How long have you been a vegan? Vegetarian for 20 years, vegan off and on for the last 5 and full vegan for 2 years.
What made you decide to embrace a plant-based diet? It all stemmed from my love for animals and not feeling right about killing another living, feeling being. Later on, it also became about health.
What was the hardest food to move away from? None, really. Once I realized the pain and suffering that comes from most conventional foods, it was easy to stop eating them. It actually felt amazing getting away from that. Also, any food that I craved could be made without animal products. I find that cravings are more about textures and seasonings, than animal flesh.
Any advice to new vegans?
#1-Don’t be ashamed of your veganism, but also don’t stress yourself trying to make everyone become a believer. Set an example by living your own truth and standing firm in that.
#2-Be prepared with a wide variety of vegan foods. Make sure you have a well stocked fridge and cabinet and also take food/snacks with you to work or away from home. In the beginning it can be difficult to navigate stores, restaurants, etc. Especially, if you’re going straight from omni to vegan.
What are some of your favorite books/websites on veganism? I try to put a lot of vegan/healthy recipes on my site CraftyEarthMama.com. I also really love rawfoodtalk.com, PPK.com and BrownVegan.com of course!
Please share a recipe you enjoy. This is one dish that’s requested over and over. I make a large batch at once to share and also freeze.
You can even add different things to put your own spin on it. One of my favorite variations is to add sundried tomatoes and spinach.
About 4 meal size servings or 6 as a side dish
16oz of macaroni or penne pasta (I usually use penne. The little tubes holds sauce well and I like the texture)
1c cashews (grind to powder first, unless you're using a high speed blender like vita mix)
1c veggie broth
1/2 a roasted red pepper
2tbl lemon juice
3tbl nutritional yeast
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp onion powder
1tsp smoked paprika
1/3c canola oil
salt and pepper to taste (I use lot's of black pepper)
about 1/2c pasta cooking liquid
Cook pasta in salted water until just under done. Drain pasta, but do not rinse. Reserve 1/2c of the cooking liquid and set pasta aside.
In a blender add veggie broth, cashews, roasted red pepper, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and cayenne. Blend until smooth and then slowly drizzle in the oil. Add s and p to taste.
Topping for baking:
bread crumbs (I use whole wheat baguette or rolls and bake until crisp)
1 small clove garlic
1tbl olive oil
Put bread, garlic, salt and oil in food processor and mix until well combined.
Putting it together:
Combine pasta and sauce. If pasta is too dry, add reserved cooking liquid as needed. Pour into oiled baking dish. Top with bread crumb mixture and bake at 450 until browned. I like my top really crunchy, so I brown it under the broiler for a minute right before I remove it from the oven. Keep an eye on it, the broiler can go from brown to burnt quickly!
Stove top version:
Make sauce as directed above. Put sauce and pasta into pot and stir on simmer until well combined and desired consistency is achieved. Add pasta cooking liquid as needed
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