Archive for Vegan Articles

Vegan Veggie Dips


When it comes to fresh, raw veggies, most people are accustomed to slicing them up and dunking them in a normally dairy-based dip like sour cream, ranch dressing, or cream cheese. But how can vegans do it? Well, if you are finding your veggies a little bland, but want to avoid the dairy, there are plenty of options! Below is a list of my favorite vegan veggie dips. Many of these work great as snacks or food on the go. Try dunking cooked tofu or meat alternative products (like Morningstar Farms fake chicken nuggets or fake buffalo wings) in these for a tasty meal! Many are also great with pita bread!

Vegan Veggie Dips
Hummus
Baba Ghanoush
-Peanut Butter on celery
-Salsa [is actually a very tasty and zesty ranch dressing alternative!]
Guacamole
Black Bean Dip
Vegenaise (available at most grocery stores in the organic foods section)
-Oil & Vinegar
-Vegan pesto or pasta sauce
-Marinara sauce
Spicy Miso Dip
Cashew veggie dip
-Sesame Tahini
Magic Miso Dip (use sesame tahini to make this vegan)

Veggies For Dipping
-Carrots sliced and peeled
-Radishes
-Bell peppers sliced and seeded
-Broccoli Fleurettes
-Sugar snap peas
-Cucumber cut into slices
-Mushrooms cut into slices with stem removed
-Cherry tomatoes
-Tomatoes cut into chunks
-Cauliflower fleurettes
-Celery cut into sticks
-Blanched asparagus

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Eating Out


[Yellow Sunshine Vegetarian Fast Food in Berlin, Germany]

Even though I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years, going out to eat with friends and family is sometimes kind of a drag. It’s not that I can’t find things to eat. Really, it’s that my family and friends insist on making a big deal out of the fact that I’m a vegetarian, as if this puts some kind of limitation on where we can eat. The truth is, most restaurants will have vegetarian options (vegan options are another story, although my cousin assures me he can generally make do, even if it’s just with a salad.) You may not have a life-changing meal there, but at least you can tell your family and friends to chill. On the other hand, it’s nice to go to a place that caters to vegetarian cuisine, even if you may not be able to drag your meat eating family and friends there.

What To Look For

The following kinds of restaurants will almost always have something you can eat:
Indian (usually half of the menu will be vegetarian)
Thai (lots of tofu dishes)
Chinese (lots of vegetable dishes)
Italian (pasta)
Ethiopian (list of vegetarian dishes: http://www.ethiopianrestaurant.com/vegetarians.html)
Asian Fusion (noodles, vegetables)
Mediterranean (falafel, hummus, tabouleh, baba ganoush, etc.)
Health Food (we love our health nuts)
Moroccan (lentils!)

The following kinds of restaurants will generally have something you can eat:
Japanese (often will have vegan sushi available)
Pizza (lacto-ovo)
Korean (vegetarian bibimbap)
Kosher (latkes are a potato pancake that are very delicious)
French (often there is some kind of quiche or crepe that is lacto-ovo vegetarian)
Vietnamese (Some Vietnamese restaurants only have meat broth. Some do both veggie or meat.)
Mexican (Many Mexican restaurants use lard in fried beans, so ask for black beans. Make sure the rice isn’t cooked in meat stock.)

The following kinds of restaurants you probably want to avoid:

BBQ
American (usually the only option is grilled cheese)
Deli
Diners (Denny’s may have a boca burger, but do you really want to go there?)
Bar & Grills
Greek
Turkish
Creole
Filipino
Irish
Soul Food
Fast Food (even the fries are usually cooked in oil w/ varying amounts of animal fat)

Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants
Finding vegetarian restaurants before the birth of the internet was a serious pain. Now every place (almost) has a website. And there are some great websites out there to help you find vegetarian and vegan restaurants.

Happycow.net is a vegetarian restaurant finder that allows you to search worldwide. Good news for hungry veggie expats like myself. Their listings include address and phone information so you can make sure the place is still in existence before you go. They also have reviews and a carrot-based rating system to tell you how expensive it is. Be sure to check in the notes if the place is 100% vegetarian, vegan, or both.

VeggieLife.com also has a restaurant finder with results in the USA only. No descriptions of the restaurants are included, but address and phone numbers are available. They also don’t specify whether the restaurants are vegan, vegetarian, or omnivorous. They do, however, have supposedly the most listings.

VegDining.com allows you to search by city worldwide to find restaurants. There is a place for reviews but few are active. Restaurants are categorized according to whether they are only vegan / vegetarian, mostly vegan, vegetarian friendly and so on. Phone information and address are generally available.

City Guides

San Francisco
San Francisco & Bay Area Vegan Restaurant Guide

New York City
Vegetarian Restaurant Guide

Chicago
Chicago Vegan Restaurant Guide

Los Angeles
Vegetarians in Paradise City Restaurant Guide

Portland
Vegetarian Restaurant Guide

My Favorite Vegetarian Restaurants
In the Bay Area:
Saturn Cafe in Santa Cruz (Simply the best. Home-made veggie burgers? Sweet potato fries? Fake chicken satay anyone?)
Cha ya in San Francisco. Vegan monk food, udon noodle soup, and lots of interesting delicacies. Did I mention vegan chocolate cake?
Long Life Vegi House in Berkeley – Fake meat or seafood Chinese style only. The fake mongolian beef is probably the best thing ever.
Santa Cruz Diner Mostly because they have veggie dogs with sauerkraut.
Smart Alec’s Fast Food in Berkeley (Some people detest them, but I think their original homemade griller patty is delicious.)

In Berlin:
Yellow Sunshine – Vegetarian and vegan fast food! Every city should have one!

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All About EGGS – An Easter Article

While this may not be about vegetarian cooking, per say, I feel it is important to say something on the subject of Easter eggs. Many holidays in the U.S. and elsewhere are focused around food, many times around foods that are not entirely in keeping with the vegetarian or vegan diet (Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas ham, and, of course, Easter eggs). In this blog I’ll be posting some vegan and vegetarian options for Easter and other holidays. Feel free to share your creations with your family and friends!

The facts
Even if you’re a lacto-ovo vegetarian, consider giving up eggs on Easter in order to make a statement.
Every Easter, the sales of eggs in the US spike higher than the last. People purchase the eggs for decorating and eating.
The egg was chosen to represent Easter as a symbol of re-birth. It is ironic considering that the eggs you buy in the supermarket represent quite the opposite.
What many don’t realize is that the egg industry, which benefits from these holiday sales, is one of the cruelist animal-related industries in the United States.
U.S. grocery-bought eggs are the product of over 300 million laying hens, most of them (approx. 95%) kept in battery cages- confined spaces where three to ten hens at a time are grouped together with little room to move. The life of a battery cage hen is a sad one. It begins with having their beak sawed off with a hot blade, often suffering multiple illnesses due to poor living conditions while they are forced to lay eggs, and ends with them being starved, shackled and hung upside down until they are numb enough to have their throats cut. This kind of treatment is considered fair and humane in many US states, although many European countries have forbidden the use of battery cages.

If you choose to stop eating eggs, there are a number of vegan products and egg alternatives available to help you make the switch. Your feathered friends will thank you! See below for a list of egg alternatives.
If you do continue to buy eggs, please please buy free range, certified organic eggs. Although this label does not protect the hens from certain practices like forced molting, it does ensure that they are fed a vegetarian diet and allowed room to roam. Buying from a farmer’s market is often a good option as you can ask the farmer directly how the hens are kept.
For more information about the egg industry, visit http://www.eggindustry.com/

Photo by WasabiNoise, Flickr User: http://www.flickr.com/photos/djkubik/215310099/
Vegan and Cruelty Free Alternatives
1. Make Your Own CLAY Easter Eggs – Not only do these allow you to express your creativity while shaping them, but you can paint them when they’re dry! A bonus is they last longer than the shell kind and you can keep a collection of them year after year! PETA has a great recipe for the clay if you don’t want to buy it in the store. FIMO is a great, air-drying clay that comes in many colors!
2. Papier-Mâché Eggs – Fun to make and simple too! Also paintable! Check out the PETA page for a recipe and instructions.
3. Chocolate Eggs – Make your own following a recipe from PETA. Or you can buy some vegan chocolate eggs from A Lot of Chocolate
4. Plastic Eggs – Great for hiding treats in! Have an Easter egg hunt!
5. Wood Eggs – Available at your local craft store! Great for painting!

Egg alternatives for cooking
Ener-G –A great egg alternative.
Orgran No Egg – Available online & at many health food stores.
Dixie Diner’s Club Egg NOT! – An egg alternative that is recommended for cooking. Buy from the manufacturer or in your local vegan-friendly store.

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