Welcome to another day of VeganMoFo – the month of vegan food. Be sure to check out some of the thousand participating bloggers! It’s always fun to find new blogs, new recipes and new friends.
Today The “V” Word is featuring another edition of “Ask Dr. V” – a column where you can ask questions about vegan food and cooking. Just to be clear up front, Dr. V (that’s me) is a doctor of psychiatry but no expert in nutrition. The purpose of this column is to find great recipes or solve common problems/answer questions about cooking and vegan food, not health or nutrition. Go to the experts for that stuff, ok? THIS IS JUST FOR FUN.
Dear Dr. V: I have been vegan for 6 months now and I’m loving it. I’ve never felt better and my conscience is clear…almost. You see, my husband is a big meat-eater. HUGE! He thinks meat has to be a part of every single meal. Oh, he will eat veggies…on the side. But the main part of the meal has to be meat for him. I’ve tried some packaged vegan “meats” but he doesn’t like them. Is it just impossible for a meat-lover to be vegan? Should I just give up? Help!! Signed Meaty Mess in Michigan
Dear Meaty Mess: No! Don’t give up! Being vegan is not just for people who never liked meat much anyway. It is totally possible for someone to go from being a massive meat-eater to a satisfied, meatless vegan. I swear! I did it. I loved the taste of meat. I had it at every meal. When a bunch of people went out for ice cream, I wanted a burger. But when I learned the ugly truth about the horrors that animals go through, that was it. I gave up meat that very day!
Now that doesn’t mean that it was easy for me or that I don’t still miss many of those foods I used to eat. I do. Yes, years later, sometimes I still miss meat. Usually what I really miss is going out to eat at the old familiar places, having the old familiar dishes with the old familiar people. Everything we eat has associations of people, places, experiences but sometimes I just miss the taste. That’s why I make a lot of dishes that are meaty but totally vegan!! Yes, you read that right. Meaty vegan dishes. I make plenty of pure veggie dishes too but when I get those cravings that only something meaty will satisfy, I turn to the most delicious, cruelty-free recipes I know.
Some people may get turned off by vegan food that looks, smells or tastes like the animal-filled version and that’s fine. They don’t have to have it. But for people who do miss meat, why not? The animals don’t care if your food looks like them as long as it’s not made out of them. So eat whatever makes you happy without hurting the animals. There are plenty of vegan stand-ins for meat.
Tofu gets a bad rap as being soft and spongy but that doesn’t have to be true. Buy extra-firm tofu and press the heck out of it. Or freeze it and then press it. Tofu can be as firm and chewy as chicken. In fact, every time I want to make a dish that would normally use chicken, I use tofu instead. Like these:
Tempeh is firmer than tofu and more grainy. I find it to be the perfect texture to emulate fish in recipes. It also is a great substitute for ground beef in chilies and other dishes. If you find tempeh to be a bit bitter, try steaming it for a few minutes before using it. Try these tempting tempeh dishes:
If gluten is not an issue for you, turn to seitan for the most meat-like texture. Depending on how you flavor it, seitan can be similar to chicken, beef or pork. And don’t be intimidated. It’s not as hard to make seitan as you might think. Look at these delicious dishes made with seitan:
TVP or texturized vegetable protein is an inexpensive, easy to use ingredient. It’s dehydrated soy and once you rehydrate it, you can do just about anything with it. It comes in granules or chunks. You can use it for ground beef dishes, to make cutlets, or delicious burgers like this:
Yes, I said a fruit. Jackfruit may be a healthy tropical fruit but it’s texture and mild taste make it a wonderful stand-in for meat. There are recipes all over the web for pulled “pork,” BBQ jackfruit, and Chinese dishes. I used it to make this amazing sandwich:
There are some wonderful products on the market that are very satisfying to meat-lovers: Gardein, Beyond Meat, Butler’s Soy Curls, Field Roast, Tofurky, Sophie’s Kitchen and more. Just keep trying different brands and you’ll quickly find which ones are your favorites.
And coming soon, V-Meat
I’m working as fast as I can but very soon (hopefully, by Thanksgiving) I will release my new recipes for gluten-free V-Meat, V-Chicken, V-Sausage and V-Roast. It’s almost ready but still needs a few tests.
So you see, even a meat-lover can find plenty to eat without turning to the animals. Try these husband and child approved recipes and I guarantee that you and your husband will be happy, satisfied and living the good vegan life. Enjoy!
If you have a question for Dr. V about cooking vegan food, you can email it to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.