"Part of the fun about cooking is it never gets boring." -Ron Badach
Are you hungry? Want to "beet" those hunger cravings? Welcome to Tasty Tuesdays! This week, we are so excited for the opportunity to feature Ron Badach from Callicoon Kitchen, a brilliant creator of vegan fare.
Winning ABC's The Chew's "Hunky Husband Cook-Off" with his fabulous vegetarian black bean burger (see the show's segment below), Ron incorporates fresh produce and vegan products into everyday meals. "We feel there is a huge part of the population who even though may not be Vegetarian or Vegan, would like to simply begin to consume less meat and dairy," Ron states. Callicoon Kitchen shares healthy and easy-to-make vegan dishes (along with How-To videos), such as Lemon Garlic Bamboo Rice Vegetable Soup with Dill & Tiny Tempeh “Meatballs”, Black Quinoa and Cauliflower with Asian Pear Slaw and Hoisin Ketchup (vegan burgers), and Roasted Golden Beet and Quinoa Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette. Regardless of your diet preferences, when dishes sound, look, and taste this tantalizing, who wouldn't want to incorporate some vegan goodness onto his or her plate?! In this Tasty Tuesday's interview, discover Ron's delicious vegan recipes, cooking adventures with The Chew, fabulous tales of fatherhood, and scrumptious ways to eat beets!
MEET RON: brilliant vegan chef, devoted father of three daughters, The Chew's "Hunky Husband Cook-Off" winner, inspirational healthy-living advocate, and passionate beet lover.
Interview with Ron Badach from Callicoon Kitchen
We want to learn more about you! Tell us about Callicoon Kitchen. What inspired its creation and your desire to create nutritious and delicious vegan dishes?
"We started Ron Badach Callicoon Kitchen approximately 2 years ago to give people tangible ways to transition their diets away from meat and dairy to a more plant/produce based diet. After appearing on the CHEW many people contacted me asking for tips on how to make the switch. We feel there is a huge part of the population who even though may not be Vegetarian or Vegan, would like to simply begin to consume less meat and dairy. This is why we started our site. Also another reason is I have 3 young daughters who I want to learn how to cook and eat healthy, I thought having all these ideas and videos for them as they get older would be kind of cool! We have had a fabulous response and really enjoy what we do."
You were featured on ABC’s The Chew, winning the "Hunky Husband Cook-Off." Tell us about that experience. How did you choose to feature your vegetarian black bean burger? What other recipes were in the running?
"The CHEW was so much fun! Everyone was really nice and made me feel as relaxed as possible. But once we arrived at ABC studios in NY and saw the lines of people waiting to get in the nerves really kicked in. Also once inside seeing the set and all the cameras didn't help much either. But once we got started it really was a lot of fun, Daphne Oz was a great partner to work with. The black Bean Burger was the first idea I had and it stuck. The producers liked it as well so that was what we went with. I had been vegetarian for 20 years prior and switched to 100% Vegan shortly after the show. The burger I made on the show used egg. We have since made a better burger using Pumpkin as a binder, it goes fabulous with black beans. The recipe is up on our site."
Why do you choose to cook with beetroots and beet greens? Are there specific beet varieties you prefer cooking with in the kitchen? Why?
"I have always loved cooking with both. Beets add incredible sweetness, color and texture to salads while beet greens also have endless uses, and are especially high in beta carotene as well as potassium, we especially love using them in soups. With high blood pressure affecting so many people beets are one of the most effective ways to bring it down naturally. I think many people are a little intimidated by them but once they eat them they absolutely love them. One of my favorites are Golden Beets which peak during the Fall months."
Your Roasted Golden Beet and Quinoa Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette recipe is a nutritiously tasty dish. What are a few of your favorite beet dishes featured in your kitchen?
"We have a few recipes we have done which will be posted in the near future. One of them is roasted beets with butternut squash and cauliflower tossed in a light maple dressing. Another we are working on is a beet and baby black lentil burger which we hope to have out sometime this winter, and lastly a chilled beet and apple soup for the warm summer months. Your site is a fabulous resource for people to get started. I've used it quite a bit myself!"
What’s cooking in your kitchen right now? Is there a current project or recipe that you are passionately pursuing?
"We are really excited about some of our newer dishes. We are currently looking at lots of traditional (fan favorite) Asian dishes and reworking them into a Vegan format. It's actually a lot easier than most would think. We recently had done a vegetable fried rice and only a month ago released a really delicious Butternut squash dumpling with a great dipping sauce. Miso soup offers lots of variations as well. Two other countries we really love are Spain and Mexico so we are looking at some fun ideas in those two areas as well."
What would you like to share regarding vegan cuisine? Any tips for preparing healthy meatless meals?
"The biggest tip I would offer people is to shop the Farmers Markets and buy a few ingredients you may not be familiar with, take it home, research a recipe and give it a try. Part of the fun about cooking is it never gets boring. Most people do not realize I am self taught and never attended a cooking school. If you are are passionate about transitioning to a Vegan diet there are countless resources available to get you started. Also soups are a very forgiving and inexpensive way to try new vegetables and they freeze really well. Lastly getting kids involved is a passion of mine. Kids are incredibly creative and it gives them a lifelong skill!"
Are YOU excited to try mouth-watering vegan burgers, Tandoori tofu, golden beet citrus salads, and more? Share the love and stop by Callicoon Kitchen!
All photos and videos provided by Ron Badach from Callicoon Kitchen.