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!

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...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 198: Shockingly Good Black Bean and Millet Burgers

Note: I have written more posts than usual lately, so if you're stopping by for the first time in a week or two, make sure you check out all of them!

I recently made Chickpea Cakes Piccata from the Happy Herbivore's blog. They were easy and tasty (although I would add only half of the recommended poultry spice next time, and the sauce made too much - I would halve that part of the recipe). "Why don't I make bean cakes more often?" I asked myself.

And out of that question came this recipe. I am prouder of this dish than almost anything else I have created. It was a smashing success (no false modesty here!) It's very healthy and tastes shockingly good. It is now in competition with the veggie burger from The Druid Pub for the Becki's Favorite Veggie Burger blue ribbon. Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, or neither - try this recipe! I wish I could make it for all of my readers.

Black Bean and Millet Burgers

1/2 cup millet (you can also use another small grain like quinoa, which looks very similar to millet when uncooked - I think even whole grain couscous would work. Cook either according to package instructions.)
1 1/2 cups water
1 pinch salt

1 medium onion, chopped into a few large pieces
1 bell pepper (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 green), seeded and roughly chopped
1/4 t. salt
1 T. canola oil

2 cans black beans, drained (It's okay if they're still kind of wet - just drain through the can lid.)
1 T. cumin
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
About 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
I think it would be tasty to add 1-2 chipotle peppers to the black bean mixture, but haven't tried it yet. If you do, please comment and let me know how it was!

More canola oil
Whole wheat flour

  1. Add millet, water, and a pinch of salt to a medium saucepan. Heat on high until boiling, turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes until water is absorbed.
  2. While the millet is cooking, use a food processor to mince onion and pepper (do not puree - just pulse until very, very finely minced). If you don't have a food processor, use a blender and do it in batches. A hand blender (immersion blender) would also work.
  3. Heat canola oil on high in a large skillet or sauté pan. Add onions, peppers, and 1/2 t. salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir together black beans, cumin, garlic powder, and 1 t. salt. Pulse in a food processor until beans are mostly broken up, but not pureed. Stir cilantro into the mixture.
  5. Combine millet, bean mixture, and onion/pepper mixture in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well-combined. Use your hands to create 6 large or 10 medium-sized patties.
  6. Lightly dip each patty in whole-wheat flour, brushing off any excess.
  7. Brush a large skillet or sauté pan with canola oil. Cook patties on medium heat until browned, flip, and brown the other side (You may want to brush more oil onto the skillet before laying the flipped burger down). It takes several minutes per side. Don't make the burner too hot, or the patties will brown before heating through.
  8. I served the burgers on sprouted-grain (Ezekiel bread) English muffins, topped with avocado slices and store-bought fresh salsa.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 195: Ginger-Sesame Noodle Salad

I love summer vacation - I have more time to do things like creating new dishes. This one was a pantry/fridge clean-out recipe, and it turned out well! Even Molly (who is very picky these days) liked it.

Ginger-Sesame Noodle Salad


1-inch (2.5 cm.) piece of ginger, peeled and chopped into a few big pieces
2 t. tamari (or 2 1/2 - 3 t. soy sauce)
2 T. apple cider vinegar
3 T. sesame oil
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 dash cayenne pepper

1/2 box (about 6-7 oz.) whole wheat spaghetti, cooked according to package instructions*
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 bell pepper (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 yellow), julienned into ~1/4-inch strips
1/2 c. julienned carrots (I used pre-packaged ones)
1 1/2 c. broccoli florets, steamed**
1 T. sesame seeds, toasted***

  1. Mince the ginger using a food processor, scraping the sides as necessary
  2. Add the next five ingredients and blend until fully emulsified.
  3. Combine all of the other ingredients in a large container, add dressing, seal, and shake until well-tossed.
  4. Chill in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.
*In contrast to white pasta, I usually cook whole wheat pasta using the maximum cooking time (e.g., 11 minutes if it says 9-11 minutes on the box). I find that this helps it not to have such a tough texture.
**I put the florets into a Tupperware container with a tablespoon or so of water, covered them loosely, and microwaved them for 2 minutes in my very slow microwave.
***I put the sesame seeds into a dry pan and shook it over a high burner until they started to brown and become fragrant.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 193: Hobo Veggies and Indoor Camping

D's two daughters (featured in my Caribbean Tabbouleh post) left yesterday. We miss them a ton, but we had a fantastic time while they were here. It's hard having them live so far away.

D took a few days off last week, and we reserved a campsite in the White Mountains for Tuesday and Wednesday. N (the 9-year-old) had studied the Appalachian Trail in school, and was excited to see and hike a small portion of the trail for herself. Our weather here has been depressingly bad this summer, with more wet and cool days than anything else. But it got warm and gorgeous over the 4th of July weekend, so we had high hopes for camping.

And then we watched the weather forecasts. And we watched them and watched them, hoping that somehow they would change. They didn't. We canceled our trip, disappointed but relieved -- it rained hard for two days straight, with big thunderstorms both in Boston and the White Mountains. It would have been a miserable and dangerous couple of days.

So what did we do? Well, you know what they say ... When life gives you lemons, set up a campsite on the enclosed back porch! (Or something like that.) Our 3-4 person tent just barely fit between the walls of the narrow, long room:
We made hobo veggies in the oven, since we didn't have a campfire. (See below for the recipe - these were SO good!)

We fired up the camp stove and sat around it, making pita pizzas and s'mores (both non-vegan). We played cards to the light of camping lanterns and told jokes:

I don't know what made it feel the most like a true camping experience: the plastic smell of the tent, the fold-up chairs, the cheap beer, the flannel shirts that N and I wore, or the s'mores. What I do know is that it's a night that none of us will forget any time soon, probably more memorable in the end than a camping trip would have been.

And now, the recipe (adapted from one here):

Oven-Baked Hobo Veggies

About 20 small baby potatoes, cut in halves (if very small) or fourths
1 bell pepper, cut into strips
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch segments
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
Vegan margarine
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (about 170° C).
  2. Cut 4 pieces of aluminum foil, about 18 inches each.
  3. Divide the veggies into fourths, putting one batch in each piece of aluminum foil.
  4. Put 2-4 pats of margarine onto veggies in each packet.
  5. Sprinkle garlic powder on top of each batch of veggies (as much as you like). Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Fold each piece of aluminum foil over the veggies, making a packet to hold in the juices.
  7. Bake packets until potatoes are done (it took 70 minutes for mine.)
Makes four large servings.

blogger templates