It Tastes Good to be Vegan!

7 Feb

Tonight was my first learning experience with vegan cooking. I went to Ms. Julie’s Kitchen in Akron Ohio for her “Go Veg” vegan cooking class. She just opened her store about a year ago and sells healthy, homemade and delicious plant-based meals, groceries and baked goods. These are prepared with what the local farmers bring to the market-vegan style. I had a great time, and Ms. Julie knew her stuff!!

I think it is important for everyone to be open minded with their food. Everyone should try new things and explore what is our there! Why confine yourself to freezer foods when there is so many foods out there to try! I have always wanted to learn more about vegan cooking, but always had the perception that it is too complicated. I also had the perception that there were not many options since all we have to work with is grains, beans, legumes fruits and vegetables. I thought that it might get a bit boring to eat like a vegan all the time! I had a very WRONG thinking, because there are many varieties of each of these foods, and the combinations of these foods seem endless….and it TASTES GOOD to be a vegan!

A proper Vegan Diet has many benefits. If you want to lower your cholesterol, reduce saturated fats, increase fiber, increase vital antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, aid in disease prevention of heart disease, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, many different types of cancers, aid in weight loss and have healthier skin hair and nails, then trying vegan recipes may be something you might want to do a couple times a week….or everyday!

Here are some recipe combinations along with a snapshot that I learned how to make tonight! Some do not have actual amounts, but the ingredients and directions are listed.

Stuffed Mushrooms– This was AMAZING! I was a little scared trying it…because I do NOT like mushroom, well at least up until now. I do not like the texture of cooked mushrooms, but these were wonderful! I could eat these everyday. This is what I am talking about being more open minded, because I let myself do this tonight, and I learned to like something new.

Ingredients:

  • Portabellas- stemmed
  • raw cashews
  • raw sunflower seeds
  • Italian herbs
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • sea salt
  • Sun-dried tomatoes

Directions:

  1. In a food processor blend with onion, garlic and sea salt adding water until creamy.
  2. Fill mushrooms and dehydrate for 2 hours or oven at 140 degrees
  3. Top with walnut/nutritional yeast

Fennel Salad-This is a refreshing salad that is light and crisp. If you have never had fennel, then give it a go. It has a special light flavor that will leave you refreshed


Ingredients:

  • Fennel bulbs-slices thin
  • Onion- sliced
  • Red and green bell peppers-sliced
  • Fennel seeds
  • Kalamata Olives-chopped
  • Cherry Tomatoes- halved
  • Hemp oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Greek Herbs-garlic powder, onion powder, cilantro, sea salt, lemon peel

Directions:

  1. Toss sliced fennel bulbs, sliced onions, red and green peppers sliced, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped kalamata olives with hemp oil, lemon juice and greek herbs

“Ham” Salad- This looks and tastes almost the same as Ham salad, only better!

  • Pickled Relish
  • Caraway seeds
  • Tahini
  • Ketchup
  • Pulp from juiced veggies such as kale, apples, carrots, beets
  • Onion-cut in food processor
  • Sunflower seeds-ground
  • Sauerkraut

Directions:

  1. Mix all together in a large bowl. Place on whole wheat bread

Sunflower Pate-Great for a quick snack and if you add Veggie pulp (which can be saved from your juicer machine!), you can make into patties for a sandwich (on the right side of the plate you can see the patty, as well as the second picture. This has the added veggie pulp to the recipe)

Ingredients:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Red bell pepper
  • Onion
  • Dates
  • Shoyu- Japanese Soy sauce

Directions:

  1. Mix together in a food processor and serve with lettuce leaves to scoop

Sloppy Joe Mix- This was one of my favorite recipes! It tastes just like sloppy joe’s! I loved it!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion-sliced
  • 1 green pepper-sliced
  • 2T mustard
  • 2T Vinegar
  • 2T Evaporated cane juice
  • ½ cup organic ketchup
  • 12 oz tomato sauce
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2T vegan Annie’s Worcestershire sauce
  • 2T sea salt
  • ¼ t pepper
  • 2T chili powder
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 2 cans pinto beans

Directions:

  1. Saute onion and green pepper in water then add the rest of the ingredients except pinto beans
  2. Cook lentils done in this sauce and add 2 cans of pinto beans
  3. Serve on whole wheat bread

Mac and “Cheese” -This is a surprisingly creamy, comforting dish, very similar to the real thing.

Ingredients:

  • Great Northern Beans
  • Almond Milk
  • Hemp Oil
  • Mustard
  • Chili powder
  • Chipotle
  • Garlic Powder
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Broccoli
  • Whole wheat penne

Directions:

  1. For sauce: In food processor add beans, milk mustard, chili powder, chipotle, garlic powder nutritional yeast, and hemp oil
  2. Toss sauce with cooked broccoli and cooked penne

Coconut Mint Date Balls- I LOVE mint, and after tasting these yummy creations, I was hooked. You can snack on these little balls with NO shame!

Ingredients:

  • Dates-sliced
  • Raw Sliced Almonds
  • Coconut
  • Mint extract
  • raw cacao nibs
  • Cocoa powder
  • Honey

Directions:

  1. Grind together Dates, almonds and coconut in food processor, add raw cacao nibs and cocoa powder and mint. Add honey (use maple syrup if you do not eat honey as a vegan) last while food processor is running into the top.
  2. Form into small balls
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One Response to “It Tastes Good to be Vegan!”

  1. Alex 09/02/2011 at 11:54 PM #

    cant wait to try it! great article!!

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