I am enjoying this vegan food thing and I have amazed myself. Me, the ultimate cheese lover who must have eaten kilos of it during my life time. I have lived in a number of different countries and the majority of those produce excellent cheeses. Just to name a few – Holland, Switzerland and France. I also lived in Australia and England and ….. well their cheese credibility is different.
My thoughts about non vegan food
I am past week 4 of our trial vegan food period and I know already now that my trial period will be extended. At this stage I am certainly not saying that I never will eat dairy again but somehow these foods are starting to lose their appeal. You may notice that I am not mentioning meat. I think after watching the documentary ‘What the Health’, for me eating meat may be a thing of the past….
Fish is a different matter. First of all, the world is running out of fish. The fish that is available is full of chemicals that are not exactly good for you. So fish, well, rather not either unless it is wild fish but there is not much of that kind left. Even then you can’t be sure what chemicals are in it!
Admittedly I have always been a ‘sauce and dressing with the meat and fish’ person. I never liked meat or fish for its own flavour but for the way it was presented. Salmon is a favourite but with a mango salsa and I love Tandoori chicken but because of the tandoori. Just a piece of grilled chicken does not do it for me. So why continue eating them if it seems they aren’t good for you?
My tasty vegan food
The point of this post is to show how good vegan food can be! I must admit that cooking vegan requires organisation and preparation. If your fridge is empty apart from an apple and a carrot, it is hard to create something interesting. If on the other hand your fridge is stocked with prepared roasted vegetables, pestos, rice salad and couscous, you can throw together a tasty meal in no time. As I said it does require some time management.
The other day I cooked a vegan Moroccan feast. We had visitors and I prepared a number of dishes to go with couscous.
On the menu were:
- capsicum couscous
- grilled marinated eggplant,
- oven roasted butternut pumpkin,
- roasted cherry tomatoes
- green salad,
- capsicum and caper pesto
- spicy Harissa.
And all of this Vegan! Not a single non-vegan ingredient.
You know what is the extra-ordinary thing? It is not that much different than I was cooking before. That makes it easier but also exciting.
Some steps in the ‘prep’ process were:
You won’t get a recipe here. It is just an illustration on how to prepare this meal
The day before
- Roast cherry tomatoes with onion, garlic and seasoning
- Roast red capsicums until the skin is charred (for pesto and Harissa)
- Roasting cubed pumpkin with Spanish onion, garlic, herbs and spices
- Grill or pan fry sliced eggplant with some oil, herbs and spices
On the day
- Peel the capsicums and make the pesto and the Harissa. It is a matter of blending ingredients
- Heat up in warm oven the pumpkin
- Make a salad to taste
- Make the couscous with panfried onion, garlic and capsicum
- Plate everything in colourful dishes and enjoy!
Too much effort?
If you say, I don’t have time for this, then your non vegan eating habits may not be that good either. Maybe you always opt for prepared and processed food in the supermarkets.
I wouldn’t call myself experienced in preparing and eating vegan food but I discovered the following. My way of cooking was already very close to what vegan food preparation requires. I have made my own dips, pasta sauces, curries and soups from scratch already for years. To leave meat, chicken and fish out is not that hard.
How to go about ‘vegan food’?
I read somewhere that the easiest way to ‘ease’ into vegetarian or vegan food is to replace the meat or fish with a plant based protein. I have made a Pasta Bolognaise and replaced the mince meat with brown lentils. It was delicious and had almost the same consistency as mince. I have used the same lentil mixture as a chilli mix on Nachos. Also very tasty.
The hardest is to replace cheeses and eggs as they have have apart from being a food also the function to bind ingredients and to melt. I found a vegan type Cheddar. It looked bizarre and it did not really melt but it did add a similar flavour than a tasty cheese would have done.
To sum this up. I am intrigued to say the least. I feel preparing vegan food is more than throwing together some ingredients for a meal. It is a very rewarding way of cooking and it is amazing how tasty you can make food with spices, fresh herbs and vinegars.
It also feels that I am doing a good thing. Not only for my body but also for the world. That gives the process of cooking vegan food also an extra dimension.
As I said I am intrigued for several reasons and I am interested to explore this much further. Also if you are interested in some recipes, feel free contact me 🙂
See you soon!