Vegan: To Be or Not To Be?

tempeh_threegrainI’ve never seriously considered going vegan, which in my mind, is like super-vegetarianism.  That being said,  I often find myself reading a number of vegan/vegetarian/dairy-free blogs like 101 Cookbooks, Bittersweet, and One Frugal Foodie.  The recipes are healthy and flavor-saturated, despite not incorporating any animal products or by-products.  Finding creative ways to cook without these ingredients takes quite a bit of thought and effort, and I admire anyone putting that much consideration into their food.

When my friend KD announced that she decided to go vegan, it got me thinking more about the whole concept.  She admitted that she hated it the first three months, and then something just clicked and she began to love it.  I think at first it would be difficult to get used to this new lifestyle, trying to substitute vegan ingredients for your old non-vegan ones.  Then, in time, you stop substituting and just start eating in this new way.  It reminds me of learning a foreign language.  At first you translate everything into your native language in order to process it, but then at some point you just start thinking in the other language without any need for translation.

Growing up in the 1970s, vegetarianism, much less veganism, wasn’t something you heard much about in my part of the world.  However, there was one fantastic eatery in town, The Autumn Café, which while not a vegetarian restaurant, first introduced me to things like tempeh, miso, and tofu.  I never quite came around to the tofu, but since the time I was in high school I was crazy about The Autumn’s Tempeh Burger.  They also had a fabulous entrée called the “Hot Open Veggie” which was a mélange of carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and cabbage topped with this great tamari-based gravy and melted cheese.    I never quite got that gravy right, but I still make my own version of the tempeh burgers all the time. 

Tempeh is found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store in a package that is large enough to make 2 burgers.  It is a soy-based product, but has a lot more texture and flavor than tofu.   Even if you don’t like tofu (which I don’t!), you may be surprised by how delicious tempeh can be!  

 Autumn-Inspired Tempeh Burgerstempeh-002

Serves 2

1-  8 oz package tempeh, cut into 2 squares

¼ cup Soy sauce

Olive oil

½ cup shredded carrots

½ cup broccoli sprouts

1 tablespoon mayo (or mayo substitute) mixed with a dab of horseradish

2 whole grain burger rolls

Pour soy sauce in a shallow bowl or plate and quickly dip the tempeh ‘burgers’ to coat. 

Heat about a teaspoon of olive oil in a medium frying pan and add burgers.

Heat for a few minutes on each side until lightly browned and heated through.

Transfer to the rolls and top with shredded carrots, sprouts and horseradish mayo. 

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One Response to “Vegan: To Be or Not To Be?”

  1. Livin' Veg Says:

    Hey there,

    Your friend is totally right. Like anything new it just takes a little bit of adjusting. Mostly people don’t make the switch right away – they take steps. Maybe giving up meat one day a week, and then upping it to two days, and then trying a day without dairy. Cold turkey (excuse the expression) doesn’t really work for many people.

    Oh and if you like vegan food blogs, you should try http://www.veganyumyum.com – It’s my absolute favorite!!

    Thanks for the tempeh recipe:)

    Alyson
    Livin’ Veg

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