Help me find cold vegan foods.
October 6, 2012 10:31 AM   Subscribe

I'm doing the Eat to Live diet, which is basically vegan, and am having trouble coming up with interesting ways to prepare green vegetables so they taste good cold.

It's not a truly vegan diet, because you can have small amounts of animal source foods from time to time (like if I wanted to have fish for two meals a week, that would be okay), and also because processed, refined carbohydrates can be vegan but I am supposed to avoid them like they are poison. But many vegan recipes are fine, and I know there are a lot of vegans here, so please hope me!

Basically, I can have unlimited: raw fruits and vegetables, cooked greens, cooked non-starchy veg and beans and legumes; I can have limited (no more than a serving/day): raw nuts and seeds, whole grains, starchy vegetables; and I am supposed to avoid: meat, dairy, sugar, refined or processed carbs, fried foods, oil (although I am making an exception on the oil for hummus, because it's one of the only ways I can stand to eat beans).

I usually have oatmeal for breakfast with nuts and berries on it, which uses up my one serving a day of nuts and whole grains, so the rest of my meals for the day have to be pretty much entirely fruits and vegetables.

I eat two of my three meals daily at work, and have a fridge there. Salads and raw fruit hardly require a recipe, but I am coming up short on internet searches for recipes for cold cooked green vegetables and other more interesting ways to prepare green vegetables. Bonus points for stuff that incorporates beans and/or legumes too, without tasting mealy or bland (my usual problem with beans).
posted by joannemerriam to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'd look into banchan, Korean side dishes served cold/room temp with rice. I always eat brown rice with my Korean food; I know nothing about your diet but if it demonizes brown rice, uh, it might not be a very good diet.

I love spinach wilted in sesame oil and tossed with sesame seeds, and steamed Chinese eggplant shredded and dressed.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:43 AM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Mrs. Tanizaki often makes gomae.

I think you could modify the linked recipe by omitting the sugar and if you like, substituting vegetable stock for dashi (a fish-based stock). The linked recipe is for green beans, but it also works with spinach.

There is also spinach ohitashi.

We also make this garbanzo salad recipe from time to time. You could just skip the sugar and oil.
posted by Tanizaki at 10:44 AM on October 6, 2012

Best answer: Oh, and hummus variation: Cannellini beans, puréed with red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt, and basil. Delicious dip. Works with Great White Northern Beans, too.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:45 AM on October 6, 2012

Best answer: Check out Oh She Glows, a ton of good vegan recipes without processed foods or tons of sugar there, and a lot of salads that use greens and legumes/beans.
posted by telegraph at 10:48 AM on October 6, 2012

Best answer: The Eat for Life website has an enormous recipe file, too. And the pretty cheap Silver level membership will get you a meal plan that could be deployed for months, including shopping lists and recipes.

Also on this plan and I cannot believe how effective and delicious it is.
posted by bearwife at 10:49 AM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I can eat carrots and brown rice, and I can substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock when making soup. Just while I am losing weight I am supposed to limit my whole grains to one serving/day—there is no demonizing of brown rice (white rice on the other hand...).

I'm not here to evangelize for the diet, but my PCP and my diabetes specialist (I am not diabetic but my numbers are marginal) are both on board with me doing this diet, and it was suggested to me by one of the oncologists I work for. Some of the advertising for it is a little, um, woo—but the basics seem sound and it's all based on peer-reviewed studies (I looked some of them up in PubMed and while I can only understand the abstracts and summaries, he's not misrepresenting them).

bearwife, I didn't realize the site had recipes. I will look that up.
posted by joannemerriam at 10:58 AM on October 6, 2012

Best answer: Raw vegans are an ingenious tribe, I have come to learn.

Dressings make a big difference - try different things! Raw cider vinegar (Bragg's) is somehow magically great (to me), but also dressings based on lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce, mashed avocado...

This chickpea and spinach stew is good as cold leftovers (just skip the bread they suggest).

All these are available in many variations online, just search for tutorials/recipes:

"Massaged" kale salad - there are a million variations on this, look around online - I like kale, red cabbage, carrot, apple, raisins, coconut shavings, sunflower seeds with a cider vinegar dressing. But many variations are good, and this keeps well in the fridge.

Spring rolls - easy to make, fill them with basically any salad or greens concoction you make. If rice paper wraps are off-limits for you, you can use lettuce leafs as wraps.

Vegan "ground beef" made from finely chopped walnuts plus spices - it is great as a filling for eg spring rolls.

Roasted veggies - eg cauliflower or beets - can be awesome cold. Add dates or olives to the roasting pan for sweet or salty punch; or combine with eg feta afterward. You can add eg curry powder or garam masala to cauliflower before roasting, or a dressing afterward.

Muja darrah - lentils with caramelized onions - is delicious.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:20 AM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Do you already know about Fatfree Vegan? She's got a lot of recipes that are strictly Eat to Live.
posted by indognito at 11:23 AM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, Fatfree Vegan is a great resource. You might also look for blogs that use the term "nutritarian" to describe eating the Fuhrman way. I find the recipes on Fuhrman's site (and in the books) a little odd; once you get a handle on what it feels like to shop and eat for ETL, you can sort through vegan recipe blogs and figure out what will work and what won't. Fat Free Vegan is definitely a good resource, since she is (or has been) an ETL person.

I use this veggie bouillon recipe a lot, especially for cooking beans that I know I will put on top of salad.
posted by catlet at 11:40 AM on October 6, 2012

Best answer: JustBento's carrot kinpira is good cold and pretty adaptable to any root veggie.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:29 PM on October 6, 2012

Best answer: Here are a couple of Fuhrman (EFL) recipes that I believe to be delicious cold. Note the interesting cooking in water technique, which works fine.

Tailgate Chili with Black and Red Beans

Serves: 4 Preparation Time: 35 minutes


1/2 cup bulghur
1 cup water
3 cups chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 green bell peppers, chopped
3 cups diced tomatoes or 1 (28 ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans or 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, no salt added or low sodium, rinsed and drained
3 cups cooked red kidney beans, or 2 (15 ounce) cans red kidney beans, no salt added or low sodium, rinsed and drained
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine bulghur and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until tender.

While bulghur cooks, heat 1/8 cup water in a large saucepan and water saute onions and garlic until almost soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in green peppers and saute an additional 3 minutes, adding more water as needed.

Stir in diced tomatoes, beans, corn, chili powder and cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add bulghur and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro.

Mushroom Stew

Serves: 6 Preparation Time: 45 minutes


1 1/2 cups chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
5 cups assorted mushrooms (button, portobello and/or shiitake), chopped
2 cups lentils
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
3 cups chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
10 ounces swiss chard or mustard greens tough stems removed and then chopped

Heat 1/8 cup water and water saute onions, garlic, carrots and celery until starting to soften. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until mushrooms lose their water.

Add lentils, vegetable broth, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, paprika, cumin, fennel seed, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Simmer, covered until lentils are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes. Add green pepper during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Add greens and cook until wilted.

If stew appears too dry, add additional water or vegetable broth.
posted by bearwife at 1:25 PM on October 6, 2012

Best answer: Donna Hay has a tip for using slices of fresh ginger in steamer baskets when steaming vegetables.

Penzey's blends are good for veggies a lot of the time--Sunny Spain and Mural of Flavor for example. Finding any good seasoning blend might be the most helpful thing, whether it's something with miso or just a local restaurant's blend (for me it's Rendezous).
posted by ifjuly at 1:59 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oooh, SMOOTHIES! I've been eating tons of vegetables in smoothies recently. If you like fresh ginger, this is even easier. You can also take smoothies to work with you and they'll be cool (not frozen) and delicious at lunchtime.

I've been enjoying blending: kale, spinach, carrots, beets (fill in the vegetable, I've blended it)

+ a small hunk of fresh ginger

+ part of an apple, or some frozen fruit (usually fruit makes up 1/4 or less of the total volume of the smoothie)

+ liquid, usually water, but sometimes I put in other stuff.

I've also blended some kick ass soups that were even better purees which involved legumes. I think a good mixer (I just bought a Blendtec from Costco) makes all the difference.
posted by arnicae at 5:38 PM on October 6, 2012

Are pickled veggies legit? If I were on this sort of diet, that's where I'd be inclined to go. Cucumber pickles? Sauerkraut? Pickled beets? Green beans in vinegar with dill? Mixed pickles like chow-chow or picalilli?

A lot of this stuff is straightforward to make at home if you don't want to buy it. If you make your own, and just plan on keeping it in the fridge for a week or two, you don't actually need to go to all the trouble of canning (no hot water bath, etc.), and so the vegetables can be really and truly raw if that matters to you.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:27 AM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Penzey's blends are good for veggies a lot of the time--Sunny Spain and Mural of Flavor for example.

Oh, my god, yes. I love Penzey's Sunny Paris-it's mostly dried shallot flakes and a ton of other delicious stuff, and it's amazing in salad dressings, too.

I like to buy those bags of ready-to-go green beans, throw them in a mostly-sealed Tupperware with a quater cup of water in the microwave for 4-5 min to steam, drain and toss with Sunny Paris. Take no time, very easy to do as a side dish when you're juggling other things in the kitchen, totally fine to snack on cold or room temp especially since the microwave steaming doesn't make them all mushy.

If you reduce the cooking time in those green beans so they're only about half cooked you can use them in all dips, too. I'm not a raw veggie crudités person, but gimme some crunchy slightly-steamed cruciferous veg and some dip and I'm in town.

Do you have an immersion blender or food processor? Might make making veg dips even easier. Some ideas:

Avocado & pepitas or sunflower seeds & lime & cilantro

Roasted red peppers + garlic + then either Italian herbs and red pepper flakes OR the chunky seed-filled chili garlic paste you can buy in the Asian section of markets, often sold by Huy Fong foods with the same rooster label which is on their sriracha.

Black beans & lime & cilantro (more fiber than hummus if I am not mistaken and no oil need)
posted by Juliet Banana at 3:12 PM on October 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

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