• Staci

It's Meatless Monday!

We've all heard the haters. Vegetarian eating is "rabbit food." It's not satisfying. It's too much "healthy," and not enough "taste." Right? That simply isn't true. Or at least it doesn't have to be true.

Let me first say that I am not a vegetarian. However, I do eat meatless several times a week and have been known to order veggie burgers and other vegetarian dishes, and falafel is one of my favourite foods. So, I feel I'm at least somewhat qualified to speak to what makes a great plant-based meal.

If you're looking for a great resource for plant-based recipes -- whether you're a vegan, vegetarian, whether you engage in meatless Monday weekly, or whether you are simply looking for ways to implement more meat-free dishes into your diet -- I have two great resources for you.

The first is Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. If you're familiar with Bittman's books, these hefty tomes are chock-full of amazing recipes that are tasty, diverse, and definitely doable. There's nothing intimidating here. It's all about fresh ingredients, prepared in accessible ways, with extremely delicious results. Perfect for vegetarians and those who enjoy a little bit of everything, there's something for everyone here.

Here's just a sample of what you'll find inside How to Cook Everything Vegetarian:

-- Pasta Primavera

-- Creamy Lemony Pasta

-- Summer Rolls

-- The Simplest Bean Burgers

-- Huevos Rancheros

-- Breakfast Burritos

-- Lentil Samosas

-- Spicy No-Mayo Coleslaw (soooo delicious!)

... and so many more delicious offerings, from breakfast to dessert.

Next up is another book full of veg-friendly recipes: The Edgy Veg: 138 Carnivore-Approved Vegan Recipes. This book takes a slightly different tack than most. The author, Candice Hutchings (who has a YouTube channel you can check out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/stillcurrentstudios) offers a spunky, irreverent, no-apologies approach to vegan cooking and eating. That, and some really, really great recipes.

To give you an idea of the tone of this book, here's a quotation from the introduction:

"We're adults, and we have needs. And these includes include, but are not limited to, a juicy burger, extra fries, and a margarita to wash it all down. You can't eat a kale salad every day, after all."

Preach it, sister! I like kale as much as the next girl, but I agree: You can't live on kale alone.

I don't know that I've ever intentionally eaten a vegan meal in my life, but thanks to this book, I can now honestly say I could confidently incorporate a vegan meal or two into my weekly menu plan.

She starts out by teaching us some basics. By that I mean how to create a vegan versions of things like cream, cheese sauce, and bacon. Yep, I said bacon. From there, she moves into an impressive collection of vegan recipes for every course and occasion.

Here are a few of the recipes that caught my eye:

-- Peanut Butter and Bailey's Pancakes (I mean -- what???? How can THAT not be good?)

-- Southern Biscuits and Gravy

-- Jammin' Jamaican Patties

-- Shredded Hogtown Jackfruit (a vegan nod to pulled pork)

-- The Mack Daddy

-- Crispy Coffee Smoothie

-- Thank You Very Matcha Ice Cream

-- #SweaterWeather Pumpkin Sage Soup

What's that you say? You'd really like the recipe for the #SweaterWeather Pumpkin Sage Soup? Well, hungry readers, I am here to oblige.

Pumpkin Sage Soup

Courtesy of The Edgy Veg: 138 Carnivore Approved Recipes by Candice Hutchings and James Aita © 2017 www.robertrose.ca Available where books are sold.

Serves 4 to 6

I’m lazy AF in the winter. As soon as October hits, I head straight into a six-month hibernation. I don’t shave my legs and avoid going outside, and cooking becomes a serious chore. During SAD season, I like to hack dinner and spend one afternoon making soup that I can freeze. For all you fellow bears out there, this recipe is a great place to start.

  • High-powered blender

2 tbsp coconut oil 30 mL

1 large white onion, sliced 1

4 garlic cloves, minced 4

2 tsp coriander seeds 10 mL

1 tsp chili powder 5 mL

2 tbsp dried sage 30 mL

1 celery stalk, chopped 1

2 carrots, chopped 2

1 yellow-flesh potato, peeled and diced 1

2 vegetable bouillon cubes 2

4 cups water 1 L

6 cups pumpkin purée (fresh 
or canned) 1.5 L

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 15 mL

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh sage leaves (optional)

Photo credit: Brilynn Ferguson

1. In a large stock pot, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes, until translucent. Add coriander, chili powder, sage, celery, carrots and potato; sauté for 5 minutes, until the potato starts to stick to the pot.

2. Add bouillon cubes, water, pumpkin, lemon juice, 2 tsp (10 mL) sea salt and 1 tsp (5 mL) pepper; stir to combine. Bring to a boil; immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly.

3. In three batches, carefully transfer soup to blender. Remove the plug in the lid and blend on High, until completely smooth. Transfer back to the stock pot, warm over medium heat and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh sage leaves, if desired.

Hack It!

If you’re a spice freak like I am, drizzle some spicy chile oil over the top before serving, then sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

To make pumpkin purée: Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Cut a large pumpkin in half and place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for about 45 minutes, until skin is dark and flesh is soft. Remove from the oven, let cool for 15 minutes and scoop flesh from skin with a spoon. Transfer to a food processor and purée until smooth.

This is just a sample of the awesome recipes in this book! And in case you're wondering, there IS a kale salad recipe in here, aptly named "The Token Kale Salad." :)

So there you have it: Two great books for all meat-free meal planning. If you purchase these books (and you totally should) comment below with your favourite recipes!

Happy Meat-Freeing!

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