Chain eatery Panera has debuted a new vegan Tex-Mex Abundance Bowl at its New York locations until January. The Mexican-inspired bowl includes lentils, quinoa sofrito blend, brown rice, pico de gallo, spinach, kale, avocado, pecans, and roasted corn with a spicy chili lime “rojo” vinegar. The chain also offers vegan options such as Soba Noodle Broth Bowl with Edamame and Vegan Lentil Quinoa Broth Bowl. “From an early age, we’re told to treat animal protein as the true star of the dish, while relegating plants as sides or even optional components to the meal, thus leaving our diets largely imbalanced,” chef Kevin Curry, who developed the bowl for Panera, told VegNews. “With this bowl, I wanted to challenge that mindset by demonstrating a complete, nutritious and hearty meal all in one bowl. And that’s why I called it an Abundance Bowl—because it’s packed with an abundance of fresh ingredients and real food, not to mention vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, to power you through any day in the office, or in the gym.” The bowl was launched in conjunction with Panera’s Food Interrupted docu-series release, which promotes plant-based foods and features vegan firefighter Rip Esselstyn. While Panera currently has no plans to add the Abundance Bowl to its regular menu, Curry said Panera is continuing to explore plant-forward items as a core part of its menu.
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