Did you know that eating plant based for one day saves the planet 600 gallons of water? Whether it be to improve health, save the lives of furry friends or reduce the global impact on climate change, there are many reasons why people are ditching meat. To embrace World Vegan Day on Nov. 1, here are five recipes so easy anyone can make and so delicious no one will know they’re *whispers* vegan.
White Chickpea Chili
With very little prep work, this one-pot recipe is especially easy. If you’re able to open a can, you’re well on your way to a rich, creamy and delicious soup—perfect for a cold Flagstaff day.
TIP: For a fully plant-based meal, skip the cheese and sour cream in this recipe or replace it with vegan substitutes!
Ramen has come a long way from the $0.10 packet. Now, ramen—with its endless opportunities for flavor, veggies and warm, hearty broth—is all the rage. And this dish has an especially unique tang that is sure to become a household staple.
TIP: Cooking tofu (especially for the first time) can be intimidating, but these simple steps can take your tofu from spongy and bland to crispy and delicious—it will have everyone at the table begging for more!
- Always buy extra-firm tofu (unless otherwise stated in the recipe). It’s the easiest to work with and will get you the best texture results.
- Drain the excess water from your tofu by placing paper towels underneath and on top of the tofu block and weighing it down with a cutting board and heavy kitchen item for 10-15 minutes.
- Cut tofu into small cubes or thin slices. The smaller the cubes or thinner the tofu, the crispier it will become when cooked.
- Coat bottom of skillet with your preferred oil and cook tofu on medium heat.
- Generously season. Tofu basically acts as a sponge, so when I say “generously season,” I mean generously season—more than you think it needs. I usually use a garlic, salt and parsley blend, pepper and a little paprika for a great neutral flavor that goes with everything. Depending on the dish, you can also season with a little bit of your favorite liquid sauce like soy, teriyaki, browning, hot or buffalo sauce. (Make sure your tofu is fully cooked and the heat is reduced to low before adding in any liquid. Gently stir cooked tofu and a small amount of sauce together until it is evenly coated.)
- Flip tofu every 5 minutes or until all sides are golden brown.
Creamy Spinach Curry
This Indian-inspired palak tofu recipe may not look very appealing, but it’s packed full of flavor (and iron), is quick and easy and makes for great leftovers!
(See tofu tips above.)
Spicy Green Chili Pasta
If you’re looking to “hit the spot,” look no further. This zesty pasta is a delicious (and healthy!) twist on traditional mac n’ cheese that is quick, easy and sure to be loved by all.
TIP: Nutritional yeast is a vegan staple (chock-full of protein and B-12)—don’t let the unappetizing name scare you off! This seasoning adds a dairy-free nutty cheesiness, sort of like Parmesan, to whatever you’re cooking. (Not to mention it’s just about the greatest popcorn seasoning you’ll ever find.) You can pick this up in the bulk section of Sprouts or in the spice section of your go-to grocery store.
Sriracha Baked Tofu Rice Bowl
This is probably my all-time favorite meal. It’s healthy and can be made oil-free, is packed with protein and tastes so fresh and so clean (clean).
TIP: Use this recipe as a base and switch up the meal by adding different veggies like cucumbers, raw peppers, cooked mushrooms, bean sprouts, dried seaweed or purple cabbage. If you’d like to kick the healthiness up a notch, swap out the white rice for brown rice or quinoa. The possibilities are endless!
Carly Banks | NAU Communications
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