This is a communal blog to share recipes, meal ideas, questions, support and knowledge about eating and living a meat and/or dairy free lifestyle. It's also a place for omnivores to learn more about healthy ways to cut animal products out of their diets. Submissions encouraged!
We're two sisters and lifelong herbivores (one vegan, one vegetarian). We promise not to bicker too much.
A common misconception about vegetarians and vegans is that we are a bunch of psycho health-nuts. Sure, as we are more conscious about what goes in our bodies, our food choices may often be more ‘healthy’ than our carnivore friends. I consider myself a very healthy eater. That being said, I am human, and therefore subject to normal desires such as to load myself full of grease, sugar and carbs, and feel no shame. I get so annoyed at restaurants when the menu makes ‘healthy’ choices for me- example: I recently ate at Denny’s, and my veggie burger came with about 2 pieces of celery and a cucumber slice, while my friend’s meals came with a pile of greasy salty french fries. My choice to not eat meat and dairy do not come from a desire to avoid calories, it comes from a belief that my food choices should not harm any living being. I am a firm believer that ‘healthy’ eating means finding a balance between nutritious food and ‘good for the soul’ food.
This brings us to potato salad. I take potato salad very seriously, and always have. I have vivid memories of late night trips to Safeway with my friend Z, to load up on deli potato salad and M&M’s. My love for potato salad has not dwindled in my transition to veganism, so I am required to satisfy my cravings in the comfort of my kitchen. I loosely used the Hellman’s recipe http://www.hellmanns.com/recipes/detail/6609/1/the-original-potato-salad for proportions, but made my own editions. This is your classic creamy, heavy, chunky, tangy potato salad.
3 Pounds potatoes
1 Cup Vegan Mayo (TJ’s has a vegan version, nayonaise or veganaise work as well)
1 TBS yellow mustard
4 dill pickles, chopped
3/4 cup onion, chopped
2 TBS vinegar
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
A few tsp sugar to taste
Dash of pickle juice
Chop potatoes (and peel if desired) into 1 inch chunks
Cover with an inch of water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer until cooked through, and strain
Meanwhile, mix the mayo, mustard, vinegar, pickle juice, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl
Mix in the potatoes, onions, and pickles
Stir all ingredients together gently, and refrigerate for a few hours, or until cool. Serve and enjoy
I made this meal when I didn’t have much time, but wanted a fresh, hearty dinner. I used Trader Joe’s Baked Beans and Sourdough Bread, and organic rainbow chard from the Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market. My British friend, H, taught me just how wonderful baked beans are on toast. Rainbow chard is a great leafy green, packed full of vitamins that us veg’s need. I flavored it lightly to bring out it’s sweet juicy-ness. This takes less then ten minutes to make, and was totally satisfying and delicious.
1/2 Can baked beans
1 slice sourdough bread
4 stalks rainbow chard
Green garlic (fresh garlic)
Oil, salt, pepper to taste
Wash and slice your rainbow chard into bite size pieces, using both the leaf and stem
Sautee in pan with a little oil and add soy sauce and spices as desired
Don’t add the green garlic until the last 2 minutes or so, as it burns easily
Meanwhile, toast your bread and heat up your beans
Tangy Udon Noodles with Lemon Honey Brussel Sprouts
For this meal I used the same method for the Brussels as a recipe I posted earlier (Lemon honey sautéed Brussel sprouts, about a month ago) topped on wide udon noodles, which you can find at most natural food, Asian markets or some grocery stores. I flavored the noodles with my favorite combo of soy sauce, rice vinegar and lemon juice. For some extra protein add cubes of tofu or cooked soybeans.
Wide udon noodles
Honey or vegan sweetener
Salt, pepper and garlic to taste
For the Brussels
Boil a pot of water (with enough water to cover brussels)
Wash brussels well, peeling off outer leaves if they look gross
Chop into halves or quarters, depending on their size
Put brussels into boiling water and cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until they are pretty cooked but still a little hard
Strain and put brussels in a large pan with olive oil
Add lemon juice, honey and herbs to taste (it tend to take a good amount of lemon and honey to be flavorful enough)
Continue to sautee until they are tender
For the noodles:
Follow directions on the package to cook noodles
Drain and mix in a bowl with rice vinegar, soy sauce and lemon to taste.
Add protein source if desired and top with cooked Brussels. Enjoy :)
Once I transitioned from vegetarian to vegan, I realized that my burrito obsession revolved mainly around sour cream and cheese. I can make my own vegan Mexican food that’s (almost) as delicious as taqueria-bought. My latest food craze is Daiya mozzarella-style shreds. They really do melt and stretch like it says on the bag! Anyhow I used Trader Joes olive oil wraps (good for mexican food as well as lentil veggie wraps etc), Daiya, organic produce and Trader Joes salsa and black beans. It was SO good and filling and satisfying. I covered it in lemon juice and nutritional yeast for extra zest. I then attempted to fold it in half, somewhat successfully. This is incredibly yummy and incredibly messy. Happy eating.
1 wrap or tortilla
A few tablespoons Daiya
Half a can black beans
Chopped romaine lettuce
A few tablespoons salsa
Optional: Lemon juice & nutritional yeast
Put your wrap/tortilla in a pan and spread Daiya evenly, turn on medium heat. Watch it carefully because the Daiya takes a little while to melt but make sure you don’t let the tortilla burn
Meanwhile, heat up the black beans and chop the lettuce
When the Daiya has melted, put your quesadilla on a plate and cover with beans, lettuce, avocado, then salsa and optional toppings
You know how when you go to buffets or dining halls or salad bars the salads are always SO good? There are so many choices and textures and flavors. There are croutons and veggies and fruits and seeds and peas and dressing and it’s all so crunchy and wonderful. When I moved off my college campus and away from those salad bars, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and create a salad just as exciting and versatile.
I have figured out that they key components to creating a successful salad are: croutons, good dressing, lots of colors, and small juicy items like peas or corn. I prefer making my own croutons to buying them (cheaper, healthier, more fun). I save the ends of bread (yeah, I don’t eat the ends, so what) and freeze them. When salad time rolls around I pop them in the microwave, chop them up and sautee them til they are crispy and greasy and delicious.
In terms of dressing, I love tahini dressing or sesame-soy-ginger, but an easy and still yummy way to go is olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice, salt and pepper, or all of the above.
I made this salad with my wonderful best friend, A. She is just getting into cooking and it’s so much fun to teach her what I know and watch her get excited as she invents new and delicious meals.
You can really put in almost any vegetable and your salad will taste great, but here’s what we did:
Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
Frozen peas, cooked and let to cool
Canned corn, drained
Broccoli (raw, or slightly steamed)
Several pieces bread
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary and thyme
Defrost bread if necessary, cut into crouton size pieces
Heat olive oil in a pan, add bread and mix around so all the pieces get oily
Add herbs and oil as needed (it takes a bit of oil to get them crispy)
Sautee until croutons are crispy and flavorful (this tends to take at least 10 minutes)
Meanwhile, wash and chop veggies into bite size pieces
Mix veggies and croutons together in a large bowl, add dressing and toss
I grew up on soy cheese. We had every kind of gushy, soggy, strangely colored ‘cheese’, all with that weirdly bitter aftertaste. This lasted until my sister and I refused to eat one more bite and demanded our cheese come from cows.
This is why, when I went from vegetarian to vegan about half a year ago, I silently swore never to eat fake packaged cheese. I didn’t see the point, it didn’t taste like dairy cheese, it doesn’t have much nutritional value, and I was perfectly happy with my diet.
As time has progressed however, I have become increasingly curious about all the vegan products out there, and my judgements that they won’t taste like the ‘real thing’ have faded. When you go long enough without ‘real’ cheese or ice cream or yogurt, the vegan version tastes just as good, better even because you feel morally sound about what you’re putting in your body. I now go nuts for a bowl of coconut bliss ice cream, or nachos with vegan sour cream, and as of this morning, for Daiya vegan cheese. Let me tell you, vegan cheese has made leaps and bounds since I was 12 years old grimacing at pale orange-almond-soy-mush in my parents fridge. This snack takes about 5 minutes to make, and is absolutely delicious.
Bread (I used whole wheat)
Daiya (I used mozzarella style. You can find it at natural food stores for $6 a bag)
Optional: Earth balance or oil
Put earth balance/oil in a pan or turn on a panini maker
Spread Daiya on your bread, place in maker/on pan
Cook on both sides until the Daiya has melted and the bread is slightly crispy
Serve immediately with some veggies on the side (I had cucumbers) and enjoy thoroughly :)
Sauteed Breakfast Potatoes with Spinach and Black Beans
As a vegan, I don’t like going out to breakfast. Your choices are between a 5 dollar cup of fruit-that has spent 3 weeks traveling from every corner of the earth, only to arrive as a mealy flavorless pile of gush-or if you are somewhere with a little consciousness, a tofu scramble. I’m sorry if I offend vegans everywhere, but I do not like tofu scramble. Tofu was not meant to be scrambled. Curry powder or whatever they use does not make it taste like an exciting flavorful party in my mouth, it makes it taste like an overeager 6 year old just cooked me a mud pie.
However, this morning I woke up wanting a nice hearty breakfast, so I decided to make things happen for myself. I used all locally farmed veggies: an irish butterball potato, a white onion and some spinach, sided with trader joes black beans. It was quick and easy to make, tasty, and had a balanced combination of veggies, proteins and carbs. Best of all, it felt like I was eating at a restaurant without spending the money.
One large potato
1/3 white onion
2 large handfuls of spinach
1/2 can black beans
Canola or olive oil
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
Optional: ketchup, hot sauce, lemon wedge
Chop your onion into bite size pieces, and put in a large frying pan with some oil
Chop your potatoes into thin bite size pieces (if you cut them too large they will take a long time to cook)
Sautee potatoes and onions together ,adding oil as needed
Cover with a lid and let it steam for a few minutes
Add your spices
Meanwhile, heat up the black beans
When your potatoes are pretty much cooked through, add the spinach and cover again
Remove lid, let any moisture cook out, and serve with beans on the side
Squeeze some lemon on your potatoes or add ketchup and hot sauce on the side
Soba noodles are Japanese noodles, made out of buckwheat. This is a great dish for noodle lovers like myself, if you want to stay away from bleached white pasta,try some asian flavors and eat a yummy and quick new dish.
Nutrition info here: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5776/2
I used Hodosoy (local tofu seller, that E used to work for, their tofu is organic and SO much better than other brands) medium-firm tofu. You can find this at many farmers markets and grocery stores in the extended bay area.
soba noodles, which you can find at any asian market, whole foods or other natural foods store
rice vinegar (any grocery store should have this)
sometimes-sesame oil. it has a strong taste so I only use a teeny bit.
boil water, add soba noodles
cut up tofu into small pieces
when noodles are done, drain water and mix in a bowl with the tofu
Snacktime: Whole Wheat English Muffin with Hummus & Avocado
This is one of my favorite snacks. Not only is it tasty, but you get some good carbs, some protein, some good fats and a vegetable/fruit (avocado is technically a fruit, feels like a veggie, or feels like a delicious creature of heaven for that matter).
I used Sabra Hummus, you can find it at Safeway or other grocery stores, an avocado from the Berkeley Farmers Market (another shout out to Will’s Avocados), and Orrowheat 100% Whole Wheat English Muffins.
If you are feeling less than inspired to eat whole wheat, maybe the 6 grams of protein 1 muffin has will be an inspiration. Also, they are delicious and taste, in my opinion, better than white muffins, and are way healthier for you.
Quick lesson on why whole wheat is better: White products are stripped of the more nutrient dense parts of the wheat, whereas whole wheat uses all parts of the wheat, hence, ‘whole wheat’. For more info check this out
Contrary to many people’s belief, fat is not a dirty word. Avocados have monounsaturated fats (good for you fats) which provides important minerals and vitamins. They also have lots of potassium and fiber, among other things.
I don’t think anyone needs convincing that hummus is delicious and wonderful.
In conclusion, this is a speedy, yummy, healthy snack/meal, and I highly recommend it.
This is a great meal if you don’t have a lot of time to cook, or even if you do, because its delicious and healthy. Leafy greens are really important in a vegan diet, they are high in fiber, iron and calcium (fun fact-broccoli has more calcium than milk! Don’t believe milk companies that tell you its the only way to get your calcium), among other nutrients.
I use nutritional yeast on the tofu, and on most things I eat. If you are a new vegan you will soon learn that nutritional yeast, known as ‘hippie-crack’ is useful, healthy and yummy, often used in place of cheese. Its high in B-12, a vitamin you need to make sure you get as a vegan or vegetarian. It also has a fair amount of protein in it. Just try not to eat more than about 2 tablespoons a day, since too much can stop your body from absorbing calcium. You can find it in the bulk section of most natural food stores, its flaky/powdery and yellow. Anyhow.
To make the Tofu:
Cut tofu into cubes of desired choice and put in pan with some oil
Sprinkle soy sauce over tofu, then nutritional yeast as well as any other flavors you want (garlic, salt, pepper, etc)
Let it cook for a few minutes, stir some, take off heat when it looks good
To Make the Kale:
Wash kale and cut into fairly small pieces, you can use the stem and leaves
Put in pan with some rice vinegar (asian style vinegar, you can find it at most grocery stores)
Put on a lid and let it steam some until its mostly cooked
Take off the lid, squeeze on some lemon juice, add salt and pepper to taste
Stir a bit, take off heat, and serve with tofu
Note: I flavor pretty much everything I cook with some combination of lemon, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and nutritional yeast. I love savory, sour flavors, but I know not everyone does as much as me. There are plenty of other ways to cook these types of foods. Happy eating!