One of the highlights of 2021 was a Windstar Cruise on the Star Legend sailing through the Greek Isles. We were traveling with a group of people who also follow a healthy whole food plant exclusive lifestyle. We met with the Windstar Star Legend executive Chef the first day to talk about our dietary needs.
Our friend and travel agent Lisa McCarl arranged for us to interview executive Chef Nilesh Kanvinde who treated us to an amazing plant based cooking demonstration.
Chef Nilesh enjoyed the cooking challenge of creating three meals a day for a group of us who eat whole food plant based, salt, oil and sugar free, in addition to myself also being gluten free. He told me that he knew he had to think beyond just steaming vegetables and create meals that were nutritional and appealing. His pleasure in doing so resulted in amazing meals. Food made with love and joy always tastes better!
In the video on this blog post Chef Nilesh shares so many helpful tips on cooking SOS free.
We enjoyed amazing SOS free plant based meals for all 10 days of our Windstar cruise through the Greek Isles. Our Cruise with plant based menu options was arranged by Lisa McCarl, CTA, ECC. Please note that, “Plant Based” menu available cruises are not offered directly by Windstar. They are made available through a cooperative arrangement Lisa has facilitated with the NHA and Windstar Cruise lines. Lisa has future trips available as shown on the National Health Association’s “Health Science.org” web site, scroll to the bottom of the page and check under “EVENTS.” You can also reach Lisa for trip inquires via email Lisa McCarl, CTA, ECC McCarl Travel, LLC email@example.com
With his Indian heritage and background in Auyurveda, Chef Nilesh already has an understanding of the health benefits of using spices, herbs, nuts, seeds, legumes and vegetables in his cooking. He drew upon that knowledge base as well as his culinary expertise and an enthusiastic kitchen staff to create amazing, nutritious meals that were also a delightful culinary experience.
Vegan Chocolate Delight Cake.
Watch the video to see Chef Nilesh make this scrumptious chocolate dessert. It is a soft moist texture that pairs well with fresh berries.
The gluten free quesadilla was a fun meal for me. I don’t have an actual recipe but Chef Nilesh shows how he made it in the video below.
We hope you enjoy this fun and informative video.
Samples of some of the meals we enjoyed on the cruise. The plating was gorgeous and you all know how much I like pretty food!
There was always plenty of fresh fruit and a salad bar at lunch as well as a vegan entrée option for us.
We had something to please everyone’s taste preferences including Indian, American, Mediterranean and Mexican inspired meals.
If you would like to learn more about Plant Based Cruises please watch this video where Tami interviewed travel agent Lisa McCarl and Wanda Huberman from the NHA.
I am including the recipe from Chef Nilesh and his suggestions for converting the recipe from metric to Imperial. Although we call it a cake, the texture is more moist, soft and creamy.
Vegan Chocolate Delight Cake
- Hi powered blender, food scale, oven
- 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder, unsweetened 15 gms
- 1 cup almond milk, unsweetned 120 ml
- 5 Tablespoons flax seeds 75 gms
- 1 cup almond flour 125 gms
- 4-5 each medjool dates, pitted 80 – 100 gms
- 1 Tablespoon cornmeal 20 gms
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground 2 gms
- berries for garnish
- Roast flax seeds in a pan until nutty flavor making sure not to burn, when cool grind into a powder.
- Chop dates into small pieces.
- Blend half of dates with almond milk, cocoa powder, flax seed powder, almond flour with a touch of nutmeg.
- Adjust consistency, making sure the mixture is not too runny, if needed add a touch of almond flour and cornmeal.
- Finish with touch of nutmeg.
- Dust the inside of your baking molds with a little cornmeal to prevent sticking. Evenly disperse the remaining dates in the molds. Evenly divide the batter into the prepared silicone molds. Bake in a preheated oven set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes.
- Chill, then garnish with fresh berries before serving.
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