xperiment with being vegan before 6pm (Mark Bittman's part-time vegan eating plan). And I do believe that a plant-based diet is better for our health and the earth. A steak-loving friend of mine recently began dating a vegan, and it reminded me how intimidating it can be to find vegan recipes that feel like a real meal to non-vegans. I thought I'd share three recipes for vegan meals that I have tried and liked--they're hearty enough that you won't miss the meat, and they're all fairly easy to make:
Roasted and Charred Broccoli with Peanuts (above) from a recent of Bon Appetit felt new to me, and was pretty easy to make (though nutritional yeast can be hard to find). If you have a cast-iron pan, use it for this dish, as the recipe suggests. I served this with some black rice with diced, sautéed onions and bell peppers mixed into the rice.
Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Mustard and Parsley (above right) from It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow (yes, I am recommending a recipe from Gwyneth) is a surprisingly delicious dish for such a simple list of ingredients and a quick prep time. Serve it with a nice big green salad for a rounded meal.
Mark Bittman's own recipe for black bean tacos (above) is another dish that transforms humdrum ingredients into something really yummy. I deviated slightly from Bittman's original recipe, which you can find on Outside magazine's website, using red cabbage instead of green, and letting the cabbage macerate a bit. You can also just skip the tortillas and turn this into a dinner salad: throw the black beans into the cabbage mixture.
Black Bean Tacos
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups cooked or canned black beans, drained
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Black pepper to taste
4 cups shredded green cabbage
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 fresh hot green chile (like jalapeño or serrano), minced
1/4 cup chopped scallions
Juice of two limes
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with one tablespoon of the oil. Stack the tortillas and wrap them in aluminum foil. Combine the beans, garlic, chili powder, cumin, half the salt, and some pepper in a bowl. Mash the mixture with a fork or potato masher; it should still be chunky.
2. Spread the bean mixture out on the prepared pan, drizzle with another tablespoon of oil, and roast, stirring a few times, until the beans are crumbly and crisp in places, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the tortillas to the oven with the beans for their last five minutes of cooking.
3. Meanwhile, put the cabbage, bell pepper, chile, scallions, lime juice, cilantro, remaining oil and salt, and some pepper in a large bowl and toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Divide the beans among the warm tortillas; top with the cabbage mixture and serve.
Last but not least, Heidi Swanson's White Beans and Cabbage recipe has been in constant rotation at my house since I first cooked it three years ago. You can leave out the Parmesan for a vegan friend, but it does add a richness to the dish that I miss when I subtract the cheese.