Sunday, January 28, 2007

Whole Foods MEALS for FOUR under $15 "veganized"

After many discussions about eating well ending in my feeling like a spoiled brat who can "afford to eat fresh produce and healthy foods," I am on a mission to prove that healthy habits by way of shopping at the supermarket is not solely for middle or upper class consumers.
I wish I got paid for the amount of times I promote Whole Foods but honestly, I am just thrilled that a place exists that actually puts each of their products through a careful evaluation. I reported awhile back that POM juice producers were guilty of some nasty animal testing and I noticed that Whole Foods promptly pulled POM off their shelves. Whole Foods features foods that are free from artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners and hydrogenated fats. Knowing that you don't have to check every damn label for junk added to your cookies, crackers, etc, can make grocery shopping fun again!
365 Everyday Value is a self-branded collection of staples featured at the store. Each item is priced low, most are staples that you need on hand like cereal, canned goods, frozen foods, spices, even coffee. Another featured brand is 365 Organic Everyday Value which is a line giving you all of the benefits of organic food at unexpectedly low prices. Usually these items are available in larger quantities to pass the savings on to the consumer.
Available at every store, is a pamphlet that features MEALS for FOUR under $15. This appears to be updated as the seasons change. Buying foods that are in season can save you a lot of money. Trying to buy organic berries right now is a joke. I think they will run you about $6 a package!
The meals featured in this pamphlet are NOT vegan, and only one option is vegetarian. I vote that you opt for the faux meat versions of these tasty recipes. You will notice the price will probably be LOWER and the taste will be BETTER, flesh and blood free!
Recipe #1 is Butternut Squash Ravioli - this recipe can easily be vegan by choosing a veggie ravioli instead of cheese, using soy butter, and omitting the cheese, perhaps sprinkling some nutritional yeast on top for added protein and B12.
Recipe #2 is Shrimp & Feta Pizzas - Easy to make this vegan and even tastier! Substitute shredded mozzarella with vegan mozzarella from Vegan Gourmet, omit the shrimp and feta and add vegan pepperoni (cholesterol free and low fat vs. cholesterol laden shrimp) and some sliced leeks and potatoes. (in season) YUMMY!
Recipe #3 is Coconut Red Pork Curry - okay, lets just leave the cute pig out of this. If you want to replace this "ingredient"
READ: Pork Tenderloin =

then you can go this route: Substitute pork with veggie ham (bacon flavor) OR you can use tofu or seitan as each are delicious meat substitutes that are delicious in curry sauce.
Recipe #4 is Slow Cooker Hoisin Beef Stew - No need to sacrifice a sweet cow for this recipe.

READ: Beef =
I have a secret for you. Vegecyber features AWESOME beef chunks for your frozen food collection. Try not to eat them before you even cook this recipe because they are fantastic! Unfortunately they feature dairy, whey protein. So, if you are VEGAN, pat yourself on the back and use the "lamb" chunks. These don't contain any animal products at all. The rest of the recipe is vegan friendly except the call for beef broth, just use veggie bullion cubes which are tasty and much more affordable than buying broth in a can or box. You never need the whole can or box which is wasteful. The cube is WISE as it lasts and is easier to measure out!

Recipe #5 is Peruvian Sopa La Minuta - "minute soup"
Again, get out your veggie bullion cubes and your ground beef substitute which is easy to find in most grocery stores these days. Otherwise, I recommend shrimp balls which are a delicious addition to soup. Tofu is also great in soups.

I often opt for a mix of seasonal veggies, for example, right now here are some in-season fruits and veggies to choose from: BRUSSELS SPROUTS, GRAPEFRUIT, LEEKS, ORANGES, PARSNIPS, PEARS, SHALLOTS, POTATOES, TANGELOS, TANGERINES, WINTER SQUASH, GARLIC AND ONIONS. I get out the wok, melt soy margarine or warm some olive oil, toss in crumbled tempeh, sliced tofu, or sliced seitan. Next, I add my seasonal veggies like thinly sliced leeks, halved brussels sprouts, and kale. Steam up some parsnips, whip them up with some soy milk and shallots to serve the stir fry on top of. Sprinkle the finished product with a flavored salt like rosemary or truffle. YUMMY! Flavored salts last forever and add gourmet flavor for just pennies a meal. Make your own by adding fresh herbs to coarse sea salt. Try adding lemon rind or even dried chili's to add some heat.
Highly recommended, and on "special" is a mushroom herb salt on Saltistry's website. Its a mix of herbs and four different mushrooms. 5 oz for $10 will last you many delicious meals and beware, it can be addictive! As they say on their page, "don't worry about getting too much sodium because its beneficial to consume sea salts daily as they naturally contain many trace minerals."

All vegan/vegetarian meats can be ordered online (note the shipping cost) at These alternatives are great to impress your meat eating friends or to spoil your vegan friends when they come over for dinner. I don't recommend eating much of this stuff because its not exactly healthy to eat faux meats every night for dinner. Make sure you check the ingredients of everything first, as some items do contain whey protein, which is a milk product. I recommend trying the crab and prawns (awesome in stir fries with yummy sauces) which are both vegan.

You can also order online faux meat treats at May Wah.