Sure, there are countless vegetables you can eat at any given moment in time. While eating any vegetable is better than eating no vegetable at all, seasonal varieties growing in your region are your absolute best bets. Currently here in Florida, it’s the season for nutrient rich root and cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens. Here’s a quick look at how to get your fill of some of my favorite winter picks.
Don’t be intimidated by earthy root vegetables or fooled into thinking they are too much work. With just a little washing and chopping, root vegetables can be enjoyed a number of ways.
“I wish I had the time and money to cook (and eat) good food.”
This is a statement I’ve heard uttered repeatedly, especially in response to my electing to be vegan, and my mention of how much I cook.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted the above photo on social media, along with the following note:
“It only takes twenty minutes (or less) to turn a basket of teeny taters into cheesy mash. The fact that this tater basket was only $1 at the produce stand made last night’s dinner taste ever better. Local green beans, broccoli, red pepper, sweet onion, spinach and cabbage were steamed in a pan on the stovetop and enjoyed alongside this mash + a fresh juicy tomato & DIY goddess dressing.”
I also mentioned that I only gave this meal 5-10 solid minutes of prep and stovetop attention and the rest of the time I let it cook itself while I fed the pup, let him outside, went outside with him (with window open to keep an eye on the food), straightened up some things, washed a few dishes, changed clothes…etc.
Truthfully, I’m always slightly baffled (and bummed) when I hear someone say they don’t have the time or funds to cook good, healthy food. Believe me when I say, it doesn’t take fancy ingredients, excess money, or excess time to cook up a fresh, hearty, delicious, local meal, using just a pot and a pan.
Spring is officially coming at us this week! Consider celebrating the arrival of a fresh new season filled with green, by springing for plants—eat vegan for an entire day.
There’s still time to join the masses in making an official pledge to eat plant-based this Friday, March 20, via Meatout.org. Since 1985, this international Meatout event has helped raise awareness of the benefits of eating vegan: helping animals, achieving great health, and saving the planet. Each year, thousands upon thousands make a pledge and join in.
If you are thinking of springing for plants this season—by pledging to do so Friday, or any other day—here are some suggestions to help you eat vegan at all hours, any day you choose.
While my return trip to St. Augustine has required ample rerouting of plans, the past week in the oldest city has been filled with blissful reunitings, welcomed opportunities, and delicious eats.
Immediately upon my arrival, I returned to two local eateries I especially adore—The Floridian for a Saturday night dinner date, and Manatee Café for Sunday brunch. I’ve also gotten back into a joint cooking jive with my boyfriend Andrew.
We decided to play around with a vibrant, mega-sized eggplant he bought down the street at his neighborhood produce stand. We both love eggplant and couldn’t recall the last time we had eaten it, which is a shame, considering it’s delicious and packed with phytonutrients that aid in blood flow, along with fiber and powerful antioxidants.
We knew we didn’t want to simply try and recreate a more typical eggplant dish. Instead, we wanted to create something different. We wanted to create something memorable. We wanted to create something that did this mighty eggplant justice.
So, what exactly did we create?
In less than an hour’s time, we created crispy chia-coated eggplant, paired with sauced tomatoes and quinoa, served alongside a bed of spring mix.
Confession: I’m always craving egg salad of the eggless variety. Itching to make this salad a bit less straightforward and more playful, I decided to incorporate it into a colorful dinner spread, featuring local produce I picked up at the market last weekend. Rather than scooping the eggless salad onto a naked plate, or a bed of greens, I opted to let it rest gracefully atop sautéed Portobello mushroom caps. These eggless egg-dressed caps were accompanied by steamed asparagus and sliced tomato, resulting in a balanced meal ranking low on the glycemic index and high on the satisfaction scale.
Everyone has those childhood dishes that are forever inscribed in their memories. Thankfully enough, my mom has eagerly veganized a couple of my own childhood favorites over the years so we can continue to enjoy them. This weekend, she brought two of these classics back in one delightfully filling evening ensemble.
The first is a dish that not only centers around Rotel Dip, but includes my favorite childhood vegetable, green beans, along with yellow rice. I’m not sure what originally inspired my mom to combine these three entities into one dish, but it’s certainly a favored entrée that has withstood the test of time. My mom brings out this dish when requested for special occasions, in this case, the extended holiday weekend that just passed. Rather than the traditional version of Rotel Dip, requiring Velveeta cheese and Jimmy Dean Sausage, simple swaps of vegan cheese and vegan sausage can be made to reinvent this classic in plant-based fashion.
As the summer heat and Florida humidity have been steadily on the rise as of late, I’ve been especially craving food that is what I consider to be stripped down, light and airy. Yesterday afternoon, I found myself dreaming of lettuce wraps. I have no clue what inspired this day dream of mine since it’s been quite awhile since I’ve munched on lettuce wraps, but it was pretty vivid. Minutes later I opened the fridge to figure out what I was going to eat after yoga, and lo and behold, our neighbor had given us a giant bag of green leaf lettuce. Clearly lettuce wraps were meant to be.
Lettuce wraps offer a great way to get some added roughage in your diet, and are an alternative to tortillas. While lettuce on its own may seem a bit boring or bland, I find wrapping food in lettuce to be nothing short of entertaining. Just like with tacos, you can literally wrap anything into a piece of lettuce.
For some lettuce wrapping inspiration, here is a quick look at how I rolled last night.