Tuesday, June 23, 2009

[Advanced] Veganism Rant and Vegan Shepherd's Pie

One of the reasons why I wanted to post up here is that I used to be vegan. Not vegan a little, vegan a lot and for a long time. I was working on year nine when we decided to stop, but that's for another post and for another discussion. Right now you want to do veganism and you're all gung-ho about it!

Good! Let's get you started with a couple of places to look for good recipes. A couple of general rules you want to follow and my personal favourite recipe that involves Vegany Goodness.

General Vegan Guidelines

Now that you've decided to go vegan you need to make sure more then ever that you're taking your supplements and eating a wide variety of foods. I'm not joking here, if it's a vegetable and you've never heard of it you might want to find a way to figure out how you're going to eat it. I can't really stress that enough, nothing made me more angry than French Fry Vegans.

For those who are new to the subculture, French Fry Vegans are the ones who try to be vegan and have no idea what they're doing and don't try to figure it out. They do nothing but go out and eat french fries because, "I know those are vegan, right?" and then get horribly sick and then blame the diet for being sick. I still think that if you do it right you can be vegan and not have health problems, you've just got to vary up your foods as much as possible.

What does that mean? Like I said previously, if it's a vegetable eat it. You can have the few that you don't like, but if you "I don't like those" list of vegetables is longer than the reading list for a typical English Poetry class then maybe you should think of doing something else. Same thing with beans, you've gotta learn to love legumes or you can kiss your sorry arse goodbye.

Enough soapboxing. Here's the recipe that you want.

The Goods (or in the cooking world, the Recipe)

This is my favourite Shepherd's Pie recipe. Some people like to call all meatless Shepherd's Pie Shepherdess Pie but that's sexist crap. Seriously, it's a profession. The English language moved away from the gendered job titles that they picked up from the French.

Let me give you the breakdown on what you're going to be putting into this tasty, tasty pie.

  1. Potatoes - Enough to Mash so that you cover the top of your Casserole Dish (Desiree's Note: I recommend new potatoes for their lower impact on the blood sugar. They aren't always available, however.)
  2. Carrots - About 2 or 3 depending on size and personal preference
  3. Onions - A small 1 (Desiree's Note: Here's an ingredient you can play with. Red, vidalia, yellow and so on are available. Try mixing them, too!)
  4. Celery - About 2 or 3 stalks depending on size and personal preference
  5. Corn - We use frozen, you can use fresh but try to avoid GMOs when using your cup full
  6. Peas - We use frozen, you can use fresh but try to avoid GMOs when using your cup full
  7. Spinach - Bunches of the stuff. Seriously, you're going to want to have a lot of it. Like 2 cups when it's all chopped. (Desiree's Note: Spinach may seem like a giant veg., but when you cook it down it gets REALLY small. The reason for this is the water content of leaves. When you cook it, the water comes out and the cell walls of the plant matter break down. You end up with small piles of green, delicious, smush. Six cups of raw spinach will cook down to 1 cup!!)
  8. Tomatoes - 1 Large one or 2 smaller ones. (Desiree's Note: Be creative with your tomatoes. There are UGLY tomatoes (which are also called HEIRLOOM), roma and more. Buy fresh and if you're going to go vegan, might as well go whole hog (haha) and buy organic when you can)
  9. Beans (You can use Lentils, I actually like to use Chickpeas) - 2 cans of it or 4 cups of dried beans cooked.
  10. Soy Milk - It's for Mashing the Potatoes, use liberally. (Desiree's Note: If you're allergic to soy, try almond milk or rice milk!)
  11. Vegan Margarine (Earth Balance, etc). - Same with this.
  12. Oil for frying in, like a Tablespoon's worth.
  13. Spicing - we use Braggs (Liquid Aminos) and Basil
Step 1. Peal, and boil them potatoes.
Step 2. Chop up your Carrots, Onions and Celery and fry them up for about 5 minutes.
Step 3. Chop up your Spinach and Tomatoes and put them into the frying pan.
Step 4. Put the Corn and Peas into the Vegetable Concoction. They just need to warm up.
Step 5. Mash the Beans up with some Braggs and Basil. Do it to taste, but be gentle with the Braggs. It's pretty powerful.
Step 6. Mix the Beans with your Vegetable Concoction.
Step 7. Hope that the potatoes are done so you can mash them with the Margarine and Soy Milk.
Step 8. Assemble. Take the Bean and Vegetable Concoction and layer it on the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. Then you put the potatoes on top. Now some people like to put it in a oven and broil it until the potatoes are all browned, but I like it straight. It's up to you how you do it.

Please note that this does make a lot of food. This is good if you want to make food for a couple of days or for a potluck.

More Vegan Recipes

If you want some good cookbooks here are some good ones:

How It All Vegan!: Irresistible Recipes for an Animal-Free Diet (Paperback)
La Dolce Vegan!: Vegan Livin' Made Easy
Vegan with a Vengeance : Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule

But don't take my word for it ...
(Desiree's Note: That's right. Take MY word for it. This stuff is tasty and it's great for a potluck! EVERYONE can have some. Well. Mostly everyone. Be on the lookout for my cheap and easy ground beef shephard's pie. Yes, I know my readers mostly eat the meaty meat. Msotly.)


echobunny said...

This looks awesome and a great alternative to the meat fiesta that mine is!