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Vegan recipes for Lent

A local food blogger offers her take.


The rules for eating and fasting during the Lenten season have seriously relaxed over the years, but tasty recipes for vegetarian dishes are just as important for those who observe as they were hundreds of years ago.

Astrea Taylor, 36, is a self-described environmental research scientist by day and a vegan lobbyist and food blogger by night.

Already a vegetarian, Taylor decided to go vegan for a week in 1995 while she was a student at the University of Dayton. Vegan means no animal products whatsoever, thus ruling out dairy, such as milk and butter, along with eggs and meats. She immediately felt better, and her change in diet stuck.

She started her blog “Vegan in Dayton” (online at http://daytonvegan.blogspot.com) in 2010.

“Mainstream consumers are starting to realize that vegan food can be delicious, and producers are realizing that people will spend money on it,” said Taylor. “I believe the number of vegetarian diners, from occasional vegetarians to hardcore vegans, will continue to grow.”

Here are two of Taylor’s favorite vegetarian friendly, vegan friendly and Lenten friendly recipes to enjoy this season or anytime of year.

PEANUT RICE NOODLES WITH TOFU AND VEGGIES

Ingredients

1 package rice noodles (about 10 oz.)

1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter

4 large fresh cloves garlic, minced

1/2 inch ginger root, peeled and minced

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 to 1 cup water

Hot sauce to taste, like Sriracha

1 package tofu

3 tablespoons oil (peanut, sesame, or olive)

1 tablespoon oil (peanut, sesame, or olive)

8 button or baby portobella mushrooms, sliced

1 onion, julienned

1/2 small red cabbage, sliced thinly into pieces no longer than a finger length

1 large or 2 small broccoli heads; cut into bite-size pieces

1/2 yellow or red bell pepper, julienned

Salt to taste

Peanuts, hot pepper flakes, and cilantro for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Cook noodles according to package. Drain, and immediately rinse with cold water until cooled. Let sit, draining. Open tofu package and press gently between hands about 20 seconds to drain water. Slide into patty-thickness, and fry in a non-stick pan (preferably ceramic) with 3 tablespoons of the oil. Stir-fry oil and vegetables with half the garlic and ginger, and cook until mushrooms are done. Salt.

Prepare the peanut sauce in the rice noodle pot by heating and mixing the peanut butter, 1/3 cup water, and soy sauce with the remaining garlic and ginger and hot sauce. Add more water if needed. Every peanut butter is different in consistency. Aim for a sauce, not a paste. Taste to see if it needs salt. Add noodles and warm. Divide noodles in bowls, with a side of veggies and tofu. Garnish and serve immediately. Serves 3-4.

COWBOY COOKIES

SOURCE: “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Ingredients

2 cups quick-cooking oats

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup oil

2/3 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)

1/2 cup nondairy milk (such as vanilla soy milk)

1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup coconut, shredded unsweetened: finer is better.

1 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips

1 cup pecan pieces, chopped and toasted (or walnuts)

Instructions

In a medium sized bowl combine oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a second bowl beat together oil, sugar, brown sugar, milk, flax seeds, and vanilla, using a wire whisk. Fold in half of the flour mixture to moisten, then fold in second half. Just before mixture is completely combined, fold in coconut, chocolate chips and pecans. Do not over-mix, as the cookies will become biscuity if so. For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Leave 2 inches of space between each cookie and flatten slightly with moistened fingers (or moistened back of measuring cup). Bake at 350°F for 14-16 minutes until edges start to brown. Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes two dozen.


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