Posts tagged ‘earth day’

Go Green with Vegan Cuisine this Earth Day Part 2

We mentioned in our last Earth Day article how important it is for those who care about our environment to look at the impact their food choices have on the Earth’s limited resources. Here are five suggestions for those wishing to include more plant-based foods in their diet as a way to go green.

1. Go Slowly.
It took years for you to develop your current eating habits. Most people are not willing or able to make radical changes overnight. Many times when people do make drastic changes, they find themselves falling back to old ways when the going gets tough. (Some people are of course ready to go cold Tofurky – only you can decide!)
2. Create a plan.
Take a look at where you are at and where you would like to be. You can approach this in several ways. You can commit to having one vegan day a week for a month. Then go up to two days a week the second month, three days a week on the third month…(you get the idea) until you arrive at your desired outcome. Another way is to have vegan snacks for the first month, vegan snacks and breakfasts for the second month, vegan snacks, breakfasts and lunches the next month and so on. An even more gradual approach would be to have one vegan meal a week for the first month, two vegan meals a week for the second month… Make the changes at a pace you are comfortable with.
3. Choose wisely.

Remember the importance of feeling satisfied at every meal. Look for vegan alternatives that come close to the taste and texture of the foods you are craving. There are many plant based products on the market now that can make this a delicious transition for you.

4. Educate yourself.
It’s extremely helpful for sticking to your convictions to learn about the full impact our food choices have upon our health and the health of our planet. Check out the following books for starters: Vegan Fusion World Cuisine, Diet for a New America, The China Study, and The World Peace Diet.

5. Be gentle.
Please don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself falling back into old ways of eating. Simply accept and acknowledge that it takes time to retrain your body and mind to eat in new ways and remind yourself why you are exerting the effort. Stick to your plan as much as possible.

Here is another recipe from that is typically made with animal products. This is for a hearty main course from our book Vegan Fusion World Cuisine that will satisfy ominivores and vegans alike.

shepherd's pie
Image via Wikipedia

Shepherd’s Pie

45 min prep / 1 hour 10 min cooking / 9” x 13” casserole
10-12 medium Potatoes, ½” cubes (approx 12 C)
1 C Coconut, rice or soy milk
2 Tbl Olive oil
¾ C Onion, diced
1 Tbl Garlic, minced
¾ C Carrots, ½” cubes
½ C Celery, sliced thin
½ C Red bell pepper, diced
½ C Mushrooms, sliced thin
2 lbs Tofu, extra firm, crumbled
¾ C Peas
¾ C Corn, fresh or frozen
¼ C Tahini
4 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbl Basil, fresh, minced (1 ½ tsp dry)
2 Tbl Italian parsley, fresh, minced
1 ½ tsp Sea salt, or to taste
1 Tbl Thyme, fresh minced (½ tsp dry)
1 tsp Sage, fresh minced (½ tsp dry)
2 tsp Barley malt syrup
½ tsp Black pepper, ground to taste
½ tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp Cayenne pepper, or to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place potatoes in a large pot with filtered water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are soft, approximately 15 minutes. Drain well, place in a large mixing bowl with coconut milk and mash well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

2. While potatoes are cooking, place oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add carrots, celery, bell pepper and mushrooms, cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add water if necessary to prevent sticking. Add tofu and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Place in a large mixing bowl with remaining ingredients except potatoes and mix well.

3. Place tofu vegetable mixture in a well oiled 9”x13” casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes, using a spatula to create a smooth surface. Score pretty designs on top with a fork. Bake until slightly golden brown and completely cooked, approximately 25 minutes. Cool for 10-15 minutes.

Serving suggestion
Serve with Mushroom Gravy (see below).

variations
Potato layer may be placed on the bottom, topped with the tofu layer. Once refrigerated, this creates a more solid foundation, and allows for different sized pieces to be cut and served individually.

Mushroom Gravy
10 min prep / 15 min cooking / 3 ½ cups

Ingredients
1 Tbl Olive oil
1 medium Onion, ¼” dice (1 C)
¾ C Shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin
1½ Tbl Garlic, minced
2 C Filtered water or vegetable stock
¼ C soy sauce, or to taste
Pinch Nutmeg, ground
Pinch Cayenne pepper

Roux
2 Tbl Spelt flour
2 Tbl Olive oil
1 Tbl Filtered water

1. Create a Roux by placing spelt flour in a small bowl. Add 2 Tbl olive oil and 1 Tbl filtered water and whisk until a thick paste is created. Set aside.

2. Place 1 Tbl of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients except roux mixture and cook for 5 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. Add roux mixture and cook until gravy has a thick consistency, approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

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April 15, 2009 at 1:44 am Leave a comment

Go Green with Vegan Cuisine this Earth Day Part 1

Commit to Protect and Preserve

Earth Day is the perfect day to commit to doing what you can to help preserve and protect our environment. Many do not realize that making changes to your diet is perhaps the most effective way to lighten our footprint on our fragile planet. Those accustomed to eating meat may shy away from some of the facts surrounding the environmental impact of an animal-based diet. The statistics are staggering and challenging to ignore.

Lower Your Impact with a Plant Based Diet

A UN report entitled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” indicates that livestock production contributes to more greenhouse gasses than the entire worlds transportation industry combined. That’s a lot of gas! In addition to the global warming angle, there is a convincing case for switching to plant-based foods when you consider the following:

The environmental impact of a vegan diet is a fraction of that of a meat-based one. According to Conservation International, the average carbon emissions from an animal product based diet are 11 tons per year per person. The average emissions on a plant-based diet are 6 tons per year. Another interesting tidbit of information is that it takes approximately 3 ½ acres of land and 2500 gallons of water a day to support an animal product based diet. A plant-based diet utilizes only 1/6 of an acre of land and 300 gallons of water a day. According to the USDA, 1 acre of land can produce 20,000 pounds of vegetables. This same amount of land can only produce 165 pounds of meat.

While all of this information may be persuasive on an intellectual level, when it comes to our food choices we are dealing with a primal instinct that is not so easy to change. At Vegan Fusion we specialize in helping people who want to include more vegan foods in their diet do so in a gentle and delicious manner. Many of our recipes are designed to replicate the tastes and textures of dishes that contain animal products, so there is never a feeling of deprivation. Here is one of our favorites, from our cookbook, Vegan Fusion World Cuisine:

Southwest Tempeh Chili

35 min prep / 25 min cooking / 5-6 servings
¾ C Onion, chopped
½ C Celery, chopped
1 Tbl minced Garlic
1 tsp Jalapeño pepper, roasted, seeded & minced
8-12 oz. Tempeh, cut into 1⁄8” cubes
4 C Filtered water or vegetable stock
14.5 oz. Fire-roasted, crushed tomatoes
1 large Ancho chili, soaked in water until soft, seeded & minced
2 Tbl Tomato paste
1 Tbl Barley malt syrup, optional
1½ C cooked & drained kidney or black beans or one 15-ounce can
1 ½ C Corn, fresh or frozen
¾ C Cashews, roasted, no salt, chopped
6 Tbl soy sauce, or to taste
1 Tbl Lime juice, fresh squeezed
1 Tbl Chili powder
1 tsp Cumin powder, toasted
Pinch Cayenne pepper, or to taste
• Black pepper, ground to taste
• Sea salt, to taste
3-4 drops Liquid smoke (optional)
1½ Tbl Cilantro, minced

1. Place onion, celery, garlic, jalapeño, tempeh and water or stock in a 3 qt pot and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add tomatoes, barley malt syrup, and tomato paste and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans and corn and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients, remove from heat, mix well and enjoy. Flavor improves over time.

Serving suggestion
Garnish with a small scoop of Vegan Sour Crème (try tofutti brand), additional minced cilantro, and a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds.

April 3, 2009 at 1:35 am 2 comments


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