Things That I Ate That I Loved: Vegan Edition-Gnocchi Carbonara @Cruda Cafe

This post is dedicated to Sherry (and Nathan),  may you eat well in Toronto and may you name your baby after me. jk. 🙂 maybe. Lol.

I experimented with Veganism a few years ago. I say this casually as if it were some phase in college I went through when I was adventurous (with a side of curiousity) because it didn’t stick.

I watched an animal cruelty documentary on Netflix a few years ago and got disgusted. I couldn’t stomach animal products (even beloved,  delicious bacon or cheese) for a month or so.  I reverted back to my old ways because it was a huge lifestyle change and I couldn’t keep it up with the food prep or eating away from home. The commitment was hard for me because it was time consuming. I respect people who are vegan because it takes dedication as it indeed is a lifestyle change.  I won’t get into the politics of Veganism but I will say healthwise I felt great amazing even though I did it for such a short time and I contemplate switching back when I have more time (like when I’m retired :/)

During this dietary experimental time I strumbled across The Cruda Cafe in the basement of the St.  Lawrence Market,  home to a plethora of delicious prepared food options- this one’s for the Vegan/Raw foodies/vegetarians out there. 

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This employee did not approve of this picture taking, but now you will know you're at the right store

Now there are two things you need to know about me, the first is I don’t like salad.  I’m not into eating leafy greens or pretending to like it.  Its usually the last thing I will crave.  I still think it is a contradiction to eat handfuls of leaves that amount to 35 calories but then pour salad dressing and a whole bunch of other semi-nutrious toppings that basically negates the low calorie factor of the whole meal. I did not grown these boobies eating salad, which brings me to my next point. 

I LOVE Pasta. Like hard. My family always jokes I was Italian in another lifetime because all I wanted to eat growing up as a kid and well into my 20’s was Pasta. (It’s not my fault it’s delicious and that you have so many fun shapes and sauce selections and I feel like I need to try them all!!!)

Enter Cruda Cafe’s Gnocchi Carbonara which according to their website is “house made dumplings,  creamy rawmesan and fresh micro greens and eggplant dust” . I think They have tweaked it a bit since they wrote that description as now it’s topped with a tomato and red onion salsa now. 

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It’s delicious,  light but filling,  flavourful and most importantly NOT a salad. The Gnocchi dumplings look like pesto nuggets but taste delicious and reminiscent of mild pesto but not really that salty or the sharpness of basil.   (it’s hard to explain,  you just need to try it). I’m pretty sure the gnocchi and the sauce contain Cashew in them as it’s got that cheesy flavour.

(Vegan cooking involves making cheese substitute from Cashews or paying a shit ton of money for someone else to do it).

The noodles are spirallized zucchini. They don’t taste like pasta but it’s noodlelike form kind of tricks your brain into thinking of it like it is pasta. Its fresher, crisp and doesn’t leave you feeling bloated or having carb coma after eating traditional wheat based pastas do which is why I love this dish or others that Angela from Oh She Glows comes up with. 

This actual dish is $10 before tax,  which is kind of alot for veggies but I suppose market value dictates it is fair as salads I see coworkers toting back from the hip salad bars trying to recreate salads in the latest cool way in the area is about the same price more or less depending on your toppings. 

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Daily specials at Cruda Cafe posted on the chalkboard

It is delicious enough that non vegans would probably enjoy which is why I love it and recommend it to anyone who is vegan curious, wants to eat healthy or anyone who doesn’t have a George Costanza napping space under their desk.

So once again,  I highly recommend this Gnocchi Carbonara as a lovely alternative to salad this summer.  Its light and lovely. If you still feel like you enjoy the carb coma feeling you can always choose from many pastries, desserts or other snacks and side dishes from many of the other food vendors at St.  Lawrence Market to put you over the edge.

Note: I have tried some of Cruda Cafe’s other dishes but this is the best thing on their menu IMHO,  the standout star that is most delicious and creative that keeps me coming back. Its consistent and never disappoints no matter who makes or prepares it.

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