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March 4, 2013 9:02 AM   Subscribe

For the past two Februarys, Serious Eats Chief Creative Officer J. Kenji Alt-Lopez has gone vegan for the entire month. Here he shares the 60 vegan recipes he created during his Vegan Experience.
posted by slogger (72 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wish it was easier to read through the 2013 posts in chronological order! Is there a link someplace for that?
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:09 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe this, showbiz_liz?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:14 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is the second year he's done it, I believe, and while I laud him for showing people who aren't inclined to take the plunge that you can eat deliciously well as a vegan, it'd be nice if he could make the change permanent.
posted by Kitteh at 9:16 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Excellent post. I can't wait to try some of these recipes!
posted by Renoroc at 9:20 AM on March 4, 2013


Kitteh, make perfect the enemy of good much?
posted by AceRock at 9:21 AM on March 4, 2013 [25 favorites]


Chooses shortest month -- wuss.
posted by AwkwardPause at 9:21 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Kitteh, make perfect the enemy of good much?

I DO tend to do that, sometimes. Sorry.
posted by Kitteh at 9:23 AM on March 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


Be a permanent vegan? I don't think Lopez-Alt is really interested in that (have you seen some of his other projects?) but he has committed to more vegan recipes in the future.
posted by troika at 9:23 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Flipping through, I already neeeed to make those chickpea cakes.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:25 AM on March 4, 2013


I went vegetarian for January and long story short I felt like shit the whole month.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:28 AM on March 4, 2013


Breakfast Garlic Toast? Yes please!......what's that, co-workers? No thanks? Bah :(
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:37 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm a huge meat eater but have been trying to do a vegan night each week and I would say to anyone that it is a GREAT way to move out of your ingredient comfort zone and learn to try new ingredients/skills/flavor combinations! Which can then be incorporated back into the rest of your cooking.
posted by ftm at 9:37 AM on March 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


He lost me at the deep fried cauliflower. Not exactly healthy eats..
posted by hopeless romantique at 9:37 AM on March 4, 2013


Not exactly healthy eats..

He actually addresses this.

"But in the end, veganism is not by-definition a diet based on health, it's a lifestyle based on compassion for animals. That's the part of it I related to, and the reason why I got interested in it in the first place."
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:40 AM on March 4, 2013 [23 favorites]


^This, sometimes.^

I'm vegan for animal rights first, health second. It drives me nuts sometimes when the only vegan options here in town are virtuous and granola. I don't mind virtuous food, but it's not a sin to be vegan and have a balance. My husband makes great pizza and burgers; he would probably use the deep fryer all the time if he had the chance.

We eat very healthy, true, but we don't mind making indulgent vegan food once a week. It's nice. Last week it was chicken-fried seitan and cheesy potatoes. I wouldn't eat nor make that every day, but I'm damned if I'm going to eat like a stereotypical vegan every day. Again, it's all about balance.
posted by Kitteh at 9:47 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I can see absolutely no problem fitting a couple of tablespoons of canola oil into a day's worth of balanced eating.
posted by ftm at 9:48 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


animals rights, health, the aftersmell of cooking meat, handling and cooking of meat vs veg, cost, efficiency of resource use, variety of tastes, ability to grow at home and many other reasons. Oh and the vegetarian jokes. You guys know how you sound when you make those jokes, right?

I really only use meat as a garnish anymore. Like as a pizza topping. Once in a while I'll put a little in with beans in a taco or something.
posted by DU at 9:58 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm a huge carnivore, but through the advice of some vegan friends I've opened my mind a bit. I had a terrific vegan (I'm pretty sure) side dish at a Thai place the other day. It was water spinach cooked in a seriously spicy pepper paste. Fucking delicious.
posted by jonmc at 10:00 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


He lost me at the deep fried cauliflower. Not exactly healthy eats..

There was a HP filler post recently called ... "This is what vegans eat," and the overwhelming response was "look at how unhealthy it is!!"

Well, someone has already made and corrected the point above. Veganism is not a health choice.

I'm always surprised a bit at that reaction as the whole point of these articles is to normalize the culture. Anything like this is going to skew more mainstream, i.e. closer to what "normal" people already eat.

Anywya, here's the real challenge for you vegans out there. (I've been meaning to post an AskMe and will do so if you losers can't help.)

What can I give my 4 y.o. for vegan lunch options? Fruit is easy, and veggies are a given (albeit a harder sell ...), but aside from nut-butter-jelly sandwiches, pasta, and ... bean/rice burrito, I get stuck. No refrigeration (insulated bag); no reheating. TIA!

{water spinach cooked in a seriously spicy pepper paste

that's pretty much why I became vegetarian. I love the sauce much, much more than the meat. No, tempeh is not as good as a juicy burger, but the difference isn't enough to make me miss it that much.}
posted by mrgrimm at 10:05 AM on March 4, 2013


I really only use meat as a garnish anymore. Like as a pizza topping. Once in a while I'll put a little in with beans in a taco or something.

I got used to thinking of meat that way when I lived in China, and it really changed the way I cook. Meat is a flavoring, or the base of a stock, but I never ever cook a big piece of meat as a main dish anymore.

I might try going vegetarian again sometime, but my shocking lust for cheese is going to keep me from ever going vegan.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:07 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


my shocking lust for cheese is going to keep me from ever going vegan.

I hear ya. Over the last six months I've developed a taste for fancy cheese (especially aged goudas like L'Amuse, Ewephoria and others) that I never anticipated. Thankfully there's a great cheesemonger in my neighborhood that doubles as a beer store.

/sorry for slight derail
posted by jonmc at 10:12 AM on March 4, 2013


mrgrimm -- how does your child feel about room temperature noodle dishes? Dumplings?

I have an aversion to cold foods that started out hot myself, so knowing your child's food preferences might help me out. I'd love to be of assistance!
posted by Kitteh at 10:17 AM on March 4, 2013


Very interesting stuff. I plan to try the fried eggplant sandwich.

I always find the adjective 'hearty' applied to soups strangely dispiriting, though. The soup may be hearty, but I'm not reciprocating.
posted by Segundus at 10:23 AM on March 4, 2013


mrgrimm, leftover spaghetti (+ marinara sauce) sandwiches were a staple for me in my newly-vegetarian high school years.
posted by wayland at 10:25 AM on March 4, 2013


I got used to thinking of meat that way when I lived in China, and it really changed the way I cook.

What's funny is that I didn't even start out to reduce my meat intake or anything. I just discovered how to make salsa (many years ago now) and started using it in various dishes (mainly with cheese). Cooking the meat was a significant fraction of the time, cost and trouble so I dropped it. Now a big pile of meat seems gross and weird to me.

The same thing happened with another thing that's not so great for you in large quantities: TV. No time in general led to less TV time in particular. Now I basically can't stand anything but a few choice shows and they must have a) no commercials and b) no laugh track. TV as a garnish.

Which is why I don't get the basic premise of this post. Don't try dropping $BADTHING for 30 days. Try it for a year. I bet you won't go back, whatever it is.
posted by DU at 10:27 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Which is why I don't get the basic premise of this post. Don't try dropping $BADTHING for 30 days. Try it for a year. I bet you won't go back, whatever it is.

Oy, I've mentioned knowing people who go vegan for Lent every year and then spend the entirety of the time just absolutely miserable and hating it.

And I don't get it. If it was challenge you wanted to do with an open mind and some idea of how contemporary vegans eat, I'd be all about you doing it, regardless if you didn't decide to stick with it in the end. But spending so much time on social media complaining that you ate poorly because there is so much stuff that isn't meat and isn't vegan and somehow your terrible put-together meal is somehow veganism's fault?

Let me be the first to drive you to a steakhouse so you will stop whining.
posted by Kitteh at 10:31 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


What can I give my 4 y.o. for vegan lunch options? Fruit is easy, and veggies are a given (albeit a harder sell ...), but aside from nut-butter-jelly sandwiches, pasta, and ... bean/rice burrito, I get stuck. No refrigeration (insulated bag); no reheating. TIA!

You were sending unrefrigerated meat/cheese/yogurt in a preschooler's lunch?

All I can do is list what we send in, all of which is vegan-by-accident (i.e. that's pretty much the only thing I'd send in an unrefridgerated lunch that's going to be handled by a child anyway): sandwich, crackers, peanuts, granola, carrots, apples, oranges, dry cereal, raisins, dried apricots....that's all I can think of that my kids would eat.
posted by DU at 10:32 AM on March 4, 2013


I used to eat meat with literally every meal (except for breakfast, because I usually ate cereal). When I met my wife she was vegan, so when we ate together I'd eat what she ate. When we moved in together she did (and still does) most of the cooking so I gradually grew used to eating less meat. Now probably 95% of the meals we make at home are vegetarian (and most of those are vegan), but I still eat meat when we're out at friends' houses or restaurants, and I enjoy it more because it's an uncommon treat. All of which is just to say that a meat-reduced diet is something I edged my way into and I like it now...but I think that if I had dropped meat and cheese cold-turkey it would have been too much of a change too quickly.

> my shocking lust for cheese is going to keep me from ever going vegan.

When I met my wife she was living with two other people; all three of them were vegans. When I asked them what they missed the most I expected to hear steak, hamburgers, pizza, etc. but all three said cheese without even thinking about it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:35 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


There are a bunch of great recipes there. Some I've already tried having followed this. We aren't vegan since we do eat dairy (I ain't giving up cheese), eggs and fish. However, we have given up eating mammal and bird meat. The hardest thing for me to give up is charcuterie. Nothing compares to it, but I live on without it. Not since visiting Spain and Italy this past fall have I enjoyed any Chorizo, Salami, Prosciutto, or Jamon. (OMG, Bellota Jamon and Chorizo are AMAZING!!!). I'm of the opinion as expressed above that meats should be more of a spice rather than a course in a meal. It's great to see something like this where there are great recipes that are vegan, but aren't exclusively seasoned with cumin, and don't try to be something else. The burger is the closest thing to trying to replace a meat literally, but for the rest, they are pretty much saying hey, there's food out there that's not meat which is pretty darn good on it's own! I'm all for that, so this is great. Now they need to be doing this more often....
posted by Eekacat at 10:39 AM on March 4, 2013


Cheese would be my thing, too. (I was never much of a meat-eater anyway.) But--avert your eyes, omnis!--Miyoko Schinner's latest cookbook takes care of your cravings. (I've made the "goat cheese" so far and I'm currently soaking the grains to make "cheddar." I've had omni guests really enjoy the faux goat cheese, very surprised that the flavor and texture is eerily accurate.)
posted by Kitteh at 10:40 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here he shares the 60 vegan recipes he created

Really?

He created them?

With the entire Internet along with the various metric tonnage of printed cookbooks - these recipes do not exit anyplace else?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:48 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's great to see something like this where there are great recipes that are vegan, but aren't exclusively seasoned with cumin

ah-heh, heh. *loosens collar, looks around furtively* busted
posted by en forme de poire at 10:48 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


You were sending unrefrigerated meat/cheese/yogurt in a preschooler's lunch?

Is there something wrong with that?
posted by wayland at 10:49 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


This has me salivating for sure.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:50 AM on March 4, 2013


>You were sending unrefrigerated meat/cheese/yogurt in a preschooler's lunch?

>>Is there something wrong with that?


Seriously. I almost never bother to refrigerate my lunch at work and it's never been a problem. From the time you pack it to the time you eat it, we're talking, what, 4 or 5 hours? If cooked meat and cheese couldn't last for 5 hours without refrigeration, the human race would never have survived long enough to invent the refrigerator.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:56 AM on March 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


He created them?

Sure, to the extent that it looks like he fooled around in a test kitchen to develop each, and tried them all at least once or twice. Dude used to be a test cook for Cooks Illustrated, now is the chief recipe developer for Serious Eats. I have no trouble believing that he's put some effort into making accessible recipes with a reasonably common set of ingredients for a NA audience. It's what Mr. Alt-Lopez is good at.

Sure, there are lots of recipes for vegetable stock out there, but it hurts no one to have another.
posted by bonehead at 10:57 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've recently started downplaying meat and upping the veggies in my diet and Im in love with it.

Can I post a salad I recently modified from an existing recipe?
Cuz its awesome and I like it and its not quite vegan due to the butter but Im sure you could sub that out easy.

Mandarin Pomegranate Frisée Salad with Butternut Squash
(way easier than it seems)

You will need:
1 Butternut squash (wider the better. You want it to soft but firm after grilling
7 Small Mandarin Oranges (sub 3 large if ya got em)
1 Japanese Turnip
1 Bunch Shallots
1 Cup Pomegranate Seeds
2 Cups roasted Almonds (unsalted if possible)
5 Tbsp Salted Butter
2-3 Bunches of Friseé (from Endive)
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

• Juice 7 mandarins. Zest 1 mandarin. Put juice over medium heat until syrupey. Then add 5 tbsp butter, 1 cup Pomegranate seeds, the zest and a tablespoon lemon juice. Also add a 1/4 cup shallots. Simmer on medium until butter is melted and edges begin to bubble a bit, stirring frequently.

• Slice squash into 1/4 thick slices, then chop into more manageable "bites". Lightly salt and pepper. Roast on oiled grill pan at 350 for about a half hour or until tender.

• Slice one Japanese turnip

• Using 2 bunches of frisée from an endive, rip the ends off by hand and hand-rip into smaller leaves. Toss this with the squash and the turnips in a large bowl.

• Take about 2 cups of almonds and crush them. I used a hammer and towel. Your method may vary. Toss the crushed nuts (finely crushed so as to dust the leaves) with the salad.

• Transfer to plate, drizzle with the citrus dressing.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:57 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


What can I give my 4 y.o. for vegan lunch options?

Roast chickpeas? You can flavor them however and they appear to keep well at RT.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:59 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


You were sending unrefrigerated meat/cheese/yogurt in a preschooler's lunch?

Is there something wrong with that?


Other than 100% ICKINESS of eating room-temperature meat/cheese/yogurt, nothing.
posted by DU at 11:04 AM on March 4, 2013


Other than 100% ICKINESS of eating room-temperature meat/cheese/yogurt, nothing.

Sandwiches at room temperature, that's okay...
Cheese at room temperature, that's okay too...
Yoghurt at room temperature ... okay, yeah that's a little questionable

But even at room temperature, having food is always better than no food. As an elementary school kid, I was always ravenous, so any food kicked having no food's ass all the time. Kids aren't picky.
posted by kurosawa's pal at 11:23 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that I could only go Vegan if I were under strict doctor's orders that my life depended on it and even then only after a second opinion and some serious cost/benefit quality-of-life analysis, but I still like having these recipes and I've thankfully long outgrown reacting to others' veganism with anything but respect for their choices.

Talking with some friends this weekend about how far I could realistically restrict my diet by choice, I arrived at:

1. Could seriously broaden my range of fruits and vegetables that I eat on a daily basis, and could make staples of spinach and mushrooms, especially portobellos.
2. Could almost certainly go pesceterian if I had to. I prefer seafood over any other animal flesh anyway.
3. Could perhaps do that thing where I can eat meat as long as it's not raised for farming but rather caught in the wild.
3(a) But with a more nuanced set of rules involving, again, fish and whether the seafood in question is better farmed or caught wild (environmentally, quality-of-life for fishermen, etc.)
4. Cheese is a non-starter. Absolutely need it.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:37 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am pro-unhealthy vegan food for this reason: It demystifies it. It's not all bland steamed vegetables and brown rice. It can be deep-fried cauliflower.

It's hilarious to me when people say "I don't like vegan baked goods" because, uh, you don't like white flour, sugar and fat?

There are many reasons to be vegan. There are many reasons to not be vegan. Food is a persona choice. But I think the more people expand their thinking about food can only be a good thing. I've bookmarked this and I'll be happy to try some of these out.
posted by darksong at 11:54 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


DU: Cheese is its most delicious at room temperature.

Doing anything to reduce meat consumption is better for the world. If everybody went vegan for one month out of the year, the impact would be huge!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 12:00 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's hilarious to me when people say "I don't like vegan baked goods" because, uh, you don't like white flour, sugar and fat?

Seriously. French bread? Pizza crust? Maybe they're confusing vegan with gluten-free.
posted by LionIndex at 12:07 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


You were sending unrefrigerated meat/cheese/yogurt in a preschooler's lunch?

People have been making safe, unrefrigerated cured meats for millennia out of what is basically salted raw pork, hanging in a shed for weeks. Same with cheese: raw milk curds, sitting on an unrefrigerated shelf for months or even years. Same with yogurt: milk, inoculated with bacteria and held pretty much precisely in what would otherwise be the danger zone for hours. Admittedly its unrefrigerated shelf-life isn't nearly as long as cured meat or aged cheese.

This is not to say that all meats, cheese, and yogurts can be safely kept unrefrigerated. But a few hours out of a fridge are not necessarily going to turn meat, cheese, or yogurt into something unsafe to eat. Some meats and cheeses could spend weeks or months that way.
posted by jedicus at 12:08 PM on March 4, 2013


Last week it was chicken-fried seitan

I've linked this on mefi a number of times, and also brought a version of it to the mefieri meetup, because it's one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten:

Tempeh Wingz -- a tempeh-based vegan substitute for buffalo wings. I usually just make them vegetarian rather than vegan (using real butter rather than margarine) and milk instead of rice milk, but they're good either way. (I also deep-fry them rather than bake them, but then, I deep-fry everything.)

(They are fucking sublime with blue cheese dressing, which is not vegan, sadly.)
posted by Greg Nog at 12:09 PM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not vegan, but I'm glad that there are people out there coming up with creative ways to make vegan food--e.g., the vegan po'boy I had in Philadelphia about six months ago that I still think of from time to time. Looking at Kenji's menu is giving me a lot of ideas that I may apply in either vegan or non-vegan contexts.
posted by Cash4Lead at 12:11 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, not vegan, but I cook and eat less meat every year. I'm pretty much vegetarian M-F for shopping convenience, and I mostly eat meat when I am eating at a restaurant or a friend's house. I was one of those "I will never give up cheese" people, but I've been cutting back lately for a variety of GI issues, and I miss it less than I imagined. I'll probably never go "no cheese," but "way less cheese" has been easy.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:17 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Flipping through, I already neeeed to make those chickpea cakes.

I made them a couple weeks ago. They're tasty! Definitely not leftover-worthy, though, since they get really soggy in the fridge.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:39 PM on March 4, 2013


Thanks for this link, I think I might be cooking off this for months. Recipes look delicious and simple to make just from a bit of clicking around at random.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:59 PM on March 4, 2013


Mrgrimm, my youngest is really picky, and lunch-boxes have always been a challenge. For years, I just worked on making the pasta she liked interesting, with different fillings, and also I added fruits, nuts and raisins in seperate packages to the bag. Last year, I went to Japan, where they have the whole bento culture, and I bought a pretty lunch box for her. With no effect. I also bought a special short thermos for her, and that has been amazing. She just loves a hot lunch, and suddenly she will eat almost anything, as long as it's hot. Mostly, she gets leftovers from whatever we had the night before, but sometimes I cook up something for her. This sounds stressfull, but it really isn't at all more so than preparing a normal lunch bag.
For instance, I'll boil some water, add a vegetarian organic stock cube, and pour it all over a carrot, a little garlic and a spring onion I've been stirring around some oil. Bring it all to the boil, add noodles, and pour into the thermos. This isn't a lot better than cup-noodles, but there is no msg, and there is a sense that it is special, made for mini-mumi.
I think you can get the short thermos on the nets.
posted by mumimor at 1:46 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


His opinions on faux meats were pretty randomly arbitrary, with a weird focus on what was newly invented vs. asian traditional.
posted by smackfu at 2:50 PM on March 4, 2013


"Where I come from, mediocrity is not something that should be tolerated. I'm not happy with what I'm eating unless my food is the best it can possibly be."

Well, fair play, but that still comes off as shitty and elitist, Mr. Lopez-Alt.
posted by Kitteh at 3:09 PM on March 4, 2013


Many of these recipes look awesome. I was amused reading the posts over the last month how he mentioned that he lost 10 pounds and dropped his cholesterol some huge amount in a couple of weeks but feels that he normally eats very healthily. Seriously dude? Serious Eats subsites are a Hamburger a Day and a Sandwich a Day and while both are lust inducing I'd weigh 50 pounds more if I ate even a tiny portion of the stuff they link daily. Makes the vegan project somewhat hilarious in comparison. Ah well - everything in moderation including moderation!
posted by leslies at 3:32 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I met my wife she was living with two other people; all three of them were vegans. When I asked them what they missed the most I expected to hear steak, hamburgers, pizza, etc. but all three said cheese without even thinking about it.

How to magnetize a baby
posted by mrgrimm at 3:40 PM on March 4, 2013


What can I give my 4 y.o. for vegan lunch options?
mrgrimm, you need Vegan Lunch Box.
posted by unliteral at 3:56 PM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


You were sending unrefrigerated meat/cheese/yogurt in a preschooler's lunch?

Fair question, I suppose, but not totally. On the other hand, I got plenty of unrefrigerated lunchmeat sandwiches (I remember baloney - ew) when I was a kid, and I ended up fine.

I do send unrefrigerated cheese. I am a wannabe vegan, but while I mostly do not eat meat products myself much, I do cook and eat eggs and cheese with my wife and kids, who are vegetarian but very much not vegan. Both my kids and wife would kill me if I banished cheese (see how to magnetize a baby ^^).

I will also send yogurt with my 18 m.o. in a non-iced insular bag. It's like ... 4-5 hours? Is it that dangerous?

For instance, I'll boil some water, add a vegetarian organic stock cube, and pour it all over a carrot, a little garlic and a spring onion I've been stirring around some oil. Bring it all to the boil, add noodles, and pour into the thermos. This isn't a lot better than cup-noodles, but there is no msg, and there is a sense that it is special, made for mini-mumi.

I've got the short thermos, and that all sounds delicious to me (I wish you packed my lunches when I was a kid). The one main restriction I have is that she doesn't eat soup. She's pretty good with all sort of vegetables and fruits (and grains and pastas of course), but at some point early (18 mo.) she stopped eating "baby food" as well as liquefied soup and has refused to try it since. Again, since she's fairly sensitive, and I assume it will resolve itself (she recently only accepted butter (oil-based margarine) on toast, lol.) (and I can't fucking force her to try it now, believe me I've tried!), um, I'm not pushing it.

She *would* love the hot food in the thermos thing though, and it doesn't have to be soup, I am now only realizing. Veggie chili might be a tough sell, but I can try... maybe a couscous dish.

I cook a lot of things that are and *aren't* vegan, like cheese and broccoli quesadillas or deviled eggs, so I'm not opposed to spending a little time. I'm a slow sandwich maker anyway, so cooking is better, fwiw.

how does your child feel about room temperature noodle dishes? Dumplings?

I have an aversion to cold foods that started out hot myself, so knowing your child's food preferences might help me out.


Hm, not so much for her as well. It's hit or miss for most cold pastas that were formerly hot (I can usually get away with a broccoli/non-cheese-basil pesto thing), but I think mostly I'm just frustrated at weathering a picky period.

I love taking the time to make lunch for my kids. My 18 m.o. provides immense satisfaction (I load up enough lunch for two grown males and she eats it all), but my 4 y.o. is getting skinny with lots of untouched lunches (she fills up on snacks/crackers/nuts at preschool, but they are getting better) :\

on Edit Window: mrgrimm, you need Vegan Lunch Box.

Oh yeah. Love it. Thank you!
posted by mrgrimm at 3:56 PM on March 4, 2013


Most vegans I know (and I'm sure they don't represent all vegans) have told me that faux-meat and faux-cheeses are seriously disappointing.

Anyway, I have no intentions of giving up meat and dairy but I figure my diet could use some more vegetables (especially green ones) so I'll listen to my vegan friends on that score.
posted by jonmc at 5:37 PM on March 4, 2013


This thread totally made me cook an almost-vegan dinner tonight. Avocado sandwich with homemade pickled vegetables and glazed tofu. Almost-veganism owns. (Why 'almost' vegan? The tofu was coated in honey and fish sauce. BABY STEPS THO.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:47 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some of the fake meat can be very good when used properly. Outside of nutritional yeast on popcorn though I haven't encountered anything vegan that comes close to replacing cheese.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:47 PM on March 4, 2013


After a year or two of eating almost no meat at home just because I don't crave it and it's kinda a pain to cook, I've decided to make 2013 a total vegetarian-at-home year. My brother's a vegan and I respect him for it but as people said upthread...

cheese, I just can't quit you.
posted by saul wright at 5:53 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I make marinated tofu fish tacos that make you not miss them being animal cuz they so nice.
It can be done.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 8:39 PM on March 4, 2013


So whoever questioned "creating recipes" as a thing upthread: creating recipes, as a term of art in the world of cookbook writing, means giving your own take on the ingredients, proportions, and preparation instructions of a dish. You don't have to invent an entire new thing or combination of things (quinoa-chestnut souffle with enoki foam, maybe?) because the truth is that in the 125,000 humans have been cooking food, most of the yummy combinations have already been thought of.

But there is a party game a la Googlewhack in this, I think. Cranberry bean/Soyrizo/teff/pineapple jambalaya?
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:15 PM on March 4, 2013


I find his lack of desserts disturbing.
posted by knile at 1:05 AM on March 5, 2013


Vegan wholefood does tend toward the brown, but then so does non-vegan wholefood. Other than that vegan food looks like any other food and is indistinguishable from vegetarian for the most part. I just had a party which was catered vegan (and peanut free) which may have made a few converts to the idea. If you don't give people any option but to try it they seem to love it. To be fair, the food really was amazing: arancini, pakoras, battered deep fried aubergine and seaweed with tartar sauce, guacamole, salsa, chestnut and asparagus quiche, courgette quiche, salads and chocolate cake, dates and cinnamon swirls.

Here is another source for inspiration with a menu that changes monthly. 'But where do you get your protein' vegan food blog also roxxors!

I have heard good things about the vegan cheese book Kitteh linked. I can't imagine that vegan cheese would be too expensive in comparison to dairy cheese if it were produced in large quantities.
posted by asok at 6:15 AM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


knile - I agree, all the vegans I know love making sweet things!
posted by asok at 6:18 AM on March 5, 2013


I am going to make so many of these, starting as soon as my current set of pre-made food runs out.

I'm almost exclusively vegetarian at home, with rare exceptions (like this week when I was craving classic chili), and a decent portion of my weekend storage-cooking things are vegan (spices, veggies, tofu, quinoa), but not all and not all of my meals. I love my yogurt/cottage cheese lunches too much to go full vegan, but a few more recipes for both day-to-day cooking and storage cooking will not go amiss.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:16 AM on March 5, 2013


I'm a vegetarian at home mostly -- though I love eating meat when I go out. I don't eat cheese very often, but I eat a lot of yogurt -- almost everyday. I tried to go vegan once for 4 and half months, giving up the yogurt. But I ended up getting some yeast infections (I got my first one ever in my life after a month of no yogurt, and then more after that) and some minor, but annoying, stomach issues. Adding the yogurt back in made everything go back to normal. I don't know if it was coincidence or the "active cultures" in the yogurt balancing everything out -- I make my own yogurt at home, but even Dannon with acidophilus seems to help. Has anyone else who went vegan experienced these issues? Did they go away after a while? I'd like to try again some day -- at least being vegan at home.
posted by bluefly at 1:14 PM on March 5, 2013


Almost-veganism owns. (Why 'almost' vegan? The tofu was coated in honey and fish sauce. BABY STEPS THO.)

Ah, the great honey debate. I get it, but I don't.

When you consider that your groundwater might be treated with bone char, and that the "vegan" food you eat likely traveled on a truck of steel and rubber, both of which might include animal products in their production, all vegans are probably "almost vegans."
posted by mrgrimm at 10:30 PM on March 5, 2013


Ah, the great honey debate. I get it, but I don't.

I've actually thought about this a bit because I keep bees. On the one hand, bees will mechanically collect nectar to fill up the amount of hive space they have, far beyond their actual needs, so if you only 'steal' the excess, you're not impacting their nutrition at all. On the other hand, every time I open up a hive, I do kill a couple of bees at least- it's really unavoidable. I also mess with their development by keeping them from splitting into multiple hives, or forcing them to do so, or deliberately killing unproductive queens, etc. On the OTHER other hand, I also provide 'medical care' and a safe place to live.

None of this bothers me because, to me, bees are mindless creatures who have no capacity to understand the concept of self-determination, so the fact that I am restricting their freedom and taking the fruits of their labor causes me no angst. I try to kill as few as possible, and I try to save hives that a commercial farmer might let die, but that's all. If you're not the type to place animals on a spectrum of worth, I can see why you'd be anti-honey.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:03 AM on March 6, 2013


Two really tough ones are wine and sugar, which both commonly use animal products as part of the manufacturing steps. At some point, most vegans just say "I do my best."
posted by smackfu at 7:09 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


mrgrimm, I'm sorry I didn't get back to this. MiniMumi mostly eats leftovers from dinner; soups and noodles are a tiny part of her monthly diet. I layer the different foodstuffs with grain/potatoes in the bottom, so she has the sense she can see what's in there, even if she can't. Meaning, she sees me assembling the food.
Even if we've finally cracked the code, we went through years where she ate almost nothing, and since we are in Europe, the community nurse was on our case. She was the thinnest child in the neighborhood. There was the period when she would eat only rice crackers and apple juice. And then rye bread and cheap ham (Definitely not good ham) with plain water, and then finally pasta with very few allowed flavors (tomato, pesto, cucumber, olives, but not together). Etc. But after the introduction of hot lunches, she has suddenly become omnivorous, and our kitchen has become the favorite eatery of after-school snacking. It's amazing, and she is growing like a bean sprout.
Back on topic - we're not really vegan, but we eat vegan a lot, and in terms of picky children, I've never experienced the resistance to vegetables some people describe. Contrariwise, even during her ham-period, we could always get our daughter to sample a bit of salad at dinner, where the family ate together, even as breakfast and lunch were rice-crackers and ham.
I've never served special dinners for anyone. If someone didn't like the fare, they'd go to bed hungry.
posted by mumimor at 3:17 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


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