Meatless Monday – Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

This weeks #MeatlessMonday, is brought to you by the blog: Life Tastes Good; Just as it Should. I discovered this little gem back on Oscar’s Sunday. We had an impromptu gathering, and I needed to feed the massive delicious vegan food.

What’s better to balance out a vegan board of veggies, hummus, and avocado artichoke spinach dip, then something spicy? Not much. I’ve made cauliflower bites in the past, and even created my own “Hot Wing Potato” recipe, but decided to branch out.

It’s always good to see what else is going on. You never know, you could learn something new. And new is a good thing.

(NOTE: First, I don’t use Silk Soy Milk. It’s not my favorite, so I used canned coconut milk which is my fav to cook with. You’re welcome to use which ever. Second, there is a ranch dressing on their site, which I’m not listing here. I have my own recipe for this, and I like to use dill pickle juice to thin it. It adds another level of flavor, and it isn’t processed.)

BAKED BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER BITES (by Life Tastes Good)

  • Cooking spray (Or you can use a basting brush and olive oil)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Silk Soymilk (I used canned Coconut Milk)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons dairy-free butter (I use Earth Balance in the Red Tub. It’s Soy Free)
  • 1 (5 ounce) bottle cayenne pepper sauce (1/2 Cup plus 2 TBSP)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (I used agave to keep it vegan. You cold also use real maple syrup)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Place an oven-safe rack on top of the foil and spray generously with cooking spray. (Or use basting brush and oil to turn rack into a non-stick surface)
  2. Prepare the batter for the cauliflower by combining 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup Silk Soymilk (or coconut milk), 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, & 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper. Whisk until smooth and thickened. Gently toss the cauliflower with the batter, being sure to coat the cauliflower thoroughly.
  3. Place the coated cauliflower onto the prepared rack, being sure to leave space between each one. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower starts to brown.
  4. While the cauliflower is baking, melt 3 tablespoons dairy-free butter and mix with 1 (5 ounce=1/2 C plus 2 TBSP) bottle of cayenne pepper sauce and 1 tablespoon honey (swap honey for agave or real maple syrup to make it vegan). Whisk to combine. Give it a taste and adjust the flavors to your liking. When the cauliflower is ready, remove it from the oven and toss with the hot sauce mixture.
  5. Spray the rack with cooking spray again and place the cauliflower back on the rack. Put back in the oven for 10 more minutes until browned to your liking. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a serving dish with the Dairy-Free Ranch Dip and enjoy!

 

MY RANCH DIP:

  • 1 Cup Vegan Mayo — I like Just Mayo. It’s my favorite.
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 dill
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Dill Pickle Juice to thin
  • Sal & Pepper to taste

Place vegan mayo in a bowl. Add all the spices, stir until mixed completely. Use dill pickle juice to thin to your liking

This is a perfect, healthy, snack great for entertaining or as a side for dinner.

What type of Vegan are you? (Part 2)

After my post last week, I decided to hop online and post on my favorite Vegan Group on Facebook. I asked them, “What type of vegan do you consider yourself?” To be honest, I expected back a handful of replies that said, “I’m just a vegan” or “I do it for the animals” or even, “I want to lose weight.

Close to 300 replies later, I have a list I didn’t even know existed. My little 2 part series will be 5 parts–this being number 2 on the list.

What Type of Vegan are You? Ethical or Dietary.

ETHICAL VEGAN: This is why I’m vegan. I’m an ethical vegan. At least that’s how it all started. Ten years in, as I grow older, the dietary aspects have started to play a role. But for me, when people say, “Why did you become vegan?” the answer is always the same.

I did it for the animals. I did it for the Earth.

What is an Ethical Vegan? It’s a person who decided to give up animal based products–all of them, not just food. No leather, wool, cashmere, silk–all of these products come from animals. I don’t wear fur, I really hate Uggs (I also think they’re ugly, but that’s besides the point), and I avoid things containing lanolin, gelatin, whey, and honey. I go the extra mile, meaning I don’t only mean cute fuzzy animals–I mean human animals as well. I go all the way. I don’t have diamond. I don’t shop at places like Forever 21 or Walmart. I am not a fan of Sam’s Club or other companies who won’t pay their workers a livable wage. That’s me. That was my decision. I’d like to make this very clear, when I meet people who don’t walk the same path as me, I don’t judge. My purpose on this planet has nothing to do with judging anyone but myself. The life I live is a lined with the decisions I made–they define me. I, however, don’t make choices for you or anyone else. (Well, unless your my kid. But once he’s old enough, he can make his own choices as well.) Life is hard enough without having someone try to make you feel bad about yourself. I don’t want that for you. I want you to thrive.

Ethical Veganism may seem like extremesim, and to some it is–but to me, it’s the least I can do. I live in a world where I go to three different grocery stores on shopping day. Three of them. I’m not without anything. I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, shoes on my feet. I am blessed, and I know this. This is my way of saying thank you, of giving back. And I’m happy to do it.

 

DIETARY VEGAN: Dietary Veganism is all the rage, just as it should be. Because, after all these years or people giving up animal products to save the animals, doctors learned that by eliminated animal products, people would live much happier and healthier lives. Documentaries like FORKS OVER KNIVES, WHAT THE HEALTH, & VEGUCATED came to be–beautiful teaching tools that showed the world we can over come all sorts of diseases, just by changing your diet.

As I grow older, watching my child go from tiny baby to nearly ten year old, dietary veganism had become very important to me. I live with a junk food vegan. If it was up to him we’d have pizza, processed burgers, hot dogs, and sausages every day of the week. And once, not to long ago, we did.

Then my hair started breaking, thinning, falling out.

A Dietary Vegan is a person who decided to take their own lives into their two hands and say enough is a enough. A healthy vegan diet has been shown to reverse chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. It can be the tool to help you lose that weight. To make your heart healthier.

 

Above I said I was ethical for animals and other people–well, always remember to be kind to yourself. I’m a Dietary Vegan, because of that. I care about me, about my husband, and my son. I want to see him grow up, have a family, turn into whatever he’s supposed to be.

The many levels of veganism will take more than one post to cover, so please come back next week to learn more about the world of the High Carb Low Fat (HCLF) Vegan and the Plant-Based Whole Food No Oil (PBWFNO) Vegan. There is no wrong way to start on the Plant-Based Vegan Path, but it is nice to have the tools to maintain the lifestyle you want to be in.

Thanks for reading, and always remember, be the change in your life. You deserve it.

Meatless Monday – Banana Bread

Growing up, banana bread was a staple in my house. Why? Because it’s a delicious way to use up all those old bananas you forgot to finish eating. And if there is one thing I love to do, it’s to eat leftovers and use up ingredients lying around my house–rather than throwing them out. Waste not, want not!

So, this MEATLESS MONDAY, I give you the Vegan Banana Bread recipe I came up with to fill the banana bread void that formed when I stopped eating dairy and eggs.

DELICIOUS VEGAN BANANA BREAD:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (like Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (or 3/4 cup unrefined sugar and 1 TBSP molasses.)
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan using vegan butter. In a large bowl use a whisk to combine flour, baking soda, and salt–set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together vegan butter and brown sugar. Fold in apple sauce and mashed bananas. Continue to fold until all wet ingredients are well blended.

Slowly stir flour mixture into the banana mixture. Stir until all dry ingredients are moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

 

This weeks #MEATLESSMONDAY recipe will fall under the “Junk Food Vegan” tag. Does that mean you shouldn’t make it? Of course not, but always remember to eat sweets in moderation. For me, the flavor of this bread will always bring be back to my 9-year-old-self in the kitchen with my Grandma. Me balancing on a kitchen chair, on my knees, a piece of warm banana bread slathered with too much butter, and her dipping her slice into a mug of hot tea. Food is about family, memories, socializing. It brings us together to celebrate, to share happy and sad moments.

Yes, for some, veganism is about living an ethical life–for others and yourself. So always be kind. A little bit of kindness, and warm banana bread, goes a long way.

What type of Vegan are you? (part 1)

Years ago I reviewed vegan and vegetarian restaurants for a local paper in my old home town. One stop I made was at a small dive bar known for the PBR beer, loud music, and amazing vegan food. Of all the restaurants I visited, this one stood out because the staff wasn’t the friendliest. They were quick to throw out judgement, but reeled when it was handed back. Not a great attitude to have when you’re working to spread your name.

Ignoring the tension, I interviewed the woman in charge of making the vegan food anyway, because it was my job. And after it was made it clear we would never be best friends, she commented that her technique was ‘controversial,’ and I took a deep breath and said, ‘everything vegan is controversial.’ Because it is, even now–nine years later.

She was a certain type of vegan. A radical Vegan. The Vegan who attacks first and asks questions later. I am not that vegan, but that’s the thing with veganism, like so many other facets of life, it’s not so simple. This series of posts are intended to help show those different facets of veganism without prejudiced. To help you find your footing on your plant-based journey.

And the best place to start is the beginning:

A MINI-VEGAN HISTORY

In 1944, Donald Watson co-founded the Vegan Society in England. A society that still exists to this day. The word “VEGAN” was coined, because of the bastardization of the word “VEGETARIAN.” To be a vegetarian means you only eat vegetables, but over many years, little by little, the meat industry snuck their products into the term. “You don’t have to kill chickens to eat their eggs! They’re vegetarian. You don’t have to kill a cow to drink milk and eat cheese. They’re vegetarian, too! And bees… are they really animals?”

After years of this, people like Donald Watson were fed up, and started a new movement–veganism. Now, here we are 74 years later and new terms and definitions are forming again.

WHAT TYPE OF VEGAN ARE YOU?

The militant vegans are easy to pick out, but that’s not what I’m referring to here. When I ask ‘what type of vegan are you’ I mean: Do you eat processed meat substitutes? Are you a whole food vegan? Are you only temporary vegan to lose weight? Are you vegan for health, or the animals, or both?

First off, there is no wrong answer. Why you’ve decided to walk a plant-based path, entering the world of veganism, is a personal choice. One we must respect in ourselves and those around us.

Second, always remember yelling only makes the world loud, and loud makes it hard to hear. Listening goes a long way.

Here is the first part of my list of different walks in the world of Veganism:

  • WHOLE FOOD PLANT-BASED VEGAN: Please don’t confuse the term “whole food” with the grocery store. And always remember, Whole Foods isn’t a health food store, they are a major grocery chain who has a health food section. In the label above, WHOLE FOOD PLANT-BASED VEGAN means you only eat all natural whole–never been processed–food.

When first starting out, the idea of becoming a Whole Food Plant-Based Vegan can feel and sound daunting. After as many years living as an omnivore, you’ve removed all animal products (dairy, eggs, meat, honey) and with them, you’ve removed almost all the recipes you’ve ever known how to make. BUT, the feeling will pass. We feel like this because we’re under prepared. Luckily, its 2018. With the information age at hand, we can hop online and find solutions to these problems.

My very favorite WHOLE FOOD PLANT-BASED VEGAN resource is FORKS OVER KNIVES. This documentary rocked my world, and I was already vegan at the time. Released in 2011, the FOK film explores the world of obesity and disease, and how it can be fixed by eating whole, nutritious, plant-based foods. [You can watch Forks Over Knives on netflix or place a copy on hold at your local library.] This documentary is back by facts, and if that isn’t enough, their website (and app) are incredible–AND FREE.

  • JUNK FOOD VEGAN: And what I mean by “JUNK FOOD” is, “I like meat substitutes.” Well, I’m not going to sit here and pretend eating processed food is good for you–even if it says PLANT-BASED in bold green lettering on the package, but this is also a type of veganism. One that should be done in moderation.

Like I said in the last section, making a leap from what you grew up on into the unknown world of Plant-Based Living, is hard. So, don’t beat yourself up if you slip and go eat meat. Look at it as a transition. And that is when meat substitutes come in handy. They help bridge the gap from your old life, to a new, plant filled, new one.

What you need to understand about processed food is, PACKAGING! Oh, isn’t that shiny? That is what marketing is. Don’t be fooled by all the promises. 0% Fat or No SUGAR, translated to high sodium, low to no nutritional content. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. Unless you’re buying a head of broccoli, read the label. One-third of a vegan pizza has 670mg of sodium. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a frozen vegan pizza, but I could eat a whole one in a single sitting–that’s 84% of your daily sodium intake in one meal. Processed food is made to sit on shelves for years. The longer the shelf life the better.

Does this mean I don’t eat a vegan hot dog from time to time? No. I do. I like vegan hot dogs… But I eat processed food in moderation. You’re main diet needs to be filled with whole natural foods. A wonderful resource for TRANSITIONING into a healthy vegan lifestyle is THE ENGINE 2 DIET. Yes, there is a website, but unlike Forks Over Knives, it’s not free. That said, Rip Esselstyn wrote a book, which has a plan to help you get from the beginning to the end. He also participated in a Ted Talk, where he discusses his whole process.

The many levels of veganism will take more than one post to cover, so please come back next week to learn more about the world of the Ethical Vegan and Dietary Vegan. There is no wrong way to start on the Plant-Based Vegan Path, but it is nice to have the tools to maintain the lifestyle you want to be in.

Thanks for reading, and always remember, be the change in your life. You deserve it.

Meatless Monday: Tofu 101

So now you’re vegan and have discovered tofu. You’ve bought a brick. It sits like a squishy white blob on your counter, and you have no idea what to do with it.

tofu-597228_1280

I have a vivid memory of living in my first apartment. My brother and sister came to visit, and we were going to make tofu. (This is circa 1997) We take the brick (as pictured above) placed it on a cookie sheet and popped it into a 350* pre-heated oven, turned on the oven light, and stared at it.

I have no idea what we thought would happen. Maybe after 25 minutes at this temperature it would transform into something majestic and delicious. But no, it remained a block, one that was hot, and I vowed to never eat tofu–again.

Jump forward 21 years, and I crave the stuff. Oh, how times change.

MEATLESS MONDAY: TOFU 101–

Mistake #1 – we had NO idea what to do with tofu. Back in 1997 in Ohio, there wasn’t a whole foods. We shopped at a local chain store, you know the kind that sells turkey basters next to a bag of toy jack? They didn’t have tofu. Hell, they didn’t have soy beans. But its 2018, times have changed, and you can find tofu (pretty much) everywhere.

Mistake #2 – instead of trying to figure out, I mean, it’s not like the world was without vegetarians/vegans at all. So, I went back to how I ate. Lots of side dishes.

Tofu feels daunting because it’s different. The soybeans are processed in a way very similar to cheese, but instead of using dairy, you’re using soy beans.

There are many ways to prepare tofu, the easiest is probably in a ‘scramble.’

TOFU SCRAMBLE:

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of firm Tofu
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • Turmeric
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Remove tofu from water, give it a squeeze. Over a bowl, either use your fingers to break the tofu brick apart into small pieced, or–if you don’t want to use your hands–place brick into a bowl and use a potato masher to break it up.

Heat frying pan on medium heat, add oil and spread around. Add onion and pepper. Saute until onions are translucent, around 5 minutes. Add garlic, stir. Mix in tofu crumbles and mix around. Tofu is a spongy substance, and will absorb whatever flavors you set it in. Sprinkle with Sale and pepper, to your taste. Sprinkle with turmeric. You don’t need a lot! If you’re new to this India Spice, start small. The point of the Turmeric is to give it that ‘egg’ color. Too much and you’ll over power the flavor of your dish.

Serve Immediately.

 

MARINATED PRESSED TOFU:

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of tofu
  • 2 clean dish towels (or paper towels)
  • 2 cutting boards, or 2 dinner plates (I like the cutting boards. I find them easier to use.)

Slice tofu into 1/4″ slices–you’ll have about 5. Cover the first cutting board with dish towel. Place tofu on dish towel. Cover with second dish towel, and then finally second cutting board. Find something heavy to set on top of the cutting board, tofu sandwich. I use our water pitcher and other pots and pans.

Now, here’s the trick. The longer you press the tofu, the dryer it becomes. The dryer it becomes, the more of your marinade the tofu will absorb. Plus, the texture is better (IMO) the longer you press. But, to each their own. If you don’t have all day–press for a minimum of 20 minutes. If you’re super behind–because life can be like that–use the Microwave!

If you MICROWAVE, cut the block in half, microwave on high for 2 MINUTES uncovered.

Now you’re ready for the marinade. If you have a favorite, go for it. I’ve wrote out an easy one below.

EASY MARINADE:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 TBSP Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Dijon Mustard
  • 1 TBSP Maple Syrup

Mix in a bowl, stir to combine. Add Tofu. Let sit for 20 minutes or so. The longer, the better.

When the tofu is ready to go, heat 1 TBSP Olive Oil in a frying pan. Transfer Tofu heated pan, searing each side. Once all side have browned, add remaining marinade and let every simmer until most of the water has evaporated.

Serve with rice or how ever you like!

 

Tofu is a versatile, vegan, food. Is it process? Technically, yes. But in a new Vegan World with vegan burgers, hot dogs, sausages, and more, it’s by far on of the least processed things out there. Remember, some cultures have been using tofu for centuries. Look outside the box you’re used to being it. Explore the world, one dish at a time.

And remember to work to keep it meatless.

Meatless Monday – Black Bean Mushroom Balls

Meatballs–vegan or otherwise–are a versatile meal. Eat them with pasta, in a sandwich, on top of a salad, or all by themselves, Meatballs can be the center of a filling meal. Plus, you can make a batch of meatless meatballs, freeze them, and then take them out one at a time.

By far, the easiest way to ‘veganize’ a meatball is by using beans and mushroom. The below recipe is for both Vegetarians and Vegans–allowing you a little flexibility on your path to complete whole food plant based living.

Black Bean Mushroom “Meatballs”:

  • 1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed or ¾ Cup dried beans, prepared
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms, finely chopped—something meaty like portabella or shitake (hate mushrooms? Leave them out, and add extra black beans)
  • 1/2 cup of bread crumbs (have extra! If you’re using the diced tomatoes, sometimes the dough can get to wet)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 – ½ can crushed tomatoes (to make them vegan. IF YOU’RE USING EGG you won’t need the tomatoes)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (optional) ½ tspn garlic power and ½ tspn of onion power for an extra savory flavor.
  • (optional) ½ tspn liquid smoke

 

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mash black beans with a potato masher, or use a blender if you prefer a smoother texture.  Add egg (or 1/2 can low sodium diced tomatoes if vegan) and mix until fully combined. Fold in mushrooms, salt, pepper and add bread crumbs a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency. The balls should be not too sticky or overly dry. If you add too much bread crumbs, the balls will come out dry and fall apart.

Grease muffin tin with oil–you don’t need a lot. If you don’t have spray oil, put some oil on a napkin, and use the napkin to grease the tins.

Roll mixture into appropriate size balls and place in muffin tin.

Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes. Anything much past that will dry out the balls

Remove from oven and serve along with your choice of marinara sauce.

 

Makes approximately 15 mini “meatballs” or 8-10 larger “meatballs”.

 

SHOPPING LIST:

  • 1 can black beans (low sodium)
  • 1 small package of mushrooms—portabella, shitake, or any mushroom you love
  • Bread Crumbs –choose plain so you can adjust flavors to your liking
  • Egg (if vegetarian)
  • 1 can low sodium diced tomatoes (if vegan)
  • Seasoning of choice (optional)

 

Meatless Monday–Rainbow Spring Rolls

Every time I speak with someone about shifting to a vegan diet–salads are one of the first meals that come up. But if you’re like me, and there are only so many salads you can eat, let me introduce you to your new best friend–Rice Paper!

rice paper

These are lunchbox friendly, kid friendly, and over all easy to make. (and delicious to eat.)

This weeks #MeatlessMonday recipe come from the website Motherhood in Stilettos, and is a delicious and nutritious way to eat all those leafy greens we vegans depend on to get the vitamins and minerals we need to live vibrant lives.

Rainbow Spring Rolls:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, red or white
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 10 spring roll paper
  • 1 cup each julienned cucumber, carrot, red pepper and beet
  • 1 cup fresh basil,or any other of your choosing
  • 1 cup red radish microgreens, or any other of your choosing

For the Maple Sesame Sauce:

  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (coconut aminos would also work, as would Braggs liquid aminos)
  • Fresh ginger, cut into small slivers
  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

For the Spicy Soy Sauce:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce (coconut aminos would also work, as would Braggs liquid aminos)
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Chopped green onions for garnish
  • Toasted sesame seeds
Instructions:
  1. In a medium size pot, add quinoa and 2 cups broth or water, bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and it’s light and fluffy in texture.
  2. Prep vegetables and herbs, set aside
  3. Prepare the Maple Sesame Sauce and the Spicy Soy Sauce by adding all of the sauce ingredients into a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. To assemble spring rolls, pour very hot water into a shallow dish or skillet and immerse rice paper to soften for about 10-15 seconds.
  5. Transfer to a damp tea cloth, paper towel, cutting board or a similar surface and gently spread out into a circle. It may take a little practice, so don’t feel bad if your first few attempts result in a few torn rice papers!
  6. To the bottom third of the wrapper add a generous spoonful of quinoa, and layer carrots,red peppers, cucumber, beets and fresh herbs. Gently fold over once, tuck in edges, and continue rolling until seam is sealed.
  7. Place seam-side down on a serving platter and cover with damp warm towel to keep fresh. Repeat until all fillings are used up – about 8-10 spring rolls total.
  8. Serve with Maple Sesame Sauce and Spicy Soy Sauce

 

Why this is such a great recipe: because you can adjust the filling of the rice paper. It gives you a new level of variety. Plus, they’re portable.

Filling ideas are limitless: purple cabbage, beet root, carrots, kale, spinach, rice, tofu, and on and on and on.

A great place to start on shifting to a plant based life is looking outside what you normally eat. Use this switch to find and try new and interesting food or simply a new way to eat an old food.

Meatless Monday–Kids edition

Let’s face it, getting a kid to eat–meatless or otherwise–can be a chore. At my dinner table I hear a lot of, “I don’t like that,” mixed with, “can’t I just have bread?” And I know I’m not alone.

My son is the picky eater of picky eaters. We’ve gone through a mile long list of tricks in order to get him to try new foods–even visiting a occupational therapist for outside help. And it did, for the most part, help.

But it didn’t change one thing–he’s still a kid. And kids, well, they’re picky.

So, how do you get all those healthy and delicious good foods into your growing child? We instated a new rule in our house:

HOUSE RULE: You don’t have to like it, BUT you have to try it.

When we were in OT he was allowed to ‘lick’ or have ‘mouse bites’ of new foods. A safe and easy introduction to attempting a new flavor, but now, we’ve moved beyond the need to ease our way in. We’ve tasted enough foods to move up to full bites. That is what “trying it” means. He has to take a full bite, chew it, and swallow. The food must touch the tongue, and he’s not allowed to complain. Because, as the rule goes, You don’t have to LIKE it, but ya gotta try it.

Now you have the rule in place, so what do you feed them? Simple, your favorite Meatless Monday recipes. (Probably not that simple, is it?)

How about Chickpea Salad Roll Ups? (suitable for kids of all ages and fantastic in lunch boxes ever where.)

First, the salad (from Oh, She Glows)

[Tip: add a tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast* for added nutrition & a couple teaspoons of Braggs Liquid Aminos for added flavor]

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15-ounce/425 grams) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickle
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons store-bought or homemade vegan mayonnaise (if you’re anti-mayo, switch to apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh dill (optional)
  • 1 1/2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas with a potato masher until flaked in texture.
  2. Stir in the celery, green onions, pickles, bell peppers, mayonnaise, and garlic until combined.
  3. Now, stir in the mustard and dill, and season with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper, adjusting the quantities to taste.

[For the full recipe–follow the link above, or this one.]

Sept Two! Spread it out on a tortilla or sandwich wrap. (I tend to buy the olive oil, organic wraps from Trader Joe’s. They’re kept by the tortillas.)

Spread a thin layer of the chickpeas salad on the wrap. Roll tightly. Cut off ends (because there is never enough filling) and then slice into bite sized pieces.

These roll ups makes a good snack and they travel well.

*Nutritional Yeast!! As a vegan, everyone will ask you about your protein, but it’s never protein that’s an issue. B vitamins are an issues. Taking a supplement, having an injection, or finding other sources of B vitamins is crucial.
One serving (2 TBSPs) of Nutritional Yeast has 130% of your daily B-12 vitamin in take. B-12 is the most elusive B vitamin in all of the vegan diet. Adding two table spoons to different meals will ensure you are getting adequate nutrition. Also, it has a cheese flavor! Add it to popcorn or sprinkle it on mac & cheese.
A cost effective way to buy Nutritional Yeast is in bulk. Check your local health food store to see if they sell in bulk. An online option is Nuts.com. Also remember, a little goes a long way.