Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What's Been Cooking: Vegan & Vegetarian

I decided to make the transition to a more vegetable based diet a couple of months ago.  After hearing reviews of Forks Over Knives and watching a trailor for Hungry For Change, I decided it was time to make a change.  I couldn't sit on my hands and do nothing after watching these compelling documentaries.  It wouldn't be fair to me or my family.  Thankfully, Wes has been on board from the start, as he usually is (what a saint!), and the kids already loved fruits and veggies, so it hasn't been a struggle for them either.  As a bonus, Wes' cholesterol has dropped and he is no longer on the border of high cholesterol.  Additionally, the acid-reflux problems he used to experience when eating beans has subsided.  It's great to see tangible results!

So this week I'm linking to some of the vegan and vegetarian dishes I've made lately.  I've never been a lover of meat but I do love cheese!  That has been our one exception and I'm slowly trying to back off of that as well and find alternate solutions (be sure to look at the Alfredo recipe below).  I encourage you to not quit reading and tune me out.  There are tons of recipes available at your fingertips and I think we all can agree that more fruits and veggies are never a bad thing!

photo courtesy of Serious Eats
Eggplant Romesco Rigatoni - Wes is not a big fan of eggplant because of it's slimy texture.  I don't really push the issue because it doesn't have a ton of flavor to me.  But when I saw this recipe that pureed it into a sauce, I knew this would be a good way to get some healthy doses of manganese, folate, and B6.  This makes a lot of sauce!  So much so that I was able to freeze half of it for another time.  The kids never detected the eggplant and Wes and I enjoyed the nutty, yet smooth taste of the sauce. 

Coconut-Curry Chickpea Quinoa Pineapple Burgers - Say that 10x fast!  With such a long name, you expect great things and this a great thing!  These delights are packed with flavor and nutrition and can be made up the night before.  After having made several non-hamburger burgers, I've learned a few tricks of the trade.  I like to make mine up the day before and place them on a parchment-lined baking dish.  I cover and refrigerate until I'm ready to make them the next day.  I place the sheet directly into a cold oven and turn it on 375.  I allow them to bake for 15-20 minutes and then I either removed and pan sear them in a skillet or I flip them and allow them to cook another 10 minutes or so in the oven.  The oven is the key step to keeping them from falling apart in the skillet when you try to flip them.  With the pineapple and other toppings pushing down on these burgers, they will squish but that's avoidable.  It certainly doesn't effect the flavor!

                                                                                                             photo courtesy of Cheeky Kitchen
Creamy and Rich Vegan Alfredo Sauce - One of the things I've enjoyed about learning a new way of eating is learning new techniques.  Some people shy away from trying new things because of fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of disapproval.  But my argument would be, how do you know until you try?  You're not living if you're living in a state of fear.  This recipe amazes me.  It amazes me that you can take a handful of nuts, add some water and a few other components and end up with a creamy cheese substitute.  Amazing, I tell ya!  Again this recipe makes a ton.  I only used half of the sauce for a pound of pasta (quinoa pasta totally rocks!), but now I have enough for a whole other meal!  (Sorry, no picture for this one but you can imagine how decadent it looks.)

Tempeh Spaghetti - I saved the most daring for last.  If I didn't lose you with the overload of vegetables and grains already, hear me out with this one.  I had never tried Tempeh either prior to this recipe but I wanted something that had the texture of ground hamburger or turkey and also something to give a little grain-based protein.  This recipe calls for you to shred the tempeh and I think that is key in easing into it.  After you add the jarred spaghetti sauce and other add-ins, you will not be able to detect much flavor at all from the tempeh.  If anything, it provides a slightly nutty flavor but definitely                    photo courtesy of Peas and Thank You
adds the texture and substance I was looking for. 
Be sure you buy organic and non-gmo!  For the
add-ins, red wine will really boost the flavor, as
will some fresh basil and mushrooms.  I have
shared this recipe with several people and they
all deem it to be a hit. 

So now that you are armed and dangerous, which recipe are you dying to try first?!  I'd love to hear your thoughts and let me know if you try any of these.  Also, feel free to share other recipes you think we'd enjoy!




  1. The burger looks really good! I love grilled pineapple!

  2. I really love the recipes on your blog - I've just downloaded a bunch of your recent ones and am excited to try them. We aren't headed to vegan or vegetarian anytime soon but it is nice to have some really healthy recipes. Thanks so much!

  3. I haven't been able to keep up with your blogs due to school. But, I just read your latest and noticed it was a vegetarian version of a taco I had to find the original blog about you "turning to the dark side" like me!! hehe I haven't eaten meat since I was in 7th grade. I will definitely try some of these!!! BTW- my family med doc is all about Forks Over I am well versed. Did you ever read (parton my french) Skinny Bitches? That's another reason to not eat meat!! ;)