well, i’m going for it.

After months (years?) of deliberation, I’m going to start eating vegan. (For a month, that is.)

mmm plants

Eating vegan is something I’ve wanted to do for a while — not just because it’s better for you and better for the Earth, but also because it will expose me to new tastes and foods. I’ve always been uncomfortable with eating factory-farmed meat, but for the sake of convenience (both for myself and the numerous kind souls/friends/parents/grandparents/boyfriend’s parents/boyfriend’s grandparents who feed me), I haven’t been “vegetarian” since high school.

However, since reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals — which I will return to you someday, Jenny — I’ve realized that convenience isn’t a real excuse for doing things that make me uncomfortable. So as of Monday, I’m trying veganism for a month, to see how energetic and healthy I feel, how hard or easy it is, and if I can maintain a plant-based lifestyle. Feel free to ask me questions, and of course, I’ll share my tips and tricks along the way :)

  

And the first tip/trick is this SUPER easy, really delicious casserole. Throw it together in 10 minutes, let it bake for 20, and you’ll have a nutritious, protein-packed Mexican dinner on the table in no time.

Quick Tamale Pie. Serves 4-5.

3/4 cup polenta (coarse-ground cornmeal)
1 can of pinto beans -OR- 1 8-oz. package of tempeh, crumbled
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 c. corn, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 cup salsa
1 teaspoon chipotle powder or chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

-Preheat oven to 350F.
-In a cast-iron skillet, bring 2 1/2 c. of salted water (or vegetable broth) to a boil.Stir in polenta, and keep stirring periodically until it thickens. When it’s ready, you should be able to stir polenta off the bottom of the skillet and it won’t go back immediately — it should take about 6 minutes to form the “crust.” Spread the polenta evenly around the bottom of the skillet, and take it off the heat.
-In a large bowl combine the rest of the ingredients (including liquid from canned ingredients), and stir well. Or, just pour the ingredients into the skillet on top of the polenta and stir, if you don’t want to dirty up a bowl. Top with nutritional yeast (a vegan B12 supplement that tastes cheesy) or cheese (optional).
-Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, and another 10 minutes if the onions still look too crunchy. Serve with cilantro and salsa.

tempeh is delicious! 20g protein per serving.

Disclaimer: I don’t want to preach to you, because I’m sure you’ve heard the facts and anecdotes about eating too much/too little meat/soy/dairy/eggs/soylent green over and over again. I prefer to tell you HOW to eat a plant-based diet rather than drill the WHYs into your head repeatedly. I do urge you to educate yourself, though, rather than choosing to remain apathetic and uninformed. Eating Animals is a quick read and covers most of the factory-farming basics.

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About Natalie (The First Kitchen)

I like to eat lots of plants, bake cookies, and explore Austin.
This entry was posted in advice, beans, casserole, gluten-free, photos, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to well, i’m going for it.

  1. sydney says:

    i’m feeling inspired to do the same. i just kicked seafood out and it was easier than i expected.

  2. Suzan Pitman says:

    Awesome! You’re going to feel great! I just bought Vegan Family Meals by Ann Gentry & I’ll shoot you the recipes as I try them.

  3. Bonnie says:

    badass! Definitely going to download those two now!

  4. Sara Sanchez says:

    Good luck with the vegan kick! Stick with it and you’ll feel great! If you haven’t checked out the vegandad food blog give it a look!

  5. honnier says:

    Have heard of Tempeh but ya..just only the name is familiar!(:p)
    so I just looked it up in the internet and ..
    it is basically like tofu? more firm? Curious!

    • It’s kind of like tofu. It’s made out of fermented soybeans and grains. It’s much more firm and chewy, and it has a subtle savory taste (unlike tofu, which takes on the taste of whatever you put it in). Hope that helps!

    • Denni says:

      Posted on If the eniuqe feels restless or starts acting crazy, this could previously be an indication of colic. The guy or lady will require to continue being a smaller way extra the fantastic the perfect time to build an assessment as a consequence within the simple reality it’s always in true truth also doable how the four-legged friend was spooked by something.

  6. eatinggreener says:

    I loved Eating Animals, too– so comprehensive! I loved that he got into all the social pressures around becoming veg*n; for example, people (who are taking no action) trying to point out contradictions in your choices, the discomfort that can come with being a veg*n dinner guest, the connections between food and our family histories/stories that we don’t want to let go, etc.

    Also: This recipe looks delicous =)

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