Five Vegan Eats You Should Try
It was the documentary Forks Over Knives (2011) along with my compassion for all animals that inspired my vegan journey. I was already a practicing pescatarian, so the transition to becoming vegan was smooth. And, with so many appetizing vegan food options, I never feel I sacrifice nutrition nor taste. Below you will find a handful of my favorite savory vegan eats and a bonus recipe! Try them...vegan or omnivore...
Amy’s Roasted Vegetable No Cheese Pizza
What can be easier than placing a whole pizza in the oven for 10 to 12 minuets at 425 degrees and yelling out “dinner is served!”?
Since becoming vegan I’ve tried myriad pizza brands. Some taste like dry baked bread with the ingredients haphazardly tossed on top, and others don’t live up to the scrumptious image displayed on the packaging. While many fall short, Amy’s Roasted Vegetable (no cheese) is my go-to on pizza night. This yummy, non-dairy, and soy free, vegetable pizza bursts with flavor. Who would have thought that a cheese-less pizza topped with veggies would be anything to rave about?
What's Inside: The hand-stretched crust is made with unbleached wheat flour and topped with fire roasted red bell peppers, slow roasted caramelized red onions, marinated artichoke hearts, garlic, a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar and other spices. Delish! I don’t count calories when I’m indulging in pizza but if your wondering it’s 290 per serving.
Beyond Meat Burger Patties
There’s nothing like digging into a nice juicy burger. And vegans do not have to miss out. Beyond Meat Inc. delivers the goods with its plant-based burger patties, and the company's products are available in most neighborhood supermarkets, Walmart, Target and even via Amazon Fresh. For those who prefer to grab and go, Carl’s Jr. and other fast food joints offer Beyond Burgers.
The first thing you will notice is how "meat like" the Beyond product looks. While it may seem like raw meat, the marbling is accomplished via coconut oil! And when cooking it, I was happily surprised to see just how much it looks and cooks like the real deal. It even gave the illusion of bloodiness as it sizzled in the pan due to one of its key ingredients, beet juice extract.
What's Inside: Made from mung beans, brown rice and pea proteins, the burgers are gluten and soy free and go way “Beyond” my expectation! A 4 oz patty has 240 calories, 20 g protein, 5g saturated fat, and 350 mg sodium :(. Sodium is the negative. Many vegan proteins are soy based and/or NOT gluten free. Having this option is wonderful.
Cooking It: No need to add oil to your pan as there was plenty of fat seeping out of this juicy delight from the coconut and other oils. I cooked the patty on medium/high heat and it was done in a total of 6 minutes (3 minutes per side). In the last minute of cooking I added Field Roast's Vegan Chao Cheese to melt on the patty. So good! (The vegan Chao Cheese melts easily and tastes similar to muenster cheese. I also love it for making a grilled cheese sandwich.)
For my dinner, I placed the burger on a bed of romaine lettuce, topped it with caramelized onions, sliced vine tomatoes and homemade guacamole. This awesome meal packs 20 grams of protein, a very reasonable 270 calories and 5 grams of carbs. Win. Win. Win.
Just Egg (Made from Plants)
Do you ever wonder what vegans eat for breakfast? Wonder no more. There are myriad options from oatmeal, vegan sausages & bacon, waffles, pancakes, cream of wheat, cereals, fruits, and the list goes on and on. But now we can add “eggs” to that list. Just Egg mimics the appearance of fluffy scrambled eggs, cooks like the real deal and tastes very close to the real thing! I use Just Egg to make French toast, egg sandwiches, omelets and simple scrambled eggs with a pinch of garlic salt and black pepper (image below).
What's Inside: Made from Mung bean and other spices, this cholesterol and dairy free product doesn’t taste exactly like eggs but it is very close and it's good. There are 70 calories per 3 T serving and 5 grams of protein. Zero cholesterol. Now you can have your eggs and eat them too!
Gardein Teriyaki Chick’n Strips
Here’s another tasty, satisfying, quick and easy meat alternative. Ready in only 6 -7 minutes tops -- if you skip the microwave like I do!
The recommended cooking method is to brown the strips in a frying pan with 1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil. Some Athletic-Minded Traveler fans chop the frozen strips and mix with veggies and nuke for a salad topper. The Gardein Teriyaki bag comes with a small packet of sauce to coat the chick’n after browning while still in the pan; or you can skip the sauce, or drizzle atop once plated (or “salad-ed”). These chicken-like strips also work for tacos and as extra protein for an omelet. For those who prefer no sauce, consider the plain strips or the gluten free Chick'n Scallopine.
What's Inside: For the Teriyaki, each 160 calorie serving has 13 grams of protein. A serving is 1/3 of the bag and 2 T sauce. The calorie count drops to 120 per serving without sauce. The protein source is primarily soy protein isolate (not our favorite due to its very processed nature). Wheat gluten, ancient grain flour and spices are other ingredients. The sauce has organic cane sugar as its first ingredient.
Impossible Ground Beef
Impossible Foods' Burger (ground "beef") is sold in the meat department of many local supermarkets and resembles real beef so much that it was hard for me to distinguish which one was the imposter! Wow. I also appreciate the reasonable price at $7.94 for a 12 oz. package. It won’t break the bank and is priced similarly to grass-fed, organic beef. Impossible's ground beef is the star of some of my favorite recipes like lasagna, spaghetti & meatballs, beef tacos and my famous quick and easy chili with beans (recipe below.) Try it!
The texture and flavor are on point. Visually and by taste, Impossible seemingly does the impossible; making a vegan beef that is super close to real the McCoy. It is delicious!
What's Inside: A 4 oz serving packs 19 grams of protein, 14g total fat, 8g saturated fat, zero trans fat or cholesterol, and 3g fiber. (Something you don't get with animal beef.) Possible downside is the 370 mg sodium. Impossible Ground Beef is made from soy protein concentrate and is certified as kosher and halal and is gluten free.
Here’s my Quick and Easy Chili with Beans Recipe:
- 12 oz “Impossible Burger” Ground Beef
- 1/4 finely chopped cooked yellow onions
- 1 glove fresh garlic minced
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1 cup cooked kidney beans (drain and rinse if using from can)
- 8 to 10 oz of vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper to your taste
- 1/2 finely chopped red pepper
- (Optional) 1 finely chopped cooked jalapeño (or chopped pickled jalapeño)
- In a non-stick pot on medium/high heat place the Impossible Beef and use a fork, spatula a fork or potato smasher to separate the “meat” into grounds as it starts to cook.
- Just as it starts to brown add all other ingredients except for broth and tomato paste.
- After the meat browns, add broth and tomato paste and lightly stir to combine all ingredients.
- Turn heat on low, cover pan and simmer for a 5 minutes or more.
From start to finish, everything is done in 15 -20 minutes. You can enjoy by the bowl or consider pouring the Impossible Chili with beans over rice. Bon Appetite!
So have I motivated you to try one of the above vegan options. Do you already have a favorite? If yes, share the knowledge!