Vegan and You Don't Even Know It
Today is a long-overdue meatless chat day, and as part of my making-up-for-lost-time efforts, I intended to test a recipe yesterday and share the results in today's space. However, monster-style thunder, lightning and tornado-ish conditions blew through the Washington area yesterday afternoon, leaving Casa Appetite without power for several hours and alas, getting in the way of my kitchen plans.
As some of you may already know, I've been contemplating the state of my diet since a dear friend of mine underwent coronary bypass surgery. The theme resurfaced like a bad rash this morning, when I heard from my mother, whose long-time companion suffered a massive heart attack last night. Now if there's anyone who needs to say sayonara to the sausages and embrace a meatless diet to give his clogged arteries a fighting chance, it's this guy.
I've never asked him why he won't jump the red-meat ship given his long history of heart disease, but I suspect it's because he's afraid of the unknown and assumes that meatless means flavorless.
You may have heard that Oprah is in the middle of a vegan experiment, as part of a 21- day alcohol, gluten, caffeine and sugar-free cleanse. On Day Two, she writes in her blog: "Wow, wow, wow! I never imagined meatless meals could be so satisfying."
In lieu of the new recipe I had hoped to share, I've compiled a bunch of vegan recipes from the Mighty Appetite vault to illustrate a point-- particularly for my omnivorous friends afraid to dip their toes into the meatless pool -- that vegan isn't just nutritious, baby, it's delicious. I'm not suggesting that we do all-veeg all the time, but what's the harm in having a stable of vegan recipes that are packed with so much flavor you might not even miss the meat? And if you don't miss the meat, you might not be scared. And if you're not scared, you might say, "Hey I can do this!" And before long, you've got meatless on your menu a few times a week. And whaddya know, you might actually give those arteries a break.
And if you're still scared about the V-word, forget everything I said except this: Check out my trusty list of flavor-forward, heart-healthy dishes that are so tasty you feel like you're cheating on your diet. Veeg veterans: Pull out those recipe cards and share those meatless favorites that are just too good for a scared omnivore to pass up.
Gazpacho, one of the easiest ways to cool off in the summer and get your fill of nutrients without noticing. A terrific make-ahead portable lunch that lasts for a week in the fridge.
For when friends drop by, you'll need a heart-minded version of dip n' chips. Make your own hummus, in about seven minutes flat, or roast up some zucchinis and onions for Zuke-a-mole, one of the most satisfying low-fat dips that's crossed my lips.
I used to think that red lentils were meant exclusively for cold wintry nights, but because they cook in just 30 minutes, I've come to love them all year long. Big bonus points for dietary fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol.
I have made these Szechuan-style green beans a zillion times, and I've never met anyone who doesn't like them. They work really well on a buffet table, as they can be made ahead and can be served at room temperature.
Craving more? Join me at 1 p.m.
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