If you were to listen to some of the conversations I have with my friends you notice two things. The first is that I often sound like a broken record because, well what’s true is…true. The second is that they have a hard time understanding how I overcome my love of variety while eating a vegan diet. (Now the broken record thing makes sense, doesn’t it?)
But other than frustration those conversations were the inspiration for today’s post. Well that and the actual meal itself.
Variety, on any diet, starts with your spice rack/cabinet/drawer or whatever, at least in my opinion. If you have a fully developed space for herbs and spices you can turn mashed potatoes (for example) into curry mashed potatoes. Or Asian inspired fries. It is also how a healthy vegan can eat everything and never, ever get bored.
Even when it’s the day before grocery day and you realize your cute little Tokyo diner idea means you sometimes run out of food earlier, and you simply have to make do with what’s on hand.
There were two directives for this particular meal: Asian & Mushrooms.
That made things easy. Sort of. There was about 300 grams of mixed brown & white mushrooms in the fridge along with half a head of cauliflower, bell peppers and scallions, which I love to put in my salads. Not the most exciting ingredients but this is where your spice rack won’t let you down.
Start with Asian basics: garlic, ginger and lemongrass. I find lemongrass pretty hard to find around here and the only grocery store in my town that has it is inside a mall which is a big heaping helping of no thanks for me unless we need to stock up on vegan junk food like cheese and luncheon style slices. So let’s stick with garlic and ginger. Add any or all of the following: soy sauce (or Worcestershire if you want to change it up a bit), tomato paste, lime juice, Sriracha, chili peppers, sesame seeds, miso paste. Take your ingredients and put them in a small mixing bowl. Add a starch & water mix to it and when the veggies are ready, toss it on top.
Boil, then simmer until thick and serve it over rice. Delicious Asian style vegan food in 30 minutes. Totally doable.
Your spice rack will never let you down and if you have a cabinet full of grains, you can experiment with different types of rice or you can test out different Asian noodles with recipes like this.
Tweak the ingredients and you can turn this into an Indian or Thai style curry. Add lemon and herbs instead and turn this into a Mediterranean style veggie & rice dish. The point is to experiment, get creative and hit up the Google Machine for inspiration. It’s out there and once you start, you won’t be able to go back.
If you want to add extra spice…don’t be afraid to dice up a jalapeno or any other spicy pepper and toss it in with the other veggies. Or if you’re cooking for those who can’t handle the heat, it’s a perfect garnish when mixed with mint and parsley.