Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Vegan + Meat-Eater = True Love?

My husband Dave is a very typical North American male. He's a huge fan of all things meat and fried, and loves nothing more than chicken wings, chocolate milk, pizza and bacon.

He and I have long had different opinions about food, but we do our best to be supportive. He fully encouraged my transition to veganism and never questions my food choices. I, on the other hand, sometimes walk a fine line between encouraging him to go meat-free and arguing the ethical implications of chicken fingers. Okay, maybe he's a little more accepting that I am...

During a recent visit with my best friend and her husband, she pointed out that their eating habits were changing - they were eating more plant-based meals, and they'd stretched one whole chicken into enough meals for a month. Amazing!

It then dawned on me that Dave had been doing something very similar in our own home, but I hadn't picked up on it.

Dave used to eat some form of meat at every single dinner - chicken, pork, turkey or beef always had a starring role. Over the last few months, however, he had almost completely stopped purchasing meat from the grocery store. He would occasionally pick up a chicken breast or wings from a butcher at the local farmers' market, but he'd ration it out over several meals rather than consume the whole thing at once.

The man who prided himself on eating chicken wings as often as possible was now going months without doing so!

I think if I'd told the old Dave that he'd be eating and loving things like lentils, spinach, chickpeas and seitan he wouldn't believe you. Dave has proved that even the most adamant meat eater can adjust to a more plant-centric diet without any withdrawal or sacrifice.

Best of all, Dave has taken a genuine interest in what goes into his body. He reads labels before putting anything in our grocery cart, he's well-informed about factory farming and Big Ag, and gladly chooses faux meats over the real deal. True love, indeed!

This is one of the first vegan recipes Dave really went ga-ga for - it's a simple, easy-to-prepare chili that's spicy, meaty and satisfying.

It has more packaged and processed ingredients than I'd like, but it's a great dish for transitioning vegans or those new to meat-free eating. You can throw this together at the last minute and it will give you enough freezable leftovers for several more delicious dinners.

"This Is Vegan?!" Chili

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes

Serves 8-9

Ingredients:

1 tsp. safflower oil
1 Tbsp. chili powder*
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
1 pkg. meatless crumbles (Yves Original Ground Round)
3 tomatoes, cut into chunks
3/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
2 carrots, sliced into half-moons
2-3 stalks celery, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Thai chili pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup low salt vegetable stock
2 cups low salt tomato sauce (Irresistibles Spicy Chili Pepper)
1.5 cups black beans**
1.5 cups red kidney beans

*DYI chili powder! 1 tsp. paprika, 2 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. oregano & 2 tsp. garlic powder. Combine and store in a tightly-sealed jar.

**I prefer not to buy canned beans (or any food in aluminum cans) until there's more concrete evidence about BPA, so I cook them from dry. A post about cooking dried beans is on deck!


Instructions

1. Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large soup pot

2. Add onions and saute for about 4-5 minutes or until soft

3. Add green pepper, garlic & Thai chili pepper and cook for another 1-2 minutes

4. Toss everything else into the pot, and raise the temperature to high

5. Bring the mixture to a quick boil, then reduce heat to medium-low

6. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally


Voila!

I had this for dinner last night and it was amazing!