Have you recently realized that you love adorable baby animals too much to eat them? Are you pretty convinced that livestock farming is destroying the world? Do you just want to have something in common with Alicia Silverstone?
MAYBE YOU SHOULD GO VEGAN.
No, seriously. We challenge you to try sticking to a vegan diet—basically, eating nothing made from/by an animal—for a week, whether it’s because you’re seriously considering a lifestyle change or because you know you can rise to that kind of challenge.
Here are the rules:
1. NO MEAT
2. NO DAIRY (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc)
3. NO EGGS
Below you’ll find a week’s worth of really tasty, non-lame recipes to make it easy. The clock starts on a Saturday, so you’ll have time to cook, shop, and get adjusted. You can feel free to come up with your own ideas, too; there’s a very handy list of tips and ingredient swaps over at Vegan Action’s website.
The Shopping List
For decorative purposes only, please do not actually put milk and eggs and butter on your shopping list.
A few things used in some of these recipes that you might not have:
non-dairy milk: Soy, almond, and coconut milk are all easy to find.
cashew nuts: Ground up, they give sauces and spreads a nice creamy texture.
tofu: Extra firm is the most sturdy and useful type for stir-frying, etc.
panko breadcrumbs: Use them as breading to make food delicious and crispy.
miso: Technically fermented soybean paste but also a magic condiment that makes everything amazing. White miso is the most versatile.
nutritional yeast: It tastes so much like cheese it’s crazy.
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos: Some soy sauces are processed with animal products; a lot of vegan recipes use this instead.
Saturday Breakfast: Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa
Cook a big pot of your favorite grain (quinoa is yummy and has a lot of protein) and keep it in the fridge. You can rewarm for an easy breakfast through the week, and add whatever fruit or nuts you want. Swap in non-dairy milk for regular; maple syrup on top is nice. Recipe at 101 Cookbooks.
Saturday Lunch or Dinner: Sweet Potato Burgers
Roast a few extra sweet potatoes to have on hand for snacking. Recipe from Love & Lemons.
Just because you’re vegan now doesn’t mean you can’t make a mean SANDWICH. If you’re not afraid of a little whisking, you can even DIY some creamy vegan mayo with dijon, lemon, garlic, and olive oil.
Check out this list of 50 ideas, or mix-and-match with some of these fixin’ options:
fried or scrambled tofu
roasted vegetables (red peppers, eggplant, etc)
nut butter (Bored of peanut? Try almond.)
Sunday Dinner: Eggplant Lemongrass Curry
Swap in extra ginger + grated lemon or lime zest if you don’t want to wrastle with lemongrass. Serve with some steamed rice. Recipe at Green Kitchen Stories.
Sunday Dessert: Chocolate Mousse
Chocolate + Water = MAGIC MOUSSE (for real). Recipe at Food52.
Cereal is still totally fair game. Dip into your quinoa stash from Saturday or just eat your Cheerios with non-dairy milk.
Bring leftover eggplant curry from Sunday plus a roasted sweet potato from Saturday.
Monday Dinner: Penne with Veggies & Pine Nuts
You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand for this. Recipe at Food52.
Keep working on that quinoa! Toss in a chopped apple and some brown sugar when you heat it up.
Tuesday Dinner: Miso Vegetables and Tofu
The miso makes this great, so don’t leave it out. Recipe at 101 Cookbooks.
Wednesday Breakfast: PB&B Toast
Peanut butter and banana slices on nice grainy bread.
Get some soup! Most places should have a few decent vegan options, like lentil soup or vegetarian chili.
Wednesday Dinner: Warm Butternut & Chickpea Salad
The tahini dressing on this is nice with lots of stuff; add some sauteed greens and pita bread to make a meal. Recipe at Smitten Kitchen.
Thursday Breakfast: Smoothie
Just pop some berries or any fruit you’ve got in the freezer into a blender and add almond or soy milk and a little agave or maple syrup. Bananas are good for a creamier texture. This Green Apple Smoothie from Girl Makes Food looks nice.
Thursday Lunch: Beet & Chickpea Salad
Use soy yogurt or hummus instead of regular yogurt for the sauce. Recipe at Love & Lemons.
Friday Breakfast: Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars
Tons of different nuts and seeds in here; you can pretty much throw in whatever you’ve got/whatever you like. Recipe at 86 Lemons.
Friday Lunch: Flatbreads with Scallion & Red Pepper Spread
You can buy flatbreads instead of baking them, unless you’re feeling ambitious. The spread is made with cashews and tofu and would be good on lots of stuff. Recipe at Post Punk Kitchen.
You made it through a whole week! And it wasn’t bad, right? In case you’re interested in extending the experiment, here are a few more recipes to try.
Wild Rice & Tofu Salad with Miso Dressing
This calls for coconut oil to cook the tofu but you can use any kind. Brown or white rice would be good too, although not as pretty. Recipe at Sprouted Kitchen.
It may be fake bacon, but it still has the word “bacon” in the name. Recipe at veganyumyum.
A lot of the snacks you eat normally are still fine on a vegan diet. But if you’ve been deeply dependent on beef jerky or just looking for something healthy to munch on during the day, try these:
peanut butter on toast or celery
popcorn with olive oil instead of butter
carrots + hummus
Vegan “Beef” Stew
This calls for Trader Joe’s Beef-Less Strips, but you could use tofu or seitan instead, or just skip them. Recipe at Gouda Monster.
Chocolate Avocado Cake
Avocado is a great sub for butter, and doesn’t make this taste weird or like anything except awesome chocolate cake. Recipe at Joy the Baker.