Meagen at Vegan Food Addict is killing it with this savory coconut okra. I love new recipes for unusual vegetables! Of course okra is super good for you, but battering and deep-frying it is a massive pain, so how about lightly stir-fried? You can avoid sliminess with acid! Better cooking through chemistry.
Recipe: Broccoli baked with Nacheez! »
Did you have broccoli with cheddar cheese sauce growing up? I did, and I miss it. So, I had the brilliant idea to bake broccoli with Nacheez! I used the spicy Nacheez sauce, but if I were making this for a crowd, I’d probably use mild. I made this dish twice in one week, I liked it so much!
This dish is super easy to make, and would make a great side, or meal (eaten over the sink at your parent’s house while watching cable, for example). First, I blanched my broccoli, which was about two small crowns. I used a small amount of broccoli, because I wanted each piece covered in as much Nacheez as possible. Oh yeah, and you can cut up your broccoli before or after you blanch it. Personally, I cut mine before. Next, you want to drain your broccoli! Really well, because extra water will make the cheese sauce thin and runny after you bake it. Put your broccoli and a jar of Nacheez in a baking pan, and bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees! I added some pepper and garlic salt to mine. The second time I baked this, I also added some bacon bits and that really took this dish over the egde!
Recipe: Sauteed green beans with mushrooms! »
The springtime holidays are upon us! Did you be make anything special? I made this green bean recipe, slightly modified from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s in Vegan with a Vengeance. This side dish is a huge hit with my family, which is a huge ego boost for me! It’s very exciting to make them dishes that they ask for, because it doesn’t happen often! (Let’s just say no one else in the Bradley clan is a huge tofu, tempeh or seitan fan.) I love this recipe because it’s relatively easy and extremely tasty.
2 Tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
1 medium onion (I use red), roughly chopped
4 to 8 garlic cloves, minced or finely chopped*
2 lbs. fresh green beans, washed with stems cut off
3/4 to 1 lb. of cremini mushrooms, chopped or sliced
1/4 cup coconut aminos, soy sauce, or Braggs
1/2 cup sherry
1 1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. pepper
1/2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
Heat up your oil on medium high, in a pan or pot large enough to hold all of these ingredients! If it has a lid, that would be preferable, but I have been known to stick a baking sheet over my pots as a lid. No judgment here!
Once the oil is heated, add your chopped onion. You should cook them until they’re translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes, but I like to caramelize my onions, which can take up to a half hour or more! Whatever you’ve got time for, right? If they start to cook so fast they burn, turn down your heat.
Once your onions are cooked to your liking, add your garlic and saute about three minutes, or until fragrant. If you haven’t already, turn down your heat to medium and don’t let the garlic brown, as it will become bitter! Add your mushrooms and saute for about 10 to 15 minutes, until they’ve noticeably shrunk in size. Next put in your salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings; let them cook into the mushrooms and garlic for a couple minutes.
Time to add the sherry, soy sauce, and water! Let everything come to a light boil (you may need to increase the heat), then place your green beans into the pot or pan.
Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer until beans are fork-tender!
*I use a lot of garlic in my dishes, no joke. Whatever a recipe calls for, I usually double or quadruple the amount. I’ve given you a healthy spectrum in this recipe, so you can use at your discretion. Of course I use eight cloves (or more), but the average cook would probably use four.
Veganism and privilege: A Vegansaurus editorial »
We had a post the other day about veggies being cheaper than people acknowledged, and it garnered some responses that called it insensitive to greater structures of food politics. We know the cost of food isn’t the sole determiner in the diet of many people, but the fact remains that many people think veganism is expensive because fruits and veggies are more expensive than non-vegan food.
That post brings to light studies that have shown that veggies are actually not expensive when compared to other foods. It didn’t say that everyone can walk to the corner and buy vegetables. The studies simply show that veggies are actually more affordable then they are made out to be. If we don’t have that information, we can’t move on to discuss what does make vegetables unaffordable or inaccessible.
When someone writes in response to that post that “this is (a big part of) why I am done with vegansaurus and the main(er)stream veg* activism framework,” it troubles us. It makes us think that you’re not reading the site very closely. Which is fair, there are about 10,000 posts a day. However, this isn’t the first post we’ve ever had about food accessibility. We’ve written about food accessibility on Vegansaurus many times, and about healthy school lunches—which affects children with limited options and resources—on multiple occasions. We understand the difference between poverty and college-educated living-on-a-tight-budget.
It bothers us that people consistently use “privilege” as an attack against veganism. Yes, being able to make decisions about your food is a privilege—for this very reason, many people with little options are in fact vegetarian or vegan, by default. But food decisions aren’t the only privilege; caring about and fighting an issue that doesn’t directly affect you is a privilege. Any animal rights activist has the privilege of time and energy to dedicate to helping animals. That, really, is beyond privilege. It’s a responsibility. If you are able to, you should be helping others. If you are able to, you should be vegan.
Honestly, we’ve never had a genuinely poor person say tell us that “being vegan is expensive;” it’s always people in our socio-economic group. We’re not swimming in riches, and maybe even paying rent is hard sometimes, but if you are wealthy enough to live on your own, or even with a few roommates, you are wealthy enough to be vegan. How many times have we heard the argument “WHAT ABOUT KIDS IN AFRICA WHO DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO EAT? ARE YOU GOING TO FORCE THEM TO BE VEGAN?” To which we say A) you totally think Africa is a country, don’t you?; and B) NO, We’re talking about your privileged ass, you cask-ale-drinking jerk.
We recognize that having food choices is privileged; we also realize that having internet access and tumblr accounts and time to write about the things we care about is privileged. Having time to read about the things you care about is a privilege. That’s how we know most people who are reading this post right now have the ability to go vegan—right now.
While you’re at it, you can also work on food sovereignty, and preaching to other liberals who fully understand food deserts about how they’re not liberal enough to understand food deserts in the same complex way that you do. Now get out there and start baking vegan fair-trade organic cupcakes and delivering them on bike to your West Oakland neighbors. We’ll do the same.
This Vegansaurus editorial was brought to you by Meave, Megan and Laura! xoxoxo!
News flash: Veggies are cheap! »
My cheapness—ahem, frugality—has been well-documented. I’ve even defended veganism’s monetary cost (read: It can be really cheap to be vegan). Now Forbes, the New York Times, and others agree with me: Veggies are cheaper than a fast-food dinner. In your FACE, people who say they can’t afford to be vegan!
The Forbes article cites data from the USDA’s Economic Research Service. Researchers examined 94 vegetables in the study; Turns out, more than half of them cost less than 50 cents per one-cup serving, and none of them cost more than $2.07 per serving.
People who say they can only afford junk food don’t need to switch to “free-range” chicken, artisanal cheeses, and grass-fed beef. They really just need to eat something besides fries, Doritos, and McNuggets, such as kidney beans (protein!), sweet potatoes (vitamins!), and carrots (fiber!).
Yeah, a lone cup of veggies is obviously not as filling or macronutrient-dense as a pr0n-approved cheeseburger. But throw a few convenient foodstuffs together—frozen rice, some of those frozen peas/carrots/corn/green bean concoctions, a can of chickpeas, and a bottled curry sauce, for example—and BAM! Dinner is served quickly, cheaply, and healthfully.
The flip side? You have to actually do some work yourself. Boo-fuckin’-hoo. Did I mention that the article says frozen veggies are often cheaper and more nutritious than even fresh ones? Get a freezer, a microwave, and a copy of The Garden of Vegan, and learn to cook something already! Your wallet and the animals will thank you.
How to, yo: Cook yourself some beets! »
Beets! They are delicious and so good for you! I learned how to make them a few years ago in Chicago, when my then-roommate, Jeremy Cox (also a vegan! That’s why I picked him!) showed me how. He was also the one who introduced me to sauteing the beet greens! Beet greens? Let me tell you, back then, I was a 27-year-old who didn’t know kale was edible. What? I’ve come a long way since then!
Let’s get this started!
Making beets the way I do is a little bit of a process, but so worth it! You need to steam, then sauté. Elbow grease never hurt anyone, right? If you have a different approach, as always, post in the comments! Let’s trade tips!
1. Buy yourself a bunch of beets, greens included!
2. Wash and chop your beets. I like to leave the skin on, and then cut it off once the beets are steamed.
3. Steam your beets until fork tender. I NEVER use a microwave to cook food. (Just saying! I prefer you use the stove top method, but I’m not your mom!)
4. Now that your beets are soft, peel or cut the skins off. Wash the beet greens, stems and all. I cut the stems into 1 inch pieces and slightly
tear chop the greens into smaller pieces. Like, the size of spinach leaves!
5. In a pan, heat up some oil. I use whatever is available—sometimes it’s vegetable and sometimes it’s olive. Put in your beets, stems and greens. Sauté on about medium/medium high heat until greens are cooked to your liking! When I made mine, I didn’t use any seasonings; I think beets are that flavorful! Plus, I think you’ll find that the stems and greens are a bit salty by nature. However, I bet some lemon juice or balsamic vinegar added to the sauté process would be delicious. Garlic powder? Probably!
About to steam!
Serve. Knock the socks off everyone. My Dad loved this side dish. Man, it always feels great to impress my parents with my cooking prowess! (And to give my mom a night off in the kitchen when I’m home!)
When the beets exit your body the next day, don’t worry! You don’t have to go to the emergency room, I promise! It’s just that beets have a tendency to turn EVERYTHING red [Ed. note: Jenny! Gross!].
How-to, yo: Roast asparagus! »
"What’s on that asparagus?" my roommate Dan asked me.
"Why?! IS IT THE BEST ASPARAGUS YOU’VE EVER HAD IN YOUR LIFE??"
"Yes. It’s really fucking good.”
This conversation happened. It happened 30 seconds ago. You see, I’m trying muster up the energy to write about my trip The Detox Market, which is the cutest vegan specialty shop in San Francisco, but I am so very tired. You feel me, right? So I’m going to share my dinner instead and also teach you how to roast the best asparagus of
Dan’s YOUR LIFE. (Think you have a better recipe? Share the love in the comments! I want to know!)
My other roommate Crystal was the one who introduced me to roasting asparagus. I had always steamed it before. BORING!
Here’s the lowdown:
1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Wash your asparagus (I used a little over a pound of it). Snap off the ends. I forgot to do this (so very tired tonight) and it’s important because the ends are so tough you won’t be able to chew threw them. I had to cut off all the ends after they were roasted! LAME!
3. Lightly coat a baking sheet with oil. I used vegetable, but olive oil would probably be ideal. Place asparagus on baking sheet and lightly drizzle with more oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (garlic salt or powder would be delicious as well!) and then squeeze the juice of one lemon over the stalks.
4. Place in oven and roast until fork tender!
5. Serve to all your roommates, the friend you invited over, and yourself. You will be the most loved person ever.
(Also pictured is my cheesy eggplant casserole! Changes I made to the original casserole recipe posted include using Daiya cheese instead of Italian-style cashew cheese or tofu ricotta, and substituting kale for spinach. Next time I think I’m going to use kale AND spinach! Leafy greens galore!)
It’s not hard for me to get people to come over to dinner at my pad! Plus I’m ALL my roommates’ favorite roommate. Just kidding! We all love each other equally!
Guest post: Maintaining your vegan values through the winter »
A home garden can be a vegan’s best friend. Use winter as a time to prep your plots for the spring. Once warm weather hits all your tending time will be spent on plants. So work on projects like elevated planters, compost piles or growing structures now. Don’t be intimidated by the mathematics of building. A few good bamboo poles and twine can get you really far in a garden. I just used a table saw to cut my shoots into random lengths and then started tying knots wherever they made sense. I’m a hippie, not an engineer. But my result was a trellis any bean plants would be proud to climb.
Being vegan is a choice you make every day. Sometimes it is effortless; sometimes it requires a ton of effort. As creative as vegan cooking can get, sometimes you just run out of ideas. This is the point when more liberal eaters would just order a pizza, but vegans don’t all have that luxury. Instead, several new businesses are answering the tired vegan call. Vegin-in of Asheville, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn., delivers fresh vegan cuisine to your doorstep. Fresh n’ lean does the same for L.A. These services deliver in bulk and a la carte, helping vegans fill their bellies for a night or their fridges for a week. Check to see if you are lucky enough to have a similar store in your city.
I don’t know where I would be without my local growers, and I’m sure many other vegans feel the same. Just because it is winter doesn’t mean the farmers quit growing. Cabbage, beets, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are just a few of the many plants still available fresh in the wintertime. Because farmers are even more eager to sell in the slow season, they are more willing to cut a deal. When going to winter farm markets I’ve found that the lower the temperature is, the lower the prices are. Farmers just want to sell their veggies and get back home. Winter is the best time to buy in bulk and really sprout some deals.
Danielle uses a delicate mix of hummus and garlic to keep vegan life running smoothly. She blogs on behalf of Sears and other prestigious brands she loves, but spends her offline time ankle-deep in soil. Danielle thinks the best moments in life come when you are drinking straight out of a garden hose.
How-to, yo: Blanch broccoli! »
Is it crazy that I just learned how to blanch my vegetables? Yes, yes it is. But I figure, if I didn’t know, and I cook all the time, other people have got to be stumped by this too.
Whenever I cook my veggies, they end up a mushy mess. Don’t get me wrong, I kind of like it that way. However, I believed it was time to learn the more professional method of blanching my vegetables, specifically my broccoli. After perusing a website for help, I decided to ask my boss (Mitchell Fox, chef and co-owner of Source, no big deal) how to blanch my broccoli.
Here’s the lowdown:
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add lemon juice and salt to said water (before boiling it.) Lemon juice will help keep your broccoli a beautiful green color.
2. Immerse broccoli in boiling water for 30 seconds. NO MORE THAN 45 seconds!
3. Immediately dunk broccoli in a bowl of ICE cold water to stop the cooking process.
4. Use broccoli in a delicious vegan dish! It’s so green and crisp! Great job!
Broccoli in ice water. Isn’t Instagram the best?!
I used my broccoli to make a healthy mac’n’cheese bake! I took my nacho cheese, added nooch, subtracted chili powder, added soy noodles and blanched broccoli, then baked it off! So tasty! (With a side of sauteed beets and the leafy greens they come with!)
If the government thinks we should eat more vegetables, why don’t they put cash money behind it? »
Veganism is more accepted than ever, and vegetarianism is downright mainstream, but I’m a realist: Herbivores are still in the minority. Further, we North Americans aren’t ingesting as many veggies as we ought to, and major health bodies have made statements to the effect that we should all give up processed meats and cut our red meat consumption considerably, at least for the sake of our health. So why is that so difficult? Money.
I’m sure you all saw the Myplate food diagram that was released by the USDA earlier this year as an update to the food pyramid. On the plus side, it recommended that people fill fully half of their plate with veggies, which is an impressive goal for anyone—vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore. The problem is that though the government tells people to choose vegetables often—definitely more often than now, since Americans eat about 50 percent more dairy products a year than veggies—they aren’t backing that suggestion up with money. Particularly in regard to agriculture subsidies, which play a huge role in what gets grown—and therefore eaten—around the country.
As the Washington Post explained recently, agriculture subsidies began in the 1930s to help farmers weather the Great Depression. It was an incredibly hard time for a lot of people, and food production was not globalized in the way it is today. What American farmers grew was, by and large, what American people ate.
Today the subsidies seem less useful, especially when you consider what they’re supporting—$200 billion was spent to subsidize commodity crops in the U.S. from 1995 to 2010, and about two-thirds of that went to cotton, tobacco, and crops used to feed animals. I think we can all agree that tobacco is not a crop that people need to live. Cotton is not a food crop either. Growing crops to feed livestock raised for food is far less efficient than growing crops to feed directly to humans. Farmers growing fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts don’t get direct subsidies at all. And a not-insignificant portion of the crops that are subsidized go towards uses like corn and other things grown to make sweeteners—again, directly opposite to the goal of getting people to eat more vegetables.
And yet, last week leading researchers, published in Nature, advised people to eat less meat if the world is going to have enough to eat. The researchers pointed out that even eating just one or two meatless meals a week will have an impact. I can see why people are confused: scientists say we need to eat less meat, the government says we need to eat more vegetables, but the dollars support meat and dairy, and give fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains the shaft. The best way around this is to exercise your consumer-power: Spend your money on vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, and whole foods.
If you’re looking to add more vegetables to your diet—an excellent goal!—check out this vegan food pyramid for guidance.