Being vegan is hard, and I’m not even vegan. My partner and I decided to go vegan-ish (meaning: no meat except for certain fish, no dairy, and some eggs – I said “ish”) for a little while to help us take a closer look at our eating habits and recalibrate our diets for the new year. Although I do have a few vegan tricks up my sleeve, thanks to my crunchy upbringing (homemade almond milk- yum, tofu rice – good for any meal, and 101 things you can do with beans), it has been tough to say goodbye to cheese, milk, butter (though according to my partner, pork is the hardest of all).
My creative juices have really been put to the test, and, I have to say, there have been some glorious results. Exhibit 1: Best pancakes ever (according to my partner, he never wants any other kind of pancake ever again).
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour (whole wheat or regular)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg (or ½ teaspoon pre-ground)
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated
1 large apple, peeled (or not) and coarsely grated
Water, soy milk or almond milk as needed
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts
Whisk together the dry ingredients to blend, mix shredded zucchini, apple, and eggs in another bowl. Add to dry ingredients and mix to blend. If it is too stiff, add some water or milk to make a thick batter. Fold in the raisins and walnuts. The batter will probably be thicker than normal. I had to spread my pancakes out in the pan with a spatula. The great thing about these pancakes is that they don’t even need any syrup or jam; the sweetness of the apples and raisins is more than enough, and they are so filling and healthy.
Mock Eggs Benedict
I started concocting this recipe in my head after I saw “nutritional yeast cheese sauce” listed on the menu board at Sticky Fingers (local vegan bakery). I have been thinking of what other types of sauces could use nutritional yeast to make a salty, creamy base. For breakfast this morning, I made “mock hollandaise sauce.” The texture of firm silken-style tofu is much like that of an egg white, and if I would have had some soy ham or bacon, I think we would have had a real masterpiece on our hands. As it was, it was still amazingly delicious.
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
Juice of ½ lemon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I used grey poupon)
Water to thin
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together, adding water to thin as necessary and salt and pepper to taste. You may want to add more yeast or lemon juice to get the flavor you want.
I served this over pita bread and was going back for more sauce before I was even halfway done. Seriously good.