So my friend T.M. Göttl (the amazing poet) recently e-mailed me a blog suggestion.
“So, more than once, I’ve had friends ask what to feed me when I’m coming over, etc. They want to be hospitable, and at the same time, I don’t want to put them out, and usually just tell them not to worry about me. Whatever they have, I’ll find something to eat, and might snack a bit beforehand to make sure I don’t go hungry.
But is there actually an easy answer when someone asks you this?”
So I usually do pretty much the same thing. Tell people not to worry about it or just bring my own thing (to share, and spread the deliciousness of vegan food made right!).
Advice for YOU, the Vegan, for your friends/family
- Ask what they’re making.
- If they’re having some sort of veggie ask them to set some aside for you with no butter in them or use oil if they HAVE to put something in there. Veggies are good plain. Have people add their own butter if they really need it.
- Mashed potatoes: tell them that you’ll bring some soy milk to mash them with (If they’re up for that. My family usually takes my portion out before adding milk. My Dad, however, makes them for everyone and NO ONE in my carnivorous family notices. Heck, one of my cousins didn’t even notice he was eating veggie meatballs once. I usually tell them after they’ve already enjoyed it.)
- Pizza: no meat or cheese please! That’s typically it. (check the sauce and crust ingredients)
- Pasta: make a tomato and veggie only sauce. You can even bring your own sauce, just ask them not to put the meaty-stuff on there. Or use TVP or Veggie Crumbles in it instead. I, personally like ground shiitake mushrooms (I buy them in HUGE bulk from the Asian market in Cleveland, reconstitute them in boiling water then food process them… never tried this with fresh.) or whole mushrooms. As far as pasta goes, the fresh stuff is rarely vegan, so get the dry-boxed-variety and again… as always… double check the label. This will not say vegan, but the only ingredients should be some sort of flour or flour mix (whole wheat is best) and maybe salt.
- Burgers: Bring a Boca or home-made version with you and use their toppings. (Note: many buns use milk products, but not all)
- Hot dogs: Veggie dogs.
- Potato chips (original) are vegan, but not good for you.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly is vegan. Check the bread and jelly (for Gelatin in the Jelly and milk or egg products in the bread)
- Give them a simple recipe or website (like fatfreevegan.com or that awesome tofu thing that I just posted last week…) to use. If they need ingredients I usually supply them… but let them know if they have any questions to feel free to ask and double check.
- If you need advice, feel free to ask me! You can even have THEM ask me.
Notes for the non-vegan chef about vegans
- “Veggie Slices” are not vegan. They (that particular brand) have a milk product in them called caesin.
- Margarine typically has milk in it. Even a little bit can make a vegan physically ill, if they know it’s in there or not. Vegan Margarines: Smart balance with omega 3’s. Double check the label, the vegan one SAYS “vegan” on it somewhere. This can be found in most grocery stores. Earth Balance (NOT the 50/50 butter blend) is vegan as well. Again, check. It says “vegan”
- Sugar. This does not apply to all vegans…. but you may want to ask about their view on the issue. Many vegans do not eat sugar because refined white CANE sugar is processed with animal bone charcoal. Pioneer Sugar (ala Fremont, Ohio) uses beets to make their sugar. It is veg-friendly.
- Honey. Ask your vegan.
- Even if it’s “only a little” of whatever ingredient, we still won’t eat it. My aunts have tried this a lot… and my Grandfather: “Have some baked beans!”…. “I bet you put bacon in the Grandpa.” …. “Only a pound!”
(make sure your replacement “sounds good” with the other ingredients.. like, don’t put bananas in veggie loaf or anything like that…):
Eggs that bind (stick stuff together ie: cookies): 1 Egg=
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1/2 pureed banana (T.M. Göttl makes the most AMAZING chocolate chip cookies with this)
- 1/4 cup pureed tofu
- 1/4 cup mahsed potatoes (no milk!)
- 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed simmered in 3 Tbsp. water
- Really a 1/4 cup of anything that has this consistency. (pumpkin, fruits, tomato paste, oatmeal,
Eggs that leaven (make things fluffy ie: cakes, pancakes, muffins, breads):
- 2 Tbsp. water + 1 Tbsp. oil + 2 tsp. baking powder
- A powdered egg replacer (ener-G or Bob’s Red Mill)
- Egg salad: use firm, pressed tofu
- Scrambled eggs: Use firm tofu (the fresh kind… in water, not silken) crumbled up.
- Soy, Almond, Rice, Coconut Milk (Note: coconut milk is VERY HIGH in saturated fat)
- Buttermilk=add 1 tsp of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
- Depending on the recipe you can use juices or water. This will impact the flavor a little bit (especially the juice)
- Vegetable oil for baking
- Olive oil for cooking
- You can even use peanut, grapeseed or other oils depending on what you have and what you’re making. Peanut oil is great for fried seitan (veggie chicken)
- There is a plethora of meatless-meat in most supermarkets. I’ve found Kroger and Giant Eagle (along with health food stores, of course!) to be the most veg-friendly chains.
- Seitan. I’ll post my recipe here once I’m happy with it. Until then, it’s pretty easy to find online somewhere. ppk.com should have a pretty good one.
- There are many vegan cheeses out there. The best cheese that I have found is a new.ish brand called Daiya. Stretches, melts, doesn’t taste like wax. I have also found some vCheeses by Chicago Vegan Foods, “Teese” to be pretty good, too. I don’t even remember where I had it, but it was amazing. Otherwise, just remember to look to see if it says “vegan” and that “Veggie Slices” are NOT vegan.
- Many cheese substitutes can be made with Nutritional Yeast. Recipes are out there, and will be on here as I find ones that are lovable. Nutritional Yeast is also a great source of vitamin b12 (I’ve heard that Brewer’s yeast is the same thing, but have not tried it.) By itself it’s a good Parmesan substitute.
- Cream cheese: Tofutti and other brands make delicious vegan cream cheeses. However, watch the hydrogenated oils. I’ve noticed an effort to get those off of the shelves by those companies, though. Still, check.
- Soy yogurt! Mmm. Make sure it’s made without milk ingredients. I’m hoping to have a recipe here soon!!!! (Oh yeah! OH.YEAH)
- Vegenaise is a vegan mayo substitue. I like the grapeseed oil kind.
- Mashed avocados! Tempeh salad with avocados and whatever you’d put in chicken salad. I’ve been wanting to make this for a few days.
Let me know if I missed anything! This may be updated a few times!