Avocado fries

I love avocado in any form, but have never considered baking it. So when a friend told me of a recipe she tried for avocado fries, I was intrigued and had to try it. Although the original recipe was not vegan, it was easily modified with the use of egg replacer. I was pleasantly surprised with how this turned out, so much so that I made it twice in one week! The dipping sauce I made is two different types of Vegenaise mixed – Original and Chipotle (I find the Chipotle on its own is a bit strong). One avocado makes about twelve fries.

Avocado fries 

Ingredients

1 avocado (not too ripe)

1/4 cup all purpose flour

Egg replacer for one egg

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Slice avocado lengthwise, open and remove the pit. Make long cuts in each half, then scoop them out carefully with a spoon.

3. In a medium bowl mix the egg replacer. In another bowl add the flour, and in a third bowl mix together the panko and seasonings.

4. Coat eat avocado slice in flour, dip in the egg replacer, then coat with breadcrumbs and place on the cookie sheet.

5. Bake until breadcrumbs are lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes.

Let fries cool and then serve with dipping sauce.

Posted in Recipes | 913 Comments

Penne alla Vodka

Penne alla vodka has always been one of my favorite pasta dishes. This recipe is adapted from Easy Home Meals; it originally calls for soymilk, but I prefer the cashew cream as it gives the sauce a thicker texture. You can make your own cashew cream or you can buy it; I like MimicCreme, which is a combination of almond and cashew cream and can be found in most health food stores. This is a simple dish to make and serves about four.

Penne ala vodka

Ingredients

1 28 oz. can of organic diced tomatoes

1 pound whole wheat penne

1/4 cup olive oil

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup vodka

3/4 cup cashew cream

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

2-3 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped

Hot sauce to taste

Salt to taste

 

Directions

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2.  In a large pan or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes. Add salt and hot sauce, then bring the tomatoes to a boil, letting them simmer for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add vodka, reduce heat. Let the sauce simmer for a few more minutes and then add the cashew cream.

4. Add the pasta to the sauce, ensuring to coat it with the sauce thoroughly. Add a drizzle of olive oil and parsley and return to a low boil to let the sauce reduce a little.

5. Remove from heat and stir in nutritional yeast.

Serve as is or with garlic bread on the side.

Posted in Recipes | 2,282 Comments

Sun-dried tomato sunflower seed pâté

Nut and seed pâtés are a good way to indulge in something a bit more filling when adhering to a raw diet. This is a very simple pâté made from sunflower seeds that can be used to as a simple dip or as filling for wraps, mushrooms or sushi. This recipe is from Jenny Cornbleet’s site (which I highly recommend, as well as her books) and makes 2 servings.

Pate 2

Ingredients

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked and drained

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked and drained

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash of cayenne

1 tablespoon minced red onion

2 teaspoons minced fresh dill, basil or parsley

 

Directions

1. Put the sunflower seeds, sun-dried tomatoes, water, lemon juice, garlic, salt and cayenne in food processor and process into a paste, ensuring to stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the onion.

Enjoy as a dip with crudités or as a stuffing for veggies.

Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment

Raw stuffed avocados

In the past few months I have really developed an interest in raw foods, and have even done several raw food fasts. Each time I notice how well my body responds to this type of diet, and how energetic and “light” I feel, both emotionally and physically. While some raw recipes can be very time-consuming, so many of them are quick, easy and satisfying. Stuffed avocados not only fit the latter category, but they are also fun to eat! Additionally, they are very versatile as to what they can be filled with; for a less raw version, they can be stuffed with various fillings such as amaranth, quinoa or TVP salad.

Ingredients

2 avocados

2/3 cup of raw corn

1/4 cup diced tomato

1 tablespoon of fresh chopped basil

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Pinch of salt and pepper

 

Directions

1. Mix together the corn, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper.

2. Cut avocados in half. Remove pits.

3. Fill each avocado with the corn mixture.

Serve with more basil on top as a garnish and a drizzle of olive oil.

Posted in Recipes | 1 Comment

Do you eat fish?

It always intrigues me when people ask this particular question. Is fish not flesh? That being said, I do understand how fish can be perceived differently than eating cows, goats, pigs or chickens. Seafood is different from the usual form of meat, far less substantial and much lighter overall. Plus, are fish really all that sentient? Aren’t crustaceans, for example, just like big insects?

I personally don’t eat fish for two main reasons: I do feel that sea creatures are sentient, and I am opposed to the havoc wrought on the environment by fishing, which is destroying the oceans and all the sea life that inhabits them.

Growing up, I used to love when my father would bring home lobster. Not only was it delicious, but the celebratory atmosphere that accompanied eating it was lovely, a rare and blithe occasion. I remember the first time I saw him put a lobster into a pot of boiling water; I was young, about seven or eight. As I watched, I felt a jolt of sadness for the creature – with my vivid childlike imagination I envisioned being the unfortunate sea animal. How it must feel to die in a pot of boiling water like that. My father said they died quickly, but that still didn’t mean it wasn’t an unpleasant experience for the dying crustacean. I continued to eat lobster, but I never again watched him put them in the pot (and refused to learn how to cook it myself).

Some people attest that fish most likely do not feel pain, so there is really no footing from a humane standpoint. However, that is a belief we have been designed to uphold as a result of the ideology of our culture, as well as a lack of information. The evidence opposing this viewpoint is accumulating; there have been numerous studies conducted that readily illustrate that fish do, in fact, feel pain. Fish also demonstrate an aptitude for learning, as well as the ability to cooperate with others of their kind (as demonstrated by shoaling and schooling). For me, it is infeasible to view these animals as non-feeling, mindless creatures.

From an environmental aspect, fishing ships are floating horrors. Commercial fishing is accomplished by trawling, where a net roughly the size of a football field is dragged through the ocean (or along the ocean floor in the case of bottom trawling) and then hauled up with the catch. This causes severe damage to aquatic environments such as coral reefs and sponge communities. The boats themselves also kill an abundance of sea life with their rudders alone. Additionally, the trawls also bring up “by-catch” like sea turtles, dolphins, sharks and even sea birds. In some cases the sharks are de-finned and then tossed back in the water to sink and die; the fins are used in establishments that sell shark fin soup. Scientists estimate that the world’s population of seafood will run out by 2048 or 2050.

Yet, beyond those two there is a third reason: the health implications of eating fish. Yes, it’s true – seafood can be harmful to one’s body. While it is known that eating fish does possess some health benefits, there are none that cannot be obtained from a plant-based diet – chia seeds, for example, contain more Omega-3s than salmon, as well as an abundance of other nutrients (hence their classification as a “super food”). Additionally, farmed fish are full of antibiotics and pesticides, just as farmed land animals are. They are also detrimental to the environment; farmed fish that have escaped will breed with the wild fish and disturb the natural gene pool. Fish also contain mercury; although it is advised that this is fine in moderation, it is not recommended (in any amount) for pregnant women, nursing mothers, children under the age of six, anyone whose immunities are sensitive to metals or those with impaired kidney function. Why eat something at all if it is not good for everyone – at any stage of life and level of health?

Thus, when faced with this kind of information, I no longer maintain a desire to eat fish based solely on the fact that I liked doing so. Yes, I do at times miss it; as much as I love an avocado roll, I know just how delicious a shrimp tempura roll is. It’s just that I value the animals, my body and the environment far too much to ignore my beliefs towards them – especially for a few brief moments of merely selfish enjoyment.

Posted in Blog | 2,636 Comments

Quesadillas

Quesadillas have always been a favorite of mine, and after having a vegan version of them at a local veggie spot I decided to try making my own. This recipe is very general and is meant to be a basic guideline. Quesadillas are so versatile and are great with veggies, olives, faux meats, beans, etc. I decided to use Westsoy seitan strips; I chopped them up a bit and mixed in a little Vegenaise, salt and pepper to make it similar to chicken salad. This recipe easily serves two.

Ingredients

2 whole wheat tortillas

Daiya cheddar

Chopped tomatoes

Seitan

 

Directions

1. Spray a pan with cooking spray and bring to medium heat.

2. Place one tortilla on the pan. Spread a thin layer of Daiya then add the seitan, tomatoes and any other veggies of choice. Cover with more cheese and place the other tortilla on top.

3. Cook about five minutes (until tortilla is a bit browned and cheese is melted), flipping once.

4. Use a pizza cutter to cut into slices.

Serve with salsa and Tofutti sour cream.

Posted in Recipes | 4,262 Comments

Tempeh stir-fry

Tempeh is a lovely alternative to tofu, and some prefer it for its firmer texture. For this stir-fry I used Lightlife Organic Flax Tempeh; if you use unpasteurized tempeh, it will need to be cooked more. This recipe makes about four servings.

Ingredients

1 package tempeh

1 cup of green beans

1 cup of sliced carrots

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 can of water chestnuts

1/2 cup soy sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/3 cup water

 

Directions

1. Combine soy sauce, garlic, and ginger in a bowl. Cut tempeh into pieces and marinate in mixture for about 20 minutes.

2. In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the tempeh and soy mixture until browned on all sides; add the onion and sauté until translucent, then remove from heat.

3. In another skillet over medium heat, add the coconut oil and sesame oil, then the beans, carrots and water chestnuts. Stir continuously, then add the water and cornstarch.

4. Once the veggies are cooked to your liking, stir in the onions and tempeh and mix thoroughly until heated through.

Serve as is, or over rice.

Posted in Recipes | 2,209 Comments

Sun-dried tomato hummus

This is a simple, quick hummus recipe that can be made using either a food processor or a decent blender. I used the sun-dried tomatoes in oil, but the dried ones can be used as long as they are soaked first (for at least 20 minutes). I love this hummus on crudités, crackers or pitas.

Ingredients

1 can garbanzo beans, juice retained

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

3 tablespoons tahini paste

1/4 cup basil, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

Pinch of salt

 

Directions

1. Add beans, garlic, tahini paste, basil, olive oil, lemon juice and salt to processor and blend until smooth. Add the retained juice until the desired consistency is reached.

2. Add sun-dried tomatoes and process until blended.

Serve as is, or garnish with sesame seeds or paprika.

Posted in Recipes | 1 Comment

Tofu scramble

I have made a few tofu scrambles since becoming a vegan, but this is by far the best recipe I’ve tried. I pressed the tofu when I made this, something I don’t normally do, and I did find it made a difference in how well the marinade was absorbed. This recipe is adapted from One Green Planet and makes about four servings.

Ingredients

1 block of tofu (14 oz) firm or extra firm

6-8 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

4 tablespoons sesame oil

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon tumeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

 

Vegetables

1/2 medium diced yellow onion

2 cups broccoli florets, chopped

5-6 large sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped

2 cups washed baby spinach

Additional soy/sesame as needed

 

Directions

1. Whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, and seasonings in a large mixing bowl; set aside.

2. Press the tofu using paper towels to absorb the excess water.

3. Break the tofu into bite-sized pieces and stir into the mixture of oil and spices until all the pieces absorb the mixture.

4. Oil a pan with extra virgin olive oil and cook the tofu over medium heat for about 10 minutes, making sure all sides are lightly browned. Once the proper texture is reached so that it is no longer too soft, place aside.

5. Add some sesame oil to another pan, then the sauté the onions until just browned.

6. Add broccoli, spinach and the sun-dried tomatoes. You can also add some more soy sauce and nutritional yeast, to taste. Cover and cook for about five minutes, or until broccoli is cooked to your liking.

7. Stir the tofu into the pan with the vegetables, heating the entire mixture for another minute or two.

Serve with a side of toast or fried potatoes.

Posted in Recipes | 2 Comments

The Human Herbivore

In questioning one’s beliefs, new ones arise to take the place of the old.  I always thought of human beings as omnivorous, meant to eat essentially whatever we wanted, based solely on the fact that we can and do. The evidence towards the theory that people should not be eating meat, however, is so compelling that it’s difficult to think otherwise once armed with information. I will review some of the different arguments for it, but I also highly recommend reading The Comparative Anatomy of Eating, as well as watching this short (and funny) cartoon video Are Humans Carnivores?.

 

Canine teeth

If you compare your canine teeth to those of a dog or cat, you will notice they are not nearly as sharp, long and curved. Additionally, our jaws lack the strength that is typical of a carnivore. Human teeth and jaw muscles are simply not well-suited to taking down prey.  Our canine teeth can be useful for biting into harder fruits, but not into flesh.

Digestive system

If you had somehow managed to kill an animal with your canines, your stomach would certainly not feel good after eating it raw. People lack the strong stomach acid that is required to break down raw flesh, which is why we must ensure to cook it first. Humans also have a long small intestine, reminiscent of an herbivore, whereas carnivores have a very short small intestine which enables them to move the meat through their systems quickly. As a result, they do not retain the cholesterol and saturated fat (which causes heart disease in so many people). In the human digestive tract, the meat hangs out for a while in the lower intestine as it makes its way through to the large intestine. It can take days for meat to pass through the body, depending on the type of animal it is.

Chewing style

Humans even chew like herbivores. Again, in comparing to a dog or cat, humans chew in a more side to side manner; our carnivorous pets chew in an up and down motion. Humans, like cows, horses, sheep, deer, etc. can rotate their jaws while chewing.

Hunting ability

Humans have the advantage of being highly intelligent and possess the ability to create weapons, as well as organize hunting parties with large groups of people. While this does enable us to hunt, it does not make us true carnivores. Every other carnivore in the animal kingdom is a swift and savvy hunter. Humans are weak and slow by comparison; our bodies are not designed for high speed chase or the use of extreme physical force.

 

Based on arguments such as these, I now have faith in the truth of something that I never thought I would believe in. It simply makes sense to me. Our bodies are made differently than those of meat eaters, and in a way that hinders not only the digestion of meat, but also the acquisition of it. Plus, knowing first-hand how my own body has responded to a plant-based diet (especially a raw diet) proves to me even more that this is the way human beings are truly designed to thrive.

 

Posted in Blog | 1 Comment