I’ve waxed poetic before about my love for the slow cooker, a kitchen appliance I always assumed was used by beefy stew lovers or chicken soup eaters and not vegetarians. But in the last few months, I’ve come to learn that the slow cooker has been a lifesaver that helps me throw together vegan and vegetarian meals in a flash. Once I became comfortable with my slow cooker (which took no time at all), I started experimenting with more than just soups and stews. I made baked oatmeal for breakfast, rice and beans for quick lunches, and a plethora of dinners. Here are some set-it-and-forget-it breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas for you to try in your slow cooker.
- This cranberry pumpkin oatmeal cake can be prepped the night before so you wake up to the inviting smell of baked oatmeal for breakfast with pops of flavor from fresh or frozen cranberries.
- Need a change from oatmeal? Try cooking quinoa in the slow cooker with frozen blueberries, honey, milk and a dash of cinnamon so you can enjoy a hot whole-grain breakfast in the morning.
- For something a little more savory, try this slow cooker Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole. I omitted the sausage and added in diced sundried tomatoes. You could also use vegan sausage or soy crumbles to get a meaty texture and flavor.
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Step into my kitchen and you’ll see I’m a sucker for collecting kitchen appliances, tools, gadgets and gizmos to help make cooking easier. Unfortunately, I’m running out of cabinet and counter space for all these appliances! But fortunately for you I’ve been able to sort through them to come up with my favorites for a veg-friendly kitchen.
Vitamix – It may come as no surprise that the Vitamix is top on my list. I know the price is steep, but since the day I bought it over two years ago, I have used my beloved Vitamix every single day, making it well worth every cent. The primary use in my kitchen is for smoothies, but I also use it to make creamy nut butters, buttery-smooth hummus, quick soups, sauces, and even a vegan cashew “cheesecake” that was nearly effortless to make thanks to the high-speed Vitamix. I find other blenders don’t compare (and I’ve used other high-end blenders) when it comes to super-smooth blending and ice crushing in a matter of seconds.
TofuXpress – When I finally learned how to prepare tofu correctly, I realized so much of it had to do with the water content. I find the dryer the tofu, the easier it bakes, grills, holds together, and soaks up sauce and flavor. Before I discovered the TofuXpress, I was pressing moisture out of my tofu with some rigged up balancing act of plates, pots and pans in my kitchen sink. Now, all I have to do is place the block of tofu in my TofuXpress, press it down with the lid, and the TofuXpress slowly presses out excess water into its container, which you drain off before working with the tofu.
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This time of year always brings on lots of buzz about healthy resolutions and diet changes. More and more Americans have been making the shift towards a vegetarian or vegan diet, and what better time to start than the beginning of a new year? Perhaps your resolution is to move towards a more plant-based diet, or make the full shift from vegetarian to vegan eating. Or maybe you’re just looking for ways to improve your health by including more fruits and veggies into your diet while cutting back on meat and dairy. Whatever your reason, here are four ideas to help you stick with your 2013 resolution to improve your health with more plant-based eating.
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Looking for tasty vegetarian recipes this holiday season? From appetizers to mains to desserts, these 35 recipes will leave everyone (including meat lovers) begging for seconds.
The terms “healthy” and “vegetarian” may seem synonymous but that’s not always the case. All the selected recipes meet our healthy criteria for calories, fat and saturated fat. In addition, in order to meet the nutrient requirements of a vegetarian, a variety of recipes that include whole grains, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, fruits, and veggies were selected.
Although there are various types of vegetarians, we stuck to the basics. These recipes don’t include any meat, poultry, fish or seafood. Some do include dairy and eggs and would be appropriate for a lacto- or lacto-ovo-vegetarian.
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If you have a smartphone, you know there’s an app for almost anything, including great vegan and vegetarian resources. As someone who frequently searches for vegan recipes on my phone while waiting in a long line or stuck in traffic (when I’m the passenger!), I rely on a handful of apps to provide me with recipe and restaurant inspiration. I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite free apps that provide recipes or restaurants in a pinch:
Vegan Yum Yum (free): If you like this amazingly creative vegan blog, you’ll love the Vegan Yum Yum app. Vegan blogger and cookbook author Lolo created the app to make some of her best recipes easily searchable on your phone, which comes in handy as you’re wondering what to cook while wandering through the grocery store aisles. This app has one of the most clean, easy-to-read displays I’ve seen in an app, and even allows you to check off ingredients as you buy them. (This is the perfect time of year to try Vegan Yum Yum’s Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling!)
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Turkey Day by name doesn’t sound like the most enticing holiday for vegetarians. Luckily, this meal is all about the side dishes, many of which are meatless, or can be easily adjusted into vegetarian recipes. These healthy recipes are all meatless so will please vegetarian guests, but are so delicious they’ll be favored by meat-lovers as well.
Corn and Squash Pudding (above) This tasty side dish gets a twist with the added bonus of squash. Not only does the squash add a vibrant color and tons of vitamins to the dish, it provides a creamy texture that plays well off the crisp corn kernels.
Quinoa With Garlic, Pine Nuts and Raisins This flavorful, protein-packed quinoa side dish will please everyone at your Thanksgiving feast: It’s gluten-free, vegan and delicious enough that everyone will be asking for seconds.
Curried Spaghetti Squash The secret to this quick-cooking spaghetti squash is the microwave: spaghetti squash cooks in under 20 minutes when you zap it, so this Indian-flavored dish won’t take up any precious oven or stove-top space on Thanksgiving day.
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What would Thanksgiving be without stuffing? If you’re looking for an allergen-friendly recipe or just a delicious new take on this holiday staple, you’ve found it here! I’ve created a sweet stuffing that is perfect for kids and adults alike. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan so you can easily serve this to your entire Thanksgiving table without having to worry about food preferences. If nut-allergies are a problem, you can easily substitute in ground flax seeds for a similar crunch and nutty flavor.
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For my last post, I wrote a round-up of some of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks. But these days, I’m turning to blogs more than books for recipe inspiration. I love when I Google a recipe and a new-to-me blog pops up with the perfect meal inspiration. This is my favorite way to come across new blogs, and fill up my reader with vegetarian meal inspiration posts. Here are a handful of my current favorite vegan and vegetarian blogs.
Fat Free Vegan Kitchen – Susan Voisin’s blog is filled with creative vegan recipes, without the use of any added fats from oil. FFVK is actually the very first blog I ever subscribed to, about six years ago, and I’ve been a loyal follower ever since. I do use oil in my own cooking, and don’t really hold back on added (healthy) fats, but Susan’s recipes are always creative and flavorful. My favorite of her recipes is the Cumin-Grilled Tofu With Papaya Salsa. And for someone who doesn’t typically love chocolate cake, I was completely smitten by her decadent Chocolate Covered Cherry Pudding Cake.
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While I typically pull most of my recipe inspiration from vegetarian food blogs or websites, sometimes I like to curl up on the couch with a hot mug of tea and thumb through my collection of cookbooks to menu plan for the week ahead. Here are the top three vegetarian cookbooks in my collection:
How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
I’ve been a fan of Mark Bittman ever since I read his book, Food Matters, and started following his blog posts on the New York Times Blog. He has a witty, easy-to-like writing style that I knew I’d enjoy in his cookbooks as well. I couldn’t wait to dive into How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food. Bittman’s cookbook speaks to not only vegetarians, but omnivores as well. He states in his introduction that his goal isn’t to convert readers to vegetarianism but to, “Increase the proportion of non-meat items in your diet,” by making vegetarian items more appealing. His recipe I can’t get enough of? The chocolate pudding made with tofu and a kick of spice from chili powder. It’s decadent with a protein boost!
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- McDonald's new Mcaloo Tikki will make its debut in India in 2013.
McDonald’s may best be known for its hamburgers, but the fast-food chain is changing out its trademark beef patties for the potato variety—well, in India at least. The fast-food chain is planning to open two new vegetarian-only restaurants in the predominately Hindu and Muslim country next year; menu items will include locally-inspired dishes like the Mcaloo Tikki, a burger made with a breaded potato and pea patty, special vegetable sauce, ketchup, red onion and two slices of tomato. The restaurant will also offer the McCurry Pan, a dish of curried broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms and red bell pepper that’s baked in a crust.
McDonald’s locations in India already don’t sell beef or pork, and the kitchens are separated into vegetarian and non-vegetarian sections. The new restaurants are set for locations in “northern Indian cities that are pilgrimage sites for Hindus and Sikhs,” according to Rajesh Kumar Maini, a spokesman for the company’s north and east Indian operations who was quoted in a recent article.
To learn more, read the full article.
What do you think about the chain’s vegetarian options? Is it a ploy to get customers in the door, or just a new localized offering?