Your health tip for today is followed by ways to implement the very important step towards BECOMING the WORLD’S NEXT TOP PLANT-BASED EATER. It's time for a meatless makeover!
EAT LESS PROCESSED OIL and Cook like you’re a MEATLESS MASTER!
Why? Because eating less oil and meat can protect your arteries, give you better blood fats and blood sugar, help you loose weight and even reduce your risk for death.
Yes, if you’re new to eating a plant-based diet with little or no meat or dairy, AND very little oil, you may be missing some of your favorite meals and wishing you could have that mac and cheese, creamed spinach, chicken divan, French fries, onion dip, pizza and more! It can be especially difficult when you’re confronted with the holidays or someone else’s eating habits like bacon or sour cream. OK, I won’t even say the words. You know what I mean.
But, what if you leaned how to transform any dish into plant-based PARADISE? You might be jumping for joy. Let’s not pine over what's missing, but take joy and celebrate the amazing abundance of delicious WHOLE FOODS that are available to most of us. AND, be happy that with a little skill and knowledge, you can retool your favorites TO BECOME A MEATLESS MASTER! This, of course, includes dairy, too.
Let’s take these recipe babies apart and retool them into plant-based goodness.
Although there are vegan choices at the market, most of them have A LOT of oil so we’re sticking with better choices here. However, depending where you are in your life, if you need a quick fix that will save you time.... there are store-bought substitutes for cheese, sour cream, and cream cheese.
STEPS TO BECOMING A MEATLESS MASTER
1. LEAVE OUT THE MEAT:
Easy enough. A lot of dishes can be just excellent on their own without the meat. Take Chicken Divan. It has lots of veggies so go with just veggies or add in a meatless alternative such as sausage, tempeh, or baked tofu. In a dish that has bacon, you can substitute tempeh bacon, either store-bought or homemade. Make a list of your favorite meals and see if you could just leave out the meat... Here are a few to get you going: spaghetti, tacos, burritos, fried rice, chili, curries, or lasagna.
2. REPLACE THE DAIRY:
Use one of the many non-dairy types of milk that are in the market or make your own. For cream, pump up the creaminess of any non-dairy milk by adding a few raw cashews to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth with a little liquid. Or, use a can of cannellini beans which adds creaminess. For cheese, often the cheese can just be eliminated, but if it seems crucial, a little nutritional yeast can substitute, although like anything can take some getting use to.
There are many tutorials online on how to make your own vegan cheese and in a pinch you can use store-bought vegan cheese, but I haven't been impressed (except for a few artisanal cheeses like Treeline brand. I'm about to test a recipe for Greek Spanakopita using their brand).
3. REPLACE THE EGGS:
Here are some easy replacement choices.
If you’re baking and need something to rise, 1 egg = 3 Tablespoons water plus 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseeds. If you need something to stick together, use 2 tablespoons of flour or cornstarch + 2 tablespoons water. And, here's an odd one, use the left-over brine from a can of chickpeas. I know, it sounds strange, but this magical juice can actually be whipped. The proteins from the chickpeas must pretty closely mimic egg whites. Really, watch this video.
4. REPLACE THE OIL & BUTTER:
OK, this one can be a little more difficult depending on the recipe. Here are some tips.
Sautéing: use water, wine or veggie stock or water flavored with soy sauce. It works really well with any vegetable, including mushrooms. They will be the most outstanding and flavorful mushrooms you’ve ever had because, you won’t taste the oil. Just the true essence of the veg. Mmmmm, so good!
Thickening sauces: use flour or cornstarch.
In a baked recipe: use a fruit puree like applesauce or bananas, but only use about half what's called for in the recipe. Apparently vegetable purees work too, like pumpkin.
Here's a Couple of Meatless Makeovers...
What's cheesier, creamier and meatier than potatoes au gratin with bacon? Substitute the cream or milk with non-dairy, the cheese with a little nutritional yeast and the bacon with tempeh bacon. I like Tofurkey brand. Sounds easy, right? Here's the recipe for Potato Gratin with Jalapeño and Bacon.
If you're looking for a good reference, try this: