Full Version: Veg meal inspiration thread
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So, I definitely recognize one of my strengths as being good at cooking. When I was little, my grandma had me cooking with her all the time, and I absorbed most of what she knew. She wasn't a culinary genius, but I know I have a special gift for just being taught the basic intricacies of cooking in our instant food world. I've taken what she taught me and coupled it with my extremely sensitive taste and smell, and thrifty veganism to usually create some yummy dishes.

I mean, I was vegan when we had food stamps and the only food store we had access to was a generic grocery with mostly expired food. The school of hard knocks, but many valuable lessons were obtained.

So basically, if you are struggling to make food with what you have in the fridge and cupboard, I can try to help you whip up something palatable with what you have. I specialize, too, in munchies. Big Grin But, I will first start with a list of what I think should be staples in a vegan fridge, to make sure you can stretch each staple as far as possible, and for the most part, things you can buy slightly ahead in bulk that won't spoil.

-Fresh garlic, or if not always possible it's good to have organic garlic powder as backup
-Unprocessed salt, cracked pepper, turmeric, cinnamon
-Nutritional yeast
-Apple cider vinegar
-Flour, some type of sweetener unless you're opposed, baking soda and/or powder
-Olive oil and/or coconut oil (I use olive oil for savory dishes, coconut oil for sweet/asian dishes usually - it's too sweet for me to use for everything)
-Some type of rice (I prefer wild or brown)
-Lentils (I like to buy lentils that take the same amount of time to cook as my rice, and just cook them in one pot together)
-Cashews (raw if possible)
-Some type of nut milk
-Herbal tea (not for recipes; I just consider it a staple Tongue)

Secondary staples:
-Soy sauce
-Ginger (can keep a nub in the freezer; grate some off when needed)
-Cocoa powder
-Dried fruits/nuts
-Sriacha (I'm not a spicy person but I know this goes far for a lot of people, also I'll use a little dab sometimes)
-Any other spices/seasonings/herbs (dried basil, sage, red pepper flakes, cumin) or oils (sesame, safflower) you like. I list sesame because it's very potent, and a little bottle lasts forever. My husband usually uses it to dress his salads with a little soy sauce.
-Any other condiments you may use (I use dijon mustard when I make cashew cheese sauce usually)
-A white/yellow onion can last a little while in the fridge and can be stretched. I'm not *huge* on onion so I usually only use it for specific dishes. I like green onions a lot but they don't last near as long. I do have a chive plant growing in my windowsill that has been very low maintenance: I recommend this (I also have thyme and basil growing in pots - my basil has been outside for the summer but will come in here soon)

I do have extra seeds of these plants, along with lettuces (growing micro lettuce is very easy indoors - so is growing broccoli sprouts!). If anyone is interested in starting an organic indoor garden, feel free to let me know, I could probably make up a care package of some seeds to get you started.

Having access to most of this list allows for a wide variety of flavors to be utilized. I will also add that I don't have a large variety of kitchen appliances/cooking vessels, but I do have a cheap blender/food processor combo that I use somewhat regularly, a small cookie sheet, a 9x13 cake pan/roasting dish, a small sauce pan and a large saucepan with lids for both. A vegetable peeler and grater can be useful, too. And a large mixing bowl.

So, if you need help planning a meal or two with some basic ingredients (it's obviously unnecessary to have the full list of staples), I can definitely try to help. This is hopefully assuming you have a vegetable or two onhand as well (broccoli is a healthy green that holds up in a fridge for a while), but I've made do with less before.

Godspeed, cooking friends! Nothing is better than the opportunity to commune with our food and imbue it with our love over a slow process of preparation. I promise you, some of my favorite meals were meals I was dreading preparing for lack of ingredients, but tried my best in the process.

To get you started, here's the evolution of the cashew sauce:

Basic cashew sauce:
-~1/2-1 cup of cashews into food processor/blender
-Start with a few tablespoons of water, process to desired thickness - the longer you process, the smoother it will be, but I don't mind mine with a little texture. Also, to take it up a notch, soak the cashews for a while to make them even creamier! I don't find it necessary to do this though)
-Bit of salt

I add this to vegetable/rice dishes to give it another flavor profile often. It's easy to spice up, too. Add 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, and you have a sour cream! Making it into cheese sauce at this point is easy. Along with the cider vinegar, add nutritional yeast (I'd say maybe 1/4 cup per cup of cashews?), and a teaspoon of dijon mustard - I make broccoli mac and cheese all the time, and actually will put it over anything. You can add herbs to this at any time, too - a basil cashew cream is awesome!!
If you use unprocessed salt, where will you get your iodine? It's a necessary nutrient that's usually added to table salt.
Unprocessed salt contains many minerals, including iodine. Processing the salt removes all the minerals, so the processing involves adding back in iodine, which is usually available in some vegetables, but dependent upon soil content.
I love lentils, have no idea how to cook lentils. Jade, help!

Also, quinoa is awesome. No arsenic as far as we know (unlike rice), cooks in 15 minutes, has protein.

Have never tried nutritional yeast - will have to give it a whirl.
I love hummus. Been some time though.
Lentils are easy!! They just take a bit of watching/water adding. I usually do a ratio of 1 cup of lentils to 3 cups of water - I've been cooking green lentils, which are larger, and they take ~45 mins (lid on, simmering). I've also cooked red lentils, which are a bit more delicate, they take ~20 mins give or take.

Really, I like to make 1 cup mixed with green lentils and wild rice blend, simmer for 45 mins - very healthy meal base. If you've never tried lentils, they have a bit of a black peppery taste.
Grain Free flatbread!!

[Image: img_40981.jpg]

Also, this guy calls for Nutritional Yeast.
I love simple food Big Grin
My current favorite 5 minute munchie:

Grilled PBJ!

-Whole grain bread
-Natural peanut butter (at my grocery store they sell pb that they make: the one ingredient is literally "organic roasted peanuts". If it has more ingredients, they are unnecessary! By far the best peanut butter I've ever had)
-Favorite fruit jam or jelly (I like black raspberry or strawberry)
-Coconut oil (for the frying!)

-Lightly grill/toast in coconut oil in a medium skillet until both sides are to desired toasting

Obviously none of these ingredients by themselves are unhealthy, however this grilled pb&j is quite decadent, but I still feel okay if I eat it for a mid-day meal. You could do this with whatever spin you like on pb&j (bananas, honey). Enjoy!
That grain free bread looks great diet is getting more and more limited due to m-b-s distortions, but I think that might work
Think you can think of anything halfway decent to put together, like a salad or such with the following:

Coconut Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Hemp Seeds?

I've wondered how to combine coconut oil with the other two as apple cider vinegar and hemp seeds go great together on an Italian style salad, but I've no idea how to include coconut oil into anything with either of these.
Have you tried making a vinaigrette with the coconut oil + apple cider vinegar? I never have, I usually use olive oil, but it might make an interesting "sweeter" style salad dressing.

My typical vinaigrette: Olive oil (can try subbing liquid coconut oil?), vinegar (apple cider/red wine/balsamic), chopped garlic clove (or powder), salt and cracked pepper, tiny bit of sweetner, whisked together. But you could try the coconut oil with like, a spinach and strawberry salad? Or something with dried fruit? My favorite salad is from a local restaurant called Ola, they have an awesome sweet white balsamic vinaigrette, and I get hemp seeds on my salad there often.

I take your post as a sign that I should incorporate ACV more. I use it sometimes sparingly, like a tsp here and there. I'm not sure the best way to consume larger quantities. Vinaigrette should work pretty well. If it doesn't, you could try to cook/sautee/roast some veggies that would be good on the salad in the coconut oil, and incorporate it that way.
Creamy broccoli potato soup recipe:

Soak 1.5 cups of cashews in water (even 1/2 hour or an hour makes them softer)
Chop up ~ 2.5lbs of potatoes and ~1lb of broccoli, including stalk (this is a batch I make for my husband and I and usually lasts for ~3 servings each).
-Fill the pot with water so it is just below the level of the vegetables. Cover
Boil for 30-40 minutes, until all pieces are tender (the broccoli stalks can take the longest)
Let cool

Saute one medium sized bulb of garlic (chopped) in ~1/4 cup of olive oil

Drain and rinse the cashews, puree in food processor until pasty
Optional: Add ~1/4lb vegan cheese to the cashew puree (I use Follow Your Heart provolone which I am obsessed with; it makes the soup super rich)
Optional: Add 1/3lb tofu to the cashew/cheese puree (this makes it extra extra creamy, but I forgot tofu with my last batch and hardly missed it)

Finally, blend the potatoes, cooking water, broccoli, olive oil/garlic, and "cheese/cream" mixture into a blender in batches. Reheat in large pot to combine/melt the cheese. Add liberal amounts of salt and cracked pepper.

Last time I sauteed kale with the garlic/olive oil and added it too. It could be an either/or thing with the broccoli really. I want to try it with cauliflower, soon.
I was looking for another thread and stumbled upon this one! So I will share my current favorite recipe, tofu bacon:

Basically, you get firm tofu, freeze it, thaw it, drain the water, and slice it thinly. Then you fry it in a pan for ~10 minutes or so on each side, turning until they are browned/crispy. Then you add soy sauce and liquid smoke, and coat each side with nutritional yeast and sear that off. I have had many pre-packaged tofu imitations, and I've made many recipes of my own, and this takes the cake for its simplicity + end product. We've been making blt wraps like crazy. The texture is so spot on... the seared nutritional yeast really gives it a nice char. Someone else try it and let me know if they agree!!!

And dang, I definitely need to make some of that potato broccoli soup in the post above this one, that stuff is goooooood!