From the comments on some of my previous posts on veganism I have noticed that one of the most common responses from people on why they could never be vegan is that they assume the diet is bland and that veggies are "yucky." I would like to prove this wrong.
My partner, David, and I have taken on the challenge of a vegan diet by becoming better cooks. He still largely plays the part of my sous-chef, but over the last three years, the experience has pulled us closer together and made us healthier. It is not that difficult to do, espcially with the help of some of the great cook-books out there.
Our favorite (and what we affectionately call our Vegan Bible), The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has provided us with many crowd pleasers. The focus of most of the recipes is pulling out the natural flavors from the veggies rather than focusing on trying to make them taste like mock-meats or dairy. Nothing is fake about them.
Here is one of our most recent favorites: Red Lentil Artichoke Stew. It falls under the Spring menu category, so now is the perfect time to give it a try, and it is fairly cheap and quick to make. Check out the recipe and my suggestions after the jump.
Red Lentil Artichoke Stew
- 11/2 cups water
- 2 medium-sized yellow oinions, diced
- 2 or 3 large-sized garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 24oz can chopped tomatoes, undrained(use fire-roasted if available)
- 1 1/2 cups quartered artichoke hearts (1 9oz package or 1 15oz can), drained
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat 1 tbsp water in a soup pot over medium heat. When hot, saute onion until softened, about 7 minutes.
Add garlic, cumin, and coriander, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add more water, if necessary.
Add remaining 1 1/2 cups water, lentils, bay leaf, lemon juice, tomatoes and tomato liquid, artichoke hearts, and crushed red pepper, and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Add more water if too much liquid evaporates or stew becomes too thick.
Remove and discard bay leaf and season with salt and black pepper. Serve alone or over rice or pasta.
Yield: 6 servings.
Here are a few changes I made:
First, while Patrick-Goudreau suggests using water for sauteing as a way to cut the fat, I usually still use canola or olive oil (olive here) because I feel I can handle a small amount of the healthy fats to add a little more flavor, but I don't over-do it. I have tried both fresh and fire-roasted tomatoes - the extra flavor of the roasted is worth it (and a secret ingredient I add to many of my recipes). I also added a can of navy beans to jump the protein up another step and adjusted the spices to accommodated. We served it over a wild brown rice. The left-overs fed us for a week.
Give it a try and let me know what you think or any alterations you tried (preferably something more creative than "Chicken"). Enjoy some cruelty free cooking.