Words by Stefanie Gans | Photos by Kyle Martell
New food truck The Randy Radish brings meatless eating to NoVA.
Veganism is still so unpracticed, so un-American … it’s so unbelievable that humans would forgo meat and all animal products—that that the website Jalopnik (Gawker Media’s auto blog) named The Randy Radish the tenth “Weirdest Food Truck In The World.” The reason: Food trucks should not offer healthy food.
The Randy Radish avoids the term vegan for that very reason. The word scares people. “We’re not trying to be the hard sell,” says Sharon Lindblad. “We just want to serve really delicious food.” Lindblad and her business and life partner Nancy Jezior (they held a commitment ceremony three years ago at The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, with a specialized vegan menu) started their food truck in April.
The recipes, however, have been in the works for years. Jezior, the baker of the duo, repurposed her grandmother’s cinnamon buns to fit into a vegan diet: using a soy-based margarine for icing that could debase any mallrat’s addiction to Cinnabon. The dough is soft, almost fluffy in its lightness. It’s less sticky than commercial brands, but that isn’t a bad thing. Jezior nails the taste and texture, leaving little doubt soy could run the world.
Jackfruit, usually found in florally fragrant smoothies at the Eden Center, now poses as pork. After cooking in a brine for an hour and a half, then baking for another hour (the last 30 minutes in sauce), the tropical fruit ends up taking on the shredded texture of pulled pork and when smothered with sweetness, heat and a vinegar pull, the sandwich ends up mimicking something Memphis-like. It’s a I-can’t-believe-this-isn’t meat kind of meal.
For that sandwich, the two saw something similar on Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race.” With no previous background in food, Lindblad and Jezior recently completed a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell and graduated from New Jersey’s Natural Kitchen Cooking School. It was there that they discovered how to turn the inherently eggy quiche into something animal-free.
Their version blends tofu (non-GMO, genetically modified organism: “GMOs scare us,” says Jezior) with nutritional yeast (for a cheesy, nutty flavor) and chickpea miso paste (using the legume instead of soy-based miso to stay gluten-free). The quiche is creamy for sure: It doesn’t pull off that eggy-feel, but the texture feels familiar.
The Randy Radish inked a deal with Purcellville’s Quarter Branch Farm to increase local offerings after initally buying food from MOM’s Organic Market. Setting up every Wednesday at the Leesburg Farmers Market, the two also receive vegetables from co-vender Potomac Vegetable Farm. This should help bring the cross-season quiche—with fall’s broccoli and summer’s zucchini—into something that better reflects the calendar’s way of eating.
A gluten-free blend of corn and quoina pasta (Ancient Harvest brand) arrived missing much of the promised pea pesto, and at $10 with a strawberry-starring side salad and a dressing more smoothie than vinaigrette, was a misstep.
This new truck however, does much right. Branding is almost as important as food, and The Randy Radish reveals what Lindblad calls “a more modern impression of veganism.” This is not preachy. It’s just as she says: “really delicious food, it just happens to be made without animals.”