Thursday, November 22, 2007

Vegan Ventures at Tasty Palettes!

With the crazy amount of food allergies and intolerances abounding in today's society, it's no wonder that several mentions are popping up around the internet (both blogs and non-blogs alike) dedicated to "alternative" culinary lifestyles. Whether you live gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegetarian, vegan or some mixture of other habits, there is no lack of information and recipes available. That is very good news for those of us who follow more or less "restricted" lifestyles (such as the amazing gluten-free Shauna, anti - egg and - nut Din, fully raw foodie Dhrumil, Susan the fat-free vegan and Chris who blogs about Kosher Vegan Lasagna) since we have a great network of resources right at our fingertips!

The blog Tasty Palettes is going vegan this month, with a food event to match! Vegan Ventures is focusing on providing information and recipes to new and old vegans alike, which is excellent because many "omnivores" (and some of my family prove this) think that "vegan" = "cardboard-like, bland food, rice and beans, and salad". While I am not denouncing the nutritional qualities of rice and beans or salad (since I like both of those dishes perfectly well) vegan food is by no means limited to boring repetition or tofu as sole means of protein supply! In fact, "Obtaining adequate protein on a vegan diet is not a problem. Nuts & seeds, pulses, wholegrain and grain products and soya products all supply protein" (Vegetarian Society). Sites like the Vegetarian and Vegan Societies are great resources for recipes and nutrition guidelines as well.

So, again from Tasty Palettes, if you are new to veganism, these are the don’ts:
  • Any kind of meat or seafood
  • Dairy products – milk, yogurt, butter, cheese etc
  • Egg
  • Honey
  • Gelatin
  • Any other animal products or derivatives

And these are the dos:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Grains
  • Beans, legumes, lentils
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Soy products like tofu, tempeh, miso, seitan
  • Non-dairy milks like soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk
  • Sweeteners like agave nectar, maple syrup or unrefined cane sugar
In general,
[V]egans and vegetarians [have] lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol,
and animal protein as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium,
potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E and phytochemicals.
Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than
nonvegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease;
vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and
lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer. (Vegan
Outreach
)

Now, I'm not saying all vegans are stick-thin "Twiggy"-like waifs who don't eat any fat at all! Nuts, seeds, oils and margarines as well as many soy products contribute to healthy, cholesterol-free fats that every system needs to survive. However, the recipes I'm bringing to Vegan Ventures are a little on the lighter side; the main dish being a zesty, veggie-packed slow-cooker stew with Mediterranean flair, the dessert a luscious whole-grain coffee cake brimming with spices, dried cranberries and raisins. Enjoy these treats as part of a veggie week, part of an eat-healthy regime after the holidays, or simply whenever you like!

Slow it Down Mediterranean Stew
Serves 10
1 butternut squash, cubed
2 cups cubed eggplant, with peel
2 cups cubed zucchini
1 (10 ounce) package frozen okra, thawed
1 cup tomato sauce (home-made or store-bought)
2 cups chopped onion
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
½ cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup raisins
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons oregano
  1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker, stirring well.
  2. Cover, and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours, or until vegetables are tender.

Low-Fat Vegan Coffee Cake

Serves 9
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups applesauce
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups wheat bran flakes or oat bran
1 cup cane sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
2/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the margarine and applesauce together until margarine is melted. Remove from heat.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined, then pour into baking pan.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

1 comment :

Suganya said...

Love it, Love it. As you had mentioned vegan food is not bland. But french fries are vegan too. So you have to be careful in choosing the right food for us. You have beautifully brought them together. I am a sucker for frosting free cakes and coffee cake is right on. The stew sounds like gumbo. Raisins are a nice touch. Thank you so much for these beautiful recipes.