I have been a vegetarian or vegan for a nearly 10 years. I first chose to be a vegetarian after having read The China Study. My family has a history of heart disease and cancer, and I was following the same path as my father who had a heart attack at 41. The China Study claimed that animal based protein was a major catalyst in these “western” diseases. In hopes to avoid my father’s path, I embraced this new diet. It wasn’t difficult as I didn’t eat much meat and it was mostly chicken.
One of my favorite dishes has always been Mac & Cheese. Growing up we’d have the classic Kraft box dinner on a regular basis, but I only ate homemade mac & cheese if we went to a family get together. One of my aunts made it with the crusty breadcrumb top, but hell if I can remember which one it was.
When I began cooking for the kids, I actually looked at what was in the Kraft dinner and decided I could do better. When I went vegan I longed for the dish and eventually found a reasonable cheese replacement and enjoy it we did a couple times a month. When Sara joined us, I needed to find a gluten free version. We now eat this once a week.
When I was a kid growing up on the east coast we would travel to New York City and Philadelphia. Each time I would beg my parents to get one of the soft pretzels from the guys on the corner. Nothing was better as a kid, and they remain one of my favorite snacks to this day. They fill you up and aren’t loaded with all of those horrible chemicals. The calorie count is low, and with my recipe using dark rye and whole wheat flours you get a better fiber and protein count into your system.
This weekend hoofin’ it around the Capitol Square farmers market, I found a booth selling fresh handmade organic pasta. They only had two types that were vegan, so I bought a 9 oz package of their spinach linguini to use for dinner tonight. Of course, I hadn’t figured out what I was going to do with it yet.
Start out with making some vegan Pesto like I used in my Spinach Linguini with Pesto and Avocado. Set this to the side and steam up your spaghetti squash. One the size of a standard American football should take an hour at 350 degrees. Don’t forget to poke holes with a knife to let the steam out.
So this past week in the CSA we received a head of cabbage, my first kohlrabi ever and some beets. I don’t remember the last time I ate a beet. I have never been a big cabbage fan. But seeing these three things in the box, all I could think about was…coleslaw! The recipe was “baked” in my head before I knew it, I just needed to find a good slaw sauce that was vegan because most are made with mayo or at least egg.
So this week, I had a craving for some good jambalaya, but I couldn’t find any recipe. I checked out a couple of non-vegan versions to see what kind of ingredients would be used. After reviewing a few things out there, I concocted this, which knocked my socks off. So I am here to share it with you, with two ways to cook it – On the spot, and in the crock pot.
One of the best things I did when I became a vegetarian is transition my family off of cookies and sweet, sugary cereals and onto to granola as our treat. We bought granola bars, granola cereal and I think I even tried a granola bread or two. Life was dandy.