What is The Vegan(ish) Experiment?

Our family (me, my husband D, and our four-year-old Molly) started 2009 with a mostly-vegan, macrobiotic-inspired diet (although I have to admit, the strict macro rules have pretty much gone out the window). I have seen a marked improvement in my chronic migraines, and I'm enjoying proving that we can make amazing, mouth-watering, memorable food without animal products. For a more in-depth intro, click here.

I stopped updating this blog quite awhile back, when life got in the way. I'm still keeping a mostly vegan kitchen, though, and loving it. Have fun browsing my recipes!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 336: Mediterranean Pasta

I haven't been around much lately, but I have a very good reason. Unfortunately, I can't announce my exciting news for another couple of weeks, so stay tuned! (To my friends/family who don't already know the news: No, I'm not pregnant.)

Anyway, if you're annoyed that I'm teasing you with my secret, distract yourself with this dish. It's an easy meal, prepared mostly with pantry staples. (If you want it to taste fresher, though, plan ahead like I did and visit the olive bar at your supermarket - the olives, sundried tomatoes, and roasted garlic can all most likely be found there.)

Update: My secret was that I was spending all of my free time preparing to fulfill one of my life's goals, appearing on the TV quiz show Jeopardy! Unfortunately, I ended up playing against a fantastic guy ... who went on to win that season's Tournament of Champions. Needless to say, I lost. However, I came in second place (and was the only person to get Final Jeopardy right), and it was an awesome experience.

Mediterranean Pasta
Serves 6.


1 (12 oz.) box whole wheat pasta, prepared according to package instructions
1 (14 oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained well
15-20 olives (I used a combination of kalamata and jumbo green)
2 avocadoes (optional)
pine nuts (optional)

For the sauce:
1 (14 oz.) can tomatoes (diced or not)
4 cloves roasted garlic (more if you love garlic - it's just a mild migraine trigger for me)
10-12 small oil-marinated sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
5 kalamata olives (pitted)
salt and dry crushed red pepper to taste

  1. While pasta is cooking, use a blender or food processor to pulse sauce ingredients until they are well-mixed, but still chunky.
  2. When pasta is done, drain and return to pot.
  3. Add olives, artichoke hearts, and sauce to the pasta. Warm over a medium flame until heated through, stirring constantly.
  4. Top with sliced avocado and pine nuts, if you want. (I didn't have pine nuts this time, but have used them in this recipe before and they were great.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day 311: Six Word Saturday!

For an explanation of Six Word Saturday, click here:

And my Six Word Saturday is:

Is H1N1 one word or four?

Looks like our house has been invaded ... so far it's Molly and D. I'm exercising obsessively good hygeine, but feeling pretty pessimistic.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 285: Thai Peanut Noodles with Spinach

This recipe is one I whipped up in less than half an hour on a weeknight, when I was short on perishables except for a soon-to-be-old bag of spinach. You could make the recipe without spinach, too, but I like the color and nutritional value it adds.

Thai Peanut Noodles with Spinach


6 oz. (pre-cooked weight) whole wheat angel hair pasta

1/2 c. smooth peanut butter (I like to use Teddy's, an all-natural brand)
1 can lite coconut milk
1 T. red chili paste (Sambal Oelek chili paste is pretty mild, but if you or your kids are really heat-sensitive, you might want to add a little less)
1 T. brown rice syrup (or 1 t. agave nectar)
2 T. apple cider vinegar
1/4 t. garlic powder
salt to taste

1 10-oz. bag spinach

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine peanut butter and coconut milk. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is smooth.
  3. While peanut butter/coconut milk mixture is heating, place spinach in a microwave-safe container with a couple of tablespoons of water. Cover loosely and microwave for 1-2 minutes, until spinach is wilted.
  4. When peanut butter mixture is smooth, add remaining ingredients and continue to heat over medium-low until warmed through.
  5. Add noodles and spinach to sauce and stir over medium-low flame until the entire mixture is warmed through.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Day 250: Seasoned Kale Chips (Or, How to Get a 2-Year-Old to Eat Greens)

Kale chips have been all the rage in the food blogosphere - I started seeing them a few months ago. "Kale chips? I like kale, but ... kale chips?" was my initial reaction. I read too many good reviews, though, and decided to try and create my own version.

Kale is pretty tasty, but not my favorite green. I usually tend to buy quick-cooking spinach or escarole, or spicy mustard greens, or slow-cooking but oh-so-tasty collards.... Well, needless to say, I like my greens. But kale always just tasted kind of bland to me. And, while I think all greens are beautiful, for some reason this sight never piqued 2-year-old Molly's fancy:

When baked, though, kale turns into something that looks ...well, kind of strange:

Seasoned Kale Chips
But, if you can get past the ugliness, seasoned kale chips are an amazing snack - crunchy, a little salty, savory, and all-around addictive. Bet you can't eat just one ... at least Molly, D, and I couldn't. I must say, it warms a mom's heart to hear her toddler say, "More kale chips, please!"

2 bunches kale
2-3 T. olive oil
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. chili powder
1/4 t. coriander
1/4 t. cumin
1/4 t. salt
scant 1/4 t. onion powder

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F (about 175º C).
  2. Wash and thoroughly dry kale (a salad spinner works well for this).
  3. Tear kale into large pieces, discarding stems - toss them or save them for stock.
  4. Spread kale onto cookie sheets. Line them with parchment paper first if you want to minimize sticking.
  5. Sprinkle or spray kale lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with spice mixture.
  6. Bake kale for 9-12 minutes, or until crispy but not burnt.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day 222: Mustard-Dill Potato and Asparagus Salad

I've been cooking a lot this summer, but not updating this blog as much as I'd like. I'm done teaching summer school now, though, and I have a whole week off before I go back to start the new year. So I'm going to schedule a few blog posts to get me through the first hectic days of the fall semester.

We went to Haymarket last weekend, as we often do, to pick up a ton of inexpensive produce. We found some lovely fingerling and baby red potatoes that I just had to buy ... but what could I make out of them? It's been too hot to do roasted or baked potatoes, and I don't like mayonnaise (or the vegan alternatives), so potato salad seemed out of the question. Until I asked myself, "Hey ... why does potato salad have to have mayo in it?" And this recipe was born:

Mustard-Dill Potato and Asparagus Salad

About 2 pounds of assorted potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 1/2 bunches asparagus, trimmed* and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 c. chopped chives
1/4 c. chopped dill, not packed

1/4 c. olive oil
zest of one medium lemon
juice of two medium lemons
1 1/2 t. dry ground mustard (or less if you don't like much spice)

salt and pepper

*To trim asparagus, hold both ends. Bend the bottom end until it breaks off. This will get rid of the part that's too tough to eat. You can toss it, compost it, or save it and use it to make your own veggie stock.

  1. Put the potato chunks into a large pot. Cover them with water, about an inch above them. Boil until tender (about 15 minutes, depending on how small you cut them).
  2. While the potatoes are boiling, steam the asparagus until it is slightly tender, but still crisp. (I did this by putting it into a microwave-safe dish with a couple of tablespoons of water. My old, low-wattage microwave took 5 minutes. Most would take less.)
  3. Combine potatoes, asparagus, chives, and dill in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk together oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard. Pour the dressing over the potato mixture and mix well using a rubber spatula or large plastic serving spoon. Be careful not to break up the potatoes too much.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. Chill for at least half an hour before serving.
This was filling enough to be eaten as a main dish, and it got better the longer it sat in the fridge!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 208: Fennel-Dill Salad

I love summer, in part because it is the only time of the year when I'm in the mood to eat lots and lots of cold salads. I am a huge cold salad fan ... it just doesn't sound so good when it's freezing outside.

While browsing the produce section of Stop and Shop on Saturday, I had an idea: Wouldn't fennel and dill go well together? I've made fennel salad before, from this fantastic recipe, but it had tarragon in it. So I decided to try and invent a fennel-dill salad. And it was so good. Feel free to add or subtract ingredients; this ended up being a combination of what struck my fancy at the store and what I had sitting in my veggie drawer at home.

Fennel-Dill Salad


1 bell pepper (I used 1/2 red, and 1/2 green), julinned
2 fennel bulbs, cut in half and sliced thinly (spritz them with lemon juice to keep them from browning)
1/2 bag of broccoli slaw mix (julinned broccoli, carrots, and cabbage), or other cole slaw veggies
1 cucumber, sliced thinly and sprinkled with salt
1 bunch scallions, green parts only, diced
1/2 c. chopped dill

1/3 c. olive oil
juice of 4 very small lemons, or 2 large lemons (about 1/4 c.)
1/4 heaping tsp. celery salt
1 clove minced garlic

Salt & fresh ground black pepper

  • Combine oil, lemon juice, celery salt, and garlic in a food processor or blender.
  • Combine vegetables and dill in a large bowl. (Yes, I know that bell peppers are actually fruits, not vegetables. But I'm calling them vegetables anyway. So there.)
  • Pour dressing over salad and toss. Serve immediately or chill.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 204: How To Make Fruit Unappetizing

This is just a quick laugh for you all - I love finding stuff like this! So cringe-worthy:

I'd hate to see how much they charged if it were ACTUALLY fresh...

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