Vegetarian Festival – Centro Yoga Devanand

17 Jan

Last Sunday we organized a Vegetarian Festival at the Yoga Center. It is the first Vegetarian festival of 2011 and the first one celebrated on a Sunday.

My friend Tania had a dream… she dreamt we did this kind of Festival on a Sunday, more people would come and try more of all the foods we offer. We usually celebrate these Festivals on Saturday nights, but people sometimes are not too fond of eating so much food at 9PM at night.

We have been doing these Festivals for a long, long time. It’s a way for the Yoga Center to demonstrate:

  • how varied and delicious Vegetarian food can be
  • the cooking talents of our Yoga Cooking Team

Usually people just bring in any dish they want to share along with the whole crowd. It’s our own vegetarian version of a pot luck dinner. It’s just a HUGE pot luck dinner featuring usually 15+ dishes, plus salads, natural juices and desserts.

Here is a round-up of all the dishes featured in this latest version of our Vegetarian Festival:

Onion Rice made by my Mom


Baked Rice with Spinach, Mushrooms, Pecans and Cheese aka Arroz Kristina made by me


Rice Pasta Lasagna with Spinach and Dairy-free Cheeses by Rosani

Chipa Guazú made by our friend from Paraguay, Ester

Vegetable Lo-Mein made by Manolo and Jesús


Roasted Potatoes with Spices by Mili


Sun-dried tomatoes Stuffed Mushrooms made by me



Breaded Eggplants made by Tania


BacalaFREEtos – made with some leftover batter from the fried eggplants inside the Lo-Mein


Pizza Pastelillitos made by Yazmín

Soy Albóndigas with a zesty Tomato Sauce made by Angie


We featured 2 different soups…

Roasted Plantain Soup made by Tania

Rice and Bean Soup with Smoked Veggie “Ham” made by Carmen G.


We had a green salad served with 2 different dressings and a natural Juice made with passion fruit, kiwi and other citric fruits.


And 3 desserts…

Candied Coconut (Dulce de Coco) made by Cony

Carrot Dessert with Raisins made by María Rosa

Walnut Cake with Candied Walnuts on top made by Rosani, our resident Master Baker…

Well… the Sunday plan was a complete hit. Dreams actually DO COME TRUE, right Tania?? We had 50+ people visit our center, some of them for the first time. It’s so gratifying to cook for a crowd and to see how the food would fly away and the trays be completely empty is a real joy.

The Staff - Medelicia, Carmen G, Angie, Katy and Tania, the mastermind of this Festival on Sunday.

I include some links to several recipes I have already shared with you. Click on them so you can enjoy them right away. And over the next few weeks I will be sharing some new the recipes I have learned from the star chefs in this Vegetarian Festival.

If you live in Puerto Rico, or close to our Yoga Centers in NYC/Queens or Miami Beach, I hope this display of photos make you hunger and come over to our next Vegetarian Festival. OK?? Just stay tuned to the Centro Cultural Yoga Devanand FaceBook Page were we usually post all our activities… It’s in Spanish, but you’ll enjoy it all the same. 

Hari Om.

5 Responses to “Vegetarian Festival – Centro Yoga Devanand”

  1. lisa January 24, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    I stumbled upon you when I was checking to see if there is a Whole Foods in Puerto Rico (bummer). Our vegetarian family of four with two picky children are coming to Puerto Rico (staying in Condado) and I am very nervous about what and where to eat there. Any restaurant or grocery store suggestions? Are most things cooked in lard? How do we ask about that, my Spanish is rusty from one semester in college? Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

    • KarmaFree Cooking January 24, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

      Hi Lisa… are you moving to Puerto Rico or just visiting on vacation?? You don’t have to be nervous about visiting Puerto Rico and keeping your vegetarian diet. It all depends on how strictly vegetarian your family is. Most fried things in regluar restaurants are fried in vegetable/canola/peanut/corn oil. Lard is not used a lot in commercial cooking, but be weary about fried things street/road-side. “Frituras” as we call them are very likely fried in lard or a combination of lard and some other vegetable oil to extend its useful life.

      If you’re staying in Condado there are plenty of alternatives for you and your family to still enjoy the Puerto Rican experience without compromising your vegetarian diet/lifestyle:

      – Things you should try from our PuertoRican repertoire: search this site for Puerto Rican Delicacies and learn a bit on our specialties and what to beware on any specific dish. I usually mention how and why I vegetarianize each dish…
      – Restaurants – if you’d like… send me an email on what type of foods you like and I can direct you to several restaurants with alternatives you should try

      You’ll have a great trip in Puerto Rico… and if you want to try some local truly vegetarian food… you can certainly visit our YOGA CENTER. We are not a restaurant per se, but the center does serve dinner to all our yoga students and members. Their phone number is 787-273-0236 if you want more info.

      • KarmaFree Cooking January 25, 2011 at 9:34 am #

        General watchouts that might be useful not only in PR, but everywhere else too…

        • I do not eat SOUPS anywhere… mostly are made with chicken stock or some sort of ham or chicken bouillon cube inside.
        • Do not tell people you’re vegetarian right away… instead, ask questions on HOW things are made or WHAT ingredients are included. Most non-vegetarians are super proud to share all the BACON, HAM, BEEF or VEAL STOCK, etc they put into their dishes…
        o I find that if I tell people I am vegetarian then they answer my questions based on THEIR IDEA of what a vegetarian is. And you do not want that… So just ask because you’re curious and interested in what they cook. The flaws that will make it unsuitable for your to eat will come out naturally and automatically…
        • If you do not eat eggs, it’s better to ask if something has eggs BECAUSE YOU’RE ALLERGIC. I know it might be a white lie, but it works better. People sometimes tend to LIE if something has a specific ingredient they feel you’ll not be able to taste because they do not want to lose you as a customer. Just be emphatic, in a nice and playful way, that if something has eggs you’ll need to be rushed to the hospital and no one wants that on a vacation… right??

      • lisa January 25, 2011 at 11:09 am #

        Thank you so much for your responses. We eat eggs and cheese so we are not that limited. We would love some restaurant suggestions. Anything casual and not expensive is more our speed. We love tofu, all the fake meat stuff like seitan, we enjoy a good portobella burger, my children like mac & cheese and we all love pizza. Also, is there a website for the yoga center? Do they take walk-ins? Thank you!

      • KarmaFree Cooking January 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

        The Yoga Center has a Facebook Page and a website. The sites are in Spanish… so you can practice a bit. I’ll give you more details in a separate email. OK?

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