Eating a good vegan meal is like winning an Australian mobile casino no deposit bonus – exciting and fun! Vegan cooking tends to be imaginative, combining healthy plant-based products, herbs, and spices to create a healthy and ecologically friendly meal.

Many people “go vegan” because they don’t want to kill animals for food. In the process, however, they find that their meal planning becomes more imaginative and inventive, that they enjoy healthy meat alternatives and that they serve as models for other foodies.

Some of the main reasons for adopting a vegan lifestyle include:

  • Health – the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that vegans are less likely to develop cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure than are meat-eaters. Vegans aren’t exposed to cholesterol and saturated animal fats as are meat-eaters but they still get all the nutrients that they need through plant protein and fiber.
  • Weight – vegans are, on average, 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters. Once someone develops a vegan lifestyle they aren’t prone to gaining back the weight that they lost, which frequently happens with meat-eating dieters.
  • Taste – vegan food is delicious and doesn’t come with cruelty or ecologically-unsound practices. Veganism is growing and to meet that demand, companies are coming out with more and more meat- and dairy-free options that are healthier than animal-based foods and taste very good.
  • Environment – veganism is environmentally sound.  Raising animals for meat contributes to global warming and meat production causes pollution. Adopting a vegan diet goes a long way to combatting these environmentally questionable practices.

Try It

If you’re prepared to try veganism, start by preparing a list of easy-to-prepare vegan meals with simple, basic ingredients. You don’t need to visit the gourmet section of the supermarket to start cooking vegan. Try any of these basic, delicious vegan dishes as you start experimenting with a healthy, conscious vegan lifestyle.

Vegan Chili

Vegan chili is not only easy and delicious but it’s also inexpensive, filling and a nutritional winner. The base of the dish is the red beans which are almost completely fat-free and give you 44% dietary fiber and 20% potassium.

To prepare this dish you need 3 cans of red beans.  Alternately, you can take a bag of dried beans and soak them overnight and then cook them for 1 hour in boiling water to save a bit of money.

  1. Chop and dice 2 onions and 6 cloves of garlic. Chop two carrots.  Sautee these items in olive oil until they are soft and a bit brown.
  2. Peel and chop 2 zucchini and approximately 10 medium-sized mushrooms. Add them to the onion-garlic mixture.
  3. Add 3 cans of red beans (or a similar amount of dried red beans that have been soaked overnight and then cooked in boiling water for at least one hour).
  4. Add one can of tomato paste and one can of chopped tomatoes.
  5. Start cooking. Add approximately ¼ c. red wine and 1/8 c. soy sauce and 2 tbsp paprika.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. If you like your chili spicy, dice in hot pepper to taste.  Start with 1 tbsp and add more according to taste.
  8. Add one tablespoon each of:
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried basil
  • Dried tarragon
  • Dried rosemary

Serve on a bed of brown rice.

Vegan Pizza

Everything with a good pizza sauce is delicious but the vegan pizza is filling as well. The pizza is low calorie and high fiber so you can eat as much as you want without worrying about fatty crusts or cholesterol-laden cheeses.

The pizza is made in 3 parts – crust, sauce, and vegan cheese. If you buy vegan cheese you can add that on top of the sauce but making your own is even better and healthier.

Crust

  1. Combine 1 tbsp yeast and 1 tbsp sugar in a cup with warm water. When the mixture starts to foam, put it in a bowl with 2 cups of whole wheat flour or any other type of flour that you wish.
  2. Add salt. You can add oil if you want but it’s not necessary.  Add enough water to allow you to knead it into a ball.
  3. Mix the dough and knead it well. You want it to be firm so that the pieces don’t stick to your hand but not tough.
  4. Allow the dough to rise for approximately 1 hour in a warm spot.
  5. Roll out the dough on a table and lay it on parchment paper on an oven pan. You can make the dough as thick or as think as you like it – up to you.

Sauce

  1. Dice one onion and three cloves of garlic (you can add more garlic if you like a garlicky sauce).  Sautee them in a pan until they are soft.
  2. Add a can of tomato sauce.
  3. Add your herbs according to taste. Oregano and basil are common but you can add more, according to your wish.
  4. Add ¼ cup red wine (optional)
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste
  6. Spread the sauce over the crust

Topping

  1. Grind raw cashews, sea salt, nutritional yeast and garlic powder in a blender or food processor until it is fine. Sprinkle it over the sauce.
  2. Add your other toppings on top of the “cheese.”  Some options are mushrooms, onions, pineapple (yes, really) and sliced tomatoes.

Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes at a medium temperature. If you like your pizza crispy, keep it in the oven for a bit longer or turn up the heat during the last few minutes.

Tofu

Everyone seems to know that tofu is a staple for vegans but, unfortunately, a lot of people don’t use it because they don’t know how to prepare it properly. Tofu is, basically, bean curd, which is an excellent source of amino acids, iron, calcium, and other micro-nutrients.

The mistake that people make when preparing tofu is that they sautee it right into the sauce. There’s a little trick that you can use to make tofu much tastier.

  1. Slice or cube the block of tofu.
  2. Place it on a paper towel and press it to get out the excess liquid.
  3. Marinate it – there are endless marinades for tofu. Two of my favorites are:
  • Equal amounts of teriyaki and honey or date syrup. OR…
  • Lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic cloves, dried Italian seasoning, kosher salt, black pepper, and olive oil.
  • Saute the tofu in olive oil.
  • THEN saute it again in your marinade.

Made correctly, tofu can be a main dish, served over a grain such as rice, pasta, wheat berries or couscous.