My Vegan Story (and Recipes!)

"We're friends, not food!"

“We’re friends, not food!”

When I first became a vegetarian over 10 years ago, my original intention was to become vegan. I was both disgusted and horrified after watching PETA’s Meet Your Meat videos. I wasn’t even aware of the environmental factors back then.

Veganism lasted less than 24 hours. I went out to eat and the food was just so bland. Eventually, I settled comfortably into consuming dairy, eggs, and seafood. This lasted for over a decade.

In the fall of 2014, I came across another vegan video that reminded me of my original intentions. That was the reminder I needed to finally make it official and stop consuming all animal products.

A few days ago, I came to the realization that if only I had known then what I know now, I would have been able to stick 5327424325_d782477616_mwith my original goal of becoming vegan. I just couldn’t bear the thought of eating bland food for the rest of my life. Had I known of all the savory, sweet, delicious plant-based foods that exist, I know I would have never looked back!

This is why I love posting photos of my vegan eats on social media. I know if I had seen pictures of cruelty-free bacon, pancakes, pasta, pizza, and all my favorites, I wouldn’t have felt overwhelmed and deprived.

Earlier this week, a friend emailed me bcause she saw my vegan noms on Facebook and Instagram. She said her daughter was vegan and asked for some recipes. I was ecstatic! Here are a few of the recipes I shared with her. They are tasty, easy to make, filling, and nutritious: all the things I look for in a home-cooked meal. Whether you’re vegan or not, I hope you’ll give them a try! Bon appetit!

XO,

Gena


Simple Vegan Tofu Lasagna by Whole Foods Market

This is one of my favorite go-to dinners for sort-of special occasions. The tofu blend tastes just as creamy and delicious as ricotta. (Before you get discouraged by the word tofu, just know that I used to have a mental block to it, too. Now I realize it’s pretty much a blank slate and you can do so much with it.) You can also throw that mixture in the blender with a little plant-based milk and whatever seasonings your little heart desires and pour it over pasta for a creamy and compassionate sauce. Delicious!

Creamy pasta made with the tofu sauce described above

Creamy pasta made with the tofu sauce described above. Yes, there’s a bite taken out of the pretzel bread…

5 Vegan Recipes for Under $4 from Raw Till Whenever

The recipes below are pretty much staples in my diet. They’re quick, easy, healthy, and cheap! Plus, they can be changed to your liking and varied in many ways so you don’t get bored with them.

Here are some of the ways that I like to have them:

Potato Fries: I’ve never had them with marina sauce, but I like them with any combination of nutritional yeast, ketchup, Just Mayo, Sriracha, mustard, and barbecue sauce (especially Carolina Gold from Trader Joe’s).

Steamed Rice and Veggies: I just saute any veggies I have in water, season to taste, and enjoy with soy sauce, Sriracha, and nutritional yeast. (Are you noticing a theme with my condiments?)

Pasta with Vegetables and Marinara Sauce: I probably have this about once a week. I usually bake my veggies in the oven while the pasta is boiling. Mo go to veggies with pasta are broccoli or asparagus. This week I bought zucchini for a change. Of course, I top it off with Sriracha and nutritional yeast. Last week, I discovered the creamy sauce I mentioned above and that will definitely be a permanent fixture in the recipe rotation!

Potato Stew: I made this recipe once and it was satisfying and delicious over a bowl of brown rice! Next time, I plan on adding some more seasoning and some sweet potato.

Burrito Bowl: This is another simple favorite. I prefer black beans, red beans, or refried beans to pinto beans, but that’s the beauty of these recipes: they can easily be tailored to your tastes. I don’t even add garlic to the beans, although I do saute some onions with them. I just heat it all up and throw it together! I add toppings depending on what I have on hand: guacamole, fresh lettuce, tomatoes. It all depends. There are only two condiments that are constants. I’m sure you can guess what they are. 😉

What are your favorite plant-based meals? You’ve probably already got some even if you’re a meat eater. I’d love for you to share them in the comments below!

Photo Credits: Danel Solabarrieta, J P

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