Delicious Vegan Food in Tipp City & at Home

Story & Photos by Lisa Neff

   Vegan options are everywhere! I visited historic downtown Tipp City last week and found delicious vegan options for lunch and dinner. I grew up in Tipp City in the 80s. My family was and still is omnivore, but I went vegan in 2009. Personally, it has been the best diet option. I’ve lost fifty pounds and kept it off, by choosing healthy vegan foods (and occasional vegan desserts) and exercising.

   The vegan movement is growing more each year with food options even in small towns. If you shop at Kroger, you can find their own brand of vegan meats, several brands of vegan cheese, dips and sauces and a great selection of fruits and vegetables. I’ll be sharing a recipe at the end of this article with ingredients from Kroger.

   I ate lunch at Coldwater Café, and I was very impressed with their new vegan taco salad. It had fresh, healthy ingredients including spiced tempeh, house-made vegan cheese (made from cashews), cilantro, tomatoes, avocado and a cilantro lime vinaigrette dressing, topped with fried tortilla strips. It came with a few small slices of wheat bread in a basket. It was so filling and kept me going all afternoon.

   The atmosphere at Coldwater Café is lovely. The décor is unique, upscale and yet quaint. They were quite busy for a weekday lunch hour. The service was fast, and my server was very helpful and knowledgeable about their vegan options.

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From left to right above: The beautiful interior and entrance to Coldwater Cafe in Tipp City. A windowfront in the historic shopping district in downtown Tipp City. Left to right below: A cucumber soda and the new Vegan Taco Salad at the Coldwater Cafe.

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   It’s always best to call ahead, check the website or ask your server about vegan options they may have. Often restaurants have vegan options that are not listed on the menu. Sometimes you need to clarify the definition of vegan, but most restaurants today are aware. Coldwater Café doesn’t offer the taco salad at dinner though. The server told me that the crispy brussel sprouts appetizer is very popular and vegan. They also have a house salad, seasonal vegetables and coconut rice. That sounds like a tasty dinner to me!

   Mexican food is one of the easiest cuisines to make vegan. You can substitute many things for meat including: tempeh, black beans, shredded jackfruit, crumbled tofu, lentils, ground walnuts, seitan or portobella mushrooms. Tipp City has two Mexican restaurants, Frida’s and Dos Lunas. I called both of them to find out what vegan options they offer. Frida’s lists a vegan salad, but it has buttered corn, which can be left off. They also have veggie fajitas and a grilled veggie sope. Just ask for no sour cream or cheese. I always ask for extra guacamole instead. They were helpful and assured me that there was no dairy in the guacamole and that there was no lard or pork in the beans. They have a variety of vegetarian options as well, if you eat dairy.

   Dos Luna’s offers similar items and were also very knowledgeable. They have a unique item that I haven’t seen anywhere else, a veggie chimichanga. It is vegan without the cheese sauce. It is deep-fried, so it’s not the healthiest option, but I’ll be trying it soon!

Vegan Taco Salad at Home

   Now, let’s make a vegan taco salad. The prep and cooking time is just 25 minutes for the salad and dressing.

Serves four. Pictured below left is what you'll need to make this recipe. At right is the taco salad being cooked.

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Taco Filling:

8 oz. tempeh, crumbled or grated

1 - 10 oz. can Mexican spiced diced tomatoes

2 tsp. chili powder

3 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. garlic powder

¼ cup Braggs liquid aminos, or soy sauce

1 tsp. smoked paprika

½ medium red onion, diced

Add tempeh, tomatoes, spices and Braggs to a large bowl and stir together. Sautee the diced red onion in a non-stick skillet for 3 minutes, adding a little oil or water if needed. Add the tempeh mixture to the skillet, flipping a few times, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

 

Cilantro Lime Dressing:

¾ cup cilantro (1 bunch), thicker stems removed

1/3 cup lime juice (3 limes)

¼ cup white wine vinegar

½ cup olive oil

1 ½ tsp. sugar

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

 

Combine all ingredients into a blender, blend about 2 minutes. The dressing will last 4-5 days in the refrigerator.

 

To assemble the salad, use any greens you like for the base, add shredded vegan cheese, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, avocado and tortilla strips, and top with cilantro lime dressing. Add hot sauce to taste, if you like it extra spicy!

Another option for a spicier salad is to substitute 2 Tablespoons tomato paste, 3 adobo chilis in sauce, chopped, and ½ cup water for the can of Mexican spiced diced tomatoes. The adobo chilis have a smoky heat that will really warm you up. Enjoy!

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The new Vegan Taco Salad at Coldwater Cafe.

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A spiced-up version of the dish made at home.

About Lisa Neff

Lisa Neff is a Tippecanoe High School alumni and still lives in the Greater Dayton area. She has been vegetarian since 2007 and fully vegan since 2009 (no meat, dairy or eggs). She believes in eating vegan for the planet, for the animals and for health. She will be writing articles about local vegan restaurant options, farmer’s markets and sharing healthy vegan recipes.