Vegan Cooking: Favorites & Flops

August 22, 2011 at 11:27 pm Leave a comment

This weekend, I went to Barnes and Noble in search of vegan cookbooks. I’ve decided to take the plunge to veganism and do the best I can. Avoiding meat is a lot easier in the sense that you know it’s there on your plate. You don’t always know when eggs or dairy are on your plate, or maybe you pop a Cheez-It in your mouth and remember after the fact. Cooking vegan is the best way to ensure that I’m eating vegan!

I needed cookbooks because I’m inexperienced in the kitchen. I need step by step instructions with complete lists of ingredients, and even then it sometimes doesn’t work. Thankfully, I found two great recipe books: Veganomicon The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero, and Vegan Bites: Recipes for Singles by Beverly Lynn Bennett.

Both books do a fantastic job of explaining different foods to use in place of non-vegan ingredients, as well as healthier or more natural options. Plus both go over the tools you’ll need, or would at least be helpful to have stocked in your kitchen. They also both have a whole, long list of vegan pantry staples, which I find really helpful. A checklist is always going to work for me and it’s comforting to know that I have the basics stocked. Veganomicon even explains various ways of cooking several different kinds of veggies. Reading through it, I felt that this was all relevant and helpful information not just for an inexperienced, but willing chef, but also for the inexperienced vegan chef.

I just bought these books yesterday and haven’t had a chance to cook anything from them, but I looked through the recipes and am happy with what I’ve seen. Both offer quite a few recipes that play off of what meat eaters are used to eating, like meat loaf, tuna sandwiches, and sloppy joes. That doesn’t mean that they’ll taste or look the same – they might be better! Or, they might be awful, but at least it got you experimenting with vegan ingredients!

So far, I’ve eaten a lot of flops. For 4th of July, I made BBQ Seitan sandwiches, which were supposed to mimic BBQ beef/pulled pork. I also made BBQ sauce and marinated tempeh in it to grill. I made my own burgers out of mushrooms and they were ridiculously greasy and crumbly. All of it was bad, just BAD! And I was discouraged by those experiences, but I won’t give up, especially after tonight’s dinner, which proved that this way of life can truly be tasty and satisfying!

What cookbooks do you go to for recipes or inspiration? Have you tweaked any meat meals you used to enjoy to accommodate your vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. Share your favorites and your flops!

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Entry filed under: Food and Recipes, Vegan Thoughts. Tags: .

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