Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dipping: not just hummus any more.

I made this white bean dip this morning. It contains roasted garlic (five cloves), rosemary, cannelini beans, lemon zest and juice, a bit of olive oil and red wine vinegar. Oh yeah, and some salt and cayenne pepper. It was easy to make (using a food processor) and tastes really good.

The recipe is in the 125 Best Vegan Recipes cookbook. I recommend this book to anyone just starting out as a vegan - it is nonthreatening, the recipes are clear and easy to make, and so far they have all been delicious. Well, I recommend it to any vegan really. Or nonvegan.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Convenient Vegan Camping

Being a vegan camper might seem a little daunting if it's your first time doing either. Being vegan is hard enough. Camping is hard enough, so vegan camping must be really hard, right?


It's really pretty simple to stay vegan while camping or stay camping while vegan. Here are just a few resources to get you started. After this, use your imagination (or just use your favorite search engine):

  • TVP (textured vegetable protein) is your friend. Lightweight, high protein, just add hot water and spices. It's great for camping: make tacos, stews, sloppy joes...

  • Peanut butter and __! Bring your PB and jelly, bananas, agave nectar, apples, carrots, celery, or whatever else you like with peanut butter.

  • Oatmeal is lightweight, healthy, and cooks up with just hot water.

  • REI has a vegetarian section in the camp food department. Check it out >>

  • TastyBite makes vegetarian and vegan meals that don't need refrigeration.

  • Fantastic Foods is another brand that offers boxed meals.

  • If you bring a cooler you have more options like veggie burgers and veggie dogs.

  • If you're not packing light you have more options too, like tons of fresh fruit and veggies as well as canned foods or the heavier dried foods like beans.

  • Whatever you can cook over a gas flame you should be able to cook on a barbecue or a camp stove.

  • Whatever you can cook in an electric or gas oven you should be able to cook in a solar oven.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Another variation of the pot pie

A healthier pot pie can be made with just one crust. In the case pictured at the left, I mixed together one package of Hain's vegetarian brown gravy mix with 1 cup of water and heated, stirring occasionally, until thickened (just a few minutes). I dumped one package of "tuscan vegetables" (a bag of broccoli, mushrooms, red peppers, and onions) into a large pie place, added a half-bag of "stew vegetables" (carrots, potatoes, onions, celery) on top, and poured the brown gravy over it all.

I then inverted a still-frozen pie shell over the top and gently eased it out. Once out I pushed it down a bit so the edge would contact the pie plate.

I cooked the pie at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes. When I scooped out the first serving I noticed that there was a layer of liquid spread at the bottom. After a little while, though, the liquid stabilized. My advice, then, is to let the pie sit about five minutes after you take it from the oven to let the juices thicken a bit and stay with the veggies rather than leak out.

Obviously, if you use a smaller pie pan you might prefer to use just one bag of frozen veggies rather than 1-1/2 bags. The broccoli stayed green in this case, so that tuscan mix was a good choice. Another option is to add drained canned potatoes to the mix, roughly chopped, instead of stew veggies.


1 frozen pie crust - white or whole wheat
1 to 1/2 bags of frozen vegetable mix (there are many varieties available)
1 packet of vegetarian brown gravy mix (the type that calls for one cup of water)

Add canned potatoes, roughly chopped

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chains & Fast Food for Convenient Vegan Food

These are the old standbys for when there’s nothing else available at that time or day, at that price point, or in that quick time-frame. Being vegan doesn't mean you have to eat healthy, home-cooked, unprocessed meals all the time. Though a whole foods diet is best for your health and the environment, chain restaurants and fast food have a place in modern society. Here are just a few places where you can find convenient vegan options:

For vegetarians, order the veggie sub. For vegans, get the veggie sub minus cheese on Italian bread (other Subway breads have animal products like cheese or egg in them).

Carl’s Jr.
Most Carl’s Jr. locations offer a salad bar, baked potatoes, and a few other vegan meals. If you’re on a budget or in a rush, this might be a good choice.

Del Taco
Just like Carl’s Jr., this is a good option if you’re budget is tight or if you’re in a hurry. Get a plain bean burrito without cheese or customize another menu item to omit the meat and dairy.

Taco Bell
Same as Del Taco - get it without cheese, meat, sour cream, etc.

For baked potatoes or salads.