Have You Ever Eaten Vegan?

Years ago, I was dating a woman who was Coptic Orthodox. Part of her religious tradition was to go vegan for about a week each year, and she asked/told me to do it with her. So I did.

All I can remember from the experience was (a) I was hungry all the time and (b) I was delighted to learn that Oreos are vegan. Dairy milk isn’t, but almond milk is fine.

Recently I’ve been trying to eat healthier, so after long eschewing the vegan restaurant in my neighborhood, Pura Vegan, I decided to give it a try.

My first meal at Pura Vegan was a pair of tacos. They’re described as, “Two sprouted organic corn shell tacos grilled and filled with our house made walnut carrot meat, spicy tahini cheese, cilantro and alfalfa sprouts.” Avocado is optional.

Much to my surprise, I really liked these tacos. I typically don’t like non-meat products that try to disguise themselves as meat, but I loved how these tacos had the same taste and texture as beef tacos.

My second experience was a bit of a deeper dive into the vegan world, and it didn’t work out as well. This time I ordered Pura Vegan’s KIND sausage sammie, which includes “house made sprouted seed & nut sausage patties w/ tahini spicy cheese, cashew mayo, alfalfa sprouts & tempeh bacon on a toasted sprouted wheat bagel.” It was fine, but unlike the tacos, it’s not something I would order as a viable alternative to a burger.

I’ve been back a third time for the tacos, and I’m sure I’ll return again, both because I like the food, I’m curious about the smoothies, and I like to support neighborhood businesses. The key for me is to find foods that taste good and still provide me with the nutrients I need.

Have you ever tried eating vegan or vegetarian? What were the results? Do you have any recommendations?

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14 Responses to “Have You Ever Eaten Vegan?”

  1. Sean says:

    To me the problem is trying to make meat like recipes and failing.

    Some Indian cuisines have always been vegan, and the foods delicious.

    A Salad with a good vinnigerate tasty veggies can also be good.

    So many bean recipes

    While trying to make a sausage sandwich is always going to screw with your brain as its expecting one thing and getting another.

    I have seen but not tasted a supposed ground beef substitute for burgers, that even bleeds, but ATM its expensive.

    To each their own though

    • I agree with you. Don’t try to disguise it to make it look like meet.
      I understand people that not eat meat but even I try to eat healthier every day I just not avoiding meat. I’m from Spain, and here we make splendid meals and products from pork. So delicious things that I feel sorry for my muslims friends they’re not going to know what it is like “jamón serrano”. I just don’t need to imagine not eating jamón serrano again.
      However, when I go to a friend of mine’s place who is vegetarian I enjoy having what she has and even she says to me that I can cook whatever meat there I just prefer to have the same as she. There is a lot of dishes made without any meat that are really delicious. I would mention our “salmorejo” and “gazpacho”, the “mousaka” without meat I eat in a Lebanese restaurant here and its “hummus”. Mmmm great.
      So, I would say to anyone: respect every person that eats vegan and try to learn the tasty things they have (and avoid the rest) 🙂

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Sean: I eat a lot of spinach salad, and I’ve been trying to eat more beans instead of meat. Indian is a good idea (if not for vegan, for vegetarian).

  2. Katie says:

    I’ve been making this for 10+ years, and it’s delicious! I’m not vegan or vegetarian, but it’s one of my favorite recipes – it’s not trying to be meat, and you’ll never miss it. In fact, I’ve made it for some very “meat and potatoes” type of people, and several of them have asked for the recipe after.

    http://www.molliekatzen.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipe=polenta_hash

    You have to make the polenta ahead of time and let cool – I prefer making it that morning or even the night before, both to cut down the prep time the night of the meal, and because I prefer the texture of the polenta when it’s a little firmer. I also let mine cook just a little longer than stated in the second part (when sauteeing), but that’s just me.

    I use the Bob’s Red Mill polenta that can be found in most grocery stores. The rest of the ingredients are pretty standard.

    Eat as is or top with salsa for even more deliciousness!

  3. Stephen says:

    Getting a weird bug where the post comment button is scrolling out of view, so need to split across multipel replies, sorry:

    Vegetable curries are delicious, and easy to make (Well, usually easy to make. Don’t try and make a butternut squash curry, while delicious they’re a nightmare to peel.) – Make 4 to 5 portions at once, freeze the left overs in freezeable, microwavable, containers, for really easy reheatable food later. Works well with either rice or couscous (which is ridiculously easy to cook if you’ve never made it. Literally just pour boiling water over it so it’s just submerged and leave for a couple of minutes.)

    One of my favourite things to make while vegetarian, though, was roast peppers stuffed with tomatoes (See below)

    • Stephen says:

      For one serving – Half two bell peppers and hollow out the seeds, chop or, preferably, crush a clove of garlic between the four, add half a teaspoon of thyme distributed between the four, put half a plum tomato, sliced lengthwise, into each pepper, drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive oil over each – about half a tablespoon for each half bell pepper should be sufficient. Cook at… IIRC 180C for 45-50 minutes. Serve with a crunchy bread (I typically used a garlic baguette for this).

      • Stephen says:

        Also works with just mushrooms if you take four breakfast mushrooms, cumin rather than the thyme, I tended to put half a teaspoon in before adding the mushrooms to stuff and half a teaspoon after, sprinkle a tiny amount of sugar into and onto it to help the cumin flavour spread, stuff with chopped mushrooms, and cook at about 20-25 minutes, but that’s not quite as filling, though almost as tasty and faster to make, and you can’t always get bell peppers, plum tomatoes, and a combination of the two that works for placing the plum tomatoes into the bell peppers.

  4. Brian Henk says:

    I’ve done the vegan diet quite a few times over the last 4 years because my research has shown that it’s the healthiest way to eat of any I have come across so far. It was a big adjustment for my body at first, but it got easier each time I did it and I found myself sticking with the diet longer each time I went for it as I discovered new vegan foods I love. I’m not specifically on a vegan diet right now, but I eat a 100% vegan breakfast and lunch every day so it’s just some dinners and some snacks that aren’t vegan. When I run a Kickstarter campaigns, I get hooked back on those darn Monsters.

    The hardest part for me is being the guy who everyone has to work around when choosing a restaurant or being invited to a party or game night. “Oh and I’ll make sure to have some vegan options for you.” Yikes, no, don’t go to extra trouble for me! Moving to Los Angeles has been nice because it is overflowing with vegan restaurants and other restaurants usually have vegan options, but you can still do it wherever you live.

    I recommend learning to love salads. Just have a lot of different salad types that you know you enjoy and have those ingredients always available. Put some juicy grapes, cantaloupe, watermelon, or mandarin oranges in there so it’s not so dry. Also, fruit/nut packs are a perfect snack for a game night or on-the-go. If you live near a Whole Foods, try to get there twice/week to do your grocery shopping so you can always have fresh foods. It will take some work, but it will be worth it!

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Brian: Thanks for sharing your experiences with occasional veganism. I always eat almost the exact same salad each night, so I might try to mix it up a bit (there is a Whole Foods very close to me).

  5. Joe Pilkus says:

    Jamey,

    Interesting question. Last year, our general hosted a Thanksgiving get together at his house. He, a life-long carnivore from Oklahoma, smoked all manner of ribs, kielbasa, and a variety of pork products. The wife, a life-long vegetarian (which is really just a more disciplined vegan:) )made a collection of dishes which could almost make me turn my back on bacon….Mmmm, back bacon.

    Never mind. Time for lunch.

    Cheers,
    Joe

  6. Bob Tosa says:

    Sometimes I get so cheap that I refuse to buy meat up to the point where I absolutely crave it. I’ve noticed that nuts(almonds, peanuts) and protein shakes are a good substitute for that – I absolutely need meat in my mouth now – feeling. If I had to go vegan I would just add a lot of that in my food and think about all the money I’m saving, and pounds I’m losing by not eating real food. In that new movie about Moby Dick actors talked about how they went on a crash diet (only 600 cal a day :O) and ate only almonds. I guess almonds are a wonder food if that was the food that was most beneficial. I would never intentionally go vegetarian or vegan because I’m the king of the jungle.

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