Doritos. A McDonald‘s cheeseburger, hold the patty. Grilled cheese. Breakfast burritos. Fries. Extra fries.

This was my former boss’ diet. She called herself a vegetarian. I became enamored with her choices. She managed to be a vegetarian and never eat a vegetable. Well, except for the three pickles on the no-meat cheeseburger.

Wait, does a pickle even count as a vegetable?

This was the most intimate I had ever been with a vegetarian. I had never seen these eating rituals up close, and I couldn’t stop watching. If the Planet Earth series existed then, I would have been Sigourney Weaver, narrating the hidden habits of a rare breed of non-meat eating, non-vegetable eating human. Like Sigouney’s ability to stay aloof to the wonders of nature, I too never became trapped in her unhealthy world. Although sometimes, it’s fun to dabble.

My recent dinner at Adams Morgan’s Casa Oaxaca reminded me of my old boss: a vegetarian meal without a vegetable on the plate. And as you might imagine, my cheesy, richly sauced dish was worth the lack of nutrients.

Three corn tortillas were rolled tightly around melted mozzarella, treading in a poblano-chocolate mole. More than three-quarters of the plate was dark, with the mole and a side of vegetarian refried beans. Color popped through with a conservative spoonful of rice. Shredded Oaxacan cheese and good old regular cream broke the spell of this hypnotic, almost black-brown sauce.

It was a meatless—and vegetable-less—dish my boss would be proud of.

Photo courtesy of Casa Oaxaca