Want to chomp some vegan food.
November 16, 2013 9:32 AM   Subscribe

You're vegan? Tell me, what delicious things did you eat this week?

I was raised lacto-ovo vegetarian and after going between lazy, carb-loading vegetarian and occasional meat eating as an adult, I'd like to try a nice clean vegan diet. My vegetarian background was basically "meat is evil," so I grew up on a lot of pasta and potatoes without really getting an education on balanced meals.

I'm asking here for your healthy vegan /whole food recipes or, ideally, a sample of your daily menus. I have the opportunity to put together a new pantry and kitchen and I'd like it to keep me full & healthy. Thanks!
posted by mibo to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 97 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not vegan, but my boyfriend is and I do most of the cooking. I am a Smitten Kitchen devotee and made these this week:

Warm butternut squash and chickpea salad, served with brown rice
Espinacas con garbanzos (I usually double the bread mixture and stick half in the freezer so all I have to do is add spinach, chickpeas, tomato sauce and smoked paprika when I'm feeling lazy)

I also make these a LOT:
Greek lentil soup
Kale, avocado, and carrot salad
posted by marshmallow peep at 9:40 AM on November 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

I posted this in an askme last year; leave out the fish/chicken, sub in firm tofu (if you dry-fry it first it's even more delicious). It's an easy, fast soup/stew thing that's perfect for wintery evenings and makes excellent leftovers.

Pantry-wise, we always have a few cans of coconut milk, beans, red and/or green Thai curry paste, and sweet potatoes and/or squash. Greens like curly kale and collards keep well in the crisper. Data point: We are not vegans but we eat like them sometimes.
posted by rtha at 9:42 AM on November 16, 2013

I am a former vegan who still cooks that way most of the time. This week our dinners were:
- potato leek soup
- bhindi masala (okra/black-eyed pea curry) with white rice
- salads with smoky chickpeas, roasted potatoes, and avocado ranch dressing
- ancho lentil tacos
- roasted eggplant, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, onion, garlic, and thyme, mixed with white beans and wild rice

All of these recipes are from my newly acquired book Isa Does It, the latest from the woman behind the PPK. I cannot recommend her books (and website) highly enough. One of my struggles with sticking to veganism full-time is that I was never able to find another chef or cookbook author who did delicious vegan food so simply. Isa Does It has a long section at the beginning about pantry staples and vegan basics as well.
posted by something something at 9:53 AM on November 16, 2013 [6 favorites]

Not vegan, but I've spent a long time living with and cooking for vegans. I spent most of my week eating dead simple curry. Dump one can of coconut milk and about 2 tablespoons of curry paste of your choice in a pot, bring it to a boil, turn it down and let it simmer a bit. Add vegetables of your choice; pretty much anything that's not a delicate salad green or maybe cucumbers works. Simmer until vegetables are at your preferred level of done-ness, maybe adding in a little soy sauce too. You may want to sauté tougher veggies a bit before you put them in. Serve over rice. Surprise people with how easy this is.
posted by ActionPopulated at 10:06 AM on November 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

I've been vegan for 10 years. The PPK and Isa's books (especially Veganomicon) are where I learned how to cook.

Here are some very common dinners in my house with recipes/guidelines linked where I use them:
* Tofu stir-fry with broccoli, carrots, sweet peppers / jasmine rice / arugula-spinach salad with sesame-miso vinaigrette
* Lentil soup / homemade bread / pan-fried kale with sea salt and lemon juice
* Chili / cornbread / kale chips with nutritional yeast
* TVP, tofu, or seitan tacos or fajitas with onions and peppers / spicy black or pinto beans / Mexican rice
* Cajun red beans and rice / steamed kale
* Spicy Moroccan chickpeas / Israeli couscous with shallots and toasted cashews / steamed kale
* Chana masala / jeera pulao / papadam
* Thai red or green curry with tofu, carrots, broccoli, green beans / jasmine rice / Tom Yum soup
* Grilled tofu or seitan / roasted potatoes and carrots or couscous with gochujang / pan-fried green beans or broccoli with toasted almonds
* Ye'miser wet / jasmine rice / steamed kale
* Jerk seitan / coconut rice / pan-fried kale with sea salt and lemon juice
* Falafel / shorbat adas / pita bread / spinach salad with lemon-tahini dressing
* Tofu basil ricotta lasagna or ziti / garlic bread / steamed broccoli with lemon juice and sea salt

Breakfast/brunch is usually biscuits and gravy or a bagel/toast with peanut butter or Earth Balance alongside tofu scramble with kale, broccoli, and sweet peppers, lunch is usually tomato soup, a bowl of ramen with grilled teriyaki tofu, leftover dinner from earlier in the week.

Here's an answer I gave in a previous AskMe about creating a vegan pantry that you might find useful. Please feel free to MeMail me if you're looking for specific recipes or general advice, I'd be happy to help!
posted by divined by radio at 10:36 AM on November 16, 2013 [12 favorites]

I used this as an answer recently on a soup question , but this African Peanut Soup is crazy good. Just leave out the chicken and throw in an extra sweet potato or two.

I also love this Mixed Bean Masala w Fragrant Rice recipe. Very tasty, nearly impossible to screw up.
posted by Fig at 11:05 AM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Let's see...this week.

I made a vegan cream-based mustard sauce and stirred through some warmed chickpeas, eaten with good bread on the side.

Husband made seitan from Julie Hasson's Vegan Diner cookbook which we had with some steamed broccoli and roasted zucchini.

I veganized a potato pizza recipe from Nigel Slater that reminded us of a flammekueche. (Easy: make or use your favorite pizza dough, set aside. Slice about 180 g of potatoes into slices about the thickness of two US quarters together, boil in salted water for about 5 minutes until easily pierced. Separately saute 2 large onions thinly sliced on medium-low heat until soft and golden. Roll out your dough into a rough rectangle, spread with four tablespoons of either vegan cream cheese or sour cream. Place your drained cooked potatoes however you want on the dough. Sprinkle with fresh thyme--it also works with dried. Scatter your onions over everything. If you're okay with vegan cheese, go for it, but it's not necessary. Put in 425F oven for 15-20 minutes. Eat with a crisp green salad on the side to cut through the richness of the pizza.)

Also made a basic Asian-inspired soup by heating some homemade veg stock slowly w/crushed lemongrass, sliced chillis, and ginger. Finished it up with some soba noodles I had kicking around and rehydrated soy curls and fresh cilantro. Perfect for the cold weather we had this week.
posted by Kitteh at 11:12 AM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine is vegan and an amazing cook and baker. For a long time he blogged about various things, mostly recipes, here, and now he is posting new recipes and migrating the old ones to a new blog here. Not exactly "what did you eat this week" but a great source for browsing, I think.
posted by not that girl at 11:40 AM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Forgot to mention: What The Hell Does A Vegan Eat Anyway? is a great place for menu ideas. They're usually considerably more ambitious than I am, but hot damn, they make some beautiful, inventive, and delicious dishes (and amazing vegan food porn).
posted by divined by radio at 11:47 AM on November 16, 2013

Nthing Isa and PPK; this week we made chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon and Caulipots (mashed potatoes mixed with cauliflower to keep the same bulk but cut the starch) from Appetite for Reduction. The cassoulet in Veganomicon is basically our holiday staple, but we add a Field Roast or two into it.

Generally, we've found that the recipes from Veganomicon are more time-consuming and of more questionable quality than Appetite for Reduction, which is kind of odd since that's largely a fat and carb reduction cookbook. Isa also tends to have a couple flavors that she leans on pretty heavily in a lot of recipes - we generally find that she uses too much acid (usually citrus juice of some sort) for our taste, and she leans pretty heavily on thyme which is more ok for us. There's still plenty of good stuff in Veganomicon obviously, but we've just had a couple things from it that we weren't too excited about, while Appetite for Reduction has yet to disappoint.
posted by LionIndex at 12:34 PM on November 16, 2013

OK you have to try this recipe for fried chickpeas and spinach and breadcrumbs and chorizo. I always just use Field Roast chipotle sausages which are vegan. It is so good.
posted by steinwald at 12:59 PM on November 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Isa Does It is definitely a great start. It's all grocery-store, week-night friendly stuff and nothing too advanced. Her recipes are pretty adaptable to as you get your confidence up. I think Veganomicon is a great cookbook but definitely more "fancy" than Isa Does It or Appetite for Reduction. Mostly, though, I've rarely been disappointed by her books.

This week, I made nachos with spinach, black bean, homemade seitan sausage and a chipotle cheese sauce, chipotle mac & cheese, and penne with vegan vodka sauce (pureed soaked cashews subbed for the cream).

I tend to cook from what I have and just supplement with what I need for a specific recipe/idea, so this is kind of my set up:

Pantry items I keep around are frozen veggies (spinach, peas and edamame, usually), nutritional yeast, beans of all sorts (usually black, great northern and chickpeas), pasta, rice, and miso paste, red wine vinegar, soy sauce and garlic (and the usual olive oil/etc.). Other things -- jarred/canned peppers (roasted red peppers, chipotles, etc.) and nuts can also be useful. Spices, dried herbs and other condiments (Sriracha, chili garlic sauce, etc) go a long way too. Liquid smoke is also useful but I wouldn't call it a necessity (it's definitely great to have, and pretty cheap, but only buy it when a recipe you want to make calls for it). Maple syrup and (the more expensive) agave syrup can be nice to have but not always a big deal.

More advanced things are vital wheat gluten & textured soy protein (keep them in your fridge/freezer). Tahini is also good to have around but you can make do without it. Many people are big fans of lentils and they can go in the "always keep around" category but I'm not that big on them because I am a terrible vegan.

Other good, more perishable things to have around are onions (yellow and red), avocados, apples and various potatoes (sweet, russet, red, etc.). Tofu, too, if you're into it, but I typically just buy it when I need it for something specific.

I definitely recommend thinking about what you like and making it vegan. That doesn't always mean using a store-bought sub (like fake cheese or whatever, but those things have their place). If you like lasagna, maybe it's the layers of veggies and sauce that you really like. Or maybe it's the spice with Mexican food. Take those elements and make them vegan. It's not about completely replicating what you ate before -- it's about taking the ideas and turning them into something new.

It's fun and I hope you enjoy it!
posted by darksong at 1:12 PM on November 16, 2013

I have been making a ton of pizza lately. This pizza is good with a light sprinkle of parmesan or goat cheese on it, for lacto-ovo people who have trouble with lactose but looooooove pizza, and it doesn't suffer at all to lose the cheese completely.

summer squash and zucchini pizza

puréed garlic paste (I prefer the toothpaste-like tubes of garlic slurried with olive oil they sell next to the herbs; my major supermarket has both a corporate organic brand and a store brand)

2 summer squash, 2 zucchini

Olive oil

Pizza crust (I love this recipe, which just happens to be vegan, as most pizza recipes should be)

Clean the squash and zuke up; wash them, lop the ends off, and peel them if they're old/tough/waxy. I usually just peel off blemishes, pockmarks, and scars.

Slice them into thin coins. Mandolin recommended but not required. I usually cut at a diagonal just to save time with larger pieces later when I'm arranging.

In a small bowl, mix about equal parts olive oil and garlic paste. You can also add red pepper flake, dried italian herbs, or chopped basil if you have it. Spread this on your crust like a sauce, reserving a few tablespoons.

Arrange the slices of summer squash and zuke on the pizza. You can go all "alternating slices, I was inspired by photos of tarte tatin on Pintrest" here, or just make sure they're in a fairly even layer.

Dot/spread/drip the rest of the garlic+oil over the summer squash. This is where you can add cheese with a light hand if you do dairy.

I bake at 500 F degrees for about 10 minutes on a pizza stone, and before I had a pizza stone I baked it at 400 F for five minutes and then slid it directly onto the rack for 5-7 more minutes.
posted by Juliet Banana at 1:44 PM on November 16, 2013

I do a lot of vegan cooking lately, since a dear friend has become vegan and we like having her over. Most recently, a chickpea-tomato soup: peel 4 garlic cloves, cook in 1/3 cup olive oil until the cloves are golden-brown, remove them (delicious for eating), toss in a spring of rosemary and stir for a few seconds, add a large can of diced tomatoes, simmer for 15 minutes, add a large can of chickpeas (rinsed and drained) and 2 cups vegetable broth, simmer until everything is heated through, then add salt and pepper to taste.

That's just one suggestion (the original version used butter and chicken broth). Donna Klein's The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen has a wide range of good dishes, as does Robin Robertson's Vegan Fire and Spice.
posted by brianogilvie at 7:33 PM on November 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nthing the recipes from Isa above (I cook her Italian tofu at least once a week, paired with veggies and rice usually).

In addition to the books already mentioned, I really like the recipes from VeganYumYum, especially her base combination of tofu + greens + grain (like this and this), which is frequently how I end up structuring my meals when I don't know what else to plan.

For non-tofu recipes, I these are two of my regulars.
posted by pitrified at 1:08 PM on November 17, 2013

I made these Kale and Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes for dinner last night. Very simple, pretty quick, and really good. I don't measure out the kale -- I use 1 bunch, and it ends up being either 4 way overstuffed sweet potatoes, or 5 with a decent amount of filling.
posted by Fig at 6:06 AM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm not vegan by any stretch of the imagination. But I love me some marinated tofu. Basic idea is prep firm tofu the way you like it (I drain, freeze, thaw, drain again and pat dry). If I'm feeling inspired I might brown it in some olive oil, but it's not necessary. Make about a 1:1 ratio of olive oil/balsamic vinegar, add some garlic and fresh herbs. Let sit in the fridge a couple of hours. Take it out and bake it. I think I put it in at about 375 for a half hour or so. It's been a long time since I made it, so some of the details may be a bit off, but hopefully you get the general idea.

I've also done the same thing subbing sesame oil and gochujang while living in Korea. Leave out the herbs and add some ginger. Yummers.
posted by kathrynm at 7:36 AM on November 18, 2013

For the most part Indian vegetarian recipe very much follow the vegan lifestyle.
Some are already mentioned here like Chana masala / jeera pulao / papadam, Lentil recipes, bhindi masala (okra/black-eyed pea curry) with white rice. For some recipes, yogurt is used as a marinade which can be skipped for veganized versions. Also Paneer is indian version of cheese made from milk so skip that. Other than that you can follow almost any indian recipe to get a great vegan
posted by radsqd at 7:33 AM on November 19, 2013

Response by poster: Mmmm, thank you everyone for your responses! I checked out Isa's website and made marshmallow peep's recommended butternut squash and chickpea salad for dinner last night. Then I finished the rest for lunch.

I'm not gonna lie, part of my desire to go vegan is about getting healthy and losing some weight . . . unfortunately that might not go so well if all the recipes are going to be do delicious! Mmmm.
posted by mibo at 10:28 AM on November 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

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