Vegan at Denny’s: Amy’s Burger and MOAR! (UPDATED)

VEGAN Amy's Burger at Denny's - Build Your Own!
Yes it’s true, this gorgeous vegan burger can be found at America’s Favorite Diner, Denny’s! I discovered the existence of this menu item while scrolling through pictures in my favorite facebook group, What Fat Vegans Eat. I was really excited because Tete is always wanting us to have lunch together, but it’s hard for us to find a place we both enjoy. My favorite is Little Africa, hers is Bob Evans. But now Denny’s has something for just about everyone.

I contacted Denny’s to try to get an idea of what other vegan options they have. They forwarded my email to a company nutritionist, and I waited for a response for about a month and a half. I finally got a response after sending a second followup email. I don’t like to give up! I wanted this information so badly just so I could share it with all of you…and so I can stuff my face properly next time. So without further ado, here are the things you can order to make a complete meal for yourself – this is like my dream combo of diner junk food, the best you could expect from a non-veg restaurant, anyway:

Breakfast
Fit Fare Veggie Skillet minus the eggs (comes with side of salsa)
Santa Fe Skillet minus meat, eggs & cheese
Loaded Veggie Omelette, minus eggs and cheese – really! Basically just grilled veggies, and comes with side of fruit or English Muffin
Still hungry? Add
-Grits
-Oatmeal
-Apple Sauce
-Seasonal Fruit

Dinner
Amy’s Burger on a White Sesame Seed Bun*** (wheat contains honey) topped with…
Sauteed Mushrooms
Sauteed Onions
Avocado
Black Beans
Spinach
Standard burger veggies (lettuce, onion, tomato, etc)
*For a little extra, you can request multiple patties on your burger!
***UPDATE*** I went to Denny’s tonight (1/30) and discovered the vegan sesame seed bun was replaced with a brioche sesame seed bun. . . . Okay, I emailed Denny’s, and the brioche bun is actually vegan! It is safe. They also re-confirmed wheat contains honey.

Side of Hash Browns, French Fries, or Seasoned Fries
Or for a lighter side…
Broccoli
Fresh Sautéed Zucchini & Squash
Fresh Steamed Zucchini & Squash
Red-Skinned Potatoes
Whole Grain Rice

Salad
You’ll have to veganize the salads by requesting no meat, cheese, or eggs (all contain one, both or all three). Top with:
-Balsamic Vinaigrette
-French
-Italian Fat Free

Dessert
Apple Pie without Caramel Sauce
*The peanut butter sauce appears to be vegan, but I forgot to ask about it

Have you tried the vegan burger at Denny’s yet? What did you think??? If you love the idea of having vegan options at Denny’s, and would REALLY LOVE them to have a vegan menu available for easy ordering, I encourage you to email Denny’s. Even though they are very slow to respond, they do at least see the emails. Let’s thank them for the great options already available, while slipping in a request for a few other things we’d like to see…a vegan cheese for the burgers (Daiya, Chao?), Just Mayo, dairy-free onion rings, margarine or coconut oil for our grits and oatmeal. Maybe a non-dairy milk? OH, or non-dairy ice cream so we, too, can enjoy those shakes???? PLEASE, Denny’s!!!!!!!! Please. We will love you forever.

P.S. During the time I was fretting over the bun situation (the waitress couldn’t tell me if the brioche bun was vegan, and brioche generally is Not), someone suggested get the Amy’s Burger on an English muffin. That sounds like a great idea for a breakfast sandwich!

You can use the form letter on their website to contact them, or send an email to
guest_call_tracking@dennys.com . Call 1-800-733-6697 8am to 8pm Monday thru Friday, or send snail mail to:

Denny’s Call Center
203 East Main Street P-7-3
Spartanburg, SC 29319

Week of Greek: Stewed Green Beans (Fasolakia)

Wow, is it already day four of our magical Week of Greek?! IT IS, and that means we finally get to see what I was talking about when I mentioned Greek foods swimming in oil :D And yes, we will need a nice loaf of bread for the fasolakia, the green beans stewed in tomatoes.

And speaking of tomato sauce, check out the Soutzoukakia from 2 Broke Vegans – Greek meatballs made vegan with walnuts and mushrooms – trust me, the combination is superb! After we make the green beans, I’ll give you another bulking-up idea using the meatballs.

2015-7-16 Stewed Green Beans Fasolakia Giaxni
So for the beans, we start with tons of onion to really pack the flavor into this one,

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and season it simply with salt, pepper, and fresh parsley.

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And there it is – Greek gold!

2015-7-16 Stewed Green Beans Fasolakia Giaxni4
So slice up your favorite savory bread, preferably something rustic and crusty (yes, crusty is a good quality when it comes to bread!), and get ready to clean your plate.

Stewed Green Beans
2# fresh green beans, de-stemmed and cut or snapped into bite size pieces
1 C oil
2 C canned tomatoes*
3 to 4 onions, chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

In a big pot, arrange two or three layers of onions with parsley, and beans on top. Add tomatoes, oil, salt and pepper. Cover pot and cook on low heat until tender.

This simple recipe could serve 8 as a side dish. And once again this is very similar to a Syrian dish, we serve the Syrian version over rice – that could stretch it to a main course for 6. Syrians also add meatballs, so by adding the soutzoukakia to the pot (after baking them) you can have a meal for 8 to 10! Add a side of Lahanosalata and you’re in business with another budget-friendly meal that just so happens to be vegan and gluten free.

The recipe is great as-is, but I did add double the tomatoes, and there are a couple other ways you could mix things up with beautiful results.
Alternatives
-Instead of layering onions & beans, saute the onions in the oil. When tender, but before they brown, add remaining ingredients.
-Add 2 Tbsp tomato paste to the canned tomatoes to make a nice sauce
-Remove the lid on the pot for the last 15 minutes of cooking to let some of the juice from the beans cook out and reduce the sauce

201368 old church
In Thessaloniki there was a beautiful little 15th century church nestled in between towering apartment buildings and storefronts covered in neon graffiti. I walked around it taking pictures,

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and suddenly my brother and I found ourselves at a little restaurant, ΤΑ Κουμπαρακια, which turned out to be our favorite restaurant in the city – we ate there three times!

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There we had the most wonderful fasolakia, cut lengthwise with little bits of eggplant in the sauce. I can’t tell you how often I sit and dream of the day I’ll be back in Thessaloniki, sitting at my favorite restaurant, next to that lovely little church. But this will have to do for now.

What’s your dream vacation?

Week of Greek: Spinach Pie (Spanakopita)

For our third course today, we’re making a classic Greek dish I bet nearly all of you have heard of and probably tried. Although I’m more accustomed to the Syrian spinach pie – a triangle-shaped soft bread filled with spinach and onions, seasoned with plenty of salt and lemon juice – I’m sure I had spanakopita at least a few times before going vegan. And I was happily surprised when I flipped through my cookbook and saw a recipe that doesn’t even mention feta! Of course you would traditionally brush the phyllo dough with butter, but I veganized that part easily enough.

2015-7-15 Spinach Pie Spanakopita
You can make your own phyllo dough from scratch, but I found mine at the Mediterranean market. They had three different kinds, and each of them were vegan! You may even be able to find it ready-made at your local grocery store.

2015-7-15 Spinach Pie Spanakopita2
Now, this very basic recipe doesn’t make much, and that’s a shame because when you taste the flaky phyllo together with the spinach and dill you are going to want more, more, more.

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So when we get to the end here, we’ll talk about bulking it up.

Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)
1 lb spinach*
6 green/spring onions, finely chopped
1/2 teacup dill, finely chopped
1 1/2 teacup olive oil*
salt & pepper
1 pkg phyllo dough

Note: A teacup equals approximately 1 C, but you’ll have so much fun using a teacup instead of a regular measuring cup!
Preheat oven to 350. Oil a 9×9″ pan.
Clean spinach and drain well (or buy triple washed spinach that’s ready for use).
Saute green onions in the oil over medium heat until tender. Shred spinach and add to onions, season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook spinach over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes, or until the liquid has cooked out of the pan. Stir in the dill. Remove from heat.

Line the oiled pan with one pastry sheet. Brush it with olive oil (or margarine, or refined coconut oil) and add another layer, repeating until you’ve done five layers total. Spread the spinach mixture over the layers of phyllo dough.
Now top spinach with another pastry sheet, brush with oil, and repeat until you’ve done five layers.
Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Cut into squares or triangles. Can be served hot or cold, cold is my preference.

*Now about bulking it up. One pound of spinach really cooks down and leaves you with just a thin layer. At the same time, there seemed to be too much oil – I drained it because I didn’t want to wait forever for it to cook out while meanwhile my spinach shrank and shrank (I used that excess oil to brush my pastry dough).

I recommend cooking two pounds of spinach in 1/2 cup of oil, and adding more as needed. You could also double the amount of green onions while you’re at it.
Cheese is really not necessary, but if you miss it, find a vegan feta or ricotta to mix in after you’ve finished cooking the spinach and onions. You can also make your own using this Vegan Feta Cheese recipe from 2 Broke Vegans!