Italian Night @ Devanand Yoga Center

10 Apr

Last night we had our Italian Night @ the Yoga Center… part of our International Night Series to educate people that vegetarian food is tasty and varied.

The night belonged to my mom’s cooking team, usually featured by Rosani, Angie and her. But on Friday afternoon they officially recruited me to join the team in charge of “appetizers” and desserts. I say “appetizers” because in our Devanand dinners, we serve buffet-style, so everything is served at once and people pick and choose what they prefer.

Even though I was officially recruited on Friday, I have been part of the creative engine behind the menu since the team selected Italian as their featured cuisine. Welcome or not, I had forwarded Rosani and my mom a few ideas I had up my sleeve… Mami told me they wanted to avoid pasta and pizza at all costs and she wanted me to supply a few wisps of inspiration…

Among the original ideas I shared were – a Caprese salad presented in a different way, making the tomatoes, pesto and mozzarella bocconcini kind of like the “dressing” for the lettuce. Another idea was to make polenta with a mushroom ragú… something quite different from the typical expected Italian treats. I also suggested they could make a Minestrone Soup or Ribollita, which integrates bread into the brothy soup. My guess is that this idea was avoided due to the wheat-avoiders we have in the Center. You want to offer something most people can enjoy without having to make double batches.

Finally, the menu consisted of the following:

Tomato Basil Bruschetta with 2 choices of crostini – Whole Wheat or GlutenFree

With WholeWheat Crostini


with GlutenFree Crostini


Pesto Rice – This was MY FAVORITE for the night… The flavors were awesome and fresh… I’ll share Rosani’s recipe with you soon…

Baby Red Potatoes and SnowPeas with a Rosemary, Parsley and Garlic Seasoning

Pasta Vegetali – brown rice penne pasta with broccoli, cauliflower and other veggies in a tomato basil sauce with plenty of cheese. Even though the team wanted to avoid pasta… it crept back into the menu.

Eggplant Parmesan – This version was fully baked, not fried prior, but still very delicious. Here are 2 versions of Eggplant Parmesan if you would like to try one out soon enough…  Version 1 and Version 2.

Vegetable Pizzas in Whole Wheat and Gluten-Free versions – Our GuruJi wanted pizza, so we made him pizza…

Green Salad with a Red Bell Pepper and Parsley Dressing

And the runaway hit of the night… Strawberry Sorbeto. Just like the Very Berry Sorbet I have already shared with you, but made only with strawberries. People were asking for seconds and thirds. We also planned on a second dessert – a Mango Ginger Granita, but because this was a recipe I was trying out for the first time, I realized I did not allow enough time for the juice mixture to become a granita. As soon as I perfect the recipe and have all the times down pat, I will certainly share with you all.


We had a lot of visitors last night… most of them impressed with the variety and deliciousness of the menu. Rosani, Angie and Mami were very happy too… Vishnu, one of our littlest members of the Center was super pleased with both the bruschetta and the sorbeto.  And when I told him I could turn that bruschetta into Shrek’s Spaghetti his eyes lit up. I see some spinach pasta in his future…

I hope you enjoyed this latest Devanand International Menu… which other cuisine do you think our cooking team should tackle?? Middle Eastern? Greek? Any suggestions??

If you’re based in Puerto Rico, hope you can join us for our next International Night. If you’re interested in receiving an invitation, just visit our page on FaceBook or send me an email to karmafreecooking{at}yahoo{dot}com and I will certainly keep you posted on all the upcoming International Dinners.

One Response to “Italian Night @ Devanand Yoga Center”

  1. dawn April 11, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    I love your italian night menu…. Very hard to avoid pasta doing an Italian night, but you guys made it using a brown rice option…. Very good replacement… Have you tried the pasta made from quinoa flour… It is very good too… Looking forward to more posts

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