Vegan orange beef: It’s what’s for dinner

In my quest for recipes that would help me offload a few oranges, I came across one for orange beef. I often use recipes as inspiration and then make modifications as I did here. I used gardein beefless tips instead of beef, agave nectar instead of sugar, threw in some carrots and onions, and I left out the sherry altogether.

It turned out a very colorful meal, slightly sweet while salty and very hearty. With meat alternatives like gardein, there’s really no reason to eat beef.

How do I love gardein? Let me count the ways

I’m not big on prepackaged foods. They’ve often overpriced, full of chemicals, preservatives, and sodium. I don’t have a problem with sodium. I’m a teaspoon of salt on everything kind of girl. But I know a lot of people try to avoid it. One packaged food that gets rave reviews in my kitchen though, is gardein.

Made with clean ingredients like pea protein, gardein has a taste and texture that closely emulates meat. If you don’t want that texture, it’s not the food for you. But if you want a plant-based food that’s hearty and flavorful, yet free of cholesterol, low in fat, and doesn’t cause any animals to suffer, give gardein a shot. I think you’ll like it.

We had the Buffalo Wings. The sauce is flavorful and has a real kick. I love spicy foods and to me the wings were pretty spicy.

With the Super Bowl coming up more chicken wings will be consumed than any other day of the year.  The suffering animals endure in order to provide a momentary palate sensation is immense. But with foods on the market like gardein that taste good, are healthier than chicken, and don’t cause a soul to suffer, there’s no reason not to eat them instead of meat. Go (vegan) team!

Pepper steak without the steak

I think I was destined to be vegan. From the time I was young, I never really liked the taste and texture of meat. It had to be disguised or in the form of a nugget in order for me to eat it. One of my favorite dishes that my mom made when I was a kid was pepper steak. It was definitely not authentic, but it still had a wonderful flavor that I love today. Back then I used to ask her to make pepper steak—without the steak. These days I make my own version, using her recipe, with a few modifications. It’s fast, easy, and delicious and still one of my favorites.

Recipe:

3 Tablespoons water
½ medium onion, sliced into rings then halved
1 large green or red bell pepper or 2 medium
1 jalapeno pepper, optional
1 can diced tomatoes
1 package gardein beefless tips
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari or Bragg’s if you prefer)

Method:

Add the water and onions to a frying pan and turn the burner on medium, steam the onions for about 3 minutes until they begin to turn translucent, add peppers and steam for an additional 2 minutes. Add the can of tomatoes, including the juice and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the beefless tips and cook until warmed, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch with the soy sauce and mix until there are no lumps. Add to the pan and mix in, stirring continuously until the sauce thickens. Serve over rice and give thanks to my mom for delicious recipe.

Do you have family recipes you’ve recreated in a vegan version? I’d love to hear about them.

Happy Food Day!

Today is Food Day. Organized by Center for Science in the Public Interest, Food Day “seeks to bring together Americans from all walks of life—parents, teachers, and students; health professionals, community organizers, and local officials; chefs, school lunch providers, and eaters of all stripes—to push for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way.”  In more than 2000 cities across the country people held events like feed-ins of healthy, humane food; film screenings; farmers markets; speakers and much more to connect people to where their food comes from and how it’s produced. Philadelphians converged on a produce mart for a carrot mob to help the struggling market stay afloat.

For my part, I participated in a vegan food giveaway in downtown Oakland. With product donated by Field Roast and gardein, we gave away hundreds of samples of food and copies of The Humane Society of the United States’ Guide to Meat-Free Meals.

Changing our diets is hard. Food is close to all of our hearts. What we eat is a part of who we are, where we grew up, and how we grew up. Eating evokes memories for us. That’s why I love doing food giveaways. Using meat analogs like gardein helps people see that cutting meat out of their diet doesn’t have to mean changing everything they eat. Making simple modifications can make a huge positive difference to our heath and to the world around us.

My hope is that at least a few people we talked to today will make some positive changes to their diets, like going vegetarian or in the very least reducing the amount of meat they eat. I hope that every one of those 2000 events will similarly open participants’ eyes to some easy choices they can make that will make all the difference in the lives of the workers who harvest our food, the animals who suffer so we can eat them, and will positively impact their own health.