Jordan St. Clair-Jackson
When my kids were young, they never wanted mashed potatoes until we read The Trouble With Grownups, a Berenstain Bears book. In one scene, the cubs are bored with the same old dinner. Mama and Papa scold the cubs for building volcanoes with their mashed potatoes. Immediately charmed, my kids wanted mashed potatoes so they could rebel against the grumpy fictional bear parents. We even concocted a “hot lava” sauce for the mashed potato volcanoes.
I see nothing wrong with making food more amusing, especially if doing so inspires kids to eat it. Mashed potato volcanoes with hot lava became a fixture on their repertoire, and it accomplished the feat of getting mine to eat two — or three —vegetables in one dish. more→
Children are notoriously picky eaters, so when it comes to preparing healthy food for kids that they’ll actually eat, sometimes you’ve got to add some fun to the equation. When mine were young, I found that getting them to participate in the preparation was a good way to encouraged them, because they were more likely to eat what they helped make. I found cooking activities were particularly successful when they and their friends were between the ages of 5 and 8, when hand-eye coordination is excellent and the willingness to do adult-supervised activity is still a plus. more→
A vegan shepherd’s pie is a wonderful choice as a holiday centerpiece — especially Thanksgiving and Christmas — or as a dish to take to a potluck. To prove the point, our Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie is one of our most popular recipes. And though it isn’t at all difficult, judging by how many people have made it and served it, it’s admittedly a bit of a project. For holidays and special occasions, that’s fine — we like to pull out all the stops and put our best foot forward.
But these days, we’d like to cater to the extremely time-crunched (and okay, the very lazy) who’d like to make and share such satisfying dishes, so here’s a brilliant shortcut vegan shepherd’s pie, which cuts out the most time-consuming step — peeling, dicing, cooking, and mashing the traditional potato topping. Instead, we’ll use frozen cauliflower and just whip it up in a food processor or blender. Using lentil soup instead of plain canned lentils adds more flavor. more→
If you live anywhere outside a city, this is the time of year when vegetable garden yields become too much for the gardener. Here are a week’s worth of vegan dinner ideas for the late summer harvest. All of us would do well to make good use of tomatoes, corn, zucchini, and other summer squash, August’s bumper crops. Pasta Salad with White Beans and Corn, above, is a reliable offering for everyday meals or summer company. Making good use of tomatoes and corn, it’s is a delicious accompaniment to grilled or sautéed summer squashes and/or veggie burgers. more→
This almost-instant cauliflower rice sushi bowl features a typical trio used in veggie sushi — carrots, cucumber, and avocado. You get all the flavor of sushi with the lightened-up base of frozen riced cauliflower. Serve as a light dinner with a simple tofu dish, or pack in a container for a change-of-pace lunch. more→
Gnocchi, in case you haven’t discovered them, are an Italian specialty that are mainly made of potato flour, with a little wheat flour. In other words, a bit of starchy comfort heaven. You use them the same way you’d use a chunky pasta; they’re especially good enveloped in marinara sauce. We like gnocchi with beans and greens — all adding up to a classic Italian trio.
Some cooks like to make their own gnocchi, but no thanks, not us. The project takes a good hour or two and makes a floury mess of the kitchen. There are a number of vegan brands, one of which we depict below, and being the food hackers that we are, we’d prefer just opening the package and letting that be the beginning and end of it. more→
A quick cooked cereal like oatmeal or a multi-grain blend makes a hearty breakfast, but there are some people, yours truly included, that don’t enjoy sweet breakfasts. That’s where these savory breakfast bowls come in. Topped with tempeh, avocado, and greens, these bountiful bowlfuls will keep you going all day.
Though this doesn’t take long to make, it’s probably more than what you’d want to do first thing in the early morning before work and school, so try it for a leisurely breakfast or brunch on the weekend. It’s a fantastic thing to make if you’re going to do any athletic activity! These bowls make an excellent lunch or dinner, too, paired with a simple slaw. more→
If August’s daytime temps have you scrambling to the nearest air-conditioned space, you’ll need to get in and out of the kitchen quickly with these cool vegan dinner ideas. It’s a good time to use lots of tomatoes and basil, when they’re at their most abundant! Let’s start with Rotelle with Tomatoes, Artichokes, and Basil. Shown above, it’s perfect for using all those ripe, juicy tomatoes from the garden or farm market. Serve with fresh corn. more→
Not long ago, we presented super-easy and extremely tasty Pesto or Hummus Flatbreads in a make-as-many-as-you-need version. We enjoy these so much, especially during the warmer months, that we were inspired to present a full meal paired with a tasty black bean salad.
For the flatbreads, choose something that’s 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Flatbreads are pre-baked, so all they need is a quick warm-up on a dry skillet to get the bottom nice and golden and crispy. Pre-baked mini pizza crusts work very well too, as do sturdy Indian breads (make sure there’s no dairy in them).
Most breads come in packages of at least 4, but you can make as few or as many as you need. If you’re eating solo or serving two, just make those, and you can make them again the next day, as they’re best fresh and take almost no time to prepare. more→
This dish featuring cold shirataki noodles will remind you of Asian summer rolls — without all the soaking, rolling and fuss. Combined with crisp lettuce and bottled sweet chili sauce, this is a 5-minute salad that pleases both the palate and the eye.
First of all, what are shirataki noodles? If you haven’t discovered them yet, you’ll be pleased to know that they come ready to eat (no cooking!), and they have zero calories. If you’re gluten-free, you can check that box off, too, Shirataki noodles are made with a yam-like tuber called devil’s tongue, and have a firm, pleasing texture. Sometimes tofu is added to them (hence: tofu shiratake), but you can get them soy-free, too. more→
There’s lots of competing information online when it comes to vegan or plant-based food for kids. Some caution that it’s difficult to give your child all the nutrients they need with this kind of diet. Others don’t think about the difficulties all parents have when it comes to getting their children to actually eat. Here are 7 tips that will help you give your child a well rounded diet, without you pulling your hair out.
1 Start with what your children like
The best place to start is with what your children like best when it comes to meal times. Make a list of everything they like. Is there anything that you can incorporate into their diet in different ways? Maybe there are some foods that have meat free substitutes. If you start with what they already like, your children will be much happier to try new things, and create new favorite meals! more→
Late July into August is when peaches taste as they should — no more buying them hard as rocks and waiting for them to ripen into mush! Look for locally grown (and organic) peaches, if at all possible. They should have a little give when you press them. Aside from eating out of hand, consider some of these fresh peach recipes for your summer pleasure. By the way — any recipe that calls for peaches is just as good with nectarines as long as you remember the ideal trio: local, organic, and ripe.
Summer Tomato and Peach Salad: This late summer salad, shown at top, is perfect for using ripe tomatoes and peaches of the garden or farm market variety— not the kind that come with stickers on them! Fresh local tomatoes and peaches seem to reach their peak of flavor at the same time, and are a surprisingly compatible duo. Walnuts or pecans add a surprising twist to this easy salad. more→