National Farmers Market Week: August 3rd-9th

Next week is National Farmers Market Week! Show support for your local and independent farmers by visiting a market near you. Unsure of where to find one? Use LocalHarvest to search in your area!

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Hello! I was just wondering if you had any tips for finding cheese/butter substitutes. I'm worried they won't be available at my local stores, but if you know of any chains like whole foods that carry them I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!

Sure! So since I live in Boston, I am lucky to have access to several Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s stores. They carry products such as Daiya Cheese alternative and Earth Balance Buttery Spread, both of which I use.

However, there are some other brands available at most grocery stores. For instance, Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread with Flax Oil is vegan, and so is the Smart Balance Organic Buttery Spread. Many stores carry other brands of almond or soy-based cheeses. You won’t find them in the cheese section though. So check to see if they have a healthy/organic section (like Kroger, Shaws or Martin’s has) or check in the produce section where tofu is sold.

Hope this helps!

NACHOS

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The Collegiate Vegan turned three today!! And what’s a better way to celebrate three years of blogging than with a giant platter of nachos for dinner? I went a little (a lot) overboard tonight, so this recipe is plenty to serve 4-6 people.

You’ll need:

  • 1 bag of tortilla chips, any kind
  • 1/2 can of black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 3/4 cup of corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 bag daiya pepperjack style shreds
  • 3-4 leaves of romaine lettuce, shredded
  • salsa (I used peach mango)
  • avocado or guacamole

What you’ll do:

Spread the tortilla chips out on a cookie sheet and top with the pepperjack shreds, tomato, black beans, jalapenos and corn. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and top with shredded lettuce, salsa and guacamole. Then have yourself a party.

How To: Vegan Fast Food

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Most of the time, vegan food is extremely healthy. But vegan junk food, and fast food, definitely exist. Some days you’re going to just want a burger and fries. Here are my tips for navigating fast food as a vegan:

  • Mexican: Usually the easiest for veg options. Try bean and rice burritos, fajita tacos, nachos without cheese and taco salads. Chipotle is a great place for vegans.
  • Burgers and Fries: Make sure the veggie burgers don’t contain dairy or eggs, a quick google search will usually tell you. (Burger King’s is only vegetarian, contains dairy.) Most fries are now fried in a canola oil blend, but another Google search couldn’t hurt. McDonald’s fries were originally made in beef tallow.
  • Sushi: Try avocado rolls, cucumber rolls, sweet potato rolls, garden rolls and miso soup. Double check that the miso isn’t mixed with animal broth.
  • Thai: Most curries are vegan, but make sure to double check. Some labeled ‘coconut’ may still have dairy creamer. And if you want Pad Thai, just ask for it without egg.
  • Chinese: Rice and veggies are usually your best option. If you’re ordering noodles or fried rice, make sure there’s no egg.
  • Middle Eastern: Pita bread, hummus and falafel for days.
  • Pizza: Order extra veggies and no cheese! Papa Johns and Little Caesar’s crust and dough is vegan, and Pizza Hut’s sauce and thin crust is vegan.
  • Ice Cream: Opt for a sorbet.

Here’s a great guide that talks about veggie options at specific chain restaurants.

What’s your favorite fast food?

A Weekend in New York City

I was lucky to spend some time in New York City this weekend visiting a friend and eating some amazing food. I crossed two major destinations off my bucket list, Pure Food and Wine in Union Square and Stumptown Coffee Roasters on West 29th.

I spent Friday afternoon lounging in the backyard garden at PF&W sipping on prosecco and munching on brazil nut croquettes. It was one of those afternoons that is just way too good to be true. And this morning Stumptown made me the best almond milk latte I’ve ever had. If you ever find yourself in New York City, I cannot recommend either of this places enough!

Hi Madde! I am a soon to be sophomore at the University of North Carolin at Chapel Hill. My freshman year was horrific due to the fact that I left behind my vegan diet. There were many causes, one of the most important being time. I was wondering how you made or found the time to cook your own vegan meals, since it is more convenient to buy take out or fast food. Also, most of my friends are not vegan, or even vegetarian. Do you have any advice for that?

- Asked by Anonymous

Hey there!

I will do my best to answer these questions, but if you want to tell me a little bit more about your specific lifestyle (kitchen availability, access to appliances, dining halls, food climates etc.) so I can help you more, please email me at thecollegiatevegan@gmail.com or stop by my Ask Box (That goes for anyone else out here on the Internet, I love getting emails and asks!)

About making time to cook—-
I was also a sophomore in college when I became vegan, so I understand the time constraints. My best advice here would be to get into a cooking routine and keep the recipes simple. While in classes, I make a smoothie or peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast nearly every day. Lunch is a salad, pasta with veggies, or a sandwich with hummus and veggies that I can easily take to campus in Tupperware. Dinner is some variant of stir fry. Either rice with veggies, cashews and soy sauce, or a quinoa bowl with veggies and tahini-based dressing. Snacks are popcorn, almonds and carrots with hummus. If you make a bunch of rice or quinoa on Sunday, it will last you through the week and then the veggies are really easy to microwave/steam and add. While the rice and quinoa are cooking you can mix salads together and store them in Tupperware in the fridge, they’ll be ready to go for the rest of the week. You can also check out my Five&Under recipes, they all have 5 ingredients or less and usually take less than 30 minutes to make.

About fast food—-
Yes, fast food will always be more convenient. But you have to decide what your priorities are. If you only eat fast food, you will conveniently feel like shit. If you make your meals for the week one hour on Sunday night, you’ll feel better. However, I’m also not in the business of deprivation. If you want to have pizza or Chinese one night of the week with your friends, go for it! And don’t beat yourself up about it. As long as you moderate the fast food, you’ll be fine.

About non-veggie friends—-
I would hope that your friends would be supportive of your diet choices, but I know how awkward it can be when they want to go somewhere to eat that doesn’t have any healthy (or veggie) options. If you’re in a student center/food court situation, it’s totally okay to bring your own food even if everyone else is buying. (And it will save you money!) If it’s a restaurant you don’t want to go to, just politely tell them that there isn’t much you can eat. They know you would do the same for them if it were somewhere they didn’t want to eat. And remember, pizza can always be made with no cheese and extra veggies, and Thai/Japanese/Chinese have TONS of veggie options.

I hope this helps, but please reach out if you have any more questions!

Southwestern Baked Potatoes

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There’s two ways to make these potatoes: regular or twice baked. Both ways kick ass, but twice baked requires more effort. Choose whichever way you have the time for.

You’ll need:

  • 1 russet potato
  • olive oil (optional)
  • 1/4C corn (frozen, canned or fresh)
  • 1/4C black beans
  • 1 roma tomato, cubed
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • Salsa, to taste
  • Hot sauce, to taste

For twice baked potatoes:

Rub potato with olive oil, stab with a fork a few times, wrap loosely in foil and bake at 425 for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer potatoes onto a cookie sheet. Cut potatoes in half, and scoop out most of the potato, being very careful to not break the skin. In a separate bowl, mash the scooped-out potato with olive oil, corn, tomato and black beans. Scoop the new mixture back into the potato skins, patting it down to avoid air bubbles in the potato. Broil for 5-10 minutes, until the top of the potato browns. Remove from oven and top with avocado, salsa and hot sauce.

For regular baked potatoes;

Stab your potato with a fork a few times, wrap loosely in foil and bake at 425 for 45 minutes. Alternatively, stab with a fork an microwave for 5 minutes, turn over and microwave for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven/microwave and transfer potato from foil to plate or bowl. Chop in half and throw everything on top of it. It will be equally messy and delicious.

Note: Cooking times in your oven may vary. If the potato does not seem soft after 45 minutes, continue to cook in 10 minute intervals until its easy to cut or scoop out. If you’re microwaving, continue to cook in 1 minute intervals.

What’s your favorite way to bake a potato?

Dill Potatoes & Lemony Asparagus

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You can’t go wrong with mashed potatoes and gravy, ever. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. I like to dress mine up with dill, and serve them with a lemony green vegetable, like asparagus or green beans. 

For the mashed potatoes:

  • 2-3 russet potatoes, washed and cubed
  • Almond milk
  • Olive oil or buttery spread (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced (or 1T garlic powder)
  • Handful of fresh dill

Boil a large pot of water, and add cubed potatoes. Stir occasionally. When you can easily smash a piece of potato with a fork, they’re done. Drain the water. Return potatoes to the pot, add a few splashes of almond milk, garlic, salt, pepper and optional olive oil or buttery spread to taste. Mash everything together. Add most of the dill, and whip with a fork. Reserve the rest of the dill 

For the gravy:

  • 1C vegetable broth
  • 1/4C nutritional yeast
  • 1t mustard
  • 1T soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1T thickener (corn starch, arrowroot, flour)
  • 2T tahini
  • 1.5 blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2t agave nectar or brown rice syrup
  • 2T olive oil

Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Heat on the stove and serve! This is my favorite gravy recipe, from the Oh She Glows Thanksgiving menu.

For the asparagus:

  • 8-12 stalks of asparagus
  • 2T lemon juice,
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Herbs de provence (optional)

Chop the woody ends of asparagus off, and then cut the stalks in half. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, then reduce to medium heat and add asparagus, lemon juice and optional herbs. Add a few tablespoons of water if the asparagus start to stick to the pan. Saute the asparagus, shaking the pan frequently for 8-10 minutes, until asparagus is fully cooked.

What’s your favorite comfort food?

Raw Zucchini Lasagna

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My roommate introduced me to raw zucchini lasagna, and I think I owe her my life for it. It’s that good. If you like spice, I recommend making a spicy pesto to give this recipe an extra kick.

What you need for 2-3 servings:

  • 2 zucchini
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  • Pesto (homemade or bought, I made some with sundried tomatoes)
  • Cashew cream to keep it raw, or other cheesy topping. I used Daiya jalapeno harvarti style cheese to give it a kick.

What you’ll do:

Use a mandolin to very thinly slice the zucchini. If you don’t have a mandolin you can use a knife, but be careful to slice it very thinly. Slice the tomatoes as well. They should be thicker than the zucchini, but still relatively thin slices. Lay down four zucchini slices so that they slightly overlap. Spread the pesto. Add tomato slices. Top with cheese or cheese alternative. Add another layer of zucchini and repeat until you are satisfied with your tower of lasagna. Enjoy!

Romaine Tacos

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Romaine tacos are one of my favorite summertime foods. It’s a great way to use tons of veggies from your kitchen, and feel full and satisfied without the greasy feeling that your average taco leaves your with. These also make for a great “make your own taco bar” and are fun for family dinners or small dinner parties.

Part One - The Shells

  • Use a fresh romaine head, the outer leaves will be the largest and the best for building tacos. Bagged romaine leaves tend to be smaller than fresh romaine
  • Radicchio lettuce shells work well for smaller tacos, but have a bitter flavor

Part Two - The ‘Meat’

Part Three - The Fillings

  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Caramelized onions
  • Red pepper, sliced thinly
  • Avocado, cubed
  • Salsa 
  • Corn
  • Daiya cheese (I used the jalapeno harvarti kind)
  • Cashew cream

Part Four -The Leftovers

Chop up the romaine shells that are too small to make a substantial taco, add the leftover toppings, and you’ve got a southwestern chopped salad ready to go! 

Hazelnut Milk & Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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When in doubt, I turn to Oh She Glows. Her recipes get me through all of my uninspired days. I don’t think there’s anything of hers I’ve made that wasn’t a crowd pleaser, but the hazelnut milk served with chocolate chunk cookies is one of the most heavenly combinations your mouth will encounter. Guaranteed. This is not your average milk and cookies.

One Bowl Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Instead of two tablespoons of almond milk, I used two tablespoons of strong espresso.

Coffee Shop Worthy Caramel Vanilla Bean Hazelnut Milk
The whole vanilla bean is worth it. You can usually find a single bean for sale in the spices section of your grocery store.

Juice Cleanse Review & Tips

If you had told me even just a year ago that I would do a three day juice cleanse, and actually enjoy it, I would have called you crazy. But lo and behold, I did it. I went on a juice cleanse and I loved it. Here are some things I learned during those three days:

  • Know your motivations before diving in. Some people want to lose weight, some want to kickstart healthier habits or just cleanse their system. A clear intention will motivate you to stick to the cleanse.
  • Have a juice cleanse buddy. Giving up solid food, even for a few days, is difficult. It goes against our natural instincts, and having someone supporting you can go a long way. I was lucky that roommate was cleansing with me, so we didn’t have any food in the house and could keep each other on a routine. If you’re cleansing by yourself, ask a friend to be your motivational coach for a few days,
  • You will get sick of the juices very quickly. Six juices a day doesn’t sound like a lot, but drinking one every other hour, with tons of water in between, is exhausting. Buy some straws and just power through.
  • End the day with a nut milk. My cleanse included a cashew milk with vanilla, sea salt and cinnamon at the end of the day. I cannot even explain to you how much I looked forward to this drink. After nonstop green and citrus juices, the creamy cashews made me sane again.
  • Light exercise is important. You will have less energy while cleansing since you’re not eating enough calories, so skip the gym. But light yoga and going for walks will help boost your energy.
  • Treat yo self. After the cleanse, don’t reward yourself with your favorite junk food. Your newly clean digestive system will not thank you. Go the mani-pedi route instead.
  • Buying versus DIY. Purchasing juice cleanses can be expensive, but check Groupon or Living Social, because they have deals all the time. You can juice at home, or blend and strain, but preparing, juicing and cleaning your juicer six times a day is A LOT of effort.

I finished my cleanse last Friday, have been eating mostly raw since then, and feel fantastic. Junk food seems especially hard to avoid during the summer, and cleansing for three days really made me appreciate the healthy food that’s so easily available to me. 

Apart from feeling physically better, I have to say that it was fascinating to realize how much I took buying, cooking and eating food for granted. You don’t realize what you have until it’s flaunted in front of you while you’re one a juice cleanse.

Have you ever been on a juice cleanse? What did you and didn’t you enjoy about it?

Juice Cleanse

Just finished my first ever juice cleanse! I’ve been drinking these three juices every day for the last three days. Review will be posted tomorrow, but in the mean time, the cold pressed juices from left to right:

  1. Kale, cucumber, green apple, lemon, ginger
  2. Lemon, lime, alkaline water, organic agave, cayenne
  3. Kale, spinach cucumber, celery, green apple, parsley
  4. Pear, pineapple, green apple, lime, mint
  5. Spinach, kale, apple, celery, lemon, ginger
  6. Cashew milk, organic agave, organic vanilla, sea salt, cinnamon

Have you ever done a juice cleanse? How did it go? What’s your favorite juice?

Lindsay’s Famous Quinoa Bowl

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In addition to being an incredibly talented musician, my roommate, Lindsay, makes the best quinoa bowls in the world. You’ll be seeing a lot of her recipes on the blog this summer. Check out her beautiful music here, and her famous quinoa bowl recipe below:

  • 1-2 Servings of quinoa
  • 1/4 Cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 Cup steamed broccoli
  • 1/2 Cup steamed kale
  • 1/2 Avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 Cup sprouted lentils
  • 1 Beet, cubed (we like buying Love Beets)
  • 1/2 Cup sauteed mushrooms and pearl onions
  • 2T Nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper
  • Annie’s Goddess Dressing (or any other tahini-based dressing)

While not the fastest recipe in the world, this is easily one of the healthiest. Get your quinoa on the stove, and while it’s cooking, steam your broccoli and kale, and saute the mushrooms and pearl onions in olive oil. Shred the carrot, cube the avocado and beets. Mix all of this in a bowl. Top with sprouted lentils, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Add your dressing and enjoy!

Note: These are rough measurements. Use as much or as little veggies as you like!

Iced Tea Lemonade

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I despise the heat and humidity that July brings. However, I welcome the excuse to drink excessive amounts of iced tea lemonade. This is a very flexible recipe, so don’t take the measurements too seriously.

  • Juice of three lemons (or 3/4-1C lemon juice)
  • 1/4C sugar (white, brown or coconut)
  • 4C strong iced tea
  • 1C water

Stir the lemon juice and sugar together, add the water and continue stirring. Add the iced tea last and stir until the sugar fully dissolves. Let chill and enjoy! Makes a pitcher.

Note: I used Gold Rush from David’s Tea, but any iced tea would work— black, white, green, jasmine, fruity etc. You can either cold brew it, or make it hot and let it chill.