Maybe it was an overly indulgent week of Valentine’s treats, cheese and duck-fat fried poutine, or maybe it was the RAVE diet vegan infomercial we saw in the hotel, but something made me want to give animal products a break this week.
I wasn’t planning on being awfully strict – after all, someone brought a bag of Reese’s to work yesterday and there’s the matter of a gallon of vanilla ice cream already in the freezer. Instead, my goal was to eliminate animal products from my cooking.
The verdict? Although I don’t see myself becoming vegan or even vegetarian, I would like to cook this way more of the time. Aside from being healthy for myself and the world, much of the food I made was inexpensive and lasted longer than meaty leftovers.
Here are some of my favorites from this week:
Vegan Pumpkin Muffins – I have to admit, my heart usually sinks a little when I’m offered vegan baked goods. But these excellent muffins don’t suffer at all from lack of eggs or butter. I substituted maple syrup for the molasses and used whole wheat flour.
Pumpkin oatmeal – I cooked steel cut oats in a mixture of unsweetened soy milk and water, adding some nutmeg, cinnamon, maple syrup and raisins. Then, in the last few minutes of cooking, I stirred in the leftover pumpkin from the muffins, about a half cup. It was delicious – luckily I made enough to last for a few mornings.
Chipotle split pea soup – Split pea soup usually gets its smoky flavor from ham; here, the smokiness is accomplished with chipotles (an ingredient I find myself using more and more). Not only is this vegan, but it’s also very thrifty – the whole batch, around 10 servings, cost me less than $2 to make.
Tofu scramble – onion and bell pepper sauteed with firm tofu, topped with scallions, parsley and avocado. Looked and tasted great, kept me full for hours.