First: What is vegan? Ever heard of someone that referred to themselves as a ‘vegetarian?’ These folks do not eat meat. A Vegan takes their diet a step further: their diets contain no animal by-products. They consume no milk, eggs, dairy, no pasta made from eggs and no gelatin. It is quite surprising when one realizes how much of the American diet actually comes from animals.
What most people don’t realize is that it’s very possible, indeed even probable, for a creative chef to make vegan meals just as exciting and full of variety as any other type of cuisine. In the absence of milk in one’s diet along with so many fast food chains out there today the thought of a vegan diet may be rather intimidating. However, with the right choices in recipes, vegan dishes can be wonderfully flavored and indeed, a joy to eat!
When a chef prepares a vegan dish, he/she naturally, cannot rely on heavy, flavorful ingredients like meat and dairy to get its flavor and substance. This is where creativity and alternative ideas come in with rich spices, creative texture combinations along with wheat based starches.
Tofu, a soybean curd, is a wonderfully unique vegan food ingredient. Tofu, with its spongy consistency, has a bland flavor which absorbs (like a sponge), whatever flavors it comes in contact with; such as curry, soy sauces, humus, oregano, basil, tomato sauce, garlic as well as an abundance of other wonderful spices.
Consider a tofu based dish along with some stir-fry fresh vegetables and a hearty salad overflowing with fresh beans and a sweet oil dressing. Delicious! And so very healthy!