Vegan Recipes – Farro & Bean Stew

Vegan RecipesIn this vegan stew recipe, red beans are traditionally used, but I would encourage you to experiment with using your favorite type of bean. Likewise, you can certainly experiment with using different types of grains. Just bear in mind that grains that are non pearled are going to take longer to cook. As an added bonus, this recipe freezes well, so you can easily save what you don’t eat for another meal down the road.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this stew:

  • 1 pound / 16 oz / 453g red beans, soaked for at least 4 hours preferably overnight, then drained
  • 10 cups / 2.5 liters water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 28 ounce / 800g can whole, peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 3 small-med (1/2 pound / 8 oz) new potatoes, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 cups / 13 oz / 370 g pearled farro
  • 1 – 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • fine grain sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 head / 9 oz savoy cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch / 4 oz kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • Parmesan vegan cheese and olive oil to serve

Begin preparing the stew by cooking the beans in a large stock pot with the water. Once they have been cooked all of the way, remove one generous cup full, place it in a bowl, and mash it into a fine paste.

In a separate dish, sauté the onion in the olive oil until it is brown in color and soft to touch. Next, add it to the bean broth. Add in the tomatoes, carrot, potatoes, celery, and farro. Bring the mixture to a boil again, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Stir occasionally, until the farro is cooked through, which will take about 20 – 30 minutes. Be sure the vegetables are cooked through. This recipe will require a fair amount of salt.

Add in the kale and cabbage. Let it cook for a few more minutes until both collapse. Dish it into bowls. Cover each bowl with a generous amount of the grated vegan cheese and a small drizzle of the olive oil. This recipe makes 12 servings. Enjoy!

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What Does the Vegan Diet Include?

Vegan DietThe vegan diet consists solely of plant based foods only. It excludes animal products or byproducts in all forms and fashions. Milk, eggs, and other dairy products are not allowed, and there is some medical evidence to suggest that the vegan diet is healthier than diets that include cheese and meat because it is lower in saturated fats. However, a person who follows the vegan diet does need to pay careful attention to the types of food that they eat, in order to ensure that their diet meets their body’s nutritional requirements.

An Overview of the Vegan Diet

As aforementioned, the vegan diet forbids the consumption of all food items that are derived from animals. This does include animal flesh, because this type of food requires for the animal to be killed. Dairy products, in all forms, are excluded from the vegan diet. Neither can a vegan eat foods that contain eggs in them, including many baked goods. Since honey is derived from bees, this is another food product that vegans do not eat.

Foods Derived From Plants

The vegan diet is by no means restrictive. There are vegan substitutes for ice cream, cheese, milk, and yogurt. These items are soy based in nature. Tofu serves in the stead of meat, and it is an excellent source of protein. Beans, legumes, and lentils also provide great sources of protein. The vegan diet is also going to include grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and plant oils, such as olive and canola oil. Other foods that can be consumed in the vegan diet include refined grains, palm and coconut oils, and some added sugars. However, just because a food is allowed does not necessarily mean it is healthy, so vegans must monitor their diets carefully.

Nutritional Considerations

Some individuals who follow the vegan diet are going to need to rely upon fortified foodstuffs and vitamin supplements to ensure that their bodies adequately receive the nutrients that it needs. For example, Vitamin B12 is a protein that is found only in animal meat, so it must be taken in supplement form for vegans. Calcium fortified foods will need to eaten regularly, and The Mayo Clinic recommends that most vegans take an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement to ensure a vegan receives the nutritional heart benefits it has to offer.

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Vegan Recipes – Tuscan Kale Salad

Vegan RecipesDoesn’t just the name of this vegan recipe sound delicious? What packs a real punch in this recipe is the lemon pecorino dressing. With just a handful of ingredients, this salad is super simple to make, but it provides a plethora of different flavors for your taste buds. It makes a great lunch recipe, but it is also something you can toss together when you have friends or family members come over.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make the salad:

  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale (for ex: black or lacinato)
  • 2 handfuls good, homemade coarse breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a pinch
  • 1/4 cup (or small handful) grated vegan pecorino cheese, plus adiitional for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
  • Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon (scant 1/4 cup or ~50ml)
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Start preparing the salad by trimming the bottom 2 inches off of your kale leaves and throwing the stems away. The kale should be cut into ribbons that 3/4th an inch in diameter. The kale should create about 4 cups. Put it in a large bowl and set it aside.

Take a mortar and pestle and use it to mince the garlic and the salt until it forms a paste. Put the garlic in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup vegan cheese, 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, pinch of salt, pepper flakes, and black pepper and whisk to combine. Add the dressing to the kale leaves and toss them well to ensure they are well coated. Top the salad with additional bread crumbs, additional vegan cheese, and a small drizzle of oil. Enjoy!

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Can You Have Sugar In the Vegan Diet?

Vegan DietThe answer to the question is going to be dependent upon how committed you are to avoiding foodstuffs that have been processed using animal byproducts. There are going to be some types of sugar that processed with ingredients not compatible to the vegan diet. While sugar is most commonly associated with candy and sodas, it is also often used in different types of bread, cakes and pies, commercially prepared fruit juices, and snack crackers.

The 411 on Refined White Sugar

Refined white sugar is the most common form of sugar, and it is the one found most often in grocery stores. In order for the sugar to achieve its uniform appearance in size and color, it must go through an extensive refining process. Some types of refined white sugar are processed using bone char, which is an animal byproduct. However, other forms of white sugar will be processed using beets, which is vegan compatible. Product packaging does not tell what ingredients the sugar is processed with, so you will need to contact the manufacturer directly to find out. While bone char is not present in the end product, it still is a form of animal product that should be avoided.

Powdered Sugar and Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is another form of refined white sugar. Molasses is added to the brown sugar to give its distinctive color and to give it a softer texture. Depending upon what ingredients it is processed with, it may or may not be acceptable to include in your vegan diet. Powdered sugar is another form of refined white sugar that has been processed even more to turn it into a fine white powder. Again, it may or may not be compatible with your diet.

Turbinado

Turbinado, which is commonly referred to as raw sugar, is essentially cane sugar that has been boiled so that it forms crystals. The granules are larger than the ones found in refined white sugar, and it may or may not dissolve easily in certain types of liquids. However, the upside to using turbinado is that it is made without the use of animal byproducts, so it can be safely used in the vegan diet.

Sugar Substitutes for Vegans

If you simply like to bypass the use of white sugar altogether, there are a number of acceptable, vegan friendly sugar substitutes that can be found at most health food stores across the country. Two common vegan sugar substitutes include agave nectar and stevia. Rice syrup, maple syrup, and corn syrup are also acceptable substitutes.

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Vegan Recipes – Shichimi Mushroom Rice Bowl

Vegan RecipesOne ingredient that you might not be familiar with in this vegan recipe is the Shichimi Togarrashi spice mixture that I used to season it, but I guarantee that you are going to love it! This spice mixture contains orange peel, red chile peppers, sesame seeds, and a number of other vegan friendly ingredients. It is a real treat for your taste buds, and I would highly recommend in investing in a small jar.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this vegan recipe:

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice*
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted vegan butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • Fine-grain sea salt
  • 12 ounces / 340 g chanterelles or mushrooms of your choice, sliced ~1/4-inch thick
  • 8 ounces / 225 g firm tofu, cut into tiny cubes
  • 1 small bunch kale / 3 oz / 85 g, well chopped
  • Shichimi Togarashi or red pepper flakes, to taste

If you need to cook your rice, go ahead and do so according to package instructions.

Heat your olive oil and vegan butter in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the mushrooms in and cook them until they turn a golden brown in color and are soft to the touch. Add in the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Set the mushrooms aside on a separate plate.

In the same pan, cook your tofu and throw in a few pinches of salt. Cook it until it has started to brown in color. A minute or two before the tofu is done cooking, add in the kale. Let the kale cook for 1-2 minutes. Season the mushrooms and the tofu generously with the Shichimi Togarashi seasoning to taste. For each portion served, add a large spoonful of brown rice, same with the tofu and kale, and top it off with the mushrooms. This recipe makes 3-4 servings.

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The Cost of Feeding a Family on the Vegan Diet

Vegan DietThe good news is that feeding a family on the vegan diet is going to cost considerably less than that of a family who eats meat on a regular basis. Vegan diets can be a bit tricky to maintain, but there are going to be plenty of low cost meals to choose from. Be aware that if you do frequent vegan restaurants as a family, then these costs can add up quickly because the restaurants that you will be eating at will be specialty ones. However, if you choose to cook your own meals as home, you will watch your grocery bill growing smaller and smaller each month.

The Basic Staples of the Vegan Diet

Because a number of traditional foods contain eggs or other dairy products, if you want to successfully follow the vegan diet, you are going to need to cook many things from scratch. Basic staples of the vegan diet that you will need to keep in your pantry include beans, legumes, whole grains, tofu, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. There are a number of foods, sold in the ethnic sections of grocery stores, that are inexpensive and vegan friendly, like curry sauce or flavored rice.

Replacement Items

If you plan to replace meat products with vegan meat substitutes, then you can expect the cost of your grocery bill to go up somewhat. Vegan options for burgers, sausage, cheese, and other items tend to be slightly more expensive than the meat versions they are replacing. Similarly, if you purchase a lot of processed foods for your vegan diet, which, ideally, should be avoided, these items will also be more expensive because they are generally sold only in size packaging. There is a serious lack of family sizes in vegan meat products, which are generally less cost per serving when calculated.

Your Monetary Savings

The best method of saving money while following the vegan diet is to avoid as many meat replacement products as you can. For example, a single box of 6 veggie burgers will, on average, cost well over $6.50. While many vegans attempt to keep their diets as healthy as possible by purchasing organic produce, organic produce is quite expensive. As an alternative, consider purchasing regular fruit and vegetables, or, you might want to purchase fruits and vegetables that are part of the “dirty dozen”. These are the fruits and vegetables that tend to contain the most dirt and debris, but the debris can easily be washed off with a little effort.

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Vegan Recipes – Millet Croquettes

Vegan RecipesIf you are looking for unique vegan recipes for dinner tonight or for something that would make a great snack, then I’ve got a somewhat unusual recipe right here that I guarantee you are going to love.

The ingredients you’ll need to make this vegan recipe include:

  • 1 cup / 240 ml soy milk
  • 3 tablespoons clarified butter or olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • 3/4 cup / 5 oz / 145 g semolina flour
  • 1 1/2 cup / 2 oz finely chopped kale (remove stems first)
  • 1/3 cup / 20 g grated vegan cheese
  • 1 1/3 cups / 150 g cooked millet
  • 30 basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 large egg replacers
  • 2 cups / 140 g whole wheat panko (or dried bread crumbs)

Start preparing this vegan recipe by combining the soy milk, water, 1 tablespoon of butter, shallot, and sea salt in a medium sized saucepan. Let it simmer 3-5 minutes, remove from the heat, and use a whisk to add in the semolina flour. Once mixed, add in the kale, return it to the heat, and let it cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat again and add in the vegan cheese and millet. Add more salt to taste. Set it aside and let it cool for 10-15 minutes.

Use your item of choice to grease a 9×13 baking pan and line it with parchment paper.
Once the semolina mixture has cooled, add the basil and one of your egg replacers. After mixing it well, spread the mixture evenly out over the baking pan. Cover it loosely with plastic wrap and let it chill in your fridge for about 3 hours.

Once you are ready to make the croquettes, line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the semolina mixture evenly into squares. In a separate bowl, beat your other two egg replacers. Fill another shallow bowl with your bread crumbs. Each semolina square should first be dipped in the egg replacer and then in the bowl of bread crumbs. Move it to the parchment sheet. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook each croquette, occasionally flipping it over, until it is a golden brown color. Serve warm or hot. Enjoy!

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Make Smoothies a Part of Your Vegan Diet!

Vegan DietIncluding nutritious smoothies in your diet offers a number of different health benefits. It will not be difficult to find premade smoothies at grocery stores, or even some restaurants. However, these kinds of smoothies will often contain ingredients, like milk or yogurt, that those who follow the vegan diet cannot eat. The best method of including smoothies into your diet is for you to make your own. These smoothies will make a nutritious addition to your diet, but they shouldn’t be used to replace your current daily food intake.

Vegan Smoothie Ingredients

Smoothies are a great item for breakfast or for a healthy mid-morning/afternoon snack. They can be made with all natural and organic ingredients. Common ingredients that you will find in these smoothies include organic fruit, like bananas, blueberries, and strawberries, milk replacement items, such as almond milk or soy milk, and natural sweeteners, sugar as sugar or Nutella. In addition to your favorite fruits and vegetables, all you are going to need is a blender and some ice.

Smoothies for Meal Replacements

It is a well-known fact that many vegan diets are going to be lacking in Vitamin B12, which is primarily derived from animal protein. If you do not receive enough B12 in your daily diet, you will be putting yourself at risk for a lack of growth and physical development. If you do decide to make a smoothie as a meal replacement item, then it will be important for you to ensure that it includes all of the vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. Supplementary B12 vitamins can be tossed into a smoothie, or you can choose to add all natural peanut butter, which is a great source of protein.

Replacing Non-Vegan Ingredients

Occasionally, you will run across a smoothie recipe that you want to try, but it will call for dairy ingredients. What do you do then? In most cases, soy milk will work as an acceptable substitute. Just because you follow the vegan diet does not mean that you have to stick solely with juice or fruit smoothies. For example, it is a well-known fact that blueberries contain a number of antioxidants that will boost your immune system. Combining blueberries, soy milk, and ice will provide you with a delicious and nutritious smoothie.

Vegan Smoothies and Weight Loss

Vegan smoothies are often used as a meal supplement. If made correctly, they can also be a great method for including supplementary protein and vitamins in your diet. As you make your own smoothies, pay close attention to the nutritional information for each ingredient you are including. For example, a smoothie made only with fruit and ice is going to be quite low in calories, but if you choose to also add peanut butter, soy milk, or chocolate, it will significantly raise the calorie count. If you do decide to use green smoothies as a part of a weight loss regimen, remember to first consult your doctor to ensure that it is safe.

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Vegan Recipes – Green Lentil Soup With Curried Butter

Vegan RecipesWith the cold months of winter here to stay for a while, this vegan recipe for green lentil soup with curried butter is a guaranteed method of staying warm and toasty on the coldest days and nights. If you are not a fan of lentils, then you can substitute split green peas for this recipe. Each option is delicious. Just be aware that the split peas tend to give the soup a bright green color.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this vegan recipe:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee, or extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 
5 1/2 cups / 1.3 liters good-tasting vegetable broth or water
  • 1 1/2 cups / 10.5 oz / 300 g green lentils or green split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon Indian curry powder
  • 
1/2 cup / 125 ml coconut milk
  • 
Fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 bunch fresh chives, minced

Begin preparing this recipe by combing the butter, garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes in a large saucepan over a medium high heat. Cook until the onions have softened slightly. Next, add in the lentils and the vegetable broth. Cover the pot and let the soup simmer until the lintels have become soft. This process can take anywhere from 20-50 minutes. You’ll just have to keep an eye on it.

For the next step, in small saucepan, you should melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Let it brown in color. Once it starts to smell fragrant, add in the curry powder and let it sauté for about a minute. Once the lentils are done cooking, you can remove them from the stove eye and add ii the coconut milk and 1/4th a teaspoon of salt. Move the whole mixture into an immersion blender and puree it. Whether you would like for the soup to be slightly chunky or completely smooth is up to you.

For the final step, stir in ½ of the spiced butter and add a little more salt to taste. When you’re ready to serve, drizzle the soup with the rest of the butter and top it off with the chives. This vegan recipe will make 4-6 servings of soup.

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Amino Acids & the Vegan Diet

Vegan DietOften times, when follow the vegan diet, you must take extra caution to ensure that your body receives the vitamins and nutrients it needs. Even with the restrictions of the vegan diet in place, it is still possible for you to enjoy a wide variety of delicious and nutritious foods. In order to ensure that you receive the protein your body needs on a daily basis, you should make an effort to include a variety of unrefined grains, organic leafy green vegetables, and a number of different legumes.

Amino Acids – The Building Blocks of Protein

Amino acids serve to form the foundation for the construction of protein. In addition to building muscle in the human body, amino acids assist the human body, in some form or another, in almost every cellular process. They also help to catalyze chemical reactions in the body’s cells. If your vegan diet does not provide you with enough amino acids, it can cause a variety of different health problems, from growth retardation in young children to fatigue and weariness. Anemia and some reproductive orders have been directly linked to a lack of amino acids in the diet.

Amino Acid Production In the Human Body

There are 20 amino acids in all that the human body needs to maintain ideal health. Of these 20, there are 9 amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Therefore, these amino acids must be obtained through food consumption. If your current vegan diet does not provide these 9 amino acids, then your body will rob your muscle mass of its protein to obtain the amino acids it needs.

Sources of Amino Acids In the Vegan Diet

Food consumption is the only method of obtaining the amino acids that your body needs that it cannot produce. Protein that is obtained through animal meets contains the missing 9 essential amino acids, but since vegans cannot consume meat, they must look for alternative sources. Complete sources of protein that are considered suitable for the vegan diet include spinach, quinoa, and soybeans.

Combining Multiple Proteins

A follower of the vegan diet is going to need to pay close attention to proteins that contain low levels of essential nutrients. For example, legumes maintain low levels of methionine, while most grains are low in lysine. Lysine and methionine are both essential amino acids. Combining different proteins together is one method of getting the amount of essential amino acids that your body requires. For example, this would mean that you would need to consume legumes with vegetables. However, you do not need to eat the same foods day after day. Instead, your focus should be upon incorporating a wide variety of different foods into your diet, including nuts, vegetables, seeds, legumes, and unrefined grains.

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