Eating Vegan

I don’t have any great new recipes to share with y’all. As you know, we went rafting last weekend (awesome!). We planned our dinners for the week on the way back in the car. We quickly identified things we could easily make with few ingredients that could be turned into leftovers. I don’t know about you, but when I’m getting back into town I have so much to attend to that the last thing I feel like doing is trying a new recipe.

I thought this would be a great time to share an interesting book: Vegan on the Cheap.

I think I’ve said it before, but I’ve become a vegetarian who is vegan curious. But mindfully planning a vegan meal? I have no clue where to start. My vegan meals are accidental. Hence the book and it’s promise that vegan meals do not need to be expensive.

I learned from skimming the recipes that I was missing two major ingredients: Vital Wheat Gluten and Nutritional Yeast. I managed to get the wheat glute at a local chain grocer (go figure) for a good price. The yeast I found at Whole Foods. Now, at Whole Foods they sell the yeast in large containers that can run 20.00 or more. Don’t get that! Not if it’s your first time using the stuff. I learned they also sell it in the dispense-your-own section of the store. I got a little baggie for maybe $3.00. And a little of this stuff goes a long way.

The first thing I made from the book? Faux parmesan cheese. Why? It takes five minutes to make. Seriously. That’s my answer. And here’s the best part – I screwed up the ingredients. The recipe calls for three things (3!) – slivered almonds, nutritional yeast, and salt. I bought slivered almonds that had been cooked. I needed them to be raw. I decidd to forgo the almonds, and another trip to the store, and use walnuts (the author said I could).  You toss these things on a food processor and grind them up.

The result?

It wasn’t awful. I know – makes you want to run right out and make some doesn’t it? I made Mark eat it first.

Nutritional yeast has a bit of a cheesy taste to it, and it gets used in lots of vegan recipes to create a cheesy flavor. We did end up using the faux parm. It keeps in the fridge for two weeks, and we would just add it on top of things that (go ahead and laugh) often had cheese on it to begin with.

We’re just experimenting here. Vegan curious, remember? In this case, that might not mean eating a full on vegan meal but playing around with vegan cheese and, apparently, mixing it with actual cheese. Personally, I would stick with buying the Daiya before I make this faux cheese again. However, we will be making actual meals – real, vegan meals – from this book. So stay tuned!

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Penelope
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 22:39:09

    I am vegan curious, too. (I am not, however, yoga competition curious although I just finished day six of my second sixty-day challenge. The challenges are competition (with myself) enough for me, and until spine twist is a required posture, there is no hope for me to compete. I am excited to hear how YOU do, though, working so hard. I think it is awesome. For other people! Go you!)

    That was a very long parenthetical. Sorry. I have been playing with vegan meals. Some of them are really delicious (butternut squash and black bean and tomatoes and corn with vegan cheeze all wrapped in a hot tortilla). My stepdaughter is allergic to milk, so I have been making this vegan cheeze spread with cashews, basil, roasted tomatoes, nutritional yeast and perhaps some seasoning. It was AMAZING! We have tried it in sandwiches, on crackers (preferred cheese delivery vehicle), and on pizza and has been deemed awesome. Also, an indian dal dish involving really good, somewhat spicy beans and tomatoes. Really good with a fresh roti (bread) and you can make it yourself. This was always my go-to fuel meal after really long runs.

    So, it is a lot of fun experimenting with this stuff. I like a lot of strict vegan dishes but I think that the main reason I won’t go the whole way is this: My family is Orthodox (as in, Eastern Orthodox, the original christian church before the schism and then the reformation, blah blah blah) and we happen to have, in our liturgical year, a LOT of entirely vegan fasts. If I were to become a full-on vegan, my fasts would be meaningless! (I am using ‘fast’ here in the religious sense, not the diet sense.)

    So I shall stick to calling myself vegetarian-ish with the realisation that for at least a fourth to a third of our liturgical year, I can immerse my vegan curious self into total veganism. And then it is over! Which means CAKE!

    Reply

  2. leighahall
    Sep 23, 2012 @ 06:24:04

    Thanks for the comment Penelope. I have a hard time imagining myself as a strict vegan, but I could imagine incorporating more vegan meals into my life. I’m not a squash person, but everything else you put in your tortilla sounded yummy to me!
    And who doesn’t love cake?

    Reply

  3. Trackback: Retro Throwback: Eating Vegan | My Bikram Yoga Life

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