Homemade soy milk is sooo simple. I simply use soybeans and water in my soy milk maker, but you can add sweetener, vanilla, chocolate, etc. to your liking. I love that it saves money and keeps packaging out of the landfill. I simply use 1/3 cup soy beans (soaked) and 5 cups water and always have soy milk on hand. Enjoy!
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
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 easy dessert takes me back to my childhood summers at grandma’s house. Buttery and decadent, you won’t believe how simple it is. While peaches are my go-to cobbler filling, you could swap them out for apples and cinnamon, blueberries, blackberries, or even pitted sour cherries. 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: 1 hour, 15 minutes; 15 minutes active
8 tablespoons (1 stick) dairy-free margarine, like Earth Balance, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened plain soy or almond milk
2 cups fresh sliced peaches (you can use frozen, thawed peaches, or fresh or thawed, frozen berries, apples, etc. if you prefer)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I generally put my margarine in a large casserole dish and stick it in the oven while preheating to melt.
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add soy or almond milk and mix together with a whisk.
Carefully remove your casserole from the oven and pour the batter over the melted margarine. Pour fruit over the mixture.
Bake for one hour until the top is golden brown and the crust has risen over the fruit. Best when served warm (with a scoop of vanilla dairy-free ice cream).
This is a go-to recipe in my house for when I’m in a hurry to make dinner, but want a meal that’ll fill me up and also provide plenty of nutrients. Nutty peanut butter and salty soy sauce combine with a little sweetness plus hot sauce for an explosion of flavor. Packed with protein and ridiculously easy, this dish is a hit with kids for the taste and with parents for its ease. Adjust spice as your family likes it.
I grew up in the South. Biscuits and gravy were one of my grandmother’s specialties (among many) and a wonderful comforting Sunday breakfast. This easy recipe will become one of your family’s favorites too.
Make 6 biscuits
Time: 30 minutes
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 tablespoons dairy-free margarine
1 cup soy or almond milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine all dry ingredients then using a fork or pastry cutter, cut in margarine until crumbly and pieces are no larger than a pea. Add soy or almond milk and stir until mixture is just thoroughly combined and all dry ingredients are mixed in, being careful not to overwork dough.
Transfer dough to a floured surface, and pat out dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or tumbler, cut out 6 biscuits and place on a nonstick baking sheet. You may need to reform dough and press out again to make all the biscuits.
Bake for 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown. While the biscuits are in the oven, make the gravy.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose or whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon dried powdered sage (optional)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, more to taste
2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt if using unsalted vegetable broth
1/2 package meatless sausage crumbles (optional)
In a large skillet, toast flour and nutritional yeast in olive oil on medium heat for 2 minutes or until it starts to brown. Lower heat and slowly add broth, using a fork to crush any lumps that may form. Add pepper, and sage, salt, and crumbles, if using. Return heat to medium until gravy begins to bubble and thicken. Allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Place biscuits on plates and spoon gravy over them.
The sauce in this delicious reuben is so easy you won’t believe it. And it’s so delicious you’ll want to put it on all of your sandwiches.
Time: 20 minutes active, 1.5 hours to allow time to marinate (or see pro-tip for a 10-minute version)
1 package tempeh
1/4 cup dill pickle juice
1/8 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/2 red onion, cut into half-moons
8 slices sandwich bread, or 4 wraps, your choice
1/4 cup egg-free mayonnaise, like Just Mayo
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons pickle relish
Sauerkraut, to taste
Dairy-free cheese, optional
Make the marinade: combine the pickle juice and soy sauce or tamari. Slice the tempeh lengthwise and place into a shallow container. Pour marinade over and allow to soak for 30 minutes to an hour. The longer the better.
Meanwhile, make the sauce: combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, and relish in a small bowl and stir until fully combined.
Make the tempeh: After your tempeh has sufficiently marinated, add water to a pan to cover the bottom. Steam fry the onion in the water until translucent. Add the tempeh and the marinade and cook for ten minutes, flipping occasionally and adding small amount to ensure it doesn’t stick.
Assemble the reubens: Spread 1/4 of the spread on 4 slices of bread sandwich or wrap, add cheese, if using, and sauerkraut then the tempeh. Toast in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Pro-tip: If you’re short on time or just don’t like cooking, skip the tempeh and the marinade (pickle juice, tamari, and onions) and pile a sandwich high with your favorite plant-based deli slices, i.e. Tofurky or Field Roast. You can enjoy this delicious classic sandwich in a fraction of the time.
This hearty lentil soup is quick and easy enough for a weeknight meal or makes a perfect Sunday night meal paired with some homemade cornbread.
Serves 2-4 (2 large bowls, 4 cups)
Time: 35 minutes
1/4 cup water
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, diced
1 can of diced tomatoes
4 cups of water, plus one cube vegetable bouillon or 4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (or fresh vegetables)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 cup dried brown or green lentils
salt or pepper to taste
Warm the water in a large pot over medium heat and add the onion to steam until softened and turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, potatoes. Cook for one minute, stirring, so the garlic doesn’t brown. Pour in the remaining ingredients. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.