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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Want to go Veg? Here's how


To "Veg" or not to "Veg"? That is the question

Now that you have decided to take the plunge, I will give you some advice on substituting. I have managed to make recipes that contain meat, chicken, dairy, etc. into vegan recipes. I'll start off by giving you an example.

Changing your Comfort Foods

Having a Vegetarian Substitute for your Comfort Foods goes a long way Towards Making the Changeover Successfully

When I was young, my mother used to make a casserole that I loved. It is similar to shepherd's pie. It had mashed potatoes on the bottom, then peas and carrots, then chopped meat, then it had egg noodles on top. I decided that this would be easy to make, so I started with the mashed potatoes on the bottom. My Mom used canned peas and carrots, I decided to use frozen peas (less salt and sugar) and fresh carrots. I diced up a couple of carrots into small cubes and added a bag of frozen peas (I try to use organically grown vegetables and fruit as much as I can). I'd kind of mix the peas and carrot together, then put them in the casserole dish on top of the mashed potatoes. Then I added a layer of fake chopped meat (Green Giant makes a good one. It's called "Harvest Burger" and it is fat free and comes frozen in a zip bag that you can reseal and put back in the freezer when you are done). I then added egg free noodles (DeBoles makes very good egg free noodles. They have a Jerusalem artichoke variety and a whole wheat variety. I prefer the whole wheat variety, but it's harder to find in the stores. I have also found a number of other substitutes Tofu noodles (low in calories) and mung bean "fettuccine" noodles.) on top of it all. I put the whole thing in a medium oven and bake it until all the ingredients are heated and the noodles are crispy (but not scorched).

In my travels, I have found rice,soy and nut "milk" (I use unsweetened almond milk). I use tofu instead of soft cheeses or for smooth desserts and creamy sauces and dressings. There are many soy based meats. Besides the "chopped meat" I used in the above recipe, I have found "beef" chunks, "chicken" chunks, "chicken" nuggets, etc. I also found that tempeh is a good substitute for chicken and fish chunks in salads and the like. (Tempeh is a soy based food that comes in slabs and you can find in most health food stores.) I have found soy "bacon", soy "cheese" (mozzarella and cheddar varieties are common). Soy or rice based "ice cream" is also very easy to find (there are many different versions, flavors, varieties, etc.)

Another recipe

Vegetarian "Tuna" Salad with Chick Peas

So, I guess you are interested in another quick recipe, right? Ok, how many of you out there like tuna salad? I use the same ingredients with chick peas instead of tuna. The chick peas are better if they are firm than in they are mushy (you can buy firmer chick peas in specialty kosher supermarkets, middle eastern stores, or health food stores or you can make your own firmer chick peas from dried chick peas). You mash up the chick peas with a fork.

Add whatever you like; I have put in diced celery, chopped or sliced olives, scallions, onion and/or garlic (raw or sauteed a bit), chopped greens (baby spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, etc.), diced pickles (I like dill pickles), mayonnaise (there are many vegan mayonnaise brands on the market) or olive oil, and many other ingredients. Try your own favorite ingredients. This salad tastes great on whole grain bread or toast (with or without a smear of your favorite mustard and/or a leaf of red leaf lettuce).

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