The Expo area is synonymous with exhibitions and events that happen in the huge halls near the MRT. During a recent visit to one such event, I spotted Soul ALife, a 100% vegan cafe situated at Changi City Point. This is a welcome addition to the area where vegetarian options in restaurants are a bit limited. Pretty decor with plants and a green theme added a nice vibe to the cafe. I have always maintained that a healthy and nutritious meal can be tasty and satisfying and its nice to see such cafes implementing that in their mission to serve good food.
The menu has a variety of options. They have burgers, pastas and salads along with smoothies and desserts. The intention that is clearly driven across is their desire is to serve you wholesome food. It was a refreshing change to see dumplings mentioned in the starters section of the menu and we ordered the ‘Japanese Gyoza’. Gyoza is a popular appetizer at ramen noodle shops. Here, they served the Gyoza with ponzu sauce (a classic Japanese citrus sauce). They had a thin skin and slightly crisp texture. Overall, an above average offering but the flavours could have been more enhanced.
To keep yourself hydrated in the Singapore weather, cold pressed juices generally come to the rescue. I got the ‘Beet It’ juice to pack some nutrients in my meal along with the refreshing feel that it provides. It is nothing but the ABC (Apple, Beetroot Carrot) juice and was really good with the proportions of the ingredients in right balance. Highly recommended.
Japanese Gyoza at $4.90
If you have been reading my blog regularly, you would know that I appreciate a good vegetarian burger made with ingredients other than the standard portobello mushroom. At Soul ALife, they have the ‘Potato and Lentil Burger’ which is a crisp patty housed in a bed of greens. The texture of the patty is good and it is well-seasoned. The only gripe is that the portion size was small for this burger to act as a standalone meal. The sweet potato wedges served on the side are just nice with a slight sprinkling of salt.
Beet It at $4.90
At this cafe, you should not miss the ‘Buddha Bowl’ which is correctly indicated to be their recommended dish. The origin of the name “Buddha Bowl” comes more from being in state of bliss once you eat it. Well, the myriad colours from the variety of ingredients that pop out from the bowl makes it extremely appealing. It was full of vegetables, healthy grains and lean proteins that made for a perfectly balanced and a nourishing meal. The chickpeas, curried cauliflower and beetroot hummus were my favourites among the ingredients.
Potato and Lentil Burger at $10.90
They have 2 outlets in Singapore – one at Pickering Street and the other at Changi City Point. For the fitness freaks and the healthy eaters, this cafe is absolutely recommended. This cafe would be an ideal place to visit for tourists who are looking for a 100% vegan or vegetarian joint near Changi airport since this is just one station away. Overall for their healthy menu, quality ingredients and affordable prices, Soul ALife is absolutely worth a visit.
Buddha Bowl at $9.90
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Vegan
|Nearest MRT: Expo
|Address: 5 Changi Business Park Central 1, Changi City Point #02-40, Singapore 486038
|Timings: Mon-Sun: 11.30am – 9.30pm
It’s not a revelation that Fortune Centre is a vegetarian and vegan food paradise. Located in the bustling Rochor area, it acts as a dining hot spot for both locals and tourists. One of my favourite cafes in this building is Create Healthy Lifestyle , a nondescript cafe serving healthy and tasty vegetarian food with less oil and salt and no MSG. It is mostly filled with customers at any time of the day and it is likely that you will have to share your table if you plan to eat here. The cafe also sells organic produce and packaged organic goods in their retail section.
Create Healthy Lifestyle
Orders are placed at the counter and their menu, written on the big white board helps you make your choices quickly. Apart from the daily specials, there are other extra items on their menu (placed at your table). There are also a lot of vegan options on the menu. For the quantity and the quality of items served, the prices are friendly on the wallet.
One of my standard orders at this place is the ‘Vegetable Pancake’ which is made in the Korean style. It’s actually an appetizer but for me its filling enough to be called a meal. It resembles a flattened pizza and is filled with vegetables like carrots, bell peppers and spinach. It is extremely savory and delicious along with the sauce to dip on the side. Highly recommended.
Create Healthy Lifestyle menu
We also ordered the ‘Tom Yum Soup’ which, for me, is happiness in a bowl. A delicious, savory spicy-sour soup is perfectly complemented by the earthy vegetables. To complete the dish, I opted for thin noodles – but they have other noodle options as well. Highly recommended.
Vegetable Pancake at $5
A simple and satisfying dish to order would be the ‘Vegetable Fried Brown Rice’ which is filled with a variety of veggies. Each component of the dish is cooked well and the rice is not mushy. Some could find the dish to be under salted but this cafe believes in doing their cooking in the healthy way.
Tom Yum Soup
There will always be a need for refreshing drinks in the Singapore weather. One of the popular drinks in the juice stalls is the ‘ABC’ juice. Made from the nutritious combination of apple, beetroot and carrot, this juice is healthy for the mind and body. Definitely give this juice a try!
Vegetable fried brown rice at $5
For their significant efforts to make healthy food with no compromise on taste, for their affordable prices and for their old-world charm, Create Healthy Lifestyle Cafe is a must-visit.
ABC (Apple, Beetroot and Carrot) Juice
More often than not, we look for healthy lunch or dinner options after an indulgent weekend. Salad bars fit perfectly into this mindset and you end up getting a lean and green dining experience. Thus, on a healthy note, I made my way to Green Bar, a gourmet salad bar situated in Millenia Walk. Frequented by business executives working in the area, this place is crowded during lunch time. It seats no more than 15-20 pax. If you are in a hurry, they have takeaways as well. They have limited options for vegetarians on the standard menu – but what works is the fact that you can customize your own salad with different combinations of dressings. The queuing system uses a display number token system which makes it organized – though during lunch time it ends up in a bit of order confusion.
Salads can be made to taste interesting by creating different flavour profiles and combining textures. We ordered the ‘Moroccan Couscous Salad’ as the focus was to get more fibre and less fat. This salad was a mini-adventure of raisins, chickpeas and olives in buttered couscous on a bed of baby spinach and arugula leaves. This was finally drizzled off with a lemon dill dressing which was top-notch. What was striking was the large wooden serving bowls – and the quantity of the serving was perfect for lunch. The salted cashews on the side lent a nice balance to the sweet raisins. Bread (which can be dipped in olive oil) is served on the side and this was a good wholesome meal.
For those who are fan of grilled veggies, the ‘Grilled Veggie Foursome’ is a riot of colours with red bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini and tomatoes. If you are wondering what makes this combination work – it’s when all these ingredients come together with the coriander pesto dressing. The ingredients used are fresh which imparts a crunch to the vegetables – both leafy and non-leafy. If required, extra bread can be taken at the bread bar.
Moroccan couscous salad at $8.90
On the whole, the salads might seem a bit pricey but that could mainly be because of the location and the sourcing of high quality ingredients. For its gourmet salad concept, for the portion sizes and for a healthy but tasty meal, the Green Bar is worth a visit if you are in the area.
Grilled Veggie Foursome salad at $10.90
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Salad Bar
|Nearest MRT: Promenade
|Address: Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard, #01-91, Singapore 039596
|Timings: Mon-Fri: 11am – 8pm
Spinach is a vegetable that is very rich in iron. It is recommended to include spinach as a part of your diet on a regular basis. Spinach is used in gravy side dishes in Indian cooking. One of my favourite combinations is to use spinach with corn. The sweetness of corn brings some order to the fiery Indian spices used in this dish. Since it’s a gravy dish, you can also easily transform it into a Spinach Corn Rice that can be served with papads or wafers. It also works beautifully as a lunchbox recipe. Try it out and you will become a fan of this combination!
Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 30 mins
- 2 packets of spinach
- 1.5 cups corn kernels
- 3/4 can of tomato puree or 3-4 tomatoes blended in a mixer
- 3 onions, finely chopped
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp oil
Spinach corn sabzi
- Wash the spinach leaves well (at least 3-4 times) and cut off the stems. Cut the leaves into big pieces.
- Fill a vessel filled with water and heat it till it boils. When the water starts bubbling vigorously, add the cut spinach leaves and let them boil for 3-4 minutes. Switch off the flame. Now wash the leaves immediately in ice-cold water – this helps in preserving the green colour of spinach. This process is called blanching.
- Meanwhile boil the corn kernels in salted hot water for at least 10 mins. Alternatively, you can pressure cook the corn kernels for 3-4 whistles depending on the rawness of the kernels. Frozen corn kernels take more time than fresh corn kernels.
- In a blender / mixer, puree the blanched spinach leaves into a smooth paste. Keep it aside.
- Take a pan, add oil and cumin seeds in it. Once the cumin seeds splutter, add the chopped onions. Saute till they turn light pink in colour.
- Next, add the tomato puree and salt and mix well. Let this cook on low flame for 5 mins. The rawness of tomatoes should not be felt in the paste.
- Once the tomato puree is cooked through, add in turmeric powder, red chilli powder and garam masala powder and mix the spices well.
- Add the spinach puree, cover the pan and let it cook for 3 – 4 minutes.
- Finally, add the boiled corn kernels and cook for another 3 mins.
- Switch off the flame and serve hot with rotis. Also goes great with steamed white rice.
- Make sure you have ice-cold water ready once you add the spinach leaves into the boiling water.
- Do not overcook the spinach leaves. Once they become a rich, dark green, turn off the flame immediately.
- Make sure the corn is tender when you add it in. There’s not much cooking time given for the corn in the final stage, and it may taste raw.
One of the best ways to use summer vegetables is to make a quick soup. If you want to add some bite to the medley of vegetables, noodles lend perfect balance to the dish. Ever since I visited Japan, I’ve wanted to try a dish at home using Udon noodles. They are thick wheat flour noodles which are best served in soups or broths. They are soft and sturdy at the same time which make them perfect ingredients for a wholesome meal. They leave you feeling full but not stuffed and veggies provide the required nourishment. For a Thai twist, we add kaffir lime leaves to provide so much flavour to this dish that you would not mind just sipping the warm soup.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 2-3 pax
Time: 30 mins
- 10-12 baby corn, cut into small rounds
- 1 broccoli (around 250 gms), cut in florets
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 bell pepper / capsicum cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 12-15 French beans, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 – 2 cups of veg stock / water
- Udon noodles
- 2 Kaffir lime leaves cut into strips
- 1 tbsp oil
- Salt to taste
Mixed veg with udon noodles
- Cook the Udon noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Do not cook them all the way – take them out when they are slightly underdone.
- Soak the lime leaves in some hot water. If you’re using veg stock, supplement it with this liquid.
- Place a pan over a medium-high flame. Add oil and wait till it just starts to shimmer.
- Add the onions and saute them till they turn translucent.
- Add the beans, corn, and carrot and saute them for ~30 seconds.
- Once you see a little colour on the veggies, add in the broccoli and bell peppers. Toss to combine.
- When the veggies are par-cooked, add in 1 cup of water / veg stock and the water from the soaked lime leaves. Cover and cook till the vegetables are just tender.
- Turn off the flame, add the udon noodles and let the soup steep for a few minutes.
Mixed veg soup with udon noodles
- Serve immediately!
- Do not overcook the noodles. If you are worried about overcooking them, put them in an ice bath once they are cooked.
- You can change the veggies used to suit your taste. Add the veggies that take longer to cook first. Do not overcook them.
- For a hit of spice, add some chili oil on the top.
Crunchy salads add a great contrasting texture to the dal or curries that we cook on a regular basis. At this point, you do not want a salad that has requires a lot of cutting and prep. A swish of oil, some easy-to-cook-vegetables and and a dash of lemon make this ‘Zucchini and Capsicum Salad’ a great choice. Having eaten Maharashtrian food quite a few times, I tossed in the peanuts to give it a koshimbir effect and the gamble paid off. This salad goes extremely well as a side with rotis. If you like cold salads, refrigerate and eat it the next day for breakfast as a topping on bruschetta!
Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 20 mins
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 capsicum, diced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp peanuts, skin removed
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ginger, finely grated
- 1/4 cup coriander, finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp lime/lemon juice (optional)
Zucchini and capsicum salad
- Take oil in a pan and heat it on medium flame. Add mustard seeds to it and wait till they splutter.
- Reduce the flame, add in the peanuts and saute for around a minute.
- Then add in the chopped onion, ginger and garlic. Cook until the onion turns translucent.
- Next add in the zucchini and green chilli and mix well. Cook it for 5 mins without a lid.
- Add the diced capsicum and salt and mix well. Let the capsicum cook for another 2 mins. Their crunch should be retained, so do not make them too soft.
- Switch off the flame. Sprinkle the salad with lime juice and garnish with coriander. Serve hot with rotis as a side. If you make it in more quantity, this can substitute a sabzi too.
- If you don’t like large pieces of peanut in the salad, toast them separately and then break them up in a mortar and pestle / grinder. Sprinkle them on top of the salad before serving.
- Don’t overcook the vegetables. You want them to have a crunch.
Soups are one of the best ways to cut back on calories without losing out on taste. After having cauliflower soup quite a few times in 3-course meals at restaurants, I decided to make it at home. This dish needs some low and slow cooking, but is worth it for the end result of a creamy and full-flavored soup. Cauliflower lends a velvety texture and is easy to prep as the florets just have to be separated. The addition of turmeric powder gives a beautiful yellow colour. The spices add a touch of heat and contrast to the soup base. This is a filling and heavy soup, so you are literally one bowl away from trying out a healthy recipe!
Recipe Details :
Serves: 3-4 pax
Time: 40 mins
- 1 large cauliflower, chopped in florets (roughly the same size)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 1/4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- Ground black pepper (for garnish)
- Salt to taste
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- In a soup pot, heat the oil on a low flame and put in the bay leaf. Add the coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, red pepper flakes along with onions. Sweat the onions till they turn translucent. This will take around 4-5 mins. Then add the finely chopped garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add in the cauliflower florets and vegetable stock to the soup pot. Stir to combine, and ensure that all florets are immersed in the stock.
Cauliflower soup prep
- Cover, and let the florets cook for 15 mins on low flame till they become tender.
- Switch off the flame and let the liquid cool for 15 mins. Remove the bay leaf at this stage.
- Then transfer this cooled mixture into a blender and blend on high till the mixture is silky and smooth.
- Serve hot, with a sprinkle of ground black pepper on top. I served a quinoa bread along with the soup.
- Stir the florets from time to time to ensure even cooking.
- You can also garish with coriander leaves or red chili flakes.
- For those staying in Singapore, I paired this soup with lightly toasted ‘Spelt, Quinoa and Purple Wheat Loaf’ by Gardenia from NTUC.