Now that you have learned how to cook the basics; beans, grains and greens, we are going to learn the foundations of basic vegan cooking – how to put together the ultimate plant-based meal. This is pretty much what I eat the majority of nights since its really easy and there are limitless variations. It also allows you to cook with the seasons which is great since you can always support your local farmer’s markets. So let’s get started with how to start cooking vegan!
I would definitely suggest for you to start with this formula when you are transitioning into a plant-based diet, because you will find that it is really filling and it will allow you to begin to appreciate all that the plant world has to offer you. Follow the outline below, put your cooking skills to the test and have an easy meal in less than 1 hour. By the way, a great idea is to make extra and have this for the lunch the next day.
Disclaimer- I do not claim to be a world class chef, but this formula always works out great. So yes, I am sure I have missed something, but I am sure you will get the jist.
How to Start Cooking Vegan
Pick One Grain:
Amaranth, Buckwheat, Millet, Quinoa, Basmati Rice, Wild Rice, Forbidden Black Rice (my favorite), Brown Rice, Couscous, Teff, Farro, Spelt or Barley.
Note: oats, barley, rye, wheat, spelt, kamut, farro, bulgur, semolina and durum have gluten
Pick One Bean/Legume:
Adzuki, Black, Black-eyed Pea, Garbanzo (chickpea), Kidney, Lentil, Lima, Mung, Pinto, or Cannellini.
Pick One Green Vegetable:
Collard Greens, Kale, Cabbage, Broccoli, Bok Choy, Swiss Chard, Dandelion Greens, Celery, Spinach, Asparagus or Brussels Sprouts.
Pick One Colorful Vegetable/Fungi:
Eggplant, Cauliflower, Pepper (hot or sweet), Squash (winter or summer), Carrot, Beet, Snap Pea, Fennel, Leek, Yam, Mushroom (button, trumpet, chanterelle, shitake) or Potato (sweet, fingerling, red, purple, russet).
Note: Please shop for organic vegetables to avoid toxic pesticides, herbicides and waxes. You can check out this post to see which foods are safe to purchase conventional.
Since this is just an outline, I am going to direct you to Basic Vegan Cooking Guides for Beans, Grains and Greens. Here you will learn how to make each component so that you can put them all together and get to the good stuff, seasonings and toppings!
Just a few words of advice: While I would prefer that you cook everything from its raw state, if you are strapped for time, you may choose to use canned beans (make sure it is from a BPA-free can) or dried herbs. I would not suggest using canned or frozen vegetables, because they loose a lot of their nutrition when they are not fresh.
Now for the fun stuff! Get your vegetables, grain and bean in a bowl and follow the next few steps:
Choose One Oil:
Choose Healing Herbs and Spices:
Cinnamon, Cayenne, Black Pepper, Turmeric, Chili Pepper, Cumin, Coriander, Dill, Fennel, Garlic Powder, Nutmeg, Paprika, Curry, Thyme, Tarragon, Chives, Sage, or Wasabi.
Note- many of these can be added fresh when cooking the vegetables to add flavor.
Avocado, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Pine Nuts, Sauerkraut, Fermented Vegetables, Seaweeds, Salsa or Tomato Powder Concentrate.
Pink Salt (the best unheated raw sea salt) and Nutritional Yeast (Yumm… seriously, the best!).
*This pink salt contains high levels of minerals needed for optimal hydration, kidney and adrenal function, and fluid balance.
* Nutritional Yeast makes everything creamy and cheesy. It is a vital source of protein and B vitamins (including B12) and I always recommend it as a necessary addition to any vegetarian diet.
Tip: For all sauces or condiments that you add, make sure to check the label. There are tons of preservatives hidden here along with the top two health offenders, High Fructose Corn Syrup and MSG (natural flavors). Please please please don’t wreck this nice health meal with one of these toxic additions. Thanks!