Vegan meals: planning, advice, recipes, struggles, etc

really beautiful book! if you haven’t, check out “miso, tempeh, natto” from last year and some of the pascal baudar books for more of this world

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“headbang over your food”

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This was yummy enough to write down.

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More tofu:
Tofu cubed and fried on medium in sesame oil. Sesame oil has a low smoke temp, so it should take longer to cook than if it were in coconut oil.

Evaporate about a cap full of apple cider vinegar while frying in a couple tablespoons of oil.

Add crushed black pepper, turmeric, fennel, & cumin

Chop garlic & Brazil nuts. Cook with everything else until garlic is caramelized.

Remove from heat & evaporate soy sauce on pan.

Stir regularly throughout cooking to get more evenly fried sides.

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@struggle Thanks for starting this thread! I started as a vegetarian for a couple of years and transitioned to vegan over a year or two. This was back before the widespread availability of substitutes for just about everything, but I didn’t find the transition that difficult as I really enjoy cooking!

Two of my oldest, but still favourite cookbooks are Vegan Planet and 1000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson (http://robinrobertson.com/vegan-cookbooks/). The variety is amazing. Many of the recipes avoid relying on having processed things available (meat/cheese substitutes) and instead rely on fresh ingredients that aren’t difficult to find. If there are meat substitutes its usually things like plain old tofu and tempeh. I think this is a good way to improve cooking skills rather than relying on the pre-made processed substitutes that are out there now - I’m not against that and definitely use them too.

While I do love cooking, meal planning for children is definitely a source of stress. My children have been vegetarian since birth. They both have a bit of dairy here and there. The stress comes from the narrow selection of food - I suppose this isn’t too out of the ordinary, but still stressful. One will eat a decent selection of fruit, but is otherwise on the pasta/tomato sauce diet. The other won’t touch anything other than mac n’ cheese or some processed foods (fries), but I can’t remember the last time I saw him eat a piece of fruit. While I dislike hiding stuff in their food, I have been known to puree cannellini beans with tomato sauce as a source of extra nutrients. I hope this will all change as they get a bit older.

Last bit, made these on the weekend and they were delicious and easy:

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For your partner, try looking up ‘low fodmap’ diet. It’s about reducing or replacing the amount of specific sugars/carbohydrates found in certain foods that aren’t easily digested by some people. I have problems with IBS and a lot of beans, onion, garlic, chilli, caffeine + other things. It’s worth looking up. For example rather than using onions I now use fennel or celery.

I also found this flaxseed mix https://linwoodshealthfoods.com/uk/2014/04/17/what-is-coenzyme-q10-coq10-and-why-do-i-need-it-in-my-diet/ with the co-enzyme in which is supposed to aid digestion helped me.

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lots of inspired fodmap friendly vegan options here - https://georgeats.com/

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this is very interesting concept. There is this understanding that it’s more expensive to have vegetarian diet. Actually there are some very economical options for being vegetarian and still eating way better than junkfood. I’d love to collect these ideas for the ‘rainy days’.

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My favorite cookbook on the less economical side of the spectrum:

V Street

Vegan versions of street food from around the world, many of which come from their reaturant (which I highly recommend visiting if you find yourself in Philadelphia). Most recipes include at least one speciality ingredient, hence my note above.

I’ve been vegan for about six years, vegetarian for twenty. My current struggle is less tied to the dietary restriction: my job at the moment is demanding enough to wear down the will to cook by the end of the day. I need more interesting, quick basics (I tend to prefer Thai and Indian “flavor profiles”).

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Vegan for 8 months here after 3 years of eating vegan + eggs + fish (no meat or dairy).

A trip to vietnam last year made me obsessed with their cuisine and blending of ingredients - particularly noodle or rice bowls that combine soft, slippery, cold, hot, crunchy, chewy, sweet, sour, spicy, salty fresh, raw and cooked all in one go. I always have a ton of fresh mint, dill, coriander, basil and spring onions in the house because one of my most favourite quick meals is to combine those together with either rice or noodles, some home pickled veg (insanely easy to do a big batch carrot/daikon, cucumber, red onion, garlic/chili in about 60mins once a month to last that period), nuoc cham sauce (make 1 batch per week) and some sort of protein, whether thats some fried tofu/tempeh or a simple veggie burger.

Can’t recommend this book enough. It can seem a bit daunting to need so many ingredients in stock but once you get going it really is a piece of cake to throw some delicious, and most importantly HEALTHY vegan meals together.

I’m noting a trend as veganism becomes more and more popular and products are becoming available, that those options are similar to the worst kind of junk - palm oil, lots of additives, saturated fats, chemicals that no one knows what they are! For me the diet only makes me feel good when I’ve controlled what i’m giving my body by making it myself. Also if being environmentally friendly is your aim, being conscious of where your vegetables and products are coming from is paramount. e.g. In the UK a lot of our avocados come from south america and California, so in addition to the amount of water and resources it takes to grow all those avocados in those regions, they are being shipped a very long way to my fridge - I will only buy them when I can avocados that have come from Spain. Similarly with the vietnamese stuff I mention above, only buying ingredients imported from southeast asia that literally don’t exist anywhere else is my aim. These tend to be dry, long lasting products too so not like fresh produce that is a constantly purchased thing. I dread to think where our fresh produce will come from post-Brexit.

I turned vegan because I found it so easy to stop eating meat I felt like challenging myself to take it further, especially in light of all the information that has surfaced about environmental impact of meat, poultry, dairy and fish in recent years. When I heard that words ‘you cannot consider yourself an environmentalist if you eat meat’ (i believe in ‘Cowspiracy’) it really resonated with me. While I think that statement isn’t necessarily true - it just made me think about it a lot until I took the plunge. Now, the 2 or 3 times I’ve eaten meat since stopping have made me feel nauseous and complete screwed my digestive system for 2 days! I also don’t miss eating it and the thought of doing so doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest.

Ramble over.

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This book looks great! There are a lot of great places to eat in Philly. My daughter lives near The Tasty and we go there often for breakfast. Recently went to Vedge and was pretty blown away too.

On the time/convenience tip, I’ve been using a powder called Huel for almost 2 years now. I’ll usually have it for 1 - 2 meals (breakfast/lunch) a day and blend it with banana and spinach to add a little flavor and texture.

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V-Street is the same chef/resturanteur couple as Vedge! Vedge is the higher end establishment, but I actually prefer V-Street, mostly due to brunch.

The Tasty is such a cute, wonderful little diner. I used to live in South Philly, but now that I’m in a different neighborhood, I don’t get over there as often as I’d like.

There are definitely good pockets of vegan food in Philadelphia, but we are woefully behind on breakfast/brunch. On a recent trip to PDX, I was amazed and delighted by all of the fun brunch options and had no challenges finding fun fare.

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Will do! I always have natto in my freezer. It’d be nice to reduce the amount of those little styrofoam containers I throw away.

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I think vegan options only start to become more expensive if you’re using mock meats and other pre-made, branded foods. And I think there’s also an idea out there that vegans are all into high-end food made with exotic ingredients, but there are a ton of dishes you can make out of cheap staple items. My SO and I mainly eat beans and rice, stir fry, and simple tacos, and we can spend very little on a week’s worth of food.

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this is true, though stocking a new pantry if you’re making a switch is, at least initially, an investment (but really this is true of any cuisine).

my vegan kitchen is super economical and based mostly around nuts, beans, grains and ferments. the only real notable expenses are some heirloom bean purchases from time to time (i love rancho gordo) and sea vegetables.

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Making your own ‘fake meat’ crumbles with vital wheat gluten is super duper cheap. Whereas a pre packaged seitan meat crumble may cost £3-£4 here and feed 2-3 people 1 meal, a bag of vital wheat gluten from a store costs £2 for 500g which is more like 5 or 6 meals for 2-3 people, and making a flavoured meat crumble takes no more than 10 mins by adding flavoring and a bit of water and just mashing it up with your fingers. It’s a very good taco protein as it can take a lot of cayenne and paprika etc, and can be fried nice and crispy!
It’s actual kind of a misleading name ‘vital wheat gluten’ as it sounds like it’d be super carb-y but in reality its very high in protein and very low in carbs.

Rice and beans are one of my favourite staples too :slight_smile:

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if you are trying to get some more veggies into the pasta have you tried doing a pumpkin mac n cheese? I make it a lot in winter, and while I’ll often use actual cheese but mainly just the pumpkin I’ve seen vegan versions using a vegan cheese sub or nutritional yeast. basically roasting a pumpkin and pureeing it, then adding some “cheese” to make the sauce for the pasta. in winter I get obsessed with making it because I kinda still can’t stand most squash in any kind of preparation but find I love hokkaido pumpkins. I’ll sometimes do it as a baked mac too with brussels added, which maybe you would manage to sneak past the kids if it was in a mac and cheese?

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We have very similar cooking styles (no planning, shelf+fresh combo), and what I tend to do is soak them overnight and then keep them in the freezer (after I have dried them and they are moisture free). Works like a charm.
I do this with one or two varieties of legumes so I can choose during the week and cook them when I feel like it. I do not recommend freezing for longer periods, though, but for the week it’s really useful.

(Also, pressure cooker is a must for cooking them in less time).

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i make a big batch of marinated beans 1-2 times a week. works great.

then again i feel like i’m soaking nuts and/or beans overnight every night haha

What do you make with soaked nuts? I’m not really up on making things from nuts and seeds except the odd pesto/pasta sauce.