|Vegan Done REAL, it's this easy.|
Vegan Done Real
Some times you have to act. What follows is the reason I've conceived Vegan Done Real, a collection of 52 whole-food vegan recipes from myself and nine other vegan and omnivore bloggers. I hope you'll share it with your friends, real life and Facebook, because we just cannot afford to let the commercial food product companies co-opt the concept of a plant-based diet all in the guise of 'healthy'. As my friend Karen, one of the contributors, wrote on Twitter: "Oprah went processed vegan; these bloggers are keeping it real: 52 recipes." [Note to Vegetarians]
I'm a glass half full kind of gal. When something looks off, looks plain wrong, I might feel frustrated or even angry for a moment, but then, well, I shrug it off, I let it go. I choose to look at the situation with kindness and generosity, to accept that I might not share, let alone understand, someone else's motivations.
But it's been more than a month now and I'm still steamed at the lost opportunity when Oprah and her staff ate a vegan diet for an entire week. (Wow, quite a commitment, eh? A whole week. But okay, thinking with kindness and generosity. One meal counts. A week is a big deal.) So that was good. And of course, Oprah being Oprah, there was a show devoted to the experience. Michael Pollan was on.
And then it just went bad, really bad. The program recommended how to eat a vegan diet, maybe not for every day, maybe just occasionally or weekly for Meatless Monday, say. There wasn't a vegetable in sight, not one vegetable. Instead, it was one vegan commercial food product after another, mostly specific brand names (which makes me wonder whether this was actually paid advertising or product placement) but also products like 'vegan cookies' and 'vegan cheese'. LIterally, and yes, I'm using the word in the 'literal sense', I felt sick to my stomach.
Ever since, even though I'm an omnivore, not a vegetarian, not a vegan, I'm paying special attention to whole-food vegan recipes. Real food. Real vegetables, real plant foods, real grains and beans. No faux meat. No faux cheese. No vegan brand names. Real food not highly processed commercial food.
As an aside, I'm also sickened by the commercial food companies trying to ride the Oprah wave (Oprah being Oprah, it's likely an Oprah tsunami). A PR pitch arrived recently as they do dozens of times a day. Most hit the spam box instantly, this one got through. I'll skip the name to protect the guilty but the e-mail listed a half dozen recipes. Vegan Cupcakes. Vegan Brownies. Vegan Cookies. (Again. What's with the vegan cookies?) Vegan Smoothies. Vegan Bacon. And nothing to eat. NOTHING.
It's just not right. It is SUCH a lost opportunity. Oprah can do better. Oprah MUST do better.
Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". That's how I've come to think of this ongoing resistance to vegan processed food. For still more recipes from other bloggers, new recipes added nearly every day, I use a vegan_done_real tag on Delicious and keep a Vegan Done Real board on Pinterest.
And So, What About Today's Recipe?
Today's recipe comes from my friend Cindy via our friend Maxine Stone, author of the guidebook Missouri's Wild Mushrooms who got it from her sister. It starts with a bevy of spices, then builds volume with canned chickpeas and tomatoes, then is finished with a splash of lemon juice. Served with brown rice, it is hearty and filling and definitely a keeper, one to return to again and again.
It's a classic 'concept recipe' too, we love those, yes?! Maxine told Cindy, "I have been known to add cubed roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash, red pepper, mustard seeds, mushrooms, etc. Just use your imagination…."
ST LOUIS & LOCAL Who else is fascinated by the Top 100 Favorite St. Louis Dishes from the RFT's food critic Ian Froeb? Some times haute, more often humble, it's a fascinating list. Last week Ian added the Chana Masala from Raj's Rasio to the list. I went looking for a recipe and – hey! – it's a lot like the Hot & Sour Chickpeas. Is this Chana Masala? Maybe Nupur from One Hot Stove will chime in?
RECIPE for HOT & SOUR CHICKPEAS
Time to table: 25 minutes
By accident, I used twice the spices Cindy and Maxine specify. But when making it again, I'd repeat the same 'mistake', I really loved the assertiveness of the spices. For something gentler, not quite so spice forward, use half the spices listed below.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons garam masala or curry powder
Sprinkle of red cayenne, to taste
15 ounces canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
15 ounces canned diced tomatoes
Salt & pepper to taste
Juice of half a lemon
To serve, a lemon wedge for each serving
In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium high until shimmery. Add the onions and garlic as they're prepped and stir to coat with fat, cook until golden, stirring occasionally. Add the ginger and spices, let cook a minute. Stir in the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium, cover and let simmer slowly for 10 - 30 minutes.
Serve over brown rice, sprinkle with a little lemon juice.
~ Quick Green Chile Stew ~
~ Chipotle Chickpea Salad ~
~ Lentil Salad with Tomatoes, Dill & Basil ~
~ Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Tagine ~
~ more vegetables with beans, lentils & other legumes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Eggplant & Bean Thai Curry ~
~ Kitchen Stir Fry ~
~ Squash & Carrot Stew ~
~ more vegan recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column