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Two Peas Food Truck delivers delicious at local markets

If summer has you seeking fresh local fare, possibly paired with a chance to enjoy eating outside, look for Two Peas Food Truck.

The boxy trailer sports a striking green paint job paired with rustic wood siding and serves food just as bright and natural. You’ll find it at the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market in Ashland on Tuesday and in Medford on Thursday, at the Talent Evening Market July 6 and 27, and at festivals around the region most weekends. The menu focuses on local, seasonal, plant-based dishes that are perfectly suited to people avoiding meat, dairy and gluten, but with so much flavor any enthusiastic eater will find something to love.

The popular falafel waffle seems poised to become a signature dish. It’s an innovative take on a street food favorite, given an extra boost by owner Caroline Francis’ dedication to dishing out delicious vegan food prepared with locally, or at least regionally sourced, ingredients.

Instead of being shaped into the traditional balls or patties, a falafel’s savory blend of mashed Oregon-grown garbanzos, onion and herbs is mixed with Francis’ gluten-free waffle batter, then cooked in a Belgian-style waffle iron to create plenty of craggy, crunchy edges. Then it is flash fried to finish it off with extra crispiness and flavor. A small order for $10 is half a waffle, while the whole thing makes a large order, priced at $15.

All falafel waffle orders are accompanied by a dense, slightly nutty flavored hummus topped with za’atar, a sesame-rich Middle Eastern spice blend; a thick, creamy coconut tzatziki; and a small salad of spring greens topped with slices of cucumbers, a sprinkle of shredded parsnip, pickled red onions and pumpkin seeds. While the rich coconut cream base of the tzatziki was vegan and a nice alternative for people who eschew dairy for ethical or dietary reasons, I missed the bright tang of yogurt that traditionally sauces the cucumbers and herbs.

The richness of coconut cream also infuses the tikka masala, a creamy tomato sauce spiked with warming spices, including ginger, turmeric and a pinch of chilies. Chicken tikka masala is popular in Indian restaurants scattered across the world. Here the sauce is paired with roasted seasonal vegetables, then topped with a scattering of cilantro and sliced, toasted almonds. It is served over quinoa grown by Willamette Valley Quinoa near Salem.

The first time I tried Two Peas’ tikka masala this spring, it was served with a mélange of roasted carrots, parsnips and a bit of fennel, but the mix changes with the seasons and is featuring sweet salad turnips right now, with summer’s bounty just around the corner.

The menu at Two Peas also includes Ayurvedic kitchari, a blend of mung beans, brown rice and spices that the ancient, holistic wellness practice promises will be nourishing and healing, for $8, and a $12 Nourish bowl featuring fried tofu, roasted vegetables, mixed greens, quinoa and kraut from Ashland’s Pickled Planet. The bowl can be topped with any of Two Peas’ homemade sauces, such as creamy pesto, chipotle cream or tzatziki. Even the ketchup and mayo are made from scratch, but be aware that any of these savory small-batch creations can run out before the end of the lunch hour. Some of the small bites such as spring rolls and fries are often quickly crossed off the food cart’s chalkboard menus.

The cart also serves a selection of vegan breakfast options all day. Look for tofu scrambles, a soy-free vegan sausage patty, and a waffle served with maple syrup.

While the food clearly tastes good, Two Peas also gives you plenty of reasons to feel good about supporting a fledgling local business dedicated to sustainability. As a regular at Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market, Two Peas gets plenty of ingredients and inspiration from local farms, regularly preparing produce from Whistling Duck Farm, Fry Family Farm and Wandering Roots Farm.

The food truck strives to produce zero waste through composting, recycling and working with vendors such as Eugene-based Hummingbird Wholesale, which distributes ethically sourced, organic food in reusable containers. Two Peas food is served on compostable trays with biodegradable wooden utensils.

Protecting the planet and eating well at the same time sounds like the perfect summer celebration. Track Two Peas Food Truck at twopeasfoodtruck.com, on Instagram or Facebook, or call 541-249-3632 to see if they are available for your event.

The falafel waffle served with hummus, a coconut-based tzatziki and small salad is sure to become a signature dish at Two Peas Food Truck.{ } Photo by Anita Burke