Foti and Colleen Zorbas have been eating a vegan diet (free of meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs) for about five years. Not only do they feel healthier, but also they realized they loved to create and cook vegan.
Their business, Zorbas Natural Foods (ZNF), was born to bring their healthful and vegan products to the public. The Saratoga Farmers’ Market soon became a venue for Colleen and Foti to offer their delicious foods to their customers.
“There are no artificial additives and no ingredients from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our foods,” Colleen explained. “In addition we use organic and local ingredients as much as possible.” She is studying to become a certified herbalist to help grow the business with more knowledge and expertise for their herbs and teas.
ZNF’s flagship product is Gar-la-la. Raw garlic and potato-based, it works as a spread or a dip. It can also serve as an ingredient in other dishes, such as in this week’s recipe, a vegan version of Mac & Cheese.
Foti being of Greek heritage grew up eating this very garlicky spread. His mother made it all the time, but in Greek it is called “Skordalia.” Foti and Colleen took the traditional recipe and changed it into something of their own.
Colleen explained how this version of Skordalia received its new name, Gar-la-la. “Our daughter Demetra was four at the time and couldn’t pronounce ‘Skordalia’ with the Greek accent so she called it ‘Gar-la-la’”. It became a hit.
The Fotis recommend using Gar-la-la instead of mayonnaise for sandwiches, as a dressing for salads and veggies, as a spread for bagels instead of cream cheese, and of course as an ingredient in lots of dishes.
If you visit Zorbas Natural Foods website, you will see how the business has grown with amazing new products. Along with eight varieties of Gar-la-la, ZNF makes a variety of hummus, pesto, pumpkin butter, rustic crackers, and herbs and herbal teas (some grown by the Zorbas family). They are now working on a vegan “cheese” line.
Zorbas Natural Foods is giving a vegan cooking class April 21 at the Battenkill Kitchen, in Salem. Most of the meal will consist of products from the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Space is limited; to sign up talk to Colleen at the Winter Market, or email her email@example.com.
Vegan Mac & “Cheese”
(Serves 4 to 8)
This recipe is packed with nutrients—such as protein, calcium and other minerals from the tofu, carbohydrates from the pasta, B-vitamins from the nutritional yeast, and antioxidants in the garlic.
1½ lbs. elbow macaroni or spiral shaped pasta
1 block firm organic tofu
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. Original Gar-la-la (available at Saratoga Farmers’ Market)
1 tbsp. mustard
¼ cup of olive oil
1 cup soy or almond milk
A splash of white wine
2 tsp. paprika
Salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Boil the pasta until al dente and set aside.
Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a blender.
Pour the blended ingredients over the pasta and mix well.
Put the mixture in an oven-proof dish, approximately 9 x 14 inches.
Top with breadcrumbs.
Bake for 30 minutes.