So once upon a time in high school, I took two years of Spanish. Many of my classmates strongly suspected that our teacher (whose last name was so comical that it would sound fabricated if I were to share it) did not actually speak the language, though; we spent a lot of time listening to cassettes while she dug in her ear with the cap of her pen, so there was very little actual speaking. The ear digging was so gross and distracting that I learned very little, despite managing to get A’s. At university, I gained literacy in the language (though not fluency). Thus, upon moving to Europe and surrounding myself with French speakers (who I may have mentioned are not too open about sharing their language with anyone other than fellow native speakers), I had an immediate desire to put some of my language skills to the test.
If you don’t want to give up salty, fatty, hearty breakfasts on a plant-based diet, you don’t have to. No, it isn’t much healthier to eat like this on a regular basis even if you are vegan, but my point is that it is still possible to splurge. Even when you do, there is considerably less saturated fat and zero cholesterol, so there is less guilt involved in the splurge. Does this taste exactly like eggs? No, not exactly. I’m never one to bullshit about vegetarian food tasting exactly the same as the real thing, but…
Anyone who wants to transition to a vegetarian/vegan diet, or at least try a vegetarian meal once or twice a week, should definitely invest the time to learn about Indian cooking (or Thai or Lebanese, for that matter). It is always hearty and delicious, and quite vegetarian friendly. The only truly challenging part of cooking traditional Indian food is marinating meat (which has to begin the day before). If you don’t eat flesh, that step is eliminated, opening up this perfect cuisine to the general public. As a bonus (in addition to whole grains, beans, and vegetables being incredibly good for you), many of the spices associated with Indian cooking (especially turmeric) are known to be anti-inflammatories that can reduce risk of heart disease and several types of cancer.
I was able to throw this together fairly quickly, and–unlike many of my recipes–I didn’t have to play around with it. I got it right on the first try! Yay me. Continue Reading
I tend to eat a lot of lentils, and also constantly experiment with vegetarian chili, but hadn’t combined the concepts until recently. I have no idea why I waited, because lentils (though good in a million things, as many of my recipes will eventually show) were made for chili. They are a perfect, uber-healthy substitute for ground beef without the artery clogging and intestinal irritation. This also cooks up fairly quickly if you have pre-cooked red beans on hand (or have canned beans, which even I use from time to time). There is also some great potential to mix this with my Perfect Vegan Mac and Cheese for a vegan version of that all-time white trash favorite: chili mac. If you want to make that, just layer the chili on top of the mac and cheese and then add the breadcrumb topping before baking. Simple.
During my slow transition to veganism over the past year and a half or so, I made one pledge to myself: find a way to approximate mac and cheese. If it can’t be done, abandon the diet. I’m serious. Many vegetarians say things like “I could never give up cheese,” which I sort of understand. But with me, it was more of a mac-n-cheese-specific issue. It’s the ultimate comfort food, and I am firmly convinced that many people continue to eat dairy because they think a vegan mac and cheese can’t be done without it tasting like feet.
Welll, it can. I have been experimenting in the kitchen with different ways to pull this off for over a year. Many, many of the results were inedible and in no way resembled what is known as mac and cheese. But once I got my vegan cheese base right, I finally was able to perfect this recipe. This is delicious (though please remember that–though it is lower in saturated fat, has no cholesterol at all, and is more animal friendly than the original–it is still made with white pasta and is fairly high calorie)!
*Oh, and–as a bonus–this does not contain any of that nasty, science-experiment-in-a-bag otherwise known as Daiya Cheese. That stuff is disgusting, and don’t let any vegan ever try to tell you differently.
This one is a bit decadent, given it contains one of the few ingredients that the ever-feuding Paleos and Vegans both tend to agree is evil: white pasta. It can be made even healthier with whole wheat pasta, but everyone needs a treat now and then, okay? If a plant-based diet were nothing but nuts, sprouts, and self-denial, no one would do it. We talk a good game of caring about animal cruelty, sustainable food, and being healthy, but–if we couldn’t indulge once in a while in things like white pasta, fried food, and baked goods–fewer people would be as open to indoctrination by us.
This one will definitely appease omnivores, as the recipe was modified from an older one I used to make with chicken and cream. The chicken is here replaced with a veggie mixture (the fiber for which makes up for the fact that you’re eating processed carbs), and the cream with soy yogurt, so if you’re stubborn you can alter it back to suit your flesh-eating desires. Contrarian.
This recipe is another super easy, fast, and nutritious way to get vegetables and healthy fats and proteins into your diet. This one works as a dip, a sandwich spread, or can be tossed with pasta. I did the latter, and it was delicious. There is almost no prep time. If you sub the onion and garlic with the powdered forms, it will be ready in seconds.