My friend Caitlin sent me this recipe and said it was one of her favorites and I must try it. It is so good! The crispy, roasted chickpeas and breadcrumbs really make this pasta special by giving it some crunch! I modified the original recipe slightly by using kale.
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup capers, drained
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Boil the pasta.
2. While pasta is boiling and oven is heating, mix the chickpeas, capers, garlic, and breadcrumbs with some olive oil. Then spread the whole mixture out on a baking pan.
3. Roast the chickpea mixture for 18-22 minutes, or until the chickpeas are crispy.
4. While the chickpeas are roasting, drain the pasta and add the kale immediately to the hot pasta. Stir until kale becomes soft and turns bright green.
5. When the chickpeas are done roasting, top the pasta and kale with the chickpea mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
I posted a Shepherd’s Pie recipe several years ago that is simple and delicious. But I tried this new recipe and I think it’s even more simple and delicious. It’s definitely worth sharing this second variation on Shepherd’s Pie because it’s such an easy and healthy meal. Plus, this one has lentils in it and lentils are incredible.
1 can lentils (Canned is good for this because you want some of the ‘juice’ from the can. If you cook dry lentils you may want to save just a little bit of the veggie broth/cooking water.)
1/2 cup marinara sauce
Chopped veggies, like onion, green beans, mushrooms (you can add anything you like in here)
Please, for the sake of everything that is wrong with the Standard American Diet, do NOT use boxed or instant mashed potatoes for this! It really doesn’t take long to make real mashed potatoes and it’s very easy, I promise!
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Boil a pot of water. Cut the potatoes into 3/4 inch cubes so they will cook faster. Put the cubed potatoes in the pot and cover. (You could add some garlic to the pot as well.) Reduce heat and boil 15-20 mins, or until the potatoes are very soft – soft enough to easily mash without much effort.
3. While potatoes are boiling, heat the chopped veggies in a frying pan with some oil. Cook 5-10 minutes or until they are tender (but don’t over cook).
4. Mostly-drain the can of lentils. Add the lentils and marinara to the pan, stir, and cook a few more minutes until warm.
5. Spread the veggie mixture into the baking pan (size 8×8 or similar).
6. When the potatoes are done boiling, drain them but reserve some of the boiling water. Mash them with a masher, or a whisk, or a fork. Add small amounts of cooking water until you reach desired consistency.
7. Top the veggies with the mashed potatoes. Cover the pan with foil. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.
8. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes.
I love tabouleh salad so much! The parsley and the lemon together are so fresh and delicious. Tabouleh is traditionally made with bulgur or cous cous, but I used quinoa because it’s such an awesome protein.
Parsley, cut off stems (I like the curly kind, but the flat will work too)
Tomato, chopped (I have some red and some orange cherry tomatoes in mine)
Green onion, chopped
Olive oil (optional)
Any other veggies you may like to add – cucumber and bell pepper are both great in this (I have orange bell pepper in this one)
1. Boil the quinoa according to directions. Then drain and cool. You may want to chill the quinoa in the refrigerator because you’ll want to serve this salad cold/cool.
2. Combine quinoa, chopped parsley, tomato, green onion, and any other veggies.
3. Top with the juice of several lemons and optionally some olive oil.
I like to make plenty of extra so I can take it for lunch a couple of days during the week!
This year I want to reflect on what I’ve learned in my six vegetarian years:
1. Doing good feels good. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Going veg feels amazing! It’s not just physically feeling great, it’s emotionally feeling great too. Making a conscious and daily choice to do something that reduces suffering, benefits the planet, and is good for your health, has a hugely positive impact on your overall well-being. Going vegetarian is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
2. Condemning others doesn’t help the cause.
It’s really easy for vegetarians to get up on a high and righteous horse (especially vegetarians who write blogs, ahem). But I’ve learned in my six vegetarian years that vegetarianism isn’t about condemning others. It is simply counterproductive to everyone involved for vegetarians to condemn meat-eaters (or vegans to condemn vegetarians). Obviously, pissing people off is very poor way to go about changing their minds – it doesn’t do vegetarianism any good, and it sure as hell doesn’t help any animals.
3. No one is perfect.
Vegetarianism is not about perfection. Vegetarianism is about living a compassionate and healthy lifestyle and doing the best you can to choose kindness over cruelty. Vegetarians (or aspiring vegetarians) shouldn’t beat themselves up about one slip-up. Just get back on track and keep going. Vegetarians shouldn’t hassle someone for only doing Meatless Mondays (instead of meatless every day), at least these people are doing something. And non-vegetarians shouldn’t expect vegetarians to be perfect. It is quite unnecessary to “catch” a vegetarian every time they own a leather product. I assure you, they are already very aware of it. Instead of bullying each other, or ourselves, for not being perfect, why don’t we extend our compassion to everyone and be supportive instead?
4. You are not alone.
Being in a minority can be isolating. As a vegetarian or vegan, you will no doubt be the brunt of every bacon joke, be stereotyped as a preachy hippie, and get into some heated discussions with defensive meat-eaters. And at times, it can become very overwhelming and disheartening. That’s why it’s important to interact with like-minded people. Having people in your life that share your philosophical beliefs, or people who will always have your back (whether they’re vegetarian themselves or not), makes it easier to face whatever the non-veg world throws at you. Spend time with friends and family who are supportive of your choice to go veg. Find (or start!) a vegetarian meet-up group in your city. And participate in the online community. Follow vegan/vegetarian blogs, Facebook pages, and Pinterest pages. Just remember that there are lots of us out there and you are not alone!
5. The times, they are a-changin’.
Over the past six years, it has been absolutely beautiful to watch people’s attitudes toward meat change. In my personal life, seeing family and friends cut back on, or completely cut out meat has been one of the most rewarding experiences of this journey. I love that moment when someone makes the connection: realizes that what we’re doing to these animals is abhorrent; realizes that what they’re putting into their body is unhealthy; realizes that it really is pretty damn easy to leave the pepperoni off that pizza; realizes that every meal, they can make a powerful, meaningful choice. I’m so impressed and inspired by those in my life who have changed their eating habits, and I’m so humbled by those who have said I’ve helped them to do so. There is without a doubt, more public awareness of the issues with meat production and the health benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets than there was six years ago. The mainstream media more often exposes the cruelty and filth in the meat industry and our current health crisis is undeniably linked to our terrible diets. More people are becoming informed. And as more people become informed, more people change. And if enough people change, so will the system. And I see it happening (albeit slowly at times) and it makes me hopeful.
Lentil tacos are so easy and so healthy. I don’t know what took me so long to post them here! Lentils are a power food, containing high amounts of protein, fiber, and iron, plus other vitamins and minerals. Without a doubt, we should all eat more of them!
Lentils, cooked (I prefer cooking them from dry beans, but there are also canned lentils)
Taco shells or tortillas
Taco seasoning (buy a packet or make your own)
Taco toppings (I like lettuce, tomato, onion, cilantro, avocado, salsa)
1. In a pan mix cooked lentils with a little bit of water and taco seasoning. I like to mash the lentils just a little bit to make them more like a refried bean consistency, but this certainly is not necessary. Heat and stir until lentils are coated in taco seasoning.
2. Scoop lentils into taco shells or tortillas and top with your favorite taco toppings.
1 can of chopped tomatoes (I used chipotle chopped tomatoes)
1 can of tomato sauce (the little half-can size)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper (any color), chopped
1 can black or pinto beans, drained (or about 1.5 cups cooked beans)
1 package tempeh, chopped (or soy curls)
corn tortilla, cut into pieces (or crushed/broken tortilla chips)
1 cup frozen or canned corn
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4 cups veggie broth or water (that’s one 32 ounce broth carton)
chopped green onion
sliced black olives
1. Throw everything into the slow cooker and stir it up. Cook on low for 8 hours. If it cooks for longer than that, you may want to add some more water/veggie broth at the end.
2. Serve with your chosen toppings.
If there are leftovers, you can freeze it in individual servings for later!
My goal was to get this posted before New Year’s so I’m really cutting it close here. I hope this will help with New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier. Also, a 30 day vegan cleanse is a great way to start the new year!
When you prepare your own food from home, it’s easy to ensure that the food remains vegan and free of any animal products. Buying pre-made items from the store is not as simple, and takes careful reading of nutrition labels for the word vegan or the lack of animal-based ingredients. In some cases you can assume a food is not going to be vegan based off of reputation or advertisements, but others may surprise you.
While many of the below listed items may not necessarily be as healthy as fresh foods, it’s good to know that when you’re feeling the need for a treat, or if you have just switched to a vegan lifestyle and are missing some of your old foods, many options are still available to you.
Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos
While the nacho cheese and cool ranch version of Doritos uses cheese, milk or whey for flavoring, the spicy sweet chili variety is free of these ingredients. However, consume in moderation, as while there’s no animal products in the chips, they do contain MSG, which can cause negative health effects to those who are sensitive to it.
Unfrosted Pop Tarts
Pop tarts create nostalgia for many, and bring back childhood breakfast memories. As long as you avoid the frosted version and stick to the fruit flavored varieties, the breakfast toaster pastries remain vegan.
Fritos surprisingly contain mostly three ingredients, whole corn, salt and corn oil, making them vegan-friendly. Even better, both the original and Barbecue flavored Fritos are vegan. Combine these chips with a vegan chili, or dip in another surprisingly vegan food, Fritos bean dip.
SuperPretzel Brand Pretzels Typically pretzel dough utilizes dairy or eggs for flavor and texture, especially soft pretzels. However, SuperPretzels are free of both, providing a vegan option for soft pretzel cravings. Pair the pretzels with a mix of melted non-dairy butter spread, such as Earth Balance, and minced garlic for a vegan-friendly garlic butter dip.
While Betty Crocker brand Bac-Os are advertised as bacon bits, they do not actually contain any pork products. McCormick Bac’n Pieces are also free of actual bacon. So when you’re nostalgic for bacon, feel free to indulge in these vegan friendly bacon-flavored bites.
Creamy Italian Dressing
Most creamy dressings get their creaminess from the addition of milk products. However, Kraft brand creamy Italian dressing does not use milk products to obtain their creamy texture, giving you options beyond the typical vinaigrette on your next salad.
Sara Lee Apple Pie
Apple pie crust is typically lade with butter, but Sara Lee’s Oven Fresh Apple Pie uses other fats to create the flaky texture desired by most pie lovers. The pie is also free of eggs both in the crust and the filling.
Another buttery favorite is the Ritz cracker. While these crackers are still loaded with fat at nearly a gram of fat per cracker, the fat used is not animal-based.
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Crescent rolls typically rely on butter and eggs for texture and flavor. However, Pillsbury crescent rolls pack all the same flavor without using animal products. If you miss the melted butter on top of the rolls, simply substitute with a dairy-free butter.
More than 45 million turkeys are killed each year for just one single day. What an awful way to show thankfulness, by causing massive suffering. This year, reconsider what’s on your Thanksgiving plate and choose to celebrate the holiday by honoring life and kindness, instead of cruelty and death.
Here’s 8 reasons to be compassionate this Thanksgiving.
1. Rampant animal abuse
The honest truth is: If you purchase turkey, you are contributing to some of the worst animal abuse there is. There is so much documentation and undercover footage of the abuse that it is undeniable how rampant and horrifying it is. Workers routinely stomp on turkeys, punch them, kick them, beat them with pipes and boards, twist their necks repeatedly, and slam them against walls. One worker even bragged about shoving a broomstick down a turkey’s throat.
Life on factory farms is hell and by purchasing turkey, you are not only condoning, but also directly funding this abuse. Take responsibility for your actions. Just because it’s out of sight, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Choose not to support this cruelty.
2. Modern turkeys are Frankensteins
Turkeys are drugged and genetically manipulated to grow as large as possible as quickly as possible to increase profits. In 1960, the average turkey raised for meat weighed 17 pounds. Today, he or she weighs 29 pounds. Turkeys are now so overgrown they cannot even reproduce naturally; instead, all the turkeys born in the United States today on factory farms are conceived through artificial insemination.
Their unnaturally large size makes it difficult for turkeys to walk and some even cripple under their immense weight. The crippled animals can not stand or walk to get food or water. The rapid growth also causes many turkeys to die from organ failure or heart attacks before they are even 6 months old. According to an investigative report in the Wall Street Journal on the miserable conditions on turkey farms, “It’s common in a rearing house to find a dead bird surrounded by four others whose hearts failed after they watched the first one ‘fall back and go into convulsions, with its wings flapping wildly.’”
3. Nearly 1 million turkeys and chickens are boiled alive each year
According to the Washington Post, nearly 1 million chickens and turkeys are unintentionally boiled alive every year in U.S. slaughterhouses, where fast-moving lines often fail to kill the birds before they are dropped into the scalding tank. Employees struggle to properly shackle thrashing birds by their ankles on the constantly moving “disassembly line.” When birds are not properly secured, or are improperly stunned, they miss the automated blade which slits their throats, and are still alive when they enter the scalder.
4. The filth. Oh, the filth!
By the time the birds are sent to slaughter, as much as 80% of the litter on the floor of the shed is their own urine and feces. This results in a buildup of ammonia, causing turkeys to develop ulcerated feet and painful burns on their legs and bodies. The air in these sheds is so polluted with feces and ammonia that most birds suffer from painful respiratory diseases and eye disorders, including swelling of the eyelids, discharge, clouding and ulceration of the cornea, and even blindness.
There is a high rate of viral and bacterial infections from the filth, and sick or injured birds frequently languish unnoticed. When suffering birds are found, they are typically killed via “cervical dislocation or the crushing of the head or vertebrae by striking the birds against a wall or with an object,” says Mercy for Animals.
But the filth isn’t just bad for the birds, it’s bad for you as well. Consumer Reports’ researchers recently tested 257 brands of raw ground turkey meat and found that 90% of the tested turkey meat had at least one of these five bacteria: enterococcus, Escherichia coli (E. coli), staphylococcus aureus, salmonella, and campylobacter. All five bacteria can cause illness and be fatal in some cases. And all five bacteria are associated with fecal contamination. In other words, there is feces on the meat.
5. De-beaking, de-toeing, and de-snooding
Turkeys are crammed so tightly into sheds that each bird only has about 2.5 square feet of space. To keep the birds from injuring and killing each other in such crowded, stressful conditions, parts of the turkeys’ toes and beaks are cut off, as are the males’ snoods (the flap of skin under the chin). All of this is done without pain relievers and the birds do experience immense pain during this.
6. “Free Range” does NOT mean humane
According to the USDA, the terms “free range” and “free roaming” can be used to describe animals that “are allowed access to the outside for 51% of their lives”. It is completely legal (and common) for this “access to the outside” to be a single, small door in the corner of a huge shed that leads to a concrete slab. There are no requirements on the actual amount of time spent outdoors or the quality and size of the outdoor area. For this reason, contrary to popular belief, “free-range” facilities are generally no more than large sheds in which tens of thousands of turkeys are crammed together, living in their own waste. Their beaks and toes are still clipped, they are still fed growth hormones and their legs buckle under their unnaturally large weight, and they are still slaughtered by being hung, flailing, upside down, having their throat slit, and then being scalded in boiling water.
Do not be fooled into thinking that turkeys with marketing buzz words on their wrapper lived better lives than those without the fancy labels.
Free Range turkeys
7. Turkeys are gentle, loving, creatures
In natural conditions, turkey hens are devoted mothers who care diligently for their babies. They form friendships and emotional bonds. Much like dogs, turkeys love to be petted and to play with their turkey friends.
Many turkeys, even those who have known great cruelty at human hands, will happily sit for hours having their feathers stroked. Beatrice (below), a former factory farm turkey rescued by Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, loves to snuggle, despite having been mutilated by humans as a baby.
Susie Coston, who has worked with rescued farmed animals, including many turkeys, for nearly twenty years, writes: “Prevalent in our society are some deep misconceptions about turkeys: that they lack intelligence, that they don’t have personalities, that there can be no kinship between humans and these animals who appear so very different from us. No one who met this bright, charismatic bird could doubt that turkeys are individuals with minds, feelings, and unique characters – individuals with whom we can have connections, individuals with whom we can share friendship.”
8. Thanksgiving is about thankfulness, not meat
Remember that the intention of the holiday is about giving thanks, showing gratitude, reflecting on what we appreciate and love. I can’t think of a worse way to show thankfulness than brutally abusing and slaughtering 45 million living creatures. Why should the centerpiece of this joyous holiday be the carcass of a tortured animal? This year, focus on the family, on the friends, on the spirit of the occasion, even on the (cruelty-free) food, but not on an abused animal! Begin a tradition of celebrating thanks by choosing kindness, compassion, and life. Fill your table with delicious, meat-free dishes and I promise, not only will your stomach feel satisfied, but so will your heart.
Over the years, I’ve posted quite a bit about turkeys. Writing a Thanksgiving post about turkeys has sort-of become a tradition on Powered By Produce. Check out some of my previous posts about turkeys if want even more reasons to leave these gentle creatures off your plate.