A lot of people switch from beef to chicken when making the transition to a plant-based diet. Unfortunately, chickens are some of the most abused animals on the planet, so doing so could actually result in more animal suffering. The good news is there are tons of delicious plant-based chicken products on the market that will satisfy your cravings. Check them out in this video I did with World of Vegan.
Ever made almond milk? It’s so quick, easy and much less expensive than buying it from the store; not to mention there’s no packaging to have to dispose of. Here’s how to do it.
1/2 cup raw, unsalted almonds soaked for at least an hour, up to overnight
3 cups water
Optional: 1 pitted date, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Rinse the almonds. Add almonds and water (and date and or vanilla, if using) to a high-powered blender and blend on high for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
Stain through a nut milk bag or a thin mesh sieve. Enjoy immediately. Will keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Shake well before using once stored.
Let’s face it: chickens have it rough. Many people trying to eat healthier switch from beef to chicken, unfamiliar with the horrors of chicken factory farming. Chickens raised for meat are bred to grow very large very fast and thus live short lives, many dropping dead of heart attacks, their organs unable to keep up with the pressures of their overgrown bodies. On top of that, many trying to eat healthy don’t realize that chicken meat still contains cholesterol and saturated fat.
The great news is there are loads of delicious foods we can nosh on sans chicken that offer the flavors we love. Here’s a favorite recipe, plus a list of some of my favorite chicken-free meats.
Napa Valley Chicken-Free Salad
Serve this chicken-free salad on a bed of greens or sandwiched between whole wheat bread for a delicious, filling meal. It’s ideal for a picnic or an easy workweek lunch.
Time: 10 minutes
1 9-ounce package chicken-free strips, like Beyond Meat Lightly Seasoned Strips, Tofurky Slow Roasted Chick’n, diced into small pieces
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 celery stalk, diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions or chives
1/2 cup halved seedless red grapes
1/2 cup egg-free mayonnaise, like Just Mayo
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped
1 teaspoon poppy seeds, optional
Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until combined well. Best chilled for at least an hour.
To serve, layer your favorite sandwich bread with lettuce and chicken-free salad or serve on a bed of greens.
Five of my Favorite Chicken-Free Plant-Based Meats
- Gardein: delicious breaded Chipotle Lime Crispy Tenders are a delicious kid-friendly choice.
- Tofurky: Slow Roasted Chick’n is a perfect ingredient in your favorite dishes.
- Beyond Meat: Lightly seasoned strips have a tiny bit of spice, but absorb your seasonings whether you’re making fajitas or chicken noodle soup.
- Simple Truth Crispy Tenders: Available at Kroger or Ralph’s these chicken-free finders are crispy, yummy, and easy to prepare. Have some BBQ sauce on hand to dunk away!
- Boca Spicy Chick’n Patties: You can find these bad boys in most grocery stores. Warm up, stack on a bun and pile with your favorite toppings for a simple meal.
Talk about a breakfast treat: this protein-rich easy breakfast will get your day off to a bright start. As a bonus, it’s ready in just 5 minutes!
Time: 5 minutes to prepare; should be refrigerated for at least 4 hours before enjoying
1 cup soy, almond, or coconut milk
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon lemon
zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon turmeric, optional
In a bowl or mason jar, combine all ingredients. Stir well, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Mix it up: Add a tablespoon of jam or toss in a handful of blueberries to the top and stir in before you enjoy.
These flaky, yet soft scones are perfect for impressing friends with a fancy brunch or tea party, or a bring-along breakfast for a road trip. The lemon complements the berries adding a hint of citrus. You can freeze the dough and bake later for a quick, yet decadent weekday breakfast.
Makes 6-8 scones
Time: 35 minutes, 15 minutes active
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dairy-free margarine, like Earth Balance
3/4 cup plain unsweetened soy or almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup mixed berries, fresh or frozen
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
If using frozen berries, thaw them in warm water and strain well.
In a large bowl, mix together both flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Separate margarine into 6 pieces and add to flour mixture using a fork or pastry cutter to cut in until margarine is evenly distributed, with no pieces larger than a pea.
Combine soy or almond milk, vanilla or lemon extract, and zest and pour into dry mixture. Stir until dough comes together. Add berries and gently fold into the dough. Some berries may get squashed and add a hint of purple—that’s okay.
Once dough is thoroughly mix with berries, place on a lightly floured surface, and flatten to about 3/4 of an inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or the mouth of a tumbler, cut into 6-8 scones. You may need to reform the dough into a ball and press out again to make all the scones. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with additional sugar, optionally. Bake for 20 minutes, until tops are golden brown.
Pro-Tip: You can substitute berries with your favorite fruit. Or go crazy and use chocolate chips. If you do that, use the vanilla extract rather than the lemon.
This recipe appears in my book, MeatLess: Transform the Way You Eat and Live — One Meal at a Time, published by Da Capo Press, 2017.
Who doesn’t love a good macaroni and cheese? It’s the quintessential comfort food. This macaroni and cashew cheese doesn’t have the same neon orange color of the food of my childhood, but it’s way more delicious. The surprise is that not only is it tasty and comforting; it’s also healthy, with cashews offering the creaminess of cheese. You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand, but bright green broccoli makes a nice contrast. This recipe appears in my book, MeatLess: Transform the Way You Eat and Live — One Meal at a Time, published by Da Capo Press, 2017.
Time: 20 minutes
1 pound of your favorite pasta (macaroni or shells work great)
1 head broccoli, cauliflower, or your favorite vegetable, cut into florets or small pieces
Cheese sauce ingredients:
1-1/4 cups raw cashews (if you have time to prepare in advance, soak them for an hour to overnight for a creamier sauce)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1-1/2 cups plain, unsweetened soy or almond milk
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup yellow miso
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Prepare the pasta according to package instructions. When 5 minutes remain in cook time, add in broccoli, cauliflower, or other vegetables. Drain, rinse, and pour into a casserole dish. Set aside.
Meanwhile grind the cashews into a powder in a high speed blender or food processor. Add the nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, and garlic powder and blend thoroughly.
Add the soy or almond milk, oil, miso, and lemon juice and blend until smooth, scraping sides to ensure it’s thoroughly combined.
Toss cheese sauce over pasta and veggies and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Pro-Tip: Crumble crushed walnuts or panko bread crumbs over the top before baking for a fancier mac.