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Vegan at Swingers Diner, Santa Monica – Post 2

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I have already talked about Swingers Diner, but I thought that I could do multiple reviews of restaurants as I make subsequent visits.  Click here to see previous posts about Swingers Diner.

My youngest sister, Alli and I went for a night out in Santa Monica this weekend.  We chose Swingers for a fun and casual meal.  This time I tried the Vegan Nachos, which their menu describes as “blue corn chips, soyrizo, soy cheese, homemade guacamole, black beans, green onions, and salsa.”  They totally hit the spot.  I loved the blue corn chips and soyrizo.

Swinger's Diner - Vegan Nachos | A Vegan in Progress

Vegan Nachos

Alli got her favorite, the pancakes.

Swinger's Diner - Vegan pancakes | A Vegan in Progress

She’s crazy about them pancakes!

We decided to share the vegan chocolate cheesecake.  Oh man, was that a good choice.  It was super dense and creamy.  I think I may just continue ordering appetizers so I will have room for this cheesecake for dessert on each visit!

Swinger's Diner - Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake | A Vegan in Progress

Dual Dining – Chinese Salad

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My husband, Eric, does not have plans to change his diet to exclude animal products.  This is totally up to him and I am doing my best to avoid lecturing or attempting to persuade him.  So far, he has been pretty understanding about my compulsion to share what I learn about the lifestyle.

One of the challenges that I have experienced while adjusting my diet is cooking for both of us.  We eat together every night when I am not in school and I prefer that we eat the same thing, rather than just fend for ourselves and simply eat with each other.

This brings me to what will be a regular post on A Vegan in Progress: Dual Dining.  These posts will describe meals and recipes that I try, create, or alter to be both Omnivore and Vegan friendly without much hassle.

Today’s Dual Dining meal is based off of the Okami Chinese Chicken Salad mix from Costco.  Please excuse the use of photos I found on a Google search, but I didn’t have photos from the night I made this dinner.

Costco Chinese Chicken Salad Kit | A Vegan in Progress

Growing up, we ate a lot of Chinese chicken salad from Costco and I love it.  The kit offers enough ingredients for two huge salads of lettuce (or spinach, which I prefer) almond slices, wonton strips, rice noodles, and chicken.  All ingredients are packaged separately, making it easy to use substitutions in place of certain ones.

After looking over the ingredients, I found that the greens, almond slices, and dressing were vegan.  Just a quick trip to Ralphs later and I had wonton strips and rice noodles that were animal product free.  To make one of each version of the salad, all that I did was toss the greens, almonds, and dressing, then split the salad in half and mix in the wonton strips and rice noodles specific to each salad.  For Eric’s salad, I warmed the chicken in a small amount of the dressing that I held to one side and added it to the bowl.  I don’t miss the chicken when I leave it out, but I suppose tofu would be a nice replacement if necessary.

An even simpler version (and slightly cheaper) would be to make the entire salad from vegan versions of each ingredient, since there is little difference between the Costco and Ralphs wonton strips and rice noodles and toss with a vegan grocery store bought dressing, such as the Ken’s Steak House Lite Asian Sesame with Ginger and Soy dressing that I also found at Ralphs.

Add mandarin oranges if you like such things in your Chinese salads and there you have it – an easy entrée salad for both to enjoy!