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.
I am going to break ranks with a lot of vegans and admit something to omnivores/dairy fanatics: fake cheese does not taste like cheese. Nothing is going to quite duplicate the meltinesss, texture, or flavor of cheese. I can’t stand it when vegetarians insist something “tastes just like X” or that they serve it and “no one knows the difference!” Such talk is usually a tangled web of lies. So I’m not going to spout that bullshit here. I’m an honest guy.
The issue for me is not duplicating cheese precisely (maybe it was in the beginning, but my goals have changed). The goal is to duplicate typical cheese-containing dishes as a whole, in ways that are still delicious–even if it doesn’t taste exactly like the original product. Also, I want to do it from scratch using whole ingredients (and not that nasty science experiment Daiya cheese). My biggest beef with many vegans is the reliance on processed, pre-made, fake meat and cheese products sold at the grocery store. Reliance on those items confirms the stereotype that vegan diets are too expensive (they’re not, given the main staple of our diet–dried beans–is the cheapest thing at the grocery store) and missing essentials like protein, calcium, iron, and B vitamins (they don’t, as long as a variety of whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and vegetables is consumed). Now, about the “cheese” sauce…
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.
It seems like I’m constantly having to apologize for eating a mostly vegan diet, and I seem to be including a lot of “I swear it’s good!” affirmations with these recipes. This is sort of pathetic of me, really, but here I am doing it again. I really, really mean it this time. This is an extremely hearty, savoury dish with a lot of umami–just like you would get from a beef gravy (and it’s a simple recipe secret that does not involve any tofu or weird, fake meat). All in an animal-friendly, lower fat, cholesterol-free package. If meat-eaters can’t enjoy this one, I’ll stop trying to convince you. It’s easy (and cheap!) as well, so you may as well give it a try. You’ve nothing to lose!