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
So we have been failing on the blog front these days. I am about to graduate from college and E is about to start grad school at Stanford (what a badass). In all this craziness I have eaten way more Trader Joe’s Tofu Edemame Nuggets than I am proud of (for strict vegans, these do have egg whites), and haven’t managed to get my meals on here.
Anyhow, this is a simple pasta salad, best served cold.
1/2 bag whole wheat rotini or other noodles
1 large carrot, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 zucchini, cut into small chunks
Several marinated artichoke hearts, cut into small pieces
2 stalks heart of palm, cut into small chunks
3/4 can chik peas
Dressing of choice ( I used tahini dressing, as always, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar)
Boil water and cook noodles. After straining, rinse with cold water until all noodles are fairly cool, and set aside.
Meanwhile, lightly steam the carrots, zucchini and peas until slightly crunchy
In a large bowl, mix cool noodles, all cut up and cooked veggies, chik peas, and dressing, and mix well
Back in January I was given an amazing cookbook called “Big Vegan”. It’s huge, and beautiful, and full of delicious recipes that are not only meat and dairy free, but also largely gluten-free and low-fat. When I first got the book I would often peruse it and drool, but I wasn’t cooking from it a whole lot, although I did make this scrumptious Indonesian Noodle Salad.
Then, a few weeks ago, my doctor nonchalantly informed me that I should probably cut all gluten out of my diet. Like, all gluten. She said it wouldn’t be a big deal, babbling cheerfully about all the gluten-free options in the Bay Area. I stared at her, stunned, as my gluten-y life flash before my eyes: Acme bread, Zachary’s Pizza, cranberry scones, Tofurkey Beer Brats, Seitan, Veggieburger buns, warm chocolate chip cookies…
Needless to say, I’m not ready to quit gluten altogether. However, I am trying to cut down on it, and to find other ways to satisfy my perpetually hungry belly. Instead of going at it with an attitude of deprivation (“No gluten for you!”), I’m trying to frame this in a more positive light (“Let’s make a recipe that just happens to not include gluten”). For instance, Hot and Sour Broccoli Salad:
And that’s where Big Vegan comes in. The last few weeks I’ve started to actually cook lots of Asbell’s coincidentally gluten free recipes. Instead of lamenting what I can’t have, I’m focusing on what I can. Like New Potato Rendeng, pictured up at the top of this post.
Now here comes the meaningful life lesson (uh oh I really have become an obnoxious blogger): I think this is the only way to make a real dietary change. Don’t try to do it all at once. Don’t stress about little slips ups here and there (I’m talking to myself right now; I just ate a cake pop). Don’t torture yourself with weak imitations of whatever food you are no longer eating. DO find a cookbook, or a website, or a person who will give you oodles of recipes featuring your target food groups. And go buy Asbell’s cookbook- you won’t regret it!
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
Lunch On the Go: Whole Wheat Penne with Kale and Bean Salad
I often have to leave my house and go to school for 12 hours at a time. I imagine I am not the only one who isn’t able to have a leisurely freshly-made lunch every day. However, I refuse to sacrifice eating healthy, tasty food. Food is often the highlight of my day, and let’s be honest, a stressful day gets a whole lot better when you whip out a zesty, satisfying meal, even if it’s amidst piles of books or computers or wherever your workweek takes you.
Anyhow, this is a great meal to make while you’re running around getting ready for the day. Pasta is simple, steaming the kale is quick, and opening cans and stirring some beans together is easy. I used Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Penne (whole wheat is much more nutritious than white, and it also tastes just as good), organic kale, canned corn and black beans, and frozen peas. Both of these dishes save well, just throw them in a container and you are ready to go!
Whole wheat pasta
Canned corn (or fresh if you are awesome)
Canned black beans
Olive oil & balsamic vinegar
Nutritional Yeast, salt, pepper
Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta
Put chopped kale in a pan with a little water and olive oil, cover
Steam kale until cooked, remove lid and add lemon juice, salt and pepper
Mix black beans, peas and corn together in a container and squeeze on lemon juice
Toss your cooked pasta with olive oil, vinegar and nutritional yeast in a container
Add your kale to the pasta or put in a separate container
Put a lemon slice in with your food for a little extra flavor if needed
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
This is a deliciously healthy and very simple cake to make. It is vegan and raw with apple juice as the only sweetener. This cake is my mom’s specialty and has been ever since I was a little girl. When I was old enough to help it was always a collaborative piece. She would make the cake, I would add the jam, the almonds, the berries and of course an array of flowers I picked from the neighbors yards. I never made it alone until I was living in Italy last year and I missed my mom’s cooking. When I made it the first time I was amazed at how simple it was to make. However, I will say, it is important to follow the proportions and directions correctly. I don’t follow recipes well and as a result it has turned out a bit mushier than desired.
1 cup cous cous
1 cup skinned almonds
4 1/2 cups apple juice(not sweetened)
pinch of salt
1 tbsp almond extract
I have even experimented with adding 1 tsp of orange extract as well but like the plain almond the best
To skin almonds, boil 2 cups of water, pour almonds into boiling water and remove from heat. Allow almonds to sit in water for 5 minutes. If water is too hot to stick your fingers into, add a little cold water. By now the almonds will slip right out of skins. Cream almonds in a blender or food processor with 1-2 cups of the apple juice. Place cous cous, almond cream, the rest of apple juice, and a pinch of salt in a pot and bring to boil. Then lower flame, simmer for 15-20 minutes while stirring frequently. At the end add almond extract and pour mixture in baking pan.
This cake does not get baked, just allow to cool and the cake will be firm to cut.
Spread raspberry jam on top of the cake then add berries around the edges. Roast almonds then finely chop and put them on top of jam, adds a nice crunchy texture. We like to use a heart shaped pan, but any one will do. If you are taking it to a party of even if you are eating it at home, I invite you to take a walk around the neighborhood, smell the flowers and pick a few to decorate the cake with. This is our tradition and I hope you adopt it as well.
This is my best, tastiest, most widely known recipe. My family started making a version of this soup in high school, and since we made it every morning it became known as ‘morning soup’. When I went off to college I began making my own improved versions. It varies every time I make it depending on what I have in the house, but there are a few staple ingredients. It’s pretty light (which means I can eat about 6 bowls in one sitting). I use Better Than Bouillon Veggie Broth, which comes in a jar at natural food stores or Whole Foods. It’s a great base for any soup, and I like it better than veggie broth cubes. My veggies really vary, but this version has red onion, frozen peas, kale, carrots, and purple cabbage. I often use frozen edamame (soybeans), broccoli, cauliflower or brussel sprouts.
I usually add a grain, either cooked brown rice at the end or soba or udon noodles when its close to being done. I also often add Trader Joes Thai Gyoza, which are frozen potstickers that taste like wontons when they are in soup. When you’re making the soup, just keep tasting veggies to see when they seem cooked; since there is a lot of freedom on what you add, it’s hard to give specific cooking times.
1 or more spoonfuls of Better than Bouillon Veggie Broth
Onion of your choice
Sriracha or other Hot Sauce
Fresh or Powdered Garlic
Veggies of your choice, cut into small pieces
Tofu, cut into small pieces
Grain of your choice
Optional Nutritional Yeast
Boil water in a medium or large pot
While you wait for the water to boil, chop your veggies and tofu into similar sized pieces and mince the garlic
Add a spoonful of Better Than Bouillon and mix it into water
Add garlic and onions to the pot and let them cook for a few minutes
Add veggies depending on their cooking times (so I added carrots, then cabbage, the frozen items, then kale, with a minute or two in between each one)
When there is about 6 minutes left, add noodles if desired
If you’re using cooked rice, put it in when the soup is almost done
Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, lemon juice and hot sauce to taste, and more veggie broth if needed
Turn off heat and serve, sprinkle nutritional yeast on top
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
This is a macrobiotic (see definition below) dish that is especially yummy and appropriate for this time of year. Autumn time and even into winter, the kidneys are weaker and more susceptible to illness. Both burdock and carrots are tonifying to the kidneys. Burdock root is also used to promote urination and overall physical vitality. Cooked carrots are great for improving anemia. After an excess of sugar, root vegetables, especially burdock and carrots are very helpful in rebalancing the body.
This recipe is a nice balance between the sweetness of the carrots, the slight bitter of the burdock, the salt of tamari and spicy and warming ginger root.
Ingredients: -2 stalks of burdock root -3 stalks of carrot (may do more or less carrot/burdock depending on preference, may want to experiment) -Dark sesame oil -Grated ginger -Tamari or soy sauce -Sesame seeds (optional)
Recipe: Start by cutting the burdock root into matchsticks (this is done by cutting the root into thin diagonal slices in the round, then by stacking about three and cutting into match size pieces). Add about a tablespoon of sesame oil to a pan, then add the burdock, put a top on and let sit while you cut the carrots into matchsticks as well. Add the carrots after about five minutes. Stir together; add about a tablespoon of tamari and cook on low with a lid for about 20-25 minutes until liquid is evaporated. You may need to add a little bit of water along the way. When the dish is done, grate about a tablespoon of ginger and squeeze in palm of hand over the entire dish. Add dark or light sesame seeds to garnish if you like. Enjoy this hearty, tonifying dish as a side dish or a main meal.
Macrobiotics is a lifestyle centered on the principles of Yin and Yang. Its goal is to bring balance to our lives and our diets. The roots of macrobiotics come from Chinese medicine and the Japanese cuisine. The diet is mostly vegetarian and vegan, although some people do eat fish. The main components to a macrobiotic diet are fresh, local, and in-season vegetables. Grains are also a large part of the Macro diet.
-L (Friend to Sisters N & E and new contributor to the blog)
Ethiopian Food: I did not make this (I am not that badass, but this restaurant is having a cooking class next week which I want to try and go to). Ethiopian food is some of the most delicious and healthy food you will ever eat. It’s especially wonderful as a vegan because there is plenty to eat. It’s also easy to avoid wheat for all you gluten free-ers out there, as their ‘bread’, called injera, is made from teff, a gluten free grain.
It’s hard to tell from the photo, but this is an enormous platter filled with various kinds of flavorful lentils, chickpeas, split peas, some spicy, some creamy, zesty potatoes and cabbage, marinated mushrooms and tangy salad. Rather than using silverware, you use the tangy, spongy injera to pick up the food, which is brilliant. Who doesn’t want to eat with their fingers and then eat the utensil afterwards?
My obsession with Ethiopian food started after I studied abroad in Ghana in west Africa. The food isn’t even all that similar, but both places use lots of vegetables, beans, and basically whole foods, cooked with rich spices and full of flavor.
If you have never had Ethiopian, get yourself to a restaurant pronto. My favorite place in the bay area is called cafe colucci, on telegraph and Alcatraz. Anywhere you go should have the veggie combo, which gives you a taste of everything, which I recommend trying. It’s also vegan.