Vegan dining on Maui

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We spent 10 amazing days in Maui, I was surprised by how easy it was to find vegan choices on the menus at most of the places we went. We stayed in the Ka’anapali Beach area and ate most of our meals in nearby Lahaina.

The area we stayed in was right across the street from the big Ka’anapali Beach resorts, we could walk to the beach in less than 5 minutes yet had the privacy of our own cottage with a huge lanai and a pool right outside our door. One evening we walked down to Dukes Beach House and got an amazing table on the patio with nothing but sand between us and the ocean. They had palm umbrellas and torches and a live acoustic musician playing at sunset, all the things you think about when you picture a magical dinner on a tropical island. The Farm to Fork platter had my name written all over it. It was a gorgeous display of brussels sprouts & quinoa, coconut milk steamed bamboo rice, roasted fingerling potatoes and crisp polenta cake with a confit of local tomatoes. I wish I could eat it again right now, the picture does not do it justice.

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Dining in Lahaina we had some of the best food on the trip. It is impossible to pick a favorite between the India Express on Front Street, located in The Wharf shopping area, and the Thai Chef in Old Lahaina Center. We went to both places twice during our stay, and both places had tons of vegan options. Not always listed as such, but if you ask, they are happy to let you know what can be left out of things to make them vegan.

At India Express, the first time, we shared a vegan vegetable curry and the channa masala. The best part, their garlic naan can be made vegan if you ask them not to brush it with butter! It was one of the best naans I’ve ever had. The second time we went back we had the channa saag and a dahl curry, both absolutely delicious. We ate outside on the patio, service was great and they kept cold water coming which is always appreciated when you are eating spicy food! I loved this place, I highly recommend it.

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The Thai Chef is a “must try.” This place is located just off the main drag, Front Street, down a little alley. It was a little harder to find, even using my GPS walking feature, but the locals were helpful in giving us directions to get there the first time.

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On our first visit we ordered the thai spring rolls and green papaya salad to start. Both were delicious. It was recommended by our server to eat the spring rolls with the garnishes they served by wrapping the spring roll in a lettuce cup with a slice of cucumber, mint and their delicious pineapple sweet and sour sauce.

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The red pineapple curry is what brought us back the second time. It was super spicy with a mild sweetness from the pineapple and the coconut milk….so much flavor in this dish, I can’t wait to try to recreate it! When asked for spice level, I think we said just under medium hot and it was perfect. I like spicy, but thai food can be dangerous!

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I wish I had better photos, it was pretty dark inside the restaurant.

We found delicious veggie burgers at the Cool Cat Cafe, also located in The Wharf shopping center right on Front Street.

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I got the Dream Lover, no cheese, no mayo, extra pickle.

IMG_6491At Cheeseburger in Paradise the only thing we could eat were the black pepper and garlic “Seashore fries,” but they were delicious. Super crispy on the outside and the inside was creamy and fluffy, like a deep fried mashed potato. We also enjoyed our first obligatory fruity cocktails of the trip, a pina cola and a mai tai.

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Another great place was Star Noodle, a much busier, trendier place that required a reservation but was well worth it. There were only two real vegan options for us on the entrée menu so we obviously got one of each. We also got to try a fun appetizer called a Vietnamese Crepe. The server we had was on top of her game because the appetizer came with a sauce that had fish in it and as soon as it was placed on our table by another person, she quickly swooped it up and apologized. The Vietnamese crepe was sort of like a lettuce wrap with mixed vegetables in coconut milk, really good. I saw the original version at another table and it was really beautiful with this big puffy crepe which is not vegan, of course. Our entrée options were Pad Thai and Singapore noodles. Neither are regularly served vegan, so make sure to specify.

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vegan Pad Thai

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vegan Singapore noodles

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vegan Vietnamese crepe

We had a hard time with photos here too, the sun was shining very brightly into the restaurant. Most of the places in Lahaina were within walking distance of a free parking lot. Front street is the main area for shopping and eating, but we did drive to Star Noodle, it was quite a few blocks from Front Street.

For your sweet tooth….shave ice is a must in Hawaii, and we found a specialty bake shop with gluten free and vegan options!

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The best shave ice is at Ululani’s, my favorite was the coconut mango with toasted coconut!

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They had vegan cupcakes and whoopie pies!

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Chocolate chocolate, chocolate vanilla and oatmeal cinnamon whoopie pies.

One night we went searching for a place that ended up being closed but ended up at local joint Maui Taco. We had huge burritos with beans, rice, potatoes, greens and tomato. I have a love for hot sauce and they had a great house made salsa bar! They had this really amazing hot smokey red sauce and a killer pineapple salsa. We saw lots of Maui Taco’s all over the island, I recommend stopping by.

The day we did the road to Hana we started in Kihei for breakfast with a good friend. He took us to a place called the Ami Ami Bar and Grill for an “off the menu” experience we really enjoyed. It was a tofu, potato, salsa and fresh vegetable dish that was so simple but had tons of flavor. I got it with corn tortillas and a couple of bloody mary’s.

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We made a stop on the way back down the road to Hana at Coconut Glen’s vegan ice cream shop. It was the best vegan ice cream I have ever had, it was so smooth and creamy and delicious…..the road to Hana should be renamed the road to Coconut Glen’s. We saw a Coconut Glen’s truck in Paia on another day, but there was no one there…..keep your eye out, I don’t know if it rolls around to different towns or just hangs out in Paia, but you want to get some of this ice cream.

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Paia is a place you are going to want to go, if only for this restaurant. It is a raw, vegan joint with fresh juices, breakfast, lunch and deserts. The dish I got was so good that I very seriously considered ordering it again, right then. I was blown away. I am NOT excited by raw food, I get it, it just isn’t ever something I’m going to seek out.

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Maka is a restarant run by the grocery store right down the street called Mana Foods. Mana foods is another really, really good place to get some grub. They have a great selection of natural foods and a lot of the vegan brands I’m used to seeing in California. They have a huge deli section with hot foods and a cold bar with tons of salad options, made from scratch.

At Maka, we ordered these delicious dishes:

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Coconut Cream Cheese Stacker: coconut cream cheese layered on rosemary almond bread with local kimchi, avocado, tomato, and arugala with a splash of balsamic reduction

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Tempeh Katsu Sandwich: marinated tempeh cutlets served on warm artisan waffle bread with local romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, and sprouts with sundered tomato tapenade

Near the airport in Kuhului we went to Down to Earth grocery for a quick lunch, it was our second to last day, we wished we would have found it sooner. It was yet another good natural food store with tons of gorgeous local produce and a deli with hot food, cold salad bars, fresh juices and smoothies, a great made-to-order sandwich menu and a wide variety of eggless desserts! It would be a great first stop in Maui, right from the airport, if you are planning on having some staples where ever you end up. Whether you have a place with a kitchen or just to have snacks on all your road trips or beach days, this is a great option!

Of course, don’t skip over the best part of Maui dining….you can’t get any fresher than all of the amazing fruit grown on the island and likely picked that same day.

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Vegan Fudge

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Everyone likes an easy dessert. This took all of 15 minutes to make and lasted a very short time in this house. Later on it was covered in powdered sugar, which made it even better.

You could make all kinds of variations, depending on what you like. I think next time maybe I’ll try some toasted coconut on top, or maybe a peanut butter drizzle.

Here’s the basic recipe:

1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup coconut oil (room temperature, not melted)
1/3 cup raw hazelnuts
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
vegan chocolate chips for topping, optional

Combine all of the ingredients in your food processor and process until mixture is completely smooth. This might take several minutes, it gets a strange consistency when it’s almost done. Then all of a sudden it gets super smooth and shiny and the food processor starts to get tired because it’s so thick. Transfer the fudge mixture to a dish that’s been lined with parchment paper and use a spatula or your hands to spread it in an even layer. Sprinkle the top with your desired topping. Refrigerate until solid, remove the fudge from the baking dish and cut into squares.

Store the fudge in an airtight container in your refrigerator or freezer. If you freeze it, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.

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JAM!

The two easiest jam recipes of all time! Passion fruit jam and blackberry jam made with no pectin in small batches.

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My passion fruit vine went crazy this year. We had tons of fruit and I had to find things to do with it. Now the vine is catching it’s second wind so I will just have to make more jam!

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This is SO good. We recently found out that Ritz crackers don’t actually have any butter in them (can you believe that??), this jam is amazing upon a “buttery” Ritz cracker.

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And it’s so pretty.

It was my first jam attempt, not nearly the last. Since it was successful, I tried again. Blackberries were on sale at the market! The blackberry jam turned out great too, and the recipe I used was perfect. No pectin and it made a small batch, which is hard to find.

Here are the recipes:

Berry jam

2 cups crushed berries
2 cups sugar
1 tsp lemon juice or fresh squeezed orange juice

In a small pan, cook the berries, sugar and lemon juice on high heat for 5 minutes. Reduce to medium heat and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Skim the foam off the top and transfer to a hot glass container. The jam will thicken as it cools.

Passion fruit jam

6 passion fruit
2 cups water
¼ cup water
2 cups sugar
Juice of ½ a lime/lemon or 1/4 of an orange

Wash passion fruit thoroughly. Cut in half and remove the pulp and seeds, place the pulp and seeds in an air tight container and refrigerate.
You will have 12 empty halves, discard 6 of them. Place the other 6 in a bowl with 2 cups of water and allow them to soak in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
In a medium sized pot, place the 6 shells and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil and cook until almost all the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Peel the inner, soft flesh away from the skin. Discard the skins and place the inner flesh into a pot with ¼ cup and mash to a pulp. Add the seeds and fruit that you have in the fridge, along with the sugar and citrus juice and boil for 15 minutes. Pour the jam into hot jars and allow to cool.

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Vegan jalapeno cornbread

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I don’t know why, but this is the first time I’ve ever made cornbread. I will absolutely make this again.

I made it to go with my vegan soul food dinner of fried chick’n, smokey bacon collard greens and spicy sweet potato fries.

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And then a few nights later I reheated it and served it with my bomb chili.

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Gather:

2 tbsp ground flax
6 tbsp warm water
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1-2 sliced fresh jalapenos (optional)
brown sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a round cake pan with foil then spray it with cooking spray.

Mix the flax and warm water in a small bowl with a whisk until it becomes thick and frothy. This is your egg replacer. Set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well combined. Whisk the flax mixture again then add it to your dry ingredients along with the soy milk, jalapenos and oil, mix until well combined but do not overmix. I sprinkled the top of mine with brown sugar to give it a little crunch.

Pour into prepared pan and bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Baked apples with vanilla soy ice cream

baked apples

Holy macaroni these were good. You know when you take something healthy and turn it into something just the opposite, you had good intentions. That’s where this came from. I even used flax seed just to make myself feel better about it, which is ridiculous.

Here’s what you need to take your lame apple to the next level:

3-4 granny smith apples
1 orange or tangerine (lemon juice would be fine too)
½ cup quick oats
1 T brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground flax
2 T melted earth balance
2 T toasted almonds, chopped
1 can of mountain dew

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Core the apples, hollow out some extra room, but leave the bottom intact. Squeeze orange or lemon juice over the exposed parts of the apple, pour out the excess.

Mix oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, flax, earth balance and almonds in a bowl.

Stuff the apples with the mixture. Stand them upright in a baking dish and pour the mountain dew over the tops of them, soaking the mixture inside as well, pour the excess into the baking dish to keep everything nice and moist.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover after 30 minutes and spoon some of the excess mountain dew over them. Bake uncovered until the apples are soft, about 30-45 mins. Use a fork to check, especially the bottom part of the apple.

Let cool for a few minutes, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Do it.

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These look healthy, right?

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The baby pineapple

pineapple

I have two pineapple plants, I started one and my buddy Eric started the other and gave it to me when he moved away to Hawaii. You basically cut off the top of a fresh pineapple, put the bottom in water for a few weeks until it starts to root, then put it in a pot full of rich soil, compost and mulch. These guys took at least a year and a half to get as big as the picture above. I don’t think I ever really thought I was actually going to grow a pineapple, so when I saw it coming up I was really excited. Only one of the plant is flowering now but the other shouldn’t be far behind.

pineapple baby

The fruit comes up out of the center of the plant and has pretty little purple flowers all over it.

pineapple bigger baby

This photo was taken just a few days ago. I don’t know how big it’s going to get, and I’m sure it’s not going to taste like a beautiful, tropical pineapple but look how cute it is!

The plants alone are gorgeous and I would grow them just for the green, (dangerously) pointy foliage.

To be continued along with the adventure of the pineapple….

Updated December 27th:

pineapple

Posted in From the garden

Chick’n ravioli with smokey green chili sauce

chicken ravioli

This is closest I have come, so far, to homemade pasta. I cheated and used wonton wrappers. The ravioli was good, the wontons are pretty thin so it’s not as great as a big, puffy ravioli. The sauce was really good too. I made it from fresh green chili’s, green tomatoes, jalapenos, no-chicken broth, lots of spices and a little drop of liquid smoke. I cooked everything down for an hour or so then hit it with the immersion blender to make it nice and smooth.

I filled the ravioli with chopped up and lightly browned Gardein chick’n scallopini, roasted garlic, roasted red pepper, fresh cilantro, fresh diced jalapeno and onion (cooked down first), salt and pepper then mixed in a little bit of vegenaise to make it creamy.

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Put a little spoonful on a wonton, brush the edges with water, then put another wonton over the top. Try to squeeze out excess air stretch it a little to fit closely on the edges.

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Use a fork to pinch it together all the way around. Set aside on parchment paper until ready to cook. I boiled them in a deep saute pan so they would stay flat and not stick together.

Be creative with fillings, don’t use anything wet and cook down any fresh veggies first so they don’t release liquid inside the ravioli.

I served them up with refried beans and spanish rice to keep the theme going. Topped with my new favorite, Sour Supreme and fresh avocado slices.

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Vegan salted caramel corn

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I made this for the first time a week ago. I have made 6 batches since. I gave it away as gifts for the holidays. It’s super easy and delicious and you only need a few ingredients!

½ cup popping corn
3 T canola oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup earth balance
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
coarse sea salt

Cook the popcorn according to package instructions using 1/2 cup corn and 3 T canola oil. This will make about 6 cups of popcorn. Pour out onto a big piece of parchment paper on the counter and pick out the unpopped kernels, then put it into a really big bowl and set it aside.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium sauce pan combine brown sugar, syrup and earth balance. Stir on low until the earth balance melts. Turn heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes, stirring once only. While that’s cooking, measure out the baking soda, salt and vanilla and set them aside so they are ready to add at the 5 minute mark.

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Remove from heat and add the vanilla, then add the salt and baking soda, whisk quickly. It will get really bubbly and frothy, don’t over stir. Pour over the popcorn and mix quickly to coat, carefully. I had a few popcorn shaped burns on my hands and arms from this part, it is boiling, sticky sugar!

Pour the coated popcorn out onto your baking sheet and spread it out with a spatula. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once at 15 minutes. Pour the caramel corn out onto the parchment paper on the counter and spread out to let it cool. I hit it with another light sprinkle of sea salt too. Let it cool for 10 minutes, enjoy.

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Chocolate mug cake with banana ice cream

mug cake

Chocolate cake, cooked in a coffee mug in the microwave? yes. Banana ice cream made from bananas. Nothing else. Topped with some chocolate chips and a raspberry. Why would you not want to eat this right now?

Here’s what you need for the ice cream:

3 bananas
a blender

Slice the bananas about 1/4-1/2 inch thick and put them in the freezer until they are frozen. Usually about 2-4 hours. Put them in a blender and blend away. Start with the blender on low, blend for a few seconds, smash down with a wooden spoon, repeat. You will want to add liquid, don’t. Just keep blending and smashing and in about 10 minutes it will start to move around more and get a little creamy. Start blending on medium and smash a few more times , soon you will have beautiful, creamy, banana ice cream.

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Use a spatula and put the ice cream in a bowl, then put it in the freezer while you make your mug cakes!

Here’s what you need for the mug cake: (per mug. I made 3 and had plenty of ice cream for all 3.)

4 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
a dash of salt
a dash of cinnamon
2 Tbsp melted earth balance
2 Tbsp soy milk
1/8 tsp vanilla
a large coffee mug
a microwave
chocolate chips

Add dry ingredients to mug, mix well with a fork. Add soy milk, vanilla and earth balance and mix well with fork. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides. Put it in the microwave for 60-90 seconds, until the top looks slightly dry and bubbly. Done.

Add a scoop of ice cream.

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Sprinkle with chocolate chips and garnish as you please.

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Enjoy!

Get in closer?

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The baby pineapple

pineapple

I have two pineapple plants, I started one and my buddy Eric started the other and gave it to me when he moved away to Hawaii. You basically cut off the top of a fresh pineapple, put the bottom in water for a few weeks until it starts to root, then put it in a pot full of rich soil, compost and mulch. These guys took at least a year and a half to get as big as the picture above. I don’t think I ever really thought I was actually going to grow a pineapple, so when I saw it coming up I was really excited. Only one of the plant is flowering now but the other shouldn’t be far behind.

pineapple baby

The fruit comes up out of the center of the plant and has pretty little purple flowers all over it.

pineapple bigger baby

This photo was taken just a few days ago. I don’t know how big it’s going to get, and I’m sure it’s not going to taste like a beautiful, tropical pineapple but look how cute it is!

The plants alone are gorgeous and I would grow them just for the green, (dangerously) pointy foliage.

To be continued along with the adventure of the pineapple….

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