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Meatless Monday: Seed Food and Wine Festival -- The Seed That Started Big Gets Bigger

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Unlike most seeds, Seed Food and Wine Festival never started small. It was a great big vegan celebration when co-founders Alison Burgos and Michelle Gaber launched it two years ago. The third edition of Seed Food and Wine is bigger than ever, with more vegan influencers, artisans, presenters and products.


From November 3 through 6, this citywide extravaganza offers events to feed your belly, body, brain and brand. It all starts with a dozen vegan butchers and chefs competing in a vegan burger battle. Miami's own Atlas Meat-Free Deli goes burger-to-burger with national brands like Follow Your Heart. There'll be brewskies galore but no beef.

Feeding your brain, the two-day Seed Summit features workshops and panels focusing on vegan messaging, product launch and brand-building from pros like power couple Julie Piatt and Rich Roll as well as larger discussions about the future of our food, like how to build on this year's biggest dining trend -- vegan.

Roll joins other plant-powered fitness gurus John Salley, Bad Ass Vegan and Sexy Fit Vegan to kick off Saturday, festival day with a Seed 5K run, yoga and meditation. Meet Engine 2's Rip Esselstyn and many more of my favorite vegan superstars at the tasting village, where 120 vegan vendors tempting you with plant-based treats to sample and wares to buy.

Chefs including Miami's own Bradley Kilgore, Alter chef and James Beard Award nominee. plate up the plant-power with dinners across town all weekend long. Sunday, Sprouts Day, offers yoga, growing and cooking workshops and cupcake decorating for the younger set -- awesome messy fun. It all adds up to four don't-miss days and nights of conscious, compassionate living and eating with a hedonistic flavor. Tickets at Enter promo code SFLBLOG75 to get $75 off ticket prices.

Even when it's over, though, it isn't over. Seed Food and Wine Festival has been a unifying force for Miami's vegan community, supporting all the plant-based initiatives that make Miami delicious throughout the year.


Seven Seed Quinoa With Spinach and Sesame Dressing

In honor of Seed Food and Wine Festival, this quick and easy quinoa main dish is sparked with seeds and citrus and tossed with a luscious tahini -- that's sesame seeds -- dressing.

1 cup vegetable broth or water
1 cup orange juice
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
pinch red pepper flakes (if desired)
6 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

For the sesame dressing:

1/3 cup orange juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons tahini
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring broth or water and orange juice to boil over high heat. Pour in
quinoa. Stir to combine, reduce heat to low, then cover. Let quinoa cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa grains release their endosperm tails. Remove the lid and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the sesame dressing. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm orange juice and minced garlic until just warmed through. Add turmeric and tahini and whisk. At first, the mixture will look curdled. Continue to whisk for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until it turns smooth and thickens to a custard-like consistency. Season generously with sea salt and pepper

Spoon half of the dressing -- about 3 tablespoons -- into the quinoa and gently stir to combine. The recipe may be prepared a day or two in advance at this point, then kept covered and refrigerated. Bring back to room temperature to finish.

In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add cumin, fennel, hemp, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, plus the red pepper flakes, if desired. Stir and toast for 2 to 3 minutes, until seeds begin to crispen and become fragrant. Pour onto quinoa and give a stir or two to fluff and combine. Season generously with sea salt and pepper.

Add the chopped spinach by the handful and toss again. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper and mix in another spoonful of dressing, if desired. Garnish by scattering the pomegranate seeds on top.

Serves 6 to 8.

Hey, come catch my November 4 panel with VegNews editor Colleen Holland and vegan TV chef Jason Wrobel at Seed Food and Wine Seed Summit.
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