• bring it on: vegan coworkers + Gardein RULE

    October 25th, 2009mr meanerother, products
    gardein vegan chicken scallopini

    gardein vegan chicken scallopini

    Throughout my entire professional life, I’ve spent most of my waking hours with omnivorous coworkers. I’m used to being a wallflower at pot lucks, pizza parties, brown bag lunches, birthday celebrations and fancy executive dinners, fortunate to nibble on some fresh fruit or dry burger buns while my omni-workers fill up on stuff I won’t eat.

    I’ve lost count of the number of times somebody has walked up to my desk and offered some “amazing left-over” food. Everything from caviar crackers to chicken wings to home made cookies, I’m always the one saying “Oh, that looks amazing, but I have to pass as I’m a vegetarian/vegan”.

    Sometimes, I’ve been pleasantly surprised when somebody has prepared something specially for me, like the time the IT guy in Seattle made vegan cornish pasties on a whim: “I thought it would be a challenge, you know”. After I ate all three of them before I got home I can confirm that he met said challenge with aplomb.

    What I’d never participated in, though, is the random: “I made too much of [insert non-vegan food] last night. Want some?”. Until, that is, last week when my only ever vegan coworker (the amazingly talented Benny Strange) popped in to my office and casually said “Hey, I made WAY too much vegan pesto last night. Want some?”. Did I EVER.

    vegan bennystrange pesto

    vegan bennystrange pesto

    The timing could not have been better, frankly, as back home I had some amazing Gardein Chick’n Scallopini burning a hole in the freezer, and was already considering some Italian-style accompaniments: The thought of a meal based on vegan pesto (something rather difficult to find in the wild) immediately resonated with me, so I rushed home with pesto in hand and started to cook up a storm.


    First, I need to take a moment to talk about the Gardein Chick’n, which is a seriously tasty and flexible alternative to fake meats and, of course, real meat. They arrive pre-cooked so all you have to do is heat them to your taste, season further if you like and cook ’em. For this dish, I brushed them with a little olive oil, fresh garlic and dried Italian herbs then seared them over the grill for 5 minutes.

    For the rest of the dish, I boiled some angel hair pasta in salted water for a few minutes, and then drained and added the vegan pesto, mixing throughly.


    Adding some steamed broccoli was the icing on the cake, as this wonderful dish came together rather well. Spearheaded by the sublime smoothness of the absolutely amazing vegan pesto (better than the stuff you can buy in Whole Foods), some al dente pasta and the sumptuously juicy Gardein Scallopinis this really was an excellent meal.

    I’m really grateful to Benny Strange for bringing in his leftover pesto as it ignited a meal idea I’d never have considered, and which turned out to be truly amazing. Let’s hope many more vegans show up in workplaces everywhere so we can bring our leftovers and trade them with each other. Who knows, our omni coworkers might even learn a thing or two about how wonderful cruelty-free food can be.

    Tags: ,

19 responses to “bring it on: vegan coworkers + Gardein RULE” RSS icon

  • you are v. lucky. no vegans where i work in FL. that food looks amazing.

  • what a coincidence QG.. I actually just started a new job this week, and I have my first ever vegan co-worker! Plus I work across the street from Green Leaves in weho.

  • YUM!

    this post gives me hope that one day i may also have a vegan co-worker who brings me amazing leftovers 🙂

    @phact0rri you may wanna rethink green leaves– check the post on qg’s blog called “operation pancake”

  • As a vegan transplant from Dallas to LA, I’m in shock that there are vegan options in regular restaurants, much less entire restaurants dedicated to being vegan, much less vegan options at every random grocery store I step into… I can’t even imagine having a vegan co-worker that brings pesto leftovers! I’m still dropping to my knees in tears of gratitude that I can eat french fries that haven’t been double dipped in meat grease! 🙂

  • @Jennifer… well I don’t eat anything suspect. The chicken is a no-no.. and anything with cheese (don’t fancy cheese anyways). mainly I stick to salads and curry when I go.

  • Any chance we can get your co-worker to post the recipe? Please? 🙂

  • Looks delicious! Yes, please ask your co-worker to share the recipe!

  • Benny Strange is awesome. I have two vegan co-workers at my current job and I get endlessly happy when they bring in random deliciousness. I’ll have to check out Gardein Chick’n, it looks great.

    Does Mr. Strange have a recipe for said pesto? I have a buttload of basil that needs to be harvested and turned into something freezable.


  • You are so, so, so lucky to have such a generous co-worker! The food looks amazing.

  • Gardein is taking over the universe.

  • Mr. Meaner: it’s Monday. You and Mr. Strange are probably in the same office right now. Please walk up to him and tell him to share the pesto recipe. You can’t show food that looks this good and not put up a recipe. Please, please, please!

  • Recipe! Recipe! RECIPE! RECIPE!

  • Thanks for all the love! I’m so glad you enjoyed the pesto. 🙂


  • For those of you asking about the recipe, I’m strictly an improviser so I don’t have any measurements for you, but here are the ingredients:

    Fresh Basil
    Raw Pine Nuts
    Raw Walnuts
    Whole Cloves of Fresh Garlic
    Lemon Juice
    Cold Pressed Olive Oil
    Flax Seed Oil
    Cherry Tomatoes
    Sea Salt
    A Pinch of Cayenne Pepper

    I start with the basil/nut/oil blend in a food processor and add the other ingredients gradually and taste often. The key is to not overdo the sea salt or cayenne.

    Have fun, enjoy and THANK YOU! 🙂

  • thanks for the recipe!!!!

  • I know what I’m making for dinner tonight.

  • Yeah, thanks Benny! 🙂 Not like we have been pulling your leg or anything! lol

  • Yeah, this pesto is the besto! I would know. 😉
    Thanks for the love.

Leave a reply