Nov 1, 2010

herbivore (MoFo 1)

Gnocchi with Creamy Marinara Sauce

Herbivore was one of our favorite places to eat at in San Francisco. Of course, being in San Fran after living in Virginia was like the difference between the Amazon and the Sahara. There wasn't just Herbivore to indulge our palate, but many other delicious culinary excitements.

Herbivore is casual dining, like a vegan Applebee's or Chili's. They serve pastas, sandwiches, soups, things along those lines. They actually have three locations now, so does that make them a 'chain?'

Cat's favorite thing there was the Gnocchi in Creamy Marinara Sauce. Since I've already made a creamy tomato sauce, all that needed doing was the gnocchi. It has been a looong time since I've made gnocchi and it wasn't much fun, as I recall. Luckily, I caught Secrets of a Restaurant Chef on Food TV back a few months ago and all of a sudden I felt like a gnocchi pro. A few important 'secrets' Ms. Anne tells her viewers is that the potato must be hot when put through the food mill, but cold before adding the flour. Another one is that just because your gnocchi floats does not mean they are ready! They must boil for a few minutes until they puff up and are light as air. Good as her word, my gnocchi was a success.

I chose the Ceviche to recreate because it was David's and my favorite appetizer...salad...whatever. They use oyster mushrooms, but not having any at my Whole Foods, I just used button mushrooms. They also include tofu in this, so I wrapped my extra-firm tofu to draw out the moisture and then marinated the vegetables, tofu and fungus in a lime-garlic-olive oil dressing. Really good! Doesn't matter if you use oyster, button or no mushroom at all.

Shawarma is a Middle Eastern street-food - a wrap of meat, hummus, pickles, hot sauce and/or onions. Herbivore's version uses either soy (I used Soy Curls) or seitan (so can be soy free), has potatoes, avocado, tomato, pickles, onions, hummus and hot sauce, all wrapped in a flat bread - pita, tortilla, lavash, etc. This was an instant family favorite the first time we had it.

All in all, I was quite successful in making these dishes; even the kids said it was better than the real-deal (although I'm pretty sure that is because it has been years since we've been in California) - quite a compliment from a bunch of young people who criticize everything!
I have made a How-To Breakdown and wrote recipes for all of the dishes.

Cost Breakdown:

1/2 recipe of creamy tomato sauce: $3
potato, flour: $4
Total for 4 servings:

cuke, tom, onion, pepper: $2
cilantro, lime, olive oil, garlic: $1
mushroom: $2
tofu: $2
bread: $1
Total for 8 servings:

lavash: $3
1/2 bag of soy curls: $3
potato: $2
avo, tomato, pickles: $3
garbanzo beans, olive oil, lemon, tahini: $1.50
spices: $1
Total for 4 servings:




  1. These all look great, wish we had an Herbivore around our house! The Shawarma looks almost like a wrap or a Gyro.

  2. Wow, nice job! I can also testify that Herbivore's Shawarma is awesome, and now I definitely want to try your version.

  3. Herbivore Love. I used to each there every Sunday. Thanks for the recipes

  4. oooh I must try Herbivore's Shwarma. Yours looks awesome!

  5. Thanks everyone! This was one of our faves and we are all excited that it tastes as good as the original :)

    If you try it, let me know if I'm off the mark.

  6. After the great success with the Gyro recipe, I had to give this one a try.
    It was very good, tasty, and a good combination of flavors and textures.

    There may be no real way to recreate the Shwarma of my childhood, but in the meantime, this will do very nicely.

  7. in2insight, this recipe is Herbivore's version of a schwarma. According to research this is not necessarily authentic or one that you are familiar with, as there as so many variations. If you could give me some idea of what you remember from your childhood, including where you had it (nationality or regionally), I could try to replicate it - or get a little closer to it.


Thanks for your comment! I'll check if it's spam and post if it is not. I appreciate your time and effort for commenting! ~ Zsu