The Vegan Experience

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The Food Lab: Introducing Vegetables Wellington, the Plant-Based Vegan Roast Even Meat Eaters Will Want

Coming up with a vegan holiday roast is a daunting task! It can't just take the place of the turkey or the prime rib nutritionally, it's got to cover all of those mental bases as well. Not only does it have to taste spectacular, but it's got to look stunning at the center of the table, with rich, deep flavors that scream fall and winter. What I ended up with was a vegan roast that is so pretty, so mouth-watering, so packed with flavor and texture that even the hardcore carnivores at the table will want to make room on their plate for a slice, perhaps even instead of that turkey. I call it Vegetables Wellington. More

The Food Lab: How to Make Vegan Stuffing That Really Rocks

I've only ever had one criterion for my vegan recipes: They must be good enough that even an avowed meat-head would gladly down them. I wanted a stuffing with deep, complex, savory flavors that bakes up with a moist texture almost like a savory bread pudding. I wanted stuffing so good that it'll be the first side dish to disappear from the table. A stuffing so good that my meat-eating family would attack and devour it with reckless abandon. More

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

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