Conveniently Vegan

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Turn Packaged Foods into Delicious Vegetarian Dishes

by Debra Wasserman
ISBN 0-931411-18-1
208 pages, recycled paper

Cooking / Health

Learn how to prepare meals with all the new natural foods products found in stores today

  • 150 healthy recipes using convenience foods along with fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Explore creative ideas for old favorites including Potato Salad, Stuffed Peppers, Quick Sloppy Joes, 'Hot Dogs' and Beans, Lasagna, Chili, Bread Pudding, and Chocolate Pie
  • Add a variety of fruits and vegetables to your diet with Mango Dressing, Asparagus with Dried Fruit, Cauliflower Curry, Sautéed Portabello Mushrooms, Orange Sweet Potato Soup, Onions with Barbecue Sauce, and Baked Acorn Squash
  • Discover how to use natural foods products in dishes such as Black Bean and Corn Chowder, Bulgur and Tomato Soup, Basmati Rice Burgers, Mexican Noodle Casserole, Tofu Cutlets, Korean Barbecued Seitan, and Spicy Mandarin Chickpeas
  • A terrific way to meet the USDA's Dietary Guidelines

Menu ideas, food definitions, and Product Sources


From the Foreword by Debra Wasserman

The idea for this book came to me almost three years ago as a result of several encounters I had with shoppers at my local supermarket and natural foods store. It seemed as if every time I went grocery shopping a customer or two would notice me grabbing items such as bulgur, couscous, tofu, bok choy, mangoes, or acorn squash. Next, the individual(s) would question me as to how I prepared the item(s). I offered suggestions and soon others became interested in our conversation. I quickly realized consumers now had access to a wide variety of natural foods in almost any store they shopped; however, little if any instruction as to how to cook these products was offered.

Today, many large supermarkets stock even a wider variety of natural foods including vegan hot dogs and burgers, quinoa and basmati rice, organic canned tomato products, numerous types of flour, fresh herbs, exotic fruits and vegetables, plus so much more. However, mainstream supermarkets and even some natural foods stores still fail to teach their shoppers how to use this terrific array of foods.

Conveniently Vegan helps fill this educational gap. I have been vegan for over 15 years and throughout this period I created new recipes and cooked with a tremendous variety of foods. Back when I was a child, supermarkets did not offer so much as whole wheat flour or brown rice. Fortunately, my family belonged to a buying club where a group of families ordered natural foods together and received a discount. Whole grains, legumes, and a wide range of produce have long been staples in my diet.

Beginning cooks and those with years of experience preparing vegetarian meals will find much to learn in this book. Along with useful information there are 150 vegan recipes made from packaged natural foods products containing no animal ingredients. Most of the dishes can be prepared quickly. A nutritional breakdown is offered after each recipe, too.

To do my research I visited supermarkets, natural foods stores, and ethnic and gourmet shops throughout the United States and parts of Canada. I also attended natural products shows in both countries. I carried a list of the vegan natural foods products I had found and added new items as I located them. While searching for these products, I also created a list of companies manufacturing or distributing each item. This list found near the end of Conveniently Vegan may be helpful if you are unable to locate a certain product in the store where you regularly shop. Most supermarkets have some type of informational counter where requests are made to stock items. Knowing the name of the manufacturer and city and state where the product is made can help the buyers locate the item(s) you desire. Don't forget to purchase the product(s) once they appear on your store's shelves so that they remain stocked.

Finally, one of my goals in this book is to help the reader enjoy shopping and cooking. Natural foods stores and supermarkets are continuously adding new and exciting products. Now is the perfect time for you and your family and friends to experience some of these new foods.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Food Definitions
  • Reference Books
  • Menu Ideas
    • Breakfasts
    • Lunches
    • Dinners
  • Figuring Fat
  • Top Dishes for Calcium and Iron
  • Recipes
    • Soups
    • Salads
    • Dressings
    • Vegetables
    • Pasta
    • Gravies and Sauces
    • Grains
    • Beans
    • Meat Alternatives
    • Beverages
    • Breakfasts
    • Lunches or Snacks
    • Desserts
  • Sources of Vegan Products
  • Index
  • Other Books From The Vegetarian Resource Group

Sample Recipes

BANANA BISCUITS
(Makes 35)

These delicious biscuits make a perfect breakfast item. Leftovers can be re-heated in a toaster oven.

3 small ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1 cup lite soymilk or other milk alternative
2 Tablespoons oil
41/4 cups unbleached white flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix the mashed bananas, soymilk, and oil together in a large bowl. Add the flour and baking powder and stir well.

Place dough on a floured surface and knead for 3 minutes. Using a rolling pin, roll dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch-wide circles using a cutter or tin can. Place biscuits on a lightly oiled cookie sheet, bake 20 minutes or until browned. Serve warm.

Total calories per biscuit: 72
Fat: 1 gram

SPINACH/RICE SOUP
(Serves 8)

This soup is excellent with a thick slice of bread.

One 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach
1 cup basmati rice
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
8 cups water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Pepper to taste
6 ounces plain or lemon soy yogurt (about 3/4 cup)

Place all the ingredients, except the soy yogurt, in a large pot and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Add yogurt and cook another 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Total calories per serving: 118
Fat: 1 gram

ONIONS WITH BARBECUE SAUCE
(Serves 4)

Serve this dish over your favorite veggie burger or as a side dish.

2 medium onions, sliced into rings
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup vegan barbecue sauce

Sauté onions in broth in a large pan over medium-high heat for 8 minutes. Add barbecue sauce and heat 2 minutes longer. Serve warm.

Total calories per serving: 65
Fat: 1 gram

BULGUR, CORN, AND GREENS
(Serves 4)

A colorful blend of ingredients, ready in under 25 minutes!

1 cup bulgur
2 cups water
One 10-ounce box frozen corn kernels
1/2 pound greens (kale or collards), rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces 1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Cook bulgur in water in a large covered pot for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients. Heat 10 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Serve warm.

Total calories per serving: 193
Fat: 1 gram

SPICY MANDARIN CHICKPEAS
(Serves 4)

Serve this tantalizing combination of ingredients over a bed of rice.

Two 19-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Two 10.5-ounce cans mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 cup strawberry jam
2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Heat all the ingredients in a medium-size pot over medium heat for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Total calories per serving: 357
Fat: 6 grams

BAKED LIMA BEANS
(Serves 8)

This sweet side dish is absolutely delicious!

One 6-ounce package vegan "bacon"
2 teaspoons oil
One 24-ounce package frozen lima beans
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup molasses
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

Fry vegan "bacon" in oil in a non-stick frying pan until crisp on both sides (about 10 minutes). Chop into very small pieces.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, cook lima beans in boiling water for 10 minutes and drain.

Mix all the ingredients together and pour into a medium-size oven-proof baking dish. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Total calories per serving: 185
Fat: 2 grams

CAJUN-SPICED TOFU BURGERS
(Makes 6)

These burgers are a bit spicy. If you prefer a milder flavor, simply reduce by half the amount of Cajun seasoning used.

11/2 pounds firm silken tofu, drained
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
One 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
11/2 cups fine bread crumbs or matzo meal
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 teaspoons oil

Place ingredients (except oil) in a food processor bowl and blend until well mixed.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large non-stick frying pan. Form 6 large, flat burgers with mixture and brown burgers for 10 minutes on each side. Serve warm with lettuce on a whole wheat bun. Cold leftovers are also delicious.

Total calories per burger: 206
Fat: 5 grams

PASTA WITH BLACK BEAN SAUCE
(Serves 4)

Enjoy this delicious sauce.

1 pound pasta, cooked and drained
One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
One 10.5-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
2 large ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat beans, oranges, tomatoes, and cinnamon in a medium-size pot over medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over your favorite cooked pasta.

Total calories per serving: 603
Fat: 3 grams

FRUIT PIZZA
(Serves 4)

Here's a beautiful looking dessert that both children and adults will enjoy.

1 large 12-inch-wide pita bread
1 cup unsweetened apple butter
1 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
6 large strawberries, sliced
1 apple or pear, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Spread apple butter over pita bread. Arrange slices of fruit on top of apple butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve as is or heat in 350-degree oven for 15 minutes and serve warm.

Total calories per serving: 269
Fat: 1 gram

COUSCOUS PUDDING
(Serves 4)

Experiment with different types of dried fruit for variety.

11/2 cups water
5 ounces couscous (a little less than 1 cup)
1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, chopped figs or dates, for example)
11/2 cups soymilk or other milk alternative
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

Bring water to a boil in a small pot. Add couscous and dried fruit. Cover pot, remove from heat, and allow to sit 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate medium-size pot, heat remaining ingredients over medium-high heat until the pudding starts to thicken (about 3 minutes). While heating, stir often with a whisk. Once pudding thickens, remove from heat and add cooked couscous mixture. Mix well. Pour pudding into a serving dish and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Total calories per serving: 319
Fat: 2 grams


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