Bucks County Chef Quietly Starts Instagram Account.. Shares Mind-blowing Delicious Vegan Food & Recipes 'like its No Big Thing'
From super nutritious smoothies to *perfect* crispy fried tofu, raw beet colored icing, pizza and more, Lots of Yums has shared some of the most eloquently made, delicious looking food we've ever seen.. yet you may not have yet heard about this account.
That's because this chef is not only uber-talented but also super humble. After seeing all the delicious (literally Lots of Yums) on this account, we wanted to learn more.. so we reached out and recently spoke with Aleks, seriously talented recipe creator, chef and cofounder of Lots of Yums to learn more.
One of the first things we learned is that this chef knows vegan food because she eats vegan food. Not only does chef Aleks know how to cook a top-notch dish, but she also very much loves to promote the many benefits of being vegan or adding more plant-based meals into your diet.
Read our interview with Chef Aleks below:
BCV: Can you tell us more about Lots of Yums, yourself and your fellow co-founder?
Chef Aleks: Hey hey, so my name is Aleks and I’ve been vegan for a few years and I started this Instagram because my best friend Brie and I cook every together every week (we’ve since then pulled more friends into it) and we always make such delicious vegan dishes and treats. I have kinda forced her along on this [Instagram] ride (she doesn’t post much on the feed/story) but she is such a huge inspiration for me, and a big push for me starting @lotsofyums. She has introduced me to new foods/cuisines and we both are very open minded when it comes to food (very few things either of us dislike), so it’s been such a fun journey trying out vegan dishes with her.
BCV: What are some of your personal favorite vegan foods?
Chef Aleks: Tacos are by far my favorite food because of their versatility — You can throw in any “base” you want, whether that be sweet potato black bean, crispy tofu, buffalo cauliflower, mushroom, fajita veggies. Next, you put on toppings: pickled red onions, cilantro, pico de gallo, guac, radishes. Then, add the sauce (and a lot of it): chipotle aioli, maple sriracha, avocado crema, chimichurri, sweet sour, pesto, “buttermilk” ranch. Gossshhh the possibilities for tacos are ENDLESS!
BCV: That sounds delicious! We think everybody should try that. ;)
BCV: How would you describe your cuisine?
Chef Aleks: Gosh, my cuisine is RANDOM! Onions and garlic are the start to every meal, I definitely have a Latin-inspired flair (mainly Tex-Mex & Guatemalan) along with a few Asian (mainly Korean & Thai) dishes here and there. I gravitate toward feel good food, whether that be typical comfort food like mac & cheese or a kale salad with a bomb dressing. Anything that makes the soul feel good works for me.
BCV: We can Really appreciate that! We believe that everyone can benefit from a plant-based diet but that there is not just one mix for everyone! It's great to vary cuisine up as there is something everyone can enjoy we say. We have benefitted from both your treat recipes and your savory and more raw whole foods bowls recipes and ideas so much.
BCV: What pantry items would you recommend someone pick up when they are starting out with cooking vegan (allergies permitting etc. of course)
Chef Aleks: Pantry (sometimes refrigerated) essentials definitely include tofu, canned/dried beans (black, kidney, lentils, garbanzo/chickpea), pastas, tortillas (because who doesn’t love tacos?!), nuts, dried fruits, nutritional yeast, curry paste, rice noodles, vegan mayo, plant-based milks and PEANUT BUTTER (or any nut butter for that matter).
BCV: Ok, that just about covers all of our most favorite foods ever. What a phenomenal pantry that would be for anyone starting out. Yum! Thank you for this awesome list. We love it.. and are now hungry. :)
BCV: What are some of the foods you would recommend someone start with if they are just starting out with adding more vegan meals into their diet?
Chef Aleks: I would say take your favorite meal and make it vegan. Before I started experimenting with fun plant-based dishes I just took what I knew and substituted the butter, cheese, meat for a vegan version. For example, if your favorite thing to eat is a BLT sandwich, make sure you buy vegan bread and vegan mayo, load on the lettuce and tomato, and make some mushroom or rice paper bacon! @edgyveg has an awesome rice paper bacon and @hotforfood has great mushroom bacon in her cookbook. The possibilities are endless with vegan food but it’s definitely overwhelming in the beginning, so stick to what you know and you’ll be happy. Unless your palate is ridiculously diverse and you’re very open-minded, I would shy away from trying foods that practically sound foreign, because chances are you won’t like it and then you’ll be discouraged in the future. Your taste buds will do a bit of adjusting over time, so maybe that recipe is something you can try down the road.
BCV: That's some Great advice! ..and we meant to add / ask you about that! You're always recommending such amazing fellow recipe creators and chefs! You are not at all closed off to your own Instagram account which we find so refreshingly unique and Helpful! You can tell you just really want all your viewers to have the best possible recipes and tools they can possibly have. You are truly an amazing chef, helper and educator. We just want to thank you so much for that! We've not only learned so much from your recipes and account but also from your expert recommendations!
BCV: What projects are you currently working on? We'd love to help get the word out about it.
Chef Aleks: I’m currently taking a step back from a few of my extra-curriculars to focus on what I love most: creating magic in the kitchen. I have thoughts about a cookbook brewing, so I would say creating recipes and connecting with the Instagram community right now is my main goal.
BCV: Ok, now that's super exciting. We'll keep our eyes open for that. That would be our dream Cookbook for sure. The way you mix and match and keep things exciting in the kitchen is so unique and like no other we've seen.
What are some easy swap outs for not-yet-veganized recipes that you love & recommend?
Ok I’ll go with a few easy swap outs..
Cream cheese: Miyokos cream cheese (wholesome organic ingredients)
Butter: Miyokos butter (wholesome organic ingredients)
Mozzarella: @schoolnightvegan mozzarella (10 minute prep)
Mayo: Sir Kensington’s Fabaneise
Egg: 1 tbsp ground flax + 2.5 tbsp water
Whipped cream: Coconut cream from a can whipped with some lemon juice and sugar
Burger: Beyond burger or homemade veg burger
Cream: soaked cashews + water (make it sweet with some vanilla + dates/maple syrup; make it savory with lemon juice + garlic + salt)
Milk: plant-based milk!! All work for different purposes! Coconut, almond, oat, hemp, walnut, cashew, soy, etc.
BCV: Ok, these are GOLDEN! When we interviewed you we didn't realize we were going to even get more than we bargained for and a great educational chart pretty much. We should have known. :) Keep this on hand, readers! (sunglass emoji!)
BCV: Ok, one last question! Favorite dishes for a party?
Chef Aleks: @hotforfood has awesome party dishes! Specifically the jalapeno poppers, yum. @itslivb also has some quick easy recipes, perfect for parties. I'm a huge fan of dips, like spinach & artichoke dip, rutabaga fondue (inspired by Vedge in philly), @edgyveg buffalo dip, stuffed mushrooms, empanadas, taquitos.
BCV: You have REALLY done the work trying and testing these recipes to all of our benefit. Thank you So much for the recommendations here. It has been way too long since we've had good jalapeno poppers!
BCV: Anything else you'd like to share?
Chef Aleks: Ask questions!! If you ever need to know anything, every vegan I’ve ever met has been so open to conversation and willing to share their advice based on their personal experiences and it is SO HELPFUL if you're just starting out or even if you've been a vegan for 10 years.
"I am such an open book and will give you honest reviews on vegan food brands I've tried, accounts to follow, recipes to modify, all of it! If you’re thinking about becoming vegan, do some research! Figure out your WHY. Once you identify your why, the food part becomes easy. Your why will just keep you going and encourage you. Once you become vegan, it’s 100% about the animals. No flavor or taste in your mouth will ever trump the value of an animal’s life. Remember that just because we grew up a certain way, doesn’t make it right <3"
BCV: We couldn't agree more. Thank you so much for doing this and sharing all that you share!
Follow Chef Aleks on Instagram
You can follow Chef Aleks and her co-creator Brie @LotsofYums on Instagram to keep posted for everything they have coming up!
BUCKS COUNTY Vegan
Exploring & sharing delicious veg' friendly foods in & around Bucks County PA. 🌱Bucks County Pennsylvania is centrally located between Philadelphia & NYC. ☕️Follow us on Instagram @buckscountyvegan. Twitter @BucksVegan.