Simple Changes Can Make Eating Vegan Easier

Last week I suggested that to go vegan in 6 weeks you should begin using up your non-vegan food and not replacing it. You should also find the vegan choices that your family is already comfortable with and stock your kitchen with plenty of them.

This week, I’d like to suggest another small change that will bring you closer to being a healthy, fit vegan. Modify your old recipes to make them vegan. If you know your family already likes some things, don’t deprive them of them. Just tweak a little here or there to make them work for your new vegan lifestyle. Here are a few substitutes that we’ve enjoyed:

Vegan tacos: Replace the taco meat and cheese with spicy black beans and sautéed mushrooms. I pour a can of beans and 8 oz. of sliced mushrooms into skillet and warm on medium heat, stirring in my taco seasoning with a ¼ cup of water. Let the mixture simmer until the water boils out. Leave out the cheese, but pile on the guacamole, black olives, banana peppers, salsa. These tacos won’t taste like your old meat and cheese combinations, but your family will love all the new flavors and textures. And the bean and mushroom mixture will bring the heat!

Vegan Spaghetti: Combine a jar of Newman’s Own Marinara sauce with 1 ½ cups of textured vegetable protein and simmer for about 10 minutes. Spoon over spaghetti noodles and serve with bread smothered in Earth Balance Vegan butter and garlic salt. You’ll love finding ways to use veggie protein. It’s a great, cheap way to pile on the protein. Try it in Chili and Stuffed Peppers too.

Soy Mashed Potatoes:

**Great, hot, comfort food. From the book 150 Vegan Favorites.

2 ½ quarts of water

4 c peeled, diced white potatoes

½ c warm soy milk

¼ c fresh parsley

½ teaspoon white pepper

½ tsp salt

2 large green onions, chopped

1. Boil potatoes in the water in large saucepan for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain.

2. In large mixing bowl, combine potatoes, soy milk, parsley, pepper and salt. Mash together until pureed.

3. Serve hot topped with green onions.

Vegan BLTs (aka SoyLTs): The key is Soy Tempeh. You can find it in the produce section of your nicer grocery stores. It’s shrink wrapped and looks like cheese. Slice it thin and pan fry it in a single layer over medium high heat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. After 3-5 minutes, flip each slice and drizzle with a generous amount of Tamari sauce. (It’s like soy sauce, but lower in sodium.) Let the slices continue to cook until the sauce is absorbed. Once you’ve layered these over lettuce and tomato on a slice of toasted, high quality bread, you won’t care that they don’t taste like bacon. (My kids fight over these slices and brag to the neighbors about how good they are.)

Spend week 2 of your vegan transition transforming your old favorites into new vegan surprises!

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