Monday, March 1, 2010

Real Simple Tacos with a Veggie Twist

Real Simple magazine recently shared a recipe for vegetarian tacos featuring tofu crumble, goat cheese and corn. While the dish is a nice addition to the magazine's ordinarily meat-heavy recipe guide, the tofu isn't as satisfying as a beef-like crumble from Morningstar Farms that can be seasoned with Mexican-style spices. The Real Simple recipe is healthier than most Mexican dishes since it doesn't call for sour cream or heavy cheese, but I'd recommend playing with creative ingredients like avocado, homemade salsa, sharp cheese and imitation fish, which is 100 percent vegan and available at Spring Garden Market (400 Spring Garden Street, 215-928-1288) to add even more flavor.

Veggie Food in Unlikely Places

It's not often that a local deli plates up veggie-friendly food that goes beyond the typical cheese hoagie...especially not in Philadelphia where the cheesesteak rules in its many greasy forms. But I recently visited Citi Marketplace (1318 Walnut St., 215-545-4085), a small grocery/deli with a hefty vegetarian and vegan menu.

The marketplace, which bills itself as an organic market and deli, offers more than a dozen meat-free meals, including veggie burgers, tofu wraps, chik'n cheesesteaks, grilled steaks, wraps, hoagies and soy cheese specialties. They also make a mean egg, cheese and vegetarian sausage sandwich, ideal for that late-night or early-morning nosh (the deli serves up food starting at 7 a.m. during the week until 11 p.m.). Citi Marketplace also offers free delivery downtown for orders equaling $10 and up, and provides catering services (there's a vegetarian sandwich tray available for less than $7 per person).

Citi Marketplace may be more grocery than gourmet, but it's a great alternative to other greasy spoons in Center City and the nearby Avenue of the Arts and Washington Square West neighborhoods. If you're willing to wait (service is on the slow side) you'll be pleasantly surprised. You can also pick up sides, snacks and other organic goodies to go.