Maybe it was your New Year’s resolution, maybe you’ve been reading up about climate in the news, maybe you visited a farm animal sanctuary, maybe you took a class or read a book and got inspired, or maybe you simply think it’s time for some change for the betterment of your health as well as the environment’s. Whatever spurred the change, if you’re looking to transition into veganism or even reduce your animal product intake or meat consumption at the very least, here are some helpful tips and ideas to get your started!
Protein is an essential macronutrient for all diets, and it’s important not to underplay its importance in the vegan diet especially. One common myth is that all vegans are protein deficient since we automatically associate meat with protein–in reality, protein deficiency is rare to see among vegans and vegetarians alike since it’s much easier than one might think to effectively supplement our diets with abundant plant-based proteins. This includes but is certainly not limited to foods such as tofu, beans, chickpeas, tempeh, edamame, lentils, split peas, soy milk, quinoa, peanuts, and seitan. Another misconception is that vegan protein sources are bland and less appetizing–it just so happens that the beauty of vegan protein is its plain natural form. This means that you can customize your tofu, beans, and the like to your exact liking with any variation of sauces and seasonings you see fit.
One fun and tasty idea is teriyaki tofu–simply pan fry your chopped block of tofu over medium high heat and oil on both sides for about eight minutes or until crispy, then add your homemade teriyaki sauce consisting of a quarter of a cup of soy sauce, a quarter cup of brown sugar, a quarter cup of water, one teaspoon of cornstarch, one tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, two teaspoons of sesame seeds, one chopped stalk of green onions, and half a teaspoon of ground ginger. Cook for another few minutes or until the sauce is thick and sticky.
Another fun twist on a commonly made chicken dish is the infamous chickpea-salad sandwich–this quick recipe requires no cooking, only a bit of chopping and mashing! In a bowl, start by mashing one can of drained and rinsed chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) with the back of a fork. Once you’ve reached your desired level of mash, go ahead and add in half a cup of finely chopped celery, half a cup of chopped carrots, a quarter cup of green onions, a third cup of hummus, dijon mustard to taste (a couple tablespoons should suffice), a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder, a fresh squeeze of lemon or lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. This is not only great in its classic sandwich format, but it goes great served in pita bread, on top of crostinis, in quesadillas, in lettuce wraps, on its own topped with avocado, in salads with chopped apples and pepitas (sunflower seeds), on crackers, as a crudite (cut raw vegetable) dip, and more.
Written by Carole Wilay (’25)