Revised and Expanded May 2008
Pack your bags! We're heading for Vegetaria! We'll hop into our green electric vehicle and travel the winding road that brings us into the tiny country of lush green valleys overflowing with gardens of fruits and vegetables, a land where people are happy Vegetarians.
Citizens of Vegetaria are friendly, energetic, and quite healthy. They frequently offer a special welcome to newcomers. Don't be surprised if several invite you to dinner.Visitors who come to Vegetaria out of curiosity, experience new vitality, increased energy, and a sense of euphoria.
Because Vegetarians rarely need to visit a doctor, the doctors who live in Vegetaria have to moonlight as librarians or shoe repair specialists to earn a living. And since a great many of the Vegetarians enjoy reading and wear out the heels and soles of their shoes with their daily exercise regimen, doctors can do quite well in their moonlighting jobs. While in their offices, the physicians are quite busy and contented applying band-aids to children's skinned knees.
Vegetaria is not a large country but is quite diverse. While in Vegetaria you can visit many interesting villages such as Beanburg, Tofu Township, Veggieville, Fruitopolis, Brown Rice City, and Almond Orchard. There are others, too, like Squash Corners, Orange Grove, and Tomato Town, but these are much smaller, though quite interesting as well. Although each village grows a wide variety of plant-based foods to supply its residents, each has developed its own unique cuisine that has earned the village its unusual name.
You'll find Vegetarians are effervescent, stimulating, and creative people with a pleasant outlook on life. No doubt, you'll notice they are quite exuberant when you ask about their cuisine or their favorite foods. They adore sharing recipes and will be happy to pass on their Aunt Suzie's special Veggie Patty recipe or tell you in detail how to make their own favorite Butternut Squash Soup. As a matter of fact, cooking is one of their favorite activities along with hiking, swimming, and taking music lessons.
Aside from these seemingly mundane interests, Vegetarians are highly intelligent and enjoy engaging in philosophical discussions, political bantering, and theatrical critique.Those eager newcomers to Vegetaria are mostly from Carnivoria and want to learn how to live healthier more active lives. Because so many Carnivorians were seeking guidance, the Vegetarian leaders decided to convene and create a helpful guide with small steps that are easy to master.
You, too, can be a student in Vegetaria. Wisely, the elders of Vegetaria devised a process of simple steps to aid newcomers. Just browse through the guide below, and decide where you might like to begin your Vegetarian journey. By traveling this course you will easily learn the ways of Vegetaria in a gradual manner and be able to settle in comfortably.
Explore the world of TOFU. Made from soybeans, TOFU is very high in protein; the firmer it is, the higher the protein content and the less water it contains. When processed with calcium sulfate, tofu is a good source of calcium. Tofu is one of the most versatile foods available for vegetarians.
Prepare TOFU in any of the following ways: marinate, sauté, steam, grill, braise, roast, bake, boil, stir-fry, deep fry, mash, blend, or puree in the food processor. You can make an outstanding vegetarian chili with textured vegetable protein (a defatted soy protein) that tastes just like the real thing. See recipe below.
Notice other meat alternatives in the deli case of your natural food market. SEITAN, made from wheat gluten, is high in protein and can lend a meat-like texture to many dishes. SEITAN can be sliced, ground, chopped, or diced and will readily absorb definitive seasonings when cooked in a stir-fry, a casserole, or in a well-seasoned sauce.
TEMPEH is a fermented soy-bean cake that improves with marinating and makes a hearty high-protein substitute for meat. It can be baked, broiled, chopped, shredded, sautéed, stir fried, and braised. TEMPEH is an excellent addition to casseroles, pastas, stir-fries, salads, wraps, soups, and ethnic dishes like tacos, burritos, chili, sushi, and curries. Try marinating chopped TEMPEH and adding it to a pita sandwich along with chopped or shredded veggies and your favorite dressing.
NUTS AND SEEDS are excellent meat replacements, high in protein, fiber, essential fatty acids, and vitamin E. Nuts are an outstanding source of minerals, including calcium, iron, zinc, and copper. A serving of two ounces of nuts several times a week lowers the risk for heart attack, diabetes, and gallstones, and lowers total and LDL cholesterol. Make sure the NUTS AND SEEDS you purchase are raw, not roasted in oil or salted. To keep them fresh for several weeks, refrigerate them to prevent rancidity.
INSTEAD OF BEEF BROTH:
Choose low-sodium canned or packaged vegetable broth or create your own flavorful broth with a base of vegetables and water. To season the broth, add a small amount of TAMARI, BRAGG LIQUID AMINOS, or low sodium SOY SAUCE, a dash of red wine, a clove of garlic, perhaps a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and season with your favorite herbs, salt, and pepper.
To turn the broth into GRAVY, thicken by combining equal parts of cornstarch or arrowroot and water (about 2 tablespoons each for 2 cups broth) and stirring into a smooth, runny paste. Add the paste to gently simmering broth a little at a time, stirring constantly for about one minute, or until thickened to desired consistency.
VEGETABLE BOUILLON CUBES in imitation beef flavor are easily dissolved in boiling water to create a quick beef flavored broth. Plant-based POWDERED BEEF FLAVORING is also a quick method for making beef broth. Both are available in natural food markets. Look for low-sodium options.
INSTEAD OF HAMBURGERS:
Awaken to the joy of VEGGIE BURGERS made from soy protein. They won't really fool you into believing they are beef, but they sure are impressive substitutes. Enjoy your VEGGIE BURGER on a whole-grain hamburger bun or tucked into a pita with all the usual fixings like lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup, and mustard, and top it with a slice of vegan cheese, if desired. You won't miss the beef!
Several vegetarian companies are employing SOY PROTEIN to create HAMBURGER-STYLE PATTIES. Check the frozen food section of your local market or the natural food market to discover an array of vegetable patties to slip into your burger bun. Try them all to find your favorites.
Here are some brands to look for: Wildwood Tofu Veggie Burgers, Maui Taro Burgers, Amy's Texas Burger, Natural Touch Vegan Burger, Boca Burger Vegan Original, Gardenburger California Burger, Gardenburger Flame Grilled.
INSTEAD OF HOT DOGS:
VEGETARIAN HOT DOGS made from SOY PROTEIN are produced by several food manufacturers. Many are fat free. Explore the different brands to seek out the one you like best, tuck it into a whole-grain hot dog bun with all your favorite fixings, and enjoy a cholesterol-free meal low in saturated fat. You can even shred some VEGAN CHEESE into the bun for an extra special treat.
Some brands to look for include: Lightlife, Yves Veggie Cuisine, and Tofurky.
INSTEAD OF GROUND BEEF:
Choose TEXTURED VEGETABLE PROTEIN, often referred to as TVP, to make comfort foods like Sloppy Joe's or Chili without the "Carne." TVP is available in tidbits of dried and defatted soybean meal that is highly refined. Once rehydrated, TVP resembles the texture of ground beef. Almost anything you make with ground beef can be recreated with TVP. Simply pour boiling water or vegetable broth over the dried, minced soy protein, and in 5 minutes it will be ready to add to stir-fries, stews, casseroles, sauces, and soups. With a little kitchen magic and a good recipe, you can even form the TVP into a soy patty. Though the TVP has no flavor of its own, it absorbs any seasonings you add. For best results, cook the TVP in well-seasoned sauces with a tomato base, chili, or flavorful marinades.
INSTEAD OF LUNCHMEAT:
Explore the many SOY BASED LUNCHMEAT ALTERNATIVES made by Yves Veggie Cuisine, Tofurky, or LightLife. Some are very low fat, some even fat-free. Many of these alternatives contain wheat gluten, an excellent source of protein. As an added benefit, many of these replacements have fat content as low as .5 grams per serving. You may be delighted to learn that you can find soy- and gluten-based alternatives for sliced PIZZA PEPPERONI, BACON, CANADIAN BACON, TURKEY, SALAMI, BALOGNA, and even HAM.
INSTEAD OF SAUSAGES:
Venture into the land of GIMMELEAN, a one-pound chub that comes in sausage or beef flavor. Made by LightLife, this product is fat-free and can be sliced into patties and browned lightly in one tablespoon of oil. For a great start to the day, use these SAUSAGE PATTIES for breakfast along with some whole-grain bread and fresh fruit. It's quick, delicious, and nutritious.
Made from soy and wheat gluten, GIMMELEAN offers flavors and textures that are superbly satisfying. It freezes well and keeps for several days in the refrigerator. GIMMELEAN can also be crumbled into a stir-fry or formed into "meatballs." For meatballs, add breadcrumbs and any of your favorite seasonings and brown in a small amount of vegetable oil.
TOFURKY is another brand that manufactures three flavors of GOURMET SAUSAGES: Beer Brats, Sweet Italian, and Kielbasa.
Explore the multitude of frozen chicken substitutes made from SOY PROTEIN and WHEAT GLUTEN. Tastes and textures are very close to the real thing, and you benefit from a reduced intake of saturated fat and eliminate the cholesterol altogether.
LEGUMES include the whole arena of beans, lentils, and split green or yellow peas and are delicious, high-protein alternatives to animal products. Begin by choosing one night a week to prepare a dish that features LEGUMES as the centerpiece of your meal. Build a special dish by combining your beans with vegetables and your favorite seasonings or sauces, and come away from the table feeling comfortably full rather than heavy and overstuffed.
As you become more accustomed to plant-based foods, you may enjoy two or three nights or even whole days of eating completely vegetarian.
The varieties of BEANS are numerous and each one has a uniquely different taste and texture. Explore black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, lima beans, fava beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, great northern beans, navy beans, yellow and green split peas, and lentils of many colors and sizes. These are only a few--the list contains many more colorful bean varieties. For information on cooking legumes, see Cooking Grains and Beans
INSTEAD OF CHICKEN BROTH:
Purchase a VEGETARIAN IMITATION CHICKEN BROTH, available in powdered form that can be dissolved in water. Alternatively, create your own beginning with two or three cups of water. Add a dash of soy sauce, some nutritional yeast, a touch of lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. For a creamy style broth, add some soy milk.
To turn the broth into GRAVY, stir together equal parts of cornstarch or arrowroot and water (about 2 tablespoons each for 2 cups liquid) into a smooth runny paste. Add the paste a little at a time to gently simmering broth, stirring constantly for about one minute, or until thickened. Simmer gently for one minute longer.
Many Asian markets will have FISH FLAVORED SOY PROTEIN in the freezer section. Innovatively created to even look like the real thing, several varieties come in fish-steak slabs with nori seaweed wrapped around the outer edge to resemble the skin of a fish. However, it is important to read the ingredient labels very carefully. Some of the imitation fish may contain whey or casein, milk protein used as binders.
On your bread or toast
Other bread spread alternatives include NUT BUTTERS (peanut, almond, macadamia, or cashew). Purchase brands that contain only roasted nuts. Avoid those with unnecessary ingredients like sugar, salt, and partially hydrogenated oils. Nut butters are delicious and healthful high-protein sources.
Consider SEED BUTTERS made from roasted sesame seeds or sunflower seeds. TAHINI (sesame seed paste) is a good source of calcium and tastes great on whole grain pita bread or crackers. If the TAHINI seems a little bland, try a light sprinkle of salt or herbs such ground cumin, just as the ancient Romans did. SUNFLOWER SEED BUTTER is available in plain or flavored varieties.
Explore the world of tasty TOFU SPREADS on your whole-grain bread or crackers. Look for them in natural food markets or prepare them at home with ease in your food processor. See recipes below
FRUIT BUTTER is a delicious spread easy and quick to prepare at home. FRUIT BUTTERS can also stand in for jam or jelly on nut butter sandwiches. See recipe below
HUMMUS, a tasty Middle Eastern dish made from garbanzo beans, offers yet another healthy alternative to spread over breads, toast, crackers, or even whole-grain pita bread. See recipes below
FAVA BEANS provide the base for an exceptionally tasty spread that is easily prepared in a food processor with a minimum of ingredients. See recipe below
On your sandwich
Cooking, Sautéing, and Baking
Switch to EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, COLD PRESSED ORGANIC CANOLA OIL, or UNREFINED PEANUT OIL in small quantities, such as one or two tablespoons, when sautéing. For health considerations, the less oil used, the better. Though these three oils mentioned are high in monounsaturated fats (peanut oil is high in polyunsaturated fast), they do contain some saturated fat, a concern when preventing or reversing heart disease.
For baking pies, cakes, cookies, and quickbreads, choose EARTH BALANCE NATURAL BUTTERY SPREAD, EARTH BALANCE SHORTENING, or SOY GARDEN made by EARTH BALANCE. Each of these non-hydrogenated margarines is plant-based and contains no cholesterol. The Natural Buttery Spread and the Shortening are made from expeller pressed soybean, palm fruit, canola, and olive oils. Soy Garden is made from crushed soybeans and other vegetable oils.
On your cereal
You can also enjoy RICE MILK, OAT MILK, MULTI-GRAIN MILK, and ALMOND MILK, or make your own nut milk in just a few seconds in the blender. See recipe below
With so many brands of MILK SUBSTITUTES available, it's easy to discover some favorites. When searching for variety, choose SOYMILK, RICE MILK, OAT MILK, and ALMOND MILK. Each one is light and pleasing. Be sure to read labels carefully. Some of these alternative milks are rather high in sugar.
PURE FRUIT JUICES that are truly 100% juice provide a pleasant change from water.To avoid consuming excess sugar, limit yourself to one glass a day, especially if you are watching your calorie intake.
A cup of hot or iced HERBAL TEA can be a refreshing beverage any time of day. COFFEE SUBSTITUTES offer pleasant beverage alternatives and are caffeine-free. Most are made from natural ingredients like roasted barley, chicory, and rye.
In your hot beverages
To create cream sauce with a delicate cheese flavor, add a tablespoon or two of VEGETARIAN SUPPORT NUTRITIONAL YEAST FLAKES (contains vitamin B12) along with any seasonings like dried or fresh herbs and spices to the soymilk. Then bring the sauce to a simmer and thicken, if desired.
Consider RICE MILK, OAT MILK, SOYMILK, vegan VEGETABLE BROTH, and HOMEMADE NUT MILKS as alternatives to dairy products for sauces, creamed soups, and braising liquids. Each will offer pleasing flavors and textures. Experiment to discover your favorites. You'll still enjoy richness in flavor while lowering your intake of saturated fat.
Other blender dressing suggestions begin with a base of cashews, macadamias, Brazil nuts, pecans, or pine nuts and include your favorite seasonings. Consider fresh vegetables or fruits as a delicious base for tasty salad dressings. Tomatoes, red bell peppers, zucchini, or cucumbers as well as fresh fruits like oranges, tangerines, peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, cherries, berries, and cranberries all add uniqueness to a salad dressing.
If you have an ice cream maker, you can prepare endless varieties of exceptional homemade ice cream with nuts and nut milks. Try ALMONDS, HAZELNUTS, PECANS, CASHEWS, WALNUTS, MACADAMIAS, BRAZIL NUTS, OR COCONUT along with fresh fruits in season. VICE CREAM by Jeff Rogers offers a banquet of vegan recipes for making homemade ice cream; some are even raw.
Foods prepared at home have a special touch. Make your own delicious mousse or parfait desserts with fresh fruits and SILKEN TOFU or SOYMILK. See recipe below.
INSTEAD OF CREAM CHEESE:
SOY-BASED VEGAN CREAM CHEESE alternatives taste remarkably like the real thing. FOLLOW YOUR HEART, TOFUTTI BETTER THAN CREAM CHEESE, and SOYMAGE are some brands available. For some fresh new ideas, you may want to switch to one or more of the SOY SPREADS that you can prepare at home. See recipe below
INSTEAD OF SOUR CREAM:
Purchase a dairy-free, SOY-BASED SOUR CREAM or make your own low-fat version in just a few seconds in your food processor. FOLLOW YOUR HEART, SOYMAGE, and TOFUTTI SOUR SUPREME are some of the brands available. Use your soy sour cream over fruit salad, as a garnish for soups, on potato latkes, on baked potatoes, or as a base for party dips. Homemade sour cream is quick and easy to make. See recipe below
INSTEAD OF DAIRY-BASED HIGH-FAT CHEESE:
Switch to a VEGAN CHEESE such as FOLLOW YOUR HEART, CHEEZLY, SHEESE, SOYMAGE, GALAXY RICE CHEESE, and VEGANRELLA. Occasionally, newer brands enter the marketplace. Though the textures of vegan cheeses will differ from familiar dairy-based cheese, you will appreciate the lower fat content and healthier plant-based alternatives without cholesterol.
Purchase MOCK EGG SALAD made from tofu or prepare your own version from an easy, basic recipe below with regular or firm tofu. Alter the seasonings or add your own special touch and it becomes your original creation. See recipe below
Cooking -- Imitation Scrambled Eggs:
You can also replace 1 egg with any of the following options:
2 to 4 tablespoons of MASHED TOFU
Follow Your Heart VEGENAISE is a totally vegan alternative that tastes just like the real thing. This product is vegetable oil and soy-based. Though this mayo alternative does not contain cholesterol, it is typically high in fat. Alternatively, make your own low-fat SOY MAYONNAISE in just a few seconds in your food processor. See recipe below
By choosing from the multitude of WHOLE-GRAIN BREADS you'll be gaining healthy fiber plus more vitamins and minerals from these natural grains. Look for words like "whole grain wheat flour" and "100% whole wheat flour" rather than "enriched wheat flour." Seek out multigrain breads for their wholesome richness in flavor and benefit from the extra nutrition. When reading the nutritional labels, choose breads that have at least three grams of fiber per slice, preferably four or five grams. The higher the fiber content of your food, the better for your digestive tract.
INSTEAD OF REGULAR DURAM WHEAT PASTA:
Experiment with the many WHOLE-GRAIN PASTAS that may be new to you by discovering those made from whole wheat, quinoa, spelt, rice, corn, buckwheat, and barley. The whole-grain pastas have a higher fiber content as well as more vitamins and minerals. You can use these ALTERNATIVE PASTAS just as you would regular pasta as an entrée, in salads, and in soups such as minestrone, though you will discover that the textures have a little "tooth" to them. When using these pastas as leftovers, in most cases they will need to be rehydrated in hot or boiling water for a minute or two before adding to hot or cold salads or entrées.
INSTEAD OF REFINED GRAIN CEREALS:
Explore the myriad of CEREALS made from WHOLE GRAINS. You'll notice the fiber content will be higher than those made from refined grains. You will also benefit from a full range of B vitamins lacking in refined grains, especially folic acid, well known for its importance in preventing birth defects such as spina bifida.
Most whole grain HOT CEREALS take no more than five minutes to prepare. Old-fashioned oatmeal makes a great start to the day, and its soluble fiber helps to lower cholesterol naturally. Tasty whole-grain cereals include oats, wheat, buckwheat, barley, brown rice, and rye. When the ingredient list contains the words, "enriched wheat flour," you'll know it's not made from whole grain. Look for the words "100% WHOLE WHEAT."
SCOTTISH STEEL-CUT OAT cereals require about 30 minutes to cook. but when you are pressed for time, try this excellent, no-cook breakfast of SCOTTISH STEEL-CUT OATS. Soak a serving portion of the oats overnight in water to cover. Next morning, drain the water and add one or more of the following: chopped fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts, flaxseed meal, soymilk, nut milk, rice milk, hemp milk, or oat milk.
Discover an amazing variety of nutritious WHOLE GRAIN COLD CEREALS. Grains that may be new to you might include kamut, quinoa, amaranth, spelt, and millet. These are often combined with wheat, corn, or oats to bring you an array of tasty breakfast cereals. Read the ingredient lists carefully to avoid those cereals containing excess sugar.
INSTEAD OF WHITE RICE:
Discover the mosaic of WHOLE GRAINS that take no longer to cook than white rice, while some may require up to one hour of cooking.
The quick cooking ones, those that cook in 15 to 20 minutes, include BUCKWHEAT (or kasha), BULGUR, BARLEY FLAKES, TEFF, AMARANTH and QUINOA.
BROWN RICE varieties, from long grain Basmati to the short grain glutinous rice to the unique Japonica type, require about 35 to 45 minutes, as do oat groats and cracked wheat. Polenta (corn grits) requires about 25 to 30 minutes to cook.
Long-cooking grains that require 50 to 60 minutes of cooking include PEARL BARLEY, WILD RICE, WHEAT BERRIES, SPELT BERRIES, and RYE BERRIES.
Unfortunately, when many people think of snacks, they picture something sugar-sweetened or highly salted. Excess sugar and salt have dire health consequences. Fortunately, there are a multitude of healthier options.
Treat yourself to a piece FRESH FRUIT in season instead of unhealthy fat and calorie-loaded potato or corn chips.
RAW NUTS OR SEEDS in small quantities such as one or two handfuls a day are nutritious and satisfying. Avoid nuts that are roasted in oil--these may contain partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats that may become artery clogging. These trans fats raise LDLs (the bad cholesterol) and even lower the HDLs (the good cholesterol).
Pass on the salted nuts as well. It's easy to consume an excess of salt that contributes to high blood pressure. Salt also disguises the rich flavor of nuts in their natural state. Dry roasted nuts and seeds are delicious with a pleasant crunchiness and enhanced flavor that make a nutritious snack. To dry-roast nuts at home, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4), place the nuts on a baking sheet, place it in the oven, and roast for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the nuts to a dish to cool completely, and they will become crisp.
AIR-POPPED POPCORN is an ideal snack. If you're used to heavily seasoned popped corn, you may appreciate the opportunity to discover the true taste of popped corn without the cover-ups. Many seasoned popcorn varieties contain partially hydrogenated oils and high sodium content.
Commercially made cookies, cakes, and candies may contain eggs, dairy products, and partially hydrogenated oils. Discover the joy of vegan baking without eggs, dairy products, and trans fats. Check out the Vegparadise Bookshelf for an extensive listing of vegan cookbooks.
Choose a NATURAL PEANUT BUTTER, ALMOND BUTTER, or CASHEW BUTTER to spread on celery sticks, endive leaves, whole-grain breads, crackers, banana slices, romaine lettuce leaves, or apple slices. Avoid nut butters with partially hydrogenated oils, sweeteners, preservatives, or salt. The rich flavor of natural nut butters is so rewarding, you won't miss the unnecessary add-ins.
Discover the natural whole-grain flavor and high fiber of RYE-CRISP, RYE-VITA, KAVLI, or WASA crackers instead of commercially made crackers that may contain refined flours and partially hydrogenated oils. These natural whole-grain crackers are made from 100% whole rye. Top a rye cracker with NATURAL NUT BUTTER and slices of bananas for a delicious snack.
There's always CARROT AND CELERY STICKS, but have you ever tasted the crisp sweetness of fresh, raw KOHLRABI slices or the pungent flavor of FENNEL, mistakenly called anise. Enjoy them in the spring when they are at their peak flavor. Even a homegrown vine-ripened TOMATO makes a satisfying, juicy, and deliciously sweet snack.
EVAPORATED CANE JUICE, also known as ORGANIC SUGAR, is sugar cane that has the water removed or evaporated. This sugar has not gone through the last step in the typical refining process of granulated sugar. That step involves clarifying the sugar over charred animal bones to make it white. While evaporated cane juice may have an off-white color, it is totally vegan and has the same level of sweetness as granulated sugar. Use it just as you would granulated sugar.
FLORIDA CRYSTALS is a natural milled, unrefined certified organic cane sugar that naturally occurs in crystals. This sugar contains trace nutrients from the sugarcane plant and has no additives or preservatives. Florida Crystals can be used for cooking and baking just as you would granulated sugar. Environmentally conscious, this company's product is certified carbon-free to help reduce carbon emissions.
SUCANAT is a light brown sugar alternative that can be used like brown sugar. Made from whole cane juice, SUCANAT contains 100% of the natural molasses. It even stays soft longer than brown sugar.
MAPLE SYRUP is the natural sap taken from maple trees, and then boiled until syrupy. It's an ideal sweetener for pancakes, waffles, smoothies, beverages, and all varieties of baked goods. Use 2/3 cup to 3/4 cup in place of 1 cup of granulated sugar. When baking, add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of maple syrup. Purchase U.S. organic maple syrup to avoid illegal formaldehyde pellets some producers add during processing. Once the container is opened, keep it refrigerated.
MAPLE SUGAR (DEHYDRATED MAPLE SYRUP) is in crystal form and makes an excellent sugar alternative. Use cup for cup as you would granulated or brown sugar.
AGAVE NECTAR is a liquid sweetener similar to honey and is extracted from the agave plant, a large succulent with thick fleshy leaves and spiny edges. In recipes, use 25% less AGAVE NECTAR or 3/4 cup in place of 1 cup of granulated sugar. Reduce the recipe's liquid by one third and lower the oven temperature of baked goods by 25 degrees.
BARLEY MALT is a thick honey-like substance made from barley that has gone through a soaking and drying process to extract its sugar. Considered half as sweet as granulated sugar, BARLEY MALT is an ideal substitute when you need a delicate sweetness. Use 1 1/3 cups BARLEY MALT in place of 1 cup of granulated sugar and reduce the recipe's liquid by one-fourth. When baking, add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda per cup of BARLEY MALT.
BROWN RICE SYRUP is similar to barley malt in its degree of sweetness and its thick honey-like texture. This sweetener is not recommended for baking cakes or breads because it creates a soggy texture. Use it for sweetening tea or other hot beverages, smoothies, and blender juices. For granola, pies, cookies, puddings, and fruit crisps, use 1 1/3 cups BROWN RICE SYRUP in place of each cup of grranulated sugar and reduce the recipe's liquid by one-fourth. Add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda per cup of BROWN RICE SYRUP. Refrigerate the container after opening.
MOLASSES makes a good substitute for sugar in baking breads. Because of its pungent, distinctive flavor, it's best used in small amounts. Molasses shines as a beverage called liquid toffee. To make this treat, put 1 teaspoon of molasses into a coffee mug and fill it with boiling water. Stir it well, then taste. If needed, adjust the quantity of molasses. Drink and enjoy.
DATE SUGAR or DATE CRYSTALS are dehydrated ground dates that are used cup for cup as you would granulated sugar. Date sugar is ideal for apple or other fruit crisps or crunchy toppings, but be careful to prevent burning. This sweetener works best in combination with other sweeteners.
WHOLE DATES are ideal to sweeten blender beverages like smoothies and shakes as well as parfaits and fruit mousses. Chop the dates and add them to breads, cookies, granola, fruit salads, and many baked desserts. Combine dates and finely ground nuts in the food processor to create a tasty no-bake pie crust for raw desserts.
Treat yourself to a host of delicious FRUITS IN SEASON. The sweetness of fresh fruits will almost always satisfy the craving for that "something sweet" while supplying healthy nutrients as well.
WINTER FRUITS include numerous varieties of crisp apples, juicy pears, and sweet tangerines. Winter is the ideal time to enjoy navel oranges, grapefruits, and pomelos.
SPRING FRUITS that offer a refreshing break include blackberries, strawberries, Valencia oranges, pears, or crisp apples.
YEAR ROUND FRUITS include, kiwis, oranges, pineapples, grapes, and many varieties of bananas such as plantains, burro, manzano, red bananas, and lady fingers.
SUMMER FRUITS include the stone fruits such as peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots. There are also Bartlett pears, cherries, grapes, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, honeydews, cantaloupes, watermelon, and many other melon varieties.
AUTUMN FRUITS offer a delightful selection of persimmons, pomegranates, and navel oranges that come to market by October.
Sweeter still are DRIED FRUITS. Practically every kind of fruit has been dried and packaged for sale. Look for those that have not been preserved with sulfur dioxide or added sugar. Because dried fruits are very high in concentrated sugar, enjoy them in small servings.
Fresh or frozen FRUIT SMOOTHIES and parfaits sweetened with dates are cooling and refreshing treats, especially in the summer. Blend them with soymilk or soft silken tofu for a rich, yet healthful, high-protein dessert. See recipe below
SOY-BASED ICE CREAM comes in a variety of enjoyable flavors. Be sure to read the labels to avoid any unwanted ingredients. Ice cream aficionados may want to invest in an ice cream machine to make their own homemade taste treats.
VEGAN COOKIES are quickly finding a place in natural food markets. Look for them in specialty stores and request them from your local supermarket chain. For delicious homemade cookies, check the Vegparadise Bookshelf for a large selection of excellent vegan cookbooks.
HONEY For vegan alternatives to honey see SUGAR ALTERNATIVES.
Whether you're preparing dinner for your family or entertaining a crowd, you're always a winner when you serve a tasty, homemade chili. This recipe is portioned for a 6-quart crockpot. For a 4-quart size, cut the recipe by one-third.
For a crowd of 50 you'll need to quadruple this recipe. For our New Year's Day Open House, we prepare two crockpots of mild chili for the timid folk and two pots of the spicier variety for the stouthearted souls. As we do, you may have to borrow a couple of crockpots from your kind-hearted neighbors.
This is an easy, hearty, delicious, and low-fat chili that has even brought our die-hard meat-eating friends back to the kitchen for seconds. Our preference is to include a variety of beans, but you can use only kidney beans or any combination you prefer. We noticed the flavor improves when the chili is made a day ahead. Since we serve our New Year's Day meal buffet style, we spoon the toppings into separate bowls and place them next to the crockpot along with bowls and plenty of spoons.
Yield: 6 to 8 servingsToppings
Note: If you don't have a crockpot, you can easily prepare the chili in a 10 to 12-quart (10 to 12-liter) stockpot. Start by cooking the onion and pepper in the stockpot until soft. Add the rehydrated TVP, tomatoes, beans, and seasonings, and simmer on medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes to blend the flavors.
Tofu spreads can be adaptive enough to appear at the breakfast table as a spread on toast or come to the lunch table as a sandwich filling. For a tasty sandwich, apply the spread generously to both pieces of bread and add sliced tomato, onion, cucumber, avocado, lettuce, and sprouts. Herbs such as basil and mint leaves can add a pungent touch to a sandwich. Tasty tofu spreads also make ideal fillings for lasagne, stuffed pasta shells, and even stuffed eggplant roll-ups.
Cheezy Tofu Spread is one of the delicious recipes from Zel Allen's cookbook The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion published by Book Publishing Company in 2006.Yield: 2 cups (480 ml)
Many people serve raisins and nuts to sprinkle over cooked cereals for breakfast. For a pleasant change try some Winter Fruit Butter as a cereal topping and discover a pleasant addition to your morning starter. Alternatively, enjoy the fruit butter spread on toast or use it in place of jam on a peanut butter sandwich.
Yield: about 3 cups (720 ml)
Here's a recipe you can always count on for its ability to wear many hats. Because of its versatility you can use it on toast, crackers, as a sandwich spread, as a party spread, or to stuff veggies such as celery or mushrooms. Try it over baked potatoes, or as a topping for polenta.
Yield: about 2 cups (480 ml)
*Note: Firm tofu works also but the consistency will be a much softer and the spread tends to weep.
Served with pita, hummus is a traditional appetizer enjoyed in homes and restaurants throughout the Middle East and parts of Asia from Iran to Israel. The dish has become so popular in the U.S., it could almost be considered universal across the country. Today it is featured in wraps and sandwiches or served as a dip with fresh vegetables or wedges of whole-wheat pita. If desired, you can crisp the pita wedges in the oven at 200 degrees (93C) for about 30 minutes.
Yield: 1 3/4 cups (415 ml)
Not only is this recipe a flavorful dip, but it can also become a hearty sandwich filling layered with tomatoes, onions, avocados and sprouts. In the mood for a snack that's not only delicious, but also good for you? Haul out the whole-grain crackers and a parsley-lined basket of veggies and indulge in a bountiful high-fiber feast.
Yield: 1 1/4 cups (300 ml)
Note: Just before serving, give the bowl a fresh look by wiping the edges with a dampened paper towel or napkin.
While soymilk and rice milk are familiar beverages that have become vegetarian household staples, nut milk beverages offer refreshing, nutritious alternatives. You'll be delighted to discover how easy they are to make.
Almond Milk is one of the delicious recipes from Zel Allen's cookbook The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion published by Book Publishing Company in 2006.
Yield: 2 1/2 cups (600 ml)
2 1/2 cups (600 ml) water2 pitted dates
Using the Pulp: Combine it with 1 teaspoon organic sugar and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. Mix well and use as a topping over puddings, cereals, and fruit salads or desserts.
New Moon Silk Dressing is one of the delicious recipes from Zel Allen's cookbook The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion published by Book Publishing Company in 2006.
Yield: 3 cups (720 ml)
There's nothing like a dollop of sour cream to dress up a dish just before serving. What would potato latkes or borscht be without a little sour cream? And wouldn't baked potatoes be naked without the richness of sour cream? This easy recipe also makes the perfect base for creating a variety of dips. And with only four ingredients, it's so quick to prepare, you'll want to make it one of your refrigerator staples.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups (360 ml)Combine all the ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, Tofu Sour Cream keeps for 1 week.
Here's a sandwich filling that closely resembles real egg salad, but without the high fat content and cholesterol. This easy look-alike also makes a perfect light lunch served with salad and whole-grain bread.
Yield: about 3 cups (720 ml)
A great morning starter, this is a fun dish to enjoy on weekends when mornings are a bit more relaxed and there's time to chop a few veggies and cook up a tasty stir-fry. Serve with whole-grain bread topped with nut butter or fruit spread, fresh fruit, and a steaming cup of herbal tea.
Yield: 4 servings
Squeeze some lemon juice over the top.
Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder.
Add 1 or 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes.
Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon each ground cumin and chili powder.
Add 1/2 cup (120 ml) shredded vegan cheese, either mozzarella or cheddar flavor.
Add 1/4 cup (60 ml) natural sesame seeds in place of pumpkin seeds
An ideal mayonnaise substitute, seasoned tofu makes a healthier spread that's much lower in fat than commercially prepared mayo. Enjoy it as a sandwich spread, a salad dressing, or a luscious dipping sauce for steamed artichokes.
Super Soy Mayonnaise is one of the delicious recipes in Zel Allen's cookbook The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion published by Book Publishing Company in 2006.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups (360 ml)
With nutritious ingredients like cashews, bananas, and soy, a smoothie can quickly restore vigor and even take the place of a light meal. In summer, when a cool, refreshing beverage is so welcome, make the smoothie a few hours ahead and allow it to chill.
Banana Date Smoothie is one of the delicious recipes from Zel Allen's cookbook The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion published by Book Publishing Company in 2006.
Yield: about 3 cups or 2 to 3 servings (720 ml)
A dessert that celebrates the cherry season and titillates the taste buds, this sweet, two-layered mousse is a taste sensation, accented by the blissful marriage of almonds and fresh cherries. Serve the mousse in long-stemmed glasses or small, clear glasses, to highlight its two-tone effect.
Cherry Almond Mousse is one of the delicious recipes from Zel Allen's cookbook The Nut Gourmet; Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion published by Book Publishing Company in 2006.
Yield: 4 servings
* If blanched almonds are not available, you can easily blanch your own whole almonds by bringing 2 or 3 inches (5 or 7.5 cm) of water to a boil in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Add the whole almonds, and allow them to boil for 1 minute. Drain the almonds into a strainer, and rub them with your fingers. The loosened skins will slip right off with a little pushing motion.
Note: If you prefer a smoother, creamier mousse, grind the almonds in a mini-chopper/grinder. If you grind the almonds in the food processor, they will be more granulated, which will give slightly more texture to the finished mousse.
Strawberry Almond Mousse: Replace the cherries with an equal amount of fresh strawberries.
For additional alternative recipes check the VegParadise Recipe Index