“Plants are dope Af,” Chef Nadia exclaimed with a contagious smile and a fun-loving attitude that would carry us all on a high throughout the evening. “A plant-based diet promotes mental clarity, more energy, clearer skin and optimal digestive health. If you use the wrong fuel, your body doesn’t function as well as it should. We’re about to get creative and make deceptively tasty vegetarian dishes the whole family will enjoy.”
Chef Nadia went on to explain more about her personal health triumphs owed to substituting meat and dairy with legumes, nuts, seeds and other vegan staples. Sixteen of us had all met at 4212 Emancipation Avenue on a Friday night to participate in a cooking class of a different flavor. A vegan holiday cooking class, hosted by Green Roots Kitchen, would prove that we each could prepare a tasty, healthy meal for the quickly approaching holidays and have a blast with old and new friends.
Approaching the building, I see the charming, open-concept kitchen and dining area from the front wall of large windows. Entering, I feel the echo of merry culture from a traditional, New Orleans cottage I recently visited. Choosing my apron, I take notice of the scenic and expressionist art pieces displayed throughout under luminous lighting. Four, spotless, stainless steel prep tables are setup with pre-measured, raw, ingredients next to a wall of appliances at the ready.
With Chef Nadia at the helm for the evening, our teams masterfully create a savory and scrumptious holiday dinner, consisting of quinoa-stuffed acorn squash, sweet cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce, maple-glazed Brussel sprouts and raw pecan pie for dessert. Reminiscent of network competition cooking shows this writer tends to enjoy, teams partake in friendly banter, jokes and even song and dance while ingredients are mixed, sautéed, chopped, chilled, pureed and roasted over the next 2 hours.
In the end, there is still a lively feeling of camaraderie in the air as we all sit down at the russet, wooden tables to partake in our delicious creations together. Trust me when I tell you that lack of meat or dairy on our plates goes completely unnoticed. We each leave this moveable feast with light, fresh, and satisfied stomachs, albeit, still with that old, festive holiday expectation to fall asleep in our chairs watching a television parade.
The weekly, vegan cooking classes offered by Green Roots Kitchen have become a popular choice for date night, cooking education, family outings or just something new for individuals to try in downtown Houston. The main thing we all had in common in the class is that each of us were either vegan curious or simply interested in learning about healthier, flavorful food options. Classes start at $55, and Chef Nadia and her team also offer children’s classes, private workshops, pop-up and holiday courses, event catering and team-building events. You can find more information at Green Roots Kitchen’s Facebook page.