I have had the pleasure of working with lifelong vegan and bestselling author, Victoria Moran to help her launch her 11th book,MAIN STREET VEGAN: Everything You Need to Know to Eat Healthfully and Live Compassionately in the Real World, (Launching TODAY!), and am thrilled to offer you a guest blog post from her. Endorsed by fellow vegan all-star, Russell Simmons, who calls it "a great read for vegans and aspiring vegans," and Academy-Award winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, who says, "finally, a book that isn't preaching to the vegan choir, but to the people in the pews-and the ones who can't fit in those pews."
From MAIN STREET VEGAN: Everything You Need to Know to Eat Healthfully and Live Compassionately in the Real World, by Victoria Moran, with Adair Moran.
Web site: http://mainstreetvegan.net
Real men grill plants.
I didn’t come from a cookout family. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows at picnics, but the closest we ever came to serious backyard grilling was one hot summer night when I was seven. All I can remember is a crowd of people, a rabbit on a spit (which I found disgusting), and that my mom accidentally impaled a garden slug on her stiletto heel – also disgusting but at least unintentional.
Most people’s childhood memories of cooking and dining al fresco are obviously better than mine, because three out of four American households have a barbecue grill. Converts to veganism don’t necessarily put theirs on eBay: if you Google “vegan barbecue ideas,” there are 3,750,000 of them.
Basically, vegetarians grill vegetables and those veggie meats suitable for barbecuing. If you’re invited to somebody else’s barbecue, let your host know you’re vegan and that you’d be happy to bring some plant-based grillables for yourself and enough to share. (It’s thoughtful if the person with the chef’s hat and the giant fork cleans off the grill before your food goes on it, without your having to ask.)
In the veggie department, your almost endless options include:
· corn on the cob (brush with olive oil and wrap in foil)
· potatoes, yams, broccoli, and cauliflower – do them just like corn
· eggplant (in a burger-like slice, or grilled whole so the inside is mushy, like the baba ganoush you get at Middle Eastern restaurants)
· asparagus (soak it in water for half an hour or so before you pop it on the grill)
· summer squash
· substantial portobello mushrooms (simply oil-brushed; or in a marinade like the one at the end of this chapter; or wrapped in a roll as a ‘shroomburger)
In the meatier family, tofu grills nicely if you buy the pre-baked kind. Alternatively, drain regular tofu (not “silken”; it’s too delicate), wrap in a clean kitchen towel, and press to remove as much water as you can. Then freeze it overnight. When you thaw and slice it, it will have developed a tougher, more meat-like texture. Marinate it for a couple of hours (turning every now and then, if you think of it, so the marinade gets to both sides), and grill away. Tempeh, seitan, and your homemade burgers, if they’re the kind that hold together well, are grill-ready without any pre-prep, other than sloshing on your barbecue sauce or glaze. Unless you oil the burgers up, though, sticking could be a problem. In that case, call on foil.
Many, but not all, commercial veggie burgers, franks, and chicken-like pieces, barbecue beautifully. The package should tell you whether or not the ones you’re looking at will take to the grill. The cooking procedure will be a bit different from what you’re used to because veggie-meats simply don’t have the fat that animal meat does; unless you add some oil and moisture, you’re not going to get that sizzle. Also, veggie-meat grills up faster than flesh-meat so watch it carefully till you get the timing right. (When you’re a guest, help the master griller save face by staying close and keeping an eye on your dinner.)
Summer-loving vegans around the country say they’re crazy about grilling the following ersatz meats, listed alphabetically: Amy’s All American Veggie Burgers, Boca Burgers (Original Vegan), Field Roast Frankfurters, Gardein Crispy Tenders (chicken-like) and Gardein “The Ultimate Beefless Burger,” Tofurky Italian Sausages, and Yves Original Meatless Jumbo Hot Dogs. You can barbecue these on their own or incorporate them as part of kebabs, with mushrooms, peppers, plum tomatoes, onion, and just about anything else that’s colorful and tasty and grows up out of the ground.
Lucky me, I had the pleasure of getting my paws on an advance copy of the book and haven't been able to put it down! Whether you are a vegan or just vegan-curious, (like me!), it's a must read; plus it has 40 healthy recipes to serve up!
Tatiana Ridley, CHHC, AADP