Oy Veg Kitchen serves up comfort with its vegetarian knishes

When New York-born Liz Mennan moved South, she missed this taste from her childhood. So she began working on her own recipe.
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Liz Mennen, founder of Oy Veg Kitchen

Photo by Jessica Beaushene

After several years in Atlanta, Liz Mennen, 29, realized what was missing from her life in the South: knishes. The New York-bred actuary had grown up eating the Eastern European comfort food—pastries stuffed with a mashed potato and onion filling and often meat, cheese, or other vegetables. “To me, they taste like a hug—they’re so distinctly warm and comforting,” she says.

By 2017, Mennen had become passionate about the small food movement and was living a mostly vegetarian lifestyle. She stumbled across a Jewish, vegetarian, comfort food cookbook called Vilna Vegetarian, and was inspired to create Oy Veg Kitchen.

Old School potato knish

Courtesy of Oy Veg Kitchen

Sweet & Sassy sweet potato knish

Courtesy of Oy Veg Kitchen

Without any formal culinary training, Mennen learned by trial and error, as well as working with her grandmother-in-law, who she describes as a “proficient Jewish cook.”

“One day I think we tried 40 different knishes,” she says. She eventually settled on two flavors: Old School (a take on the classic potato and onion knish with cauliflower or radish to lighten it) and Sweet & Sassy (a sweet potato-based knish with caramelized onions, balsamic vinegar, and ricotta cheese). The ingredients can vary based on seasonal availability.

Mennen sells the knishes—$6 each or two for $11—at the Decatur and Brookhaven Farmers Markets. If you want to try one before the year is over, act quickly—Decatur’s last markets of the season are December 9 and 16. (Both markets reopen in the spring.) However, Mennen accepts a limited number of catering orders, too.

Courtesy of Oy veg Kitchen

“This is currently a side-hustle, so the intention is to grow mindfully and at a pace that makes sense. I’m very much enjoying where this venture has taken me so far,” she says. 

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