Tuesday, September 07, 2010

What Vegans Eat

I've spent the last two weeks with my eyes glued to vegan cookbooks and recipe cards with old favourites scrawled across them. I have a house guest for the next few weeks and intend to indulge myself in a hell of a lot of cooking. It should be interesting, since my guest is someone who is open to exploring a wide variety of cuisines, yet who has several food dislikes and intolerances. So spices are in, while too much garlic is out. Carbs are a must, while brassica plants (e.g. . broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, et al.) are out. Oh, and absolutely no eggplant or (sob!!) hummus. Since my guest neither ordinarily consumes a lot of soy products or raw fruits and vegetables, those will also have to be handled carefully. Rather than overwhelm him with too many raw things, I'll shuffle them in gradually. Where soy is concerned, I'm happy to minimize its use. I'm not much of a soy consumer, myself, so aside from a few substitutes here and there, I hope to have meals revolve around whole grains, legumes, nuts/seeds (along with a wide variety of vegetables and fruit).

Here are a few of the dishes I've come across while exploring various vegan food blogs lately that I think may very well find themselves shuffled into meal plans for this stay:

This 4 Ingredient White Bean Nacho Dip from the I Eat Trees blog is definitely going on my list of things to try. I am a fan of snacking and having a tasty, nutritious and high fibre dip to go along with some organic tortilla chips or multigrain crackers sounds like a smart thing to do. I am also a fan of the tapas, mezze or smorgasbord methods of feeding guests, offering up many different items for sampling, so if it's a hit, this dip may find itself on the table more than once, since we're bound to enjoy at least a couple of Mexican-themed meals. Some of the salsa recipes on the VegWeb.com site would surely end up on the table, such as this Garden Fresh Salsa and this Mango Salsa. So would this Roasted Vegetable Salsa from Chez Cayenne. I'll also take any opportunity to sneak in my favourite Spicy Sweet Potato and Bean Burritos!

The last time my house-guest visited, we accidentally discovered a small Indian grocer just beside a pet food store I'd needed to visit. The variety of both basic ingredients -- grains, legumes, spices and other seasonings -- and prepared foods was incredible, considering my city's major supermarkets' relatively meagre offerings. I hope to return there to pick up some odds and ends. I also hope to make some Indian-inspired food, keeping things as simple as I can. This recipe for Indian-Style Potatoes and Spinach from the Vegan Dad blog is one I intend to try out. I'm also considering trying out his Seitan Vindaloo if I can manage to make a good batch of seitan and have it turn out well and I am very much looking forward to making these Indian Lentil and Rice Pancakes. There's a recipe for Chana Masala in Robin Robertson's Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker which I also intend to make alongside some of these others. I am open to suggestions for other dishes, of course -- particularly more authentic Indian recipes.

Pizza will also be on the menu once I get my busted oven fixed.
Daiya isn't sold in these parts, and decent cheese subs are limited to the ridiculously overpriced Sheese at one of the local health food stores (at $9 or so a small block, it's barely doable without a fair amount of indignation for anything other than a treat -- definitely not to cover a pizza) and to the one flavour of Earth Island's Vegan Gourmet Cheese Alternative (mozzarella) carried in local stores. The beauty of it is that cheese substitutes really aren't necessary for vegan pizza. For instance, I'd consider trying out Robin Robertson's new and improved Tuscan White Bean Pizza. Or maybe I'll take the time to try out Bryanna Clark Grogan's instructions for how to make the world's most incredible vegan pizza dough and make a few pies following her tips. Of maybe a variation of Vegan Dad's Stromboli is in order, given my guest's -- and that dish's -- Philly origins.

Whatever happens, the one thing for sure is that regardless of the stereotype perpetuated that veganism leaves us with limited food choices, the truth is that I have an unlimited number of recipes from which to choose, all covering an unbelievably wide range of ethnic cuisines, whether authentic or just explored for inspiration. If anything, meal-planning for the next few weeks will be more problematic due to my second-guessing. Here's to churning out one delicious meal after another and keeping a camera handy to capture some of it over the coming weeks!


x said...

It sounds like you will be providing your guest with some delicious vegan food!

I am definitely going to try your favourite sweet potato & bean burritos, they sound great!

JL Goes Vegan said...

Your guests will have an amazing dining experience!