In June I separated from my wife of ten years, and along with that transition I started my "vegan experiment" which has pretty much turned from an experiment into a real thing at this point.
But one of the things that put me off from even starting the journey was the idea of all the foods that I loved, and I wondered if there was even anything I could eat that I would like.
After nearly nine months of cooking for myself, and eating out at restaurants, I thought I'd share my random assortment of things I've eaten (and decided to take a picture of) the last several months.
Hash browns. They are delicious, and easily made vegan so long as you don't add eggs to the equation.
Vegan whole wheat pretzels. Fresh from the oven. Mmmm.
Cheese is a tough one. But this uses a 'moxarella' sauce for the two pies. Store-bought whole wheat crust, with moxarella and vegan parmesan. My pie has sliced seitan and baby spinach.
This was my go at a traditional breakfast. Vegan whole wheat english muffins with raspberry jam/preserves, Field Roast maple sage sausages, and a tofu scramble. Neither of the kids ended up eating the tofu scramble, the ingrates. But it was delicious.
Stuffed shells with cashew-spinach ricotta and broiled baguette toast. The only thing I didn't make in this recipe were the stuffed shells. It's also officially the best thing I've ever made, something I'd be proud to serve to anyone--vegan, omnivore or otherwise. It's dusted on top with panko breadcrumbs, some oregano, and vegan parmesan cheese (that I blended up myself in the food processor).
I mean just look at it. Will you just look at it?
This was takeout. Sesame tofu with white rice and some hot sesame noodles. That's Firefly on the TV in the background. The picture is turned sideways because I don't know why.
My smoothies start looking like this, before I add a big handful of frozen blueberries on top. This one was filled near to the top with greens before the chunks of two bananas, a tablespoon of flaxseed meal, and a heaping teaspoon of green matcha tea powder was added, and some homemade soy milk for liquid.
After blending, they look like this. Delicious, healthy, and you get at least a serving, if not two, of leafy greens for breakfast, and you can't even taste them. The green tea in the smoothie is basically like a less jittery version of a cup of coffee.
This involved seared seitan cubes mixed into a soy/mushroom gravy, poured over mashed potatoes, with a side of green beans. It was very good. My daughter fixated on the potatoes, my son fixated on the meat. I ate both. It was fantastic.
Mom's apple pie. She made it vegan by using Earth Balance instead of butter, and I brought it to Friendsgiving this past November, and everyone raved about it and wanted the recipe.
This is a tofu stir fry with lots of garlic and wilted spinach using tofu that's been baked in the oven to dehydrate it. The stir fry sauce I mixed up myself, and mixed in, letting it caramelize around the tofu. Leftover rice from stir fry becomes tomorrow's fried rice.
I had no money, but plenty of flour and yeast, so I baked up some amazing vegan flax hamburger buns.
Carob-chip cookies. Carob tastes similar to chocolate, but has a slightly-different, almost "date-like" flavor.
Baked ravioli. I made a cashew ricotta to go on top, and I made the sauce, but the ravioli was Kite Hill's Almond Milk spinach ravioli. Delicious.
Vegan cheese, similar in flavor to cheddar, that's ready to set in the fridge in springform pans.
Tacos are one of the easiest things in the world to make, and as a vegan, if you love tacos, you're in luck. The things that make Mexican food delicious are mostly plants, anyway. This has black refried beans, seasoned soy curls (texture is like chicken), some romaine lettuce, vegan cheese, and sriracha.
This is a seitan taco, no beans, vegan cheese, and you can see I had some chopped cilantro on hand for this one.
At a Tibetan/Indian restaurant nearby: Spicy potato, samosas, and 3 different sauces.
Tibetan momos: Dumplings filled with tofu, cumin, and some other magical spices I can't discern.
Vegan blueberry muffins. One of my favorite recipes (and my kids as well).
Here you can see my taco game was on point. Beans, seasoned soy curls, some very fresh-looking romaine and avocado, and Field Roast Chao cheese--the only kind of store-bought vegan cheese I actually like so far.
This is a typical lunch for my kids. Vegan ranch dressing in the center for the carrots. With the omission of the occasional bologna or ham, they liked this for lunch even before I became vegan. Strawberries were in season when I took this photo.
One of my favorite dishes from one of my favorite restaurants before I became vegan. This is is their Curry Pad Thai with tofu, with crushed peanuts on top. (It wouldn't be Pad Thai without crushed peanuts!)
Vegetarian spring roll from the same Thai restaurant.
Mongolian soy curls. This was fantastic, though I've since reduced the amount of brown sugar in the sauce.
More blueberry muffins.
Seitan, once it's chopped into meatlike pieces and seared up in a skillet, has a taste and texture very similar to meat (though no, it's not identical). If you've ever had 'mock duck', that's what this is. It's incredibly cheap to make.
A classic. Spaghetti. There are numerous ways to turn this into 'meat sauce'. Blend up rehydrated soy curls in the food processor, for instance, or grind up some seitan into chunks and brown it in the skillet with some oil like ground beef. There are also so many vegan meatball recipes I've tried, and many of them have been really good. Still trying to find my 'favorite.'
There are of course numerous other things I could have posted, but these are a good cross-section of many of the things I've made or eaten the past few months.
It's not as hard as I thought it would be, being vegan. And I feel so good about myself at this point, and I am eating so well, that I don't really feel like I'm missing any joy from my life. If anything, I've increased it.