The Vegan Experience

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Vegan: Roasted Chickpea and Kale Salad With Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

It's tough to convince my mom that vegan food is not all just a series of side dishes, or that salad on its own does not have to be a side dish. What I can do is try to stuff her with vegetables and salads that are so darn delicious that she'll stop thinking of them as sides and start thinking of them as what they are: meals unto themselves. This Roasted Chickpea and Kale Salad is a good place to start. More

The Food Lab: For the Best Baba Ganoush, Go For a Spin

I used to hate all things eggplant. Until I had my first taste of really great baba ganoush. It was made by a good friend of mine, an Israeli line cook who'd take time out of her afternoon to hover over the eggplants slowly charring over the open flames of the kitchen's burners, waiting until they were meltingly tender, before recruiting me to carefully peel them before she'd mix them up with lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and olive oil. The resulting dip was simultaneously smoky, savory, bright, and creamy...and I was addicted. More

The Vegan Experience: Triple Garlic Pasta With Oven-Dried Tomatoes, Olives, and Bread Crumbs

Building up a strong vegan pasta dish isn't all that different from building a non-vegan pasta dish. Here, the pasta is, of course, the star. The rest is just made up of a few supermarket staples—plum tomatoes, lots of garlic, olives, and bread crumbs—that, with just a bit of care and attention paid to concentrating and layering their flavors, can be transformed into something remarkably complex and intense. More

The Vegan Experience: Crispy Kung Pao Tofu

Things I love: Tofu, spicy food, peanuts, stir-frying, celery, my wife, crispy things, chilies, and a strongly-flavored but subtly balanced sauce that combine funky fermented elements, heat, rich umami-packedingredients, bright vinegar, and a hint of sweetness. I've recently discovered a way to get eight out of nine of these things together in one place: crispy kung pao tofu. More

The Food Lab: The Ultimate Fully Loaded Vegan Nachos

I've said it in the past: there is no dish that is better designed for sharing than a pile of nachos, but here's the thing: most of my friends are not vegan. So where does this leave me? I could take the hard-core route and decide that I need new friends, but that's a) crazy, b) stupid, c) classless, d) mean, e) snooty, and other adjectives as well. No. A much better solution is this one: Make vegan nachos so damn good that everybody will want to get in on the action, vegan or not. More

Vegan: Cheesy Baked Potatoes With Broccoli

I'm not all that fond of baked potatoes on their own, but baked potatoes with cheesy sauce and tiny broccoli florets is another story entirely. I love smooshing the sauce into the fluffy potato below, turning what was once dry and bland into something creamy and exciting. During my vegan month, it's not quite so easy a goal to accomplish. At least it wasn't, until I developed my Vegan Nacho Cheese recipe. Now, it's a piece of cake. More

The Food Lab: Vegan Nacho Sauce That's as Good as the Real Thing

There's a reason my wife married me, and surprisingly, it's got nothing to do with my debonair charm, my rugged good looks, or my dashing sense of adventure. No. She married me on the promise of cheese sauce. My month of hard-core veganism makes living up to this promise difficult, so I decided to tackle the problem head-on. The goal? To develop a recipe for a nacho sauce that is every bit as creamy, gooey, and smother-worthy as the real deal. More

Vegan: Spinach and Hominy Enchiladas With Spicy Cashew Cream

I've always been terrible at planning, which works out, since my wife plans enough for the both of us. Sometimes this can be relaxing. But other times, it can be a bit more of a challenge. Case in point: inviting our neighbors over for dinner. Normally, a semi-impromptu dinner party is no problem for me, but entertaining guests while maintaining a strict vegan diet is a little different, particularly when it's on the kind of freezing cold night that requires the heartiest of meals. Could I come up with something that would keep a dinner party of mixed omni- and vegan company satisfied? More

Vegan: Roasted Carrot Salad With Peanut-Sesame Mole

Ever since tasting the salad of baby carrots with cress, radishes, and mole poblano at Alex Stupak's Empellon, I've been obsessed with the idea of warm (temperature) carrots and warm (flavored) spices. It's one of those combos that just works, with the sweet-savory-spicy-nutty flavor of the mole bolstering the sweet-savory flavor of the carrots. Here's my take on that dish. More

The Vegan Experience: The Three Types of Servers

Having been through the vegan mill a few times, I know that breakfast is the most difficult meal to eat out. No eggs, no butter, no pancakes, no french toast, no pastries—usually you can't even find oatmeal without milk or butter in it. At a recent brunch with friends, I was fully prepared to enjoy a meal of toast with jam or perhaps some fried potatoes and a salad if I was lucky. What I wasn't expecting was what I ended up getting: absolutely nothing. Let me explain why. More

The Vegan Experience: How to Cook Crispy Tofu Worth Eating

Great tofu—tofu with a tender center surrounded by a well-seasoned, crisp crust—is one of the most satisfying bites of food I can think of, a food that can and should be appreciated by all serious eaters, no matter their diet. Here's how to cook tofu so good even tofu-haters might come around. First we're going to talk about how to shop for tofu, then we'll talk about how to crisp up plain slices of tofu, and finally we'll figure out the best way to prepare tofu for stir-frying. More

The Vegan Experience: How to Deal With Airports

A few years back, it would have been nearly impossible to find a great vegan breakfast in an airport. Most toast is made with sliced bread that contains milk. The pre-made breakfast sandwiches at the convenience food locations are invariably made with eggs, cheese, or meats. Your choices were mostly limited to some fresh fruit, perhaps, or a bag of potato chips—vegans are not always the paragon of health. What's a vegan to do when on the road (or in the air)? More

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