:

Mile High Vegan Eats: Seasons 52 | www.thatwasvegan.com

Then I had the Butternut Squash Soup, topped with shiitake mushroom chips (tasted like bacon!) and chives. This was the best dish of the night. Of the week, actually. It was sweetened with apple and it blew my mind. I might have licked the bowl.

Mile High Vegan Eats: Seasons 52 | www.thatwasvegan.com

For my main course I had the Cedar Plank Roasted Tofu with broccolini, baby carrots, and roasted crushed potatoes. I was a bit skeptical, thinking this was just a silly knock-off of the salmon version, but I was wrong. The tofu was seasoned perfectly and I really could taste a hint of cedar in there!

Mile High Vegan Eats: Seasons 52 | www.thatwasvegan.com

My lucky date chose the Vegetarian Tasting plate, which included quinoa-citrus salad, a soft taco, veggies, and some of the cedar-roasted tofu, but with a tropical salsa on top. This is the taco… Have you ever seen anything as precious as that little taco holder?

Mile High Vegan Eats: Seasons 52 | www.thatwasvegan.com

Everything was seasonal, fresh, and wonderfully prepared. It was a very special meal and we felt like honored guests. The only part of the meal that was less than perfect was dessert. The only vegan item they had on the menu was Fresh Blueberries. They were great, but we saw the dessert tray the rest of the restaurant got to choose from (aka: not vegan), and we were very jealous. I think they could easily have taken those blueberries and added some sweet cashew cream and maybe a graham cracker crust? That would’ve made my night! So, if anyone from Seasons 52′s corporate office is reading this, please consider adding more vegan dessert options!

 

Want more Denver-area restaurant reviews? Check out my Mile High Vegan Eats page!

 *I was provided free product to review, but the opinions are 100% mine!

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So So SO Delicious!

So So SO Delicious! | www.thatwasvegan.com

This post is ridiculously overdue. Like, if it were a library book, I’d owe at least $20 bucks.

My friends over at So Delicious sent me some of their new almond-based products a few months ago to try. You did know they’re doing almond now, didn’t you? Well they are, which means they now offer products made with coconut, almond and soy… a little something for everyone!

Now, I personally tend to go for the coconut based milks, creamers and ice cream because I love the coconut flavor, but I know a lot of people prefer the almond because the taste is milder. Most almond milk products also have fewer calories, if you’re into counting those.

I tried the creamer first. I’m not a huge coffee drinker, but I ordered one just so I could add the French Vanilla to it, and it was delicious! Flavorful and smooth, I’d definitely buy that flavor if I was planning to serve coffee at home. I shared with Original with a friend at work who is a big coffee drinker (but who eats dairy), and she gave it two thumbs up! She actually preferred that it didn’t have a strong coconut or soy taste to it.

And then there was the yogurt…

So So SO Delicious! | www.thatwasvegan.com

I’m not a huge fan of yogurt and I hardly ever buy it. I shared most of these at work, but I did keep the strawberry for myself. I ended up bringing it with me to brunch at a local restaurant one Sunday. They have a huge bowl of granola and fresh fruit on their menu that I thought would be excellent with some vegan yogurt… and I was right! I was also mad at myself for giving away all the other yogurts ;)  The Strawberry was thick and creamy and really delicious!

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Grilled Avocado Tacos

Grilled Avocado Tacos | www.thatwasvegan.com

It’s been said that I can make a taco out of anything. And it’s probably true. In this case I grilled an avocado and an ear of corn, chopped up a handful of cherry tomatoes, and Boom.  Tacos.

Grilled Avocado Tacos | www.thatwasvegan.com

These tacos are the perfect way to hold on to the tail end of summer. They’re quick and light enough for a nice weekend lunch, and filling enough for dinner. And ridiculously simple. As in, ‘not even an actual recipe to follow’ simple.

Shuck one ear of corn down to the last couple of layers, and let soak in cold water for a few minutes, then grill over medium for about 20 minutes. You could also boil or cook however you would normally! While it’s cooking, chop up 2 big tomatoes or a whole mess of smaller ones and set them aside.

Then, slice a ripe avocado in half, remove the pit, brush with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil, then grill for 2-3 minutes over medium heat…

Grilled Avocado Tacos | www.thatwasvegan.com

(Recognize that cutting board?)

As soon as you have nice grill marks, chop that beauty up and add to your taco shells along with the corn and tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and enjoy! One ear of corn and one avocado will make about 4 tacos.

Grilled Avocado Tacos | www.thatwasvegan.com

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Vegan BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers

Vegan BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers. With rich, decadent onion rings on top. No, you’re not dreaming.
Vegan BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers | www.thatwasvegan.com

They taste like a dream come true, no doubt, but they’re as real as can be, promise! 

I actually made these like months ago. Maybe even last year. I took pictures and even shared one on Instagram, but then the memory card got misplaced. I considered re-making them a million times, but as I’ve lamented before, food bloggers just don’t have a lot of time to re-visit favorite old recipes.

Speaking of which, I have sucked lately at blogging. Like, big-time. My apologies. I know it’s annoying to hear someone talk about how busy they are, but it just seems like I’ve been pulled in about 47 different directions everyday.

Plus, this:

Vegan BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers | www.thatwasvegan.com

How am I supposed to cook, let along blog about it, when that little cocker princess is laying around all cute as hell, just demanding to be loved on!?

Still. I’m gonna try to be better. Which is why I’m sharing these burgers with you today!

Vegan BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers | www.thatwasvegan.com

I started with a variation of my yummy spicy chickpea burgers as the base, then added a slice of Daiya cheddar, gobs of BBQ sauce, Lightlife Smart Bacon, and Alexia onion rings.  Oh yeah, there was also some Vegenaise schmeared on there because why not? They’re decadent, yes. And I’m not gonna lie, there are some calories hidden in there, but this burger is worth a few extra seconds minutes whatever on the elliptical!

I should also ‘fess up that it’s also pretty messy to eat, so maybe not a good dish to make if you find BBQ sauce smeared on your face, hands, clothes embarrassing. And if you do, just eat it alone ;)

Vegan BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers | www.thatwasvegan.com


 

Vegan BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 sweet onion
  2. 1/2 red bell pepper
  3. 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  4. 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  5. 1 teaspoon each cumin and oregano
  6. 1/4 teaspoon each chili powder, paprika, and garlic powder
  7. 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
  8. 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  9. 4 slices Daiya sliced cheddar
  10. 4 buns of choice
  11. 8 onion rings
  12. 8 slices vegan bacon
  13. Additional BBQ sauce for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Spray baking sheet or foil with non-stick spray.
  2. Stir the chia seeds in 3 tablespoons of water, set aside.
  3. Chop the onion and bell pepper into big chunks, and give them a couple pulses in the food processor. Add the beans and pulse a bit more, until everything is mixed and in small bits (but not so long that it turns to liquid!)
  4. Transfer to mixing bowl, straining out any extra liquid. Stir in chia mixture, spices, sauce and panko crumbs.
  5. Form into 4 patties and bake for 15 minutes. Spray and flip, then bake another 10 minutes. Add cheese and put under broiler for 30+ seconds until melted. Build your burgers and enjoy!
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
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My Colorado Cutting Board

Would it surprise you to learn that I have a cutting board the shape of Colorado?
My Colorado Cutting Board | www.thatwasvegan.com

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking… “Everyone has a cutting board the shape of Colorado because Colorado IS A RECTANGLE!” Ok, so would it surprise you to know that you’re wrong!? We are not a perfect rectangle. There is actually a smallish indent along the Southwestern edge of the state. So, now you know.

Annnd now you’re also wondering why I’m giving you a geography lesson, right? It’s because the kind folks at Epicurean sent me one of their State Shape Cutting Boards to try out.  Fun, right? Who doesn’t want a cutting board the shape of their state? They’d also make good gifts, I think.

I’ve had mine for a couple months now, and haven’t had any problems with it. I chop and dice on it, and it’s still in great shape. I run it through the dishwasher, same story. Good as new. I’ve spilled wine on it, and it didn’t stain. I even dropped it on the floor once and it didn’t crack or splinter, so it’s all good in my book! It’s easier to clean than the wooden boards I have, yet nicer and much sturdier than my plastic ones from IKEA.

According to their website, these cutting boards are:

  • Made of natural slate
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Eco friendly: Made using materials that leave a low carbon footprint)
  • Knife friendly: Will not dull knives by allowing surface to slightly score, protecting knife edge
  • Heat resistant: To 350 degrees F/ 176 degrees C, and can be used as a trivet without leaving a blemish, and
  • Are made in the USA!

So if you’re in the market for a new cutting board, check out these fun state shaped fellas.

 

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Lemon Butter Quinoa

Lemon Butter Quinoa | www.thatwasvegan.com

This Lemon Butter Quinoa is like some magical combination of rich, buttery corn on the cob and healthy quinoa and veggies. It’s magic, I tell ya!

I made this a few weeks ago as a side dish, and loved it so much I made another batch the next day for work lunches. Tons of protein and vitamins in there, and then the sweet combination of butter and lemon… it’ll be your new favorite too!

In addition to the corn, I just used scallions and mini peppers. Love those mini peppers! They’re always $2.50 for a big ol’ bag of them around here, and I love a good deal!

Lemon Butter Quinoa | www.thatwasvegan.com

And yes, it’s kind of a summer dish but you could continue to make it throughout the winter using frozen corn and bell peppers. It would still be delicious and healthy! I’m certainly planning to. I just love when simple dishes turn out to taste so fabulous, don’t you?

Lemon Butter Quinoa | www.thatwasvegan.com

 

Lemon Butter Quinoa | www.thatwasvegan.com


 

Lemon Butter Quinoa with Grilled Corn
Serves 4
A delicious side dish bursting with fresh flavors!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 ears corn
  2. 1 cup quinoa (any color)
  3. 1 small lemon
  4. 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  5. sea salt
  6. 1/2 bunch scallions
  7. 5 mini peppers
Instructions
  1. Shuck and rinse corn, then cook. You can boil but I recommend grilling them over medium for about 20 minutes, flipping once.
  2. Rinse the quinoa then place in a pot. In a measuring cup, add the juice and zest of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons vegan butter, then fill with water up to the 2 cup mark. Pour into the pot with the quinoa and add a pinch of salt, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid is gone.
  3. Slice the scallions and set aside. THINLY slice the peppers and add to the pot for the last 5 minutes or so.
  4. Slice the corn off the cob and stir in. Taste and add S&P as needed. Top with the scallions before serving.
Notes
  1. If you're grilling the corn, shuck it down until there's just a few layers of leaves left, then soak them in water for 10 minutes before grilling.
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
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