I'm here to help you with your quest to veganism. Here's my challenge to you for the new year. Give veganism a test drive! That's right! Just a test drive. I dare you to go vegan for the month of January. You don't think you can do it? Well, then try it for a week, a day, anything that you think you can accomplish. Believe me, it's easier than you think! I'll be blogging every meal I make for 2011, complete with recipes and delicious pictures. Not only that, but I will give you helpful advice, shopping tips, product recommendations, and restuarant guides in order to help you further. Even when I go out to eat, I will give you a detailed description of the meal and how to order vegan in restaurants. If you click through my profile to my set of links you will find some great resources to help you get started. Everyday becoming vegan gets easier and easier as more products are created and better labeling introduced. Have you ever seen that big green V on packages? Easy to recognize, easy choice.
I also want you to send me any recipe that you've been dying to veganize! I'm up for the challenge!
Before I give you my first set of recipes, I want to give you a word of advice. Take a vitamin. Even if you're an omnivore, you should be taking a vitamin. I can't stress this enough. Most importantly, make sure you're taking a vitamin that has B-12. Vegans can only get B-12 from their fortified foods (non-dairy milks, cereals, tofu), nutritional yeast, bars and such. Since I stress getting your nutrients from whole foods, rather than processed and packaged foods, it's hard to get B-12. Well, that is unless you're eating lots of dirt on those vegetables of yours. (I often don't fully scrub my organic veggies for this reason.) Even so, you should make sure to take a supplement. It's dangerous if you don't. The vitamin that I take is VegLife's Vegan One Multiple. It includes my B-12, Vit D, and my other essentials. I get mine down at Community Pharmacy right off of State Street in Madison. Otherwise you can purchase yours on Amazon for the low price of $7.57! Buy it here. (I do suggest you buy locally, though.) If your local co-op doesn't have it, then request it!
So how did I bring in the New Year? Black Bean, Zucchini and Olive Tacos with Garlic-Lemon Yogurt, Homemade Hummus and Spiced Pita Chips, and Salted Caramel Pecan Bars! Whoever says they like food to much to be vegan is nuts! These recipes are from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz here, Veganomicon here, and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar here. The latter are by Isa and Terry Hope Romero. I highly recommend all these books! Appetite for Reduction includes 125 low fat vegan recipes. Remember, as a vegan it's still possible to eat unhealthy. The thing to remember is everything in moderation and also be active! All these recipes can be made soy free (see my side notes), and the tacos and Hummus are both gluten free.
Black Bean, Zucchini and Olive Tacos
Gluten & Soy free (Remember to omit the Garlic-Lemon Yogurt if you want this Soy free.)
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 zucchini, diced small (~ 1lb)
2 jalepenos, seeded, sliced thinly
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic (or 4. I always double garlic, as a rule. :) )
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 (6oz.) can salsa verde
1 (16-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Preheat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Ad the zucchini and jalapeno to the oil and sprinkle with the salt. The salt will draw the moisture out of the zukes. Sautee for about 7 mins, until the zukes are lightly browned. If the mixture looks a bit dry, just add a little bit of water. Add the garlic, olives, cumin, and coriander and saute for 2 mins more.
Add the salsa verde and black beans. Cook for 5 more mins, the salsa should reduce a bit so the mixture is juicy, not soupy.
Place the tortillas in a moist paper towel and heat in the microwave on high for 1 min. Serve with Garlic-Lemon Yogurt and chopped scallions.
1 cup unsweetened plain yogurt (Wildwood is perfect)
2 to 3 cloves garlic
Zest from 1/2 lemon
Juice from 1 lemon (~3 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
Scoop the yogurt in to a small bowl. Use a Microplane to grate in the garlic and then the lemon zest. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the agave. Use a fork to mix well. Taste and adjust the garlic and lemon according to your taste. (I wouldn't overdo it with the garlic in this one.)
Serving 1 taco, 1/8 recipe
(including 1 tablespoon of the yogurt)
Calories: 160, Calories from fat: 25, Total fat: 2.5g, Saturated fat: 0g, Trans fat: 0g, Total carb: 29g, Fiber: 8g, Sugars: 2g, Protetin: 7g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 290mg, Vitamin A: 4%, Vitman C: 25%, Calcium: 6%, Iron: 10%
Gluten and Soy free
2 (15oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (I usually use a little less, otherwise the lemon is overpowering.)
3 tablespoons tahini
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed, or grated
1/4 cup water, more or less for desired thickness
Pinch of ground cumin or ground coriander (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Paprika to taste (use the smoked Hungarian!)
Plce half the chickpeas and olive oil in a blender or food processor. Pulse several times, stopping to stir with a rubber spatula. When the mixture is almost pureed and creamy, add the remaining chickpeas and oil, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cmin and a little salt. Pulse until creamy, scraping down sides while doing so. Season with salt and pepper and other spices to taste. Transfer to an airtight container and chill for 30 minutes before serving. For picture perfect Good Housekeeping, add the hummus to a serving dish, sprinkle the top with some olive oil, paprika and sliced kalamata olives!
Easy Easy Easy Pita Chips
Soy free (check labeling, as soy is added as a preservative in some pita bread)
4 white or whole wheat pitas
Olive oil for brushing (or olive oil spray for ultimate laziness!)
Sprinkle each pita chip with one or more of the following spices:
Garlic powder, cumin, cayenne and salt, or
Lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt
Be creative! My favorite combos are just Garlic powder and salt and Garam Masala and salt.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Slice open a pita along the edges and carefully open and separate each half. Cut into desired sizes for each chip. (I get the Trader Joe's whole wheat pitas in the 8 count package and I divide each slice into quarters.) Brush with olive oil, then sprinkle with your seasoning(s) or choice. Spread pitas on a cookie sheet (they can overlap a bit) and bake for 8 to 10 mins, until golden brown and crisp. Be careful not to burn! Cool on cookie sheets and store in plastic bags. That is, if you don't eat them all right away!
Salted Caramel Pecan Bars
(For a soy free version, look for soy free Earthbalance spread and use a non-dairy milk such as Almond, Rice or Hemp.)
Makes 16 gooey bars!