A Bean By Any Other Color…

I’ve tried many new food items since becoming vegan: things I never thought I would eat much less like.  Things like pressed fermented tofu and seed cake, though seven-grain tempeh sounds more appetizing; and then there are all the beans.  My pre-vegan repertoire consisted of black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, and the occasional lentil.  My post-vegan pantry has expanded to include all of those plus cranberry beans, anasazi beans, black, green, red, and black lentils, yellow and green split peas, Christmas lima beans, and so many more.  Some of the tastiest and most versatile beans I use are garbanzo beans, aka chickpeas.  They make excellent crispy snacks if marinated and oven-baked, star in chickenless salad, chickpea and noodle soup, and not-tuna salad.

My enthusiasm for new and interesting beans may have gone too far.  I was at an Asian market (since become a diner so I need a new source for black salt) and was going nuts at the prices of bulk lentils, spices, black salt, and green garbanzo beans.  The friend I was shopping with said, “um…green garbanzo beans?”  “Yep”, I replied; “aren’t they cool?”  My friend looked like ‘cool’ wasn’t the first word that occurred to her but she made no other protest and a bag of green garbanzo beans accompanied me home.

As summer takes over in Colorado I eat more salads and, at long last, the time came for me to soak and cook the green garbanzo beans in order to make not-tuna salad.  I admit, a lessons I’ve learned from previous cooking experience sprang to mind as I prepared the beans. Lesson one: soup mixes comprised of multiple beans and/or grains look pretty until they’re cooked.  Then, black beans or black rice color EVERYTHING else in the mix and the entire lot turns brown.  What would cooked green beans look like?  However, I’d purchased the beans and was committed.  How bad could it be?

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Well…cooked and mashed green garbanzo beans are no longer green.  “Unappetizing” and other, stronger, words came to mind but I’m anything if not wasteful.  I mashed my beans, stirred in Just Mayo, mustard, chopped green olives, chopped celery, and 1/4 a sheet of nori, snipped into teeny pieces.  I was going to eat it no matter how it looked.

While the salad looked nasty; once I spooned it over a bed of red leaf lettuce and covered it with sliced Easter egg radishes, appearance was no longer an issue.

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Taste was no issue at all.  There is no substitute for soaking and cooking my own beans.  Taste, texture, cost…there is no comparison, although I admit I use canned beans because they’re convenient.  The beans in my salad were smooth and creamy, which bore no resemblance to actual tuna salad but, this far into my vegan diet; that isn’t a bad thing.  The salad is filling, tasty, and easy to eat at my desk at work.  And, the green garbanzo beans?  I think that all future recipes will keep them whole rather than mashed.

 

It’s My Party and I’ll Fromage if I Want To

I have friends and family that are interested in my vegan lifestyle but I invariably hear; “I could never go vegan-I could never give up cheese”.  I understand.  Cheese was an important part of my life before becoming a vegan.  The sharper the Cheddar the better, Stilton; Gouda, Gruyére, Brie…yes, I did eat a great deal of cheese.

I haven’t missed cheese; not with brands like Daiya, Follow Your Heart, and Chao slices by Field Roast taking care of most of my needs.  There is no denying the texture is not the same and, excepting Daiya’s Gouda style farmhouse block, I haven’t found a vegan cheese substitute I like sliced and eaten with crackers.  Cheese and crackers along with grapes or a sliced apple is one of my favorite simple snacks and one I was willing to drop the cheese portion if I had to.  And yet, I couldn’t help holding out hope that I’d find a cheese substitute I’d find tasty with a cracker.

It turns out, I don’t have to give up my snack.  My local King Soopers has a vegan/vegetarian section that carries some Tofurky and Field Roast products, some Tofu, some cheese options, and something new.  I found Treeline brand cheese: a non-dairy product made from cashews.  King Soopers carries the Chipotle Serrano Pepper, Scallion, and Herb-Garlic flavors.  I’m always willing to try something new and, hoping it would prove delicious, I purchased a carton of the Scallion and took it home.

I was not disappointed.  Treeline’s product is smooth, creamy, and spreads easily onto a cracker so there’s no worry of breakage.  The flavor is pleasant as well.  Despite being made with cashews it doesn’t take at all like cashews.  Treeline isn’t heavy on the spice either.  I liked the Scallion so much that, when I was ready for another treat, I purchased the Herb-Garlic and didn’t find the flavor too strong.  I am looking forward to trying other vegan substitutes as they come to hand, especially that made by Miyoko’s Kitchen, but I am thrilled to have access to Treeline.  Now, I only have to find a place that offers the other flavors.

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My favorite cracker for cheese and crackers indulgence used to be Triscuit crackers.  Unfortunately, despite releasing new and interesting flavors-including a pumpkin spice-Nabisco has not sought 3rd party non-GMO verification for their Triscuit crackers.  Fortunately, Back to Nature makes a Harvest Whole Wheat Cracker that tastes exactly like a Triscuit but sports the non-GMO butterfly.  My snack life is saved!

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I don’t mind purchasing a product like Treeline as an occasional treat but there’s no denying it’s a bit expensive so I’m scouring my cookbooks for recipes I can try at home.  A few make-at-home cheese recipes will be ideal for the Holiday Season.  Have a favorite?  Let me know.  I’m always up for cheese and crackers and perhaps a little wine.

Comfort and Pasta

My workplace had a Halloween potluck earlier this week and were planning a chili competition.  I thought I’d bring something different and decided to make a corn chowder.  An added inducement to the corn chowder was that I could make it with ingredients I had on hand and any time I can avoid the grocery store I will choose to do so.

I used the recipe in The Part Time Vegan as a template, adding a few tweaks of my own, and ended up with a chowder that wasn’t bad.  Wasn’t bad isn’t usually what I go for so my corn chowder recipe needs work before it can be posted.  Having a recipe not turn out as I’d hoped is always a little bit of a downer so I decided to drown my sorrows in comfort food.  Enter pasta and, fortunately, the McDougall diet allows me to eat as much as I like.

With both comfort and temperance in mind, I decided to try a new pasta.  I got sucked into one of those sample stands at Costco which introduced me to Explore Cuisine’s Chickpea Pasta (which is not on the website but other tasty products are).  The woman at the sample stand assured me the pasta kept a chewy texture despite re-heating and I was persuaded to buy a box.

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I have tried other gluten-free pastas.  I like quinoa pasta but have found brown rice pasta ends up too mushy.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I boiled water and measured out the pasta.  I was concerned with taste as the pasta smelled well, beany, as it cooked but all my worries were for naught.  The pasta has a slight flavor that didn’t remind me too much of chickpeas and kept a perfect al dente texture.  My family liked it as well.  Though I don’t know this will replace quinoa pasta for me, I’m definitely interested in trying more of Enjoy Cuisine’s products.

Wondering what to eat with the pasta?  Here’s my Mom’s recipe for chunky vegan pasta sauce.  Neither she nor my step-father are vegan and they both choose this one over sauces laden with meat.  Let me know if you give it a try.

Sue’s Spaghetti Sauce

1 cup minced onion

1 TBSP minced garlic

1 jar Classico Traditional Favorites Pasta Sauce, Tomato & Basil

1 jar Prego Light Smart Traditional Italian Sauce

2 TBSP Hunts Tomato Paste

1 14oz can Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes, Diced, No Salt Added

1 15 oz can Tomato Sauce

1 15 oz can Simple Truth Organic Tri-Bean Blend beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can Organic Canned Black Beans, drained and rinsed

6 oz Boca Veggie Ground Crumbles

Cook onions and garlic until onions begin to sweat.  All all other ingredients except beans and crumbles.  Cook 1 hour.  Add beans and crumbles and cook 15 minutes.  Pour over cooked spaghetti.

Prep and Cook time = 75 min

Serving Size = 2 cups

Serves = 8

I’ll Give it a Miss

I tried a new vegan product his week:  Jackfruit.  BBQ Jackfruit, to be precise.

I first heard of jackfruit in Jenn Shagrin’s cookbook, Veganize This!.  Ms. Shagrin had a recipe making a canned tuna substitute out of jackfruit.  I purchased this cookbook when I first made the decision to become a vegan and, as I was already overwhelmed with new ingredients, I did not run out and purchase jackfruit.  I knew H Mart, a lovely Asian market not far from where I live, carried canned as well as fresh jackfruit so it was always in the back of my mind to use but I developed a taste for not-tuna salad made with chickpeas and nori so…years passed…

And then, I saw jackfruit for sale at my local Vitamin Cottage.  Ah!  Jackfruit!  I always wanted to try that, I told myself and purchased the package.  I didn’t have a plan when I brought the jackfruit home so I put it in the freezer and forgot about it until I needed something to go with mashed potatoes and gravy and peas.  In my pre-vegan days, I’d have had pulled pork so BBQ jackfruit seemed like a optimal alternative.

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It Almost Looks Like Pulled Pork…

So…

This was not one of my favorite things.  I liked the BBQ sauce but the texture of the jackfruit definitely takes some getting used to.  The taste reminded me of BBQ artichoke hearts; something I can make a lot cheaper should I be seized by the impulse.  I can’t imagine it will.

My verdict?  It isn’t bad but I don’t see jackfruit becoming a staple in my vegan diet.

I’m Nuts for Nuttacos!

At least, the box promised me I would be.

Sprouts occasionally has a Frozen Frenzy where everything in their freezer section is 20% off.  This is a happy time for me:  I can pick up meals for my work lunches at a discount as well as try some new products I wouldn’t usually try as cost would be prohibitive.  I couldn’t get to the store until 7PM so was looking for something for dinner as well as lunch fodder.  I saw this box in the freezer section and was intrigued.

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I like tacos, I thought to myself.  These are organic.  They’re soy free.  The picture looks tasty.  How bad could they be?  There have been times when I’ve asked myself how bad something could be and the answer was down right awful.  Purchasing a product I’d never heard of was a gamble but, hey, I had 20% off and the box did promise I’d be nuts for them.  Prove it, I thought.  I added them to the cart and took them home.

These tacos are fast food at its best.  They cook from frozen in 12 minutes: after 8 minutes I was instructed to pry them open and add some cheese, then cook another 4 minutes.  I had some Daiya cheddar shreds in my refrigerator and attempted to do so.  These mini tacos are not easy to stuff however I did manage to get most of the shreds inside the taco shell without searing my fingerprints off.  I shoved the baking sheet back in the oven for the allotted 4 minutes and ransacked my refrigerator for taco toppings.

I had to go minimalist.  I had some Tofutti sour cream and some organic salsa but no guacamole or tomato.  I should have thought ahead while I was at the store.  Mental note for next time.  The Daiya shreds melted beautifully but the tacos weren’t large enough to stuff with toppings.  I spooned a little sour cream and salsa on the top and tried my first Nut Taco.

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The promise on the box wasn’t false advertising.  These little tacos are fantastic.  I thought the shells would stay soggy but they didn’t: they bake to a perfect crunch.  I was also wary of the nut filling.  Really?  Nuts?  Yes.  Nuts.  The filling has the same texture as re-fried beans, albeit with a little more substance.  They reminded me of deep fried taquitos I used to eat but without all the grease.

I liked these tacos so much I googled “Carla’s Nut Tacos” and found there is a full line of nut products.  The nut yummies look like a decadent treat and there are nut burgers and nut balls as well.  I haven’t had the best luck making vegan meatless balls and am looking forward to trying more of these products.  Any guilt I may have felt at eating a frozen food product was assuaged by the fact that Carla Lee’s Nutburgers, the maker of the Nut Tacos, donates 50% of profits to feeding humanity.  Fast food that feeds others?  Pass me the mini taco.

Check them out!  If you’ve tried one of these products, let me know what you thought.

Carla Lee’s Nutburgers

There’s a New Roast in the Freezer

Words cannot express my gratitude to Tofurky.  I first became vegan October of 2011.  I was inundated with changes: things I’d always eaten were suddenly off the menu and I had to learn about substitutions fast.  The biggest challenge was facing my first veg Thanksgiving.  Turkey?  No.  Green bean casserole?  No.  Mashed Potatoes and Gravy?  Okay, but no milk or butter.  There were times I felt overwhelmed but I stuck with it and Tofurky’s Vegetarian Feast got me through not only that Thanksgiving, but subsequent Thanksgivings.  Once I knew I had a go-to holiday staple, I began branching out.

Two Thanksgivings ago I purchased not only a Tofurky roast but Field Roast’s Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute.  I enjoyed the roast, especially the puff pastry, and would eat it again despite finding it a tad rich.  This last Thanksgiving, I purchased my can’t-do-without Tofurky roast and looked for something new to try.  There, in the freezer section, I found Gardein’s Holiday Roast.  I was, perhaps, more excited than the discovery warranted.  My exclamation of delight brought surprised looks from fellow shoppers.  Allow me to explain.

Gardein is another brand that helped me make the transition into veganism.  There were aspects of the transition that weren’t at all difficult.  Once I gave up eating eggs I realized I’d never liked them and the only way I’d been able to choke them down was with hot sauce and far more salt than was good for me.  Cheese was a bit more difficult but not impossible.  I’d never been a big fan of slabs of meat on my plate so beef and pork weren’t missed.  I’d never liked Salmon and, once I’d started purging all other forms of fish from my diet, I found I’d never liked fish either.  This was a big surprise for me.  I’d been a sushi lover for years and finally realized it was the rice and wasabi I liked.  I find vegetarian rolls much more satisfying nowadays.  And so, my transition to veganism would have been smooth but for one item.  Chicken.

Chicken was a staple of my diet.  I cooked it at home, ate it when I went out, and loved-absolutely loved-buffalo chicken.  The hotter the better.  I didn’t know how to make a meal without chicken and couldn’t imagine how beans, grains, and tofu were going to be a satisfying substitution.  A few years under my vegan belt have shown me how amazing these plant-based meals are and I eat a lot less fake meats but Gardein got me over the hump.  Packages of Chik’n fingers (especially the chipotle lime), Mandarin Orange Chik’n, and Buffalo Chik’n (which I’m not sure Gardein makes anymore) were all staples in my freezer while I learned how to cook the vegan way.  They still make an appearance from time to time.  One of my favorite quick meals is Gardein Mandarin Orange Chik’n topping an asian inspired salad.  Since Gardein had never steered me wrong, I anticipated loving the roast.

I was not disappointed.  The roast has a bread crumb coating that beautifully crisps in the oven.  The cranberry stuffing isn’t as rich as the stuffing in Field Roast’s holiday roast and does make a nice change from Tofurky’s wild rice.  The texture is what I’ve come to expect from Gardein-not too chewy-and the roast is easy to cut with a fork.  Served with mashed potatoes, gravy, seasoned green beans, and cranberry sauce; the roast is a seamless part of a Holiday meal.

I wish I had photos for you but the day I cooked this roast was a busy one and I was starving by the time dinner was ready.  I made up my plate, thought ‘yep, looks good’, and inhaled it.  I took a plate with me to a family dinner the next day and, again, had no time to stop and photo the food.  If you want to try this roast, look for this box in the freezer section of your grocery store.  Safeway had it here in Colorado!

Another Holiday Staple
Another Holiday Staple

 

Daiya’s In My Kitchen

My family has been infiltrated by something insidious: the cold virus.  My mother and step-father lie in their chairs, sneezing and hacking at each other, and I swear I can see the virus in the air searching for its next victim.  Since I’m the only other one in the house, its victim is narrowed to me.  But I refuse.  I will not get sick.  With rest, relaxation, good food, and echinacea tea; there’s no reason why I should get sick.  I know that cooking my own food thick with healthy veggies is the best way to stay healthy but, alas, not always possible.

I’ve been extremely busy of late, not conducive to fighting off a virus, and last night was no exception.  I came home from work and had to dash off to the store before a conference call at 6pm so dinner was going to consist of whatever I could find in the grocery store.  I was pleasantly surprised to find something new in the freezer section:  a vegan cheese pizza made by a company called American Flatbread.  I love flatbread pizzas and this one sounded tasty: Daiya mozzarella, basil, organic tomato sauce, and garlic.  On the shelf above the pizza I found a package of Beyond Meat brand southwestern style chick’n strips.  I bought both and a dinner was born, thanks to Safeway.

Beyond Meat is my new favorite product.  I’ve used Gardein, Boca, and Yves brands since going vegan and am new to Beyond Meat.  My mother found a package of the crumbles on sale a while back, added them to chili, and  I’ve been a devotee ever since.  I’m trying to move away from the mock meats but I still use them from time to time and Beyond Meat is one of the tastiest out there.  If mock meats don’t gross you out, I highly recommend Beyond Meat.

Anywho…I brought my dinner, the cold medicine for my family, their soup and crackers, and two boxes of echinacea tea home and slid my dinner into the freezer for after my conference call.  An hour later, I dragged my bleary eyed self back up the stairs and retrieved my dinner from the freezer.  Talk about fast food:  the chick’n strips cook from frozen in 3 to 5 minutes and the pizza bakes in 8.  Well, 12-15 in my oven.  I cooked the chick’n through then diced it, sprinkled it on top  of the pizza, and slid the whole thing into the oven.  Then I waited.  Patiently.  Stomach growling.

It was worth the wait.  The flatbread had that perfect balance between crispy and chewy, I can never say enough good things about garlic and basil, the Daiya cheese melted beautifully, and my chick’n pieces were a perfect protein packed topper.  The only complaint I have is that the pizza was too small.  It’s perfect for one person, or maybe two if both have relatively small appetites or the pizza is going to be rounded out with soup and salad.  It was perfect for me though: I ate half last night and the other half will go into the toaster oven at work for lunch today.  I thought about rounding out my meal with a glass of Malbec but I chose to go for cold fighting power instead.  I dislike over the counter cold medicines and don’t sleep well when I have to take them.  Instead, I brew a cup of echinacea tea and add a splash (or a pour) of blackberry brandy.  A good night’s sleep and I’m ready for a new day.  Virus defeated!

Dinner From the Freezer Section
Dinner From the Freezer Section

And To Finish…

It’s the last day of VeganMoFo2014 and the last day of the first Challenge I’ve ever participated in.  I had so much fun deciding which aspects of my McDougall Diet to blog about, successes as well as failures.  I’m going to stay on this diet for a while so please stay tuned for more posts of amazing food!  I’ve also had such fun reading other posts and I look forward to taking more time and checking out bloggers I missed.  To finish out this month of vegan food, I thought I’d end the way meals end: with dessert.

There are so many homemade vegan desserts that are wonderfully rich and flavorful.  It’s easy to make homemade ice cream with coconut milk.  I’ve made ice cream, cakes, cookies, pies, and bars since becoming vegan and I couldn’t choose a favorite if I had to.  One thing I haven’t mastered is the ice cream bar.  I love them which is odd because I never liked them when I ate dairy.  I thought the chocolate shell was nasty and the ice cream under the shell had an off taste.  I’m vegan now and have discovered So Delicious Mocha Almond Fudge Ice Cream Bars.  If you haven’t tried them, find a box. One caveat; you’ve got to like the taste of coffee.

These are fabulous.  The coffee and chocolate are a perfect mix and the chocolate shell melts into a creamy ribbon of chocolate after you bite it.  These bars are incredible rich so it’s a good thing that they’re a mini.  They’re the perfect size to feel like you’re indulging yourself but not so big you feel ill after eating one.  I don’t know if this is a recipe I’ll ever attempt or perfect, but that’s okay because I can sometimes find a box of these on sale.  Try them.  I can’t recommend them enough.

Let me reiterate how much fun I’ve had over the last month: I can’t wait until veganmofo2015.  Until then!

Best Ice Cream Bar Ever!  Or, so far.
Best Ice Cream Bar Ever! Or, so far.

An Addition to the Kitchen

I did it.  I finally bought a Dutch Oven.  I’ve wanted one since I first became vegan but I wasn’t familiar enough with the cooking involved in the lifestyle and, since I had a stainless steel stock pot, it wasn’t a need.  As I’ve become more familiar with vegan cooking, there have been many a time I’ve wished I had a Dutch Oven but I was making do with what I had.  Even when one of our stock pots could no longer be used and a Dutch Oven was on its way to becoming a need, I still waited.  They can be expensive and I wanted enamel coated cast iron.  Today, I found a deal I couldn’t pass up and finally bought my Dutch Oven.  It’s enamel coated cast iron, it was less than $40.00, and it’s purple.  The purple bit is a bonus and I am thrilled.  With cold weather fast approaching, this little oven is going to get a workout.

My New Toy
My New Toy

I know this is a celebration of vegan food rather than kitchen essentials, but think of all the vegan goodies I can make in it.  The vegan meals that have gone over the best with my omnivore family have been the hearty stews, filling soups, and familiar casseroles.  No one minds joining me in veganism when the food is amazing.  I’ve become a fan of one pot meals for easy clean up and I can’t wait to use my Dutch Oven.  I can start on the stove top cooking onions and garlic, then add my broth, grains, beans, and veggies, then the Dutch Oven will transfer directly to the oven to slow cook a scrumptious dinner.  The enamel coating means I can do all of my cooking with no oil and my food isn’t going to stick.  I was doing okay with oil-free cooking in the stainless steel pot but having the Dutch Oven means I don’t need to save the pot for cooking: I can use it to soak and cook dried beans.  I see less canned beans being used in the future which is also thrilling.  I’ve been trying to focus on Reduce and Reuse instead of just Recycle.

Beautiful Enamel
Beautiful Enamel

Now, I just have to decide what recipe to make first.  Kale and White Bean Stew?  Curried Cauliflower Soup?  Three Bean Chili?  Bean and Sweet Potato Stew with Rainbow Chard?  There are so many possibilities it will be difficult to narrow them down.  I’m up for the challenge.  First, I need to season my new pot so it will be a couple of days.  A fabulous recipe in a gorgeous pot is just the way to usher in October.  Any suggestions for a christening recipe?

Another Photo, Because It's Purple
Another Photo, Because It’s Purple

Eat Your…Purples?

Taste the Rainbow!
Lovely veggies, and a Purple Bell Pepper!

I love shopping at Whole Foods.  If I stick to the bulk bins and produce section my bill doesn’t break my bank, and the produce section at Whole Foods is a beautiful place to be.  I’ve tried things I never imagined I would eat simply because the fresh, crisp, colorful produce has drawn me in and captivated me.  I have to make quite a trek to my nearest Whole Foods but it’s worth it.  For example, my last visit to Whole Foods allowed me to discover purple bell peppers.  I’d never seen a purple bell pepper before.  Why?  Who decided the only colors sold would be green, yellow, red, and orange when deep purple was an option?  Did it taste different?  I had to know.  My mother and I bought one, took it home, and used it last night.

Dinner last night was one of those ‘what do I have to use up’ dinners.  I had some fire-roasted tomatoes left over from the bulgur/cabbage/bean bake, some carrots, an onion, and the bell pepper.  This said ‘burritos’ to me and, sure enough, I had some organic cracked wheat tortillas.  I did not have any sour cream but no matter:  I’d just make something saucy.  I have a recipe for spiced carrot taco meat.  I can’t remember where I got it:  I have it on a recipe card but didn’t copy whose it was.  If this is your recipe, please let me know and I’ll give you the credit.

Spiced Carrot Taco Meat:

5-6 carrots, shredded coarsely

1-2 TBSP nondairy milk or water (I used water)

2-3 TBSP tomato paste-substitute salsa (I used my fire roasted tomatoes)

2-3 garlic cloves (definitely 3)

1 TBSP sweet soy sauce, substitute Braggs Liquid Aminos

Cumin Powder

Chili Powder (or Cayenne)

Olive Oil

I used water to cook the onion, garlic, and the sliced carrot pictured.  While they were merrily steaming, I sliced the bell pepper and added it to the pan.  Letting all that soften, I grated the rest of the carrots.  If anyone has a tip on how to grate carrots without shooting bits of them all over the kitchen, I’d love to hear it.  I added the grated carrots and fire roasted tomatoes to the pan and then I cheated.  I had enough liquid so decided against the soy sauce and spices.  I used plain ole taco seasoning:  I sprinkled it on, gave the whole thing a stir, and turned the heat to low.  While that was cooking, I opened a can of refried beans, put them in a saucepan to heat through, and hauled my taco toppings out of the refrigerator.  Nothing fancy: I had some Daiya cheese shreds and some salsa, both of which I forgot to use.

Dinner was ready in 20 minutes.  The spiced veggies generated several compliments while they were cooking and even more compliments while they were being consumed.  And, they were amazing.  They had the chili spiked taste I expect when I eat a burrito but were slightly crunchy and a little sweet.  The can of refried beans added the creamy texture I wasn’t going to get from sour cream and a punch of protein.  Unfortunately, the awesomeness of the purple pepper was lost during cooking.  Everything took on a slightly orange tinge from the carrots.  I’ll have to get another one and try it in a salad or veggie wrap.  Still, this was a great mix and an idea that goes filed away into the what to make when I’m tired and want something fast file.  I’m amazed at how versatile vegetables are: my meat-eating family didn’t miss the meat and using a vegan meat substitute wasn’t necessary.  I could have made the meal healthier by making my own refried beans but it had been a long day and I still had grocery shopping to do.  No oil, not a great deal of fat…I think Dr. McDougall would be proud.

Where's the Purple Pepper?
Where’s the Purple Pepper?