Kelly the Culinarian: Cooking with Kelly: Attempt at vegan

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cooking with Kelly: Attempt at vegan

So, I'm not a vegan. I was a vegetarian after reading The Jungle, but that didn't last more than a few months. But because of my lovely vegan blogging friends, I decided to give a meal a try. It was a feeble attempt -- I may have also been trying to use up what was left in my pantry.

So here's what you see: Mexican rice and beans, a Kelly original. Here's what you need:

2 cups whole-grain rice

4 cups water

2 tablespoons low-sodium taco seasoning or ground chili powder such as these varieties at Flavorbank

1 cup salsa

3/4 cup sweet corn (I used two leftover ears from the night before)

1 cup low-sodium black beans

It's important to use the low-sodium versions of everything or the salt really builds up on you. First, rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear and all husks are removed. Then allow the water, rice and seasoning to soak for 45 minutes in a rice cooker. Read your rice cooker's instructions as to cooking time (mine took about 30 minutes for two cups). You're looking for all the liquid to evaporate and the rice to be fluffy. Stir in the corn while fluffing the rice. If I had any other veggies lying around, I would have thrown those in too. If you're not into vegan at all, I guess you could throw in some leftover rotisserie chicken at this point too, but I was trying something new. Finally, stir in the salsa and leave the cooker on the heating setting to let everything warm through. Arrange the rice and top with the rinsed beans.

I liked the variety of heat sources with the seasoning and salsa, and because I used homemade salsa, I feel good about eating this. I couldn't live on it, though, without more veggies. If I had planned this out more, I would have used some peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, onions and cilantro with the tougher veggies like broccoli and onion cooked with the rice. But alas, this was a last-minute impulse. I ate this with some corn tortillas, but it would be just fine on it's own as a sort of taco salad.
As far as presentation, it would have been prettier to put the rice on top of a bed of the beans, complete with stirred in veggies for color and nutrition, then top with a dollop of vegan sour cream and a spring of cilantro. At least I know for the next time. With the whole lack of oven and stove situation when I move to DC, I may need to start embracing at least the vegetarian lifestyle, if not the vegan.


Oh for the love of food! said...

Hey Kelly, I need some meat! or eggs at least! HA!HA! I admire people who can stick to being a Vegan, but it cuts out way too many ingredients that I can't do without.

daphne said...

love the way u used the rice cooker to make this dish! hehe. Less clean up!

Having said that, I enjoy a vegetarian meal once in a while...BUT i dont think i can go without meat or seafood =)

Calories In That said...

I totally understand the "what can I make to use up the pantry items" method of cooking. You took the challenge a step further by making a vegan meal. Good job, I sure couldn't do it. :)

WokandSpoon said...

Vegan is hard! I don't eat much meat but I love my dairy and eggs!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

The seasoning packets from any kind of packaged food can be incredibly salty, so you might use only half of the seasoning if you make this again. It's fun to eat vegan every now and then, but I usually find myself missing the cheese!

urban vegan said...

Nice job. Can you email me the leftovers?

Oh For the Love of Food--I think it depends on how you look at it. For me, being vegan centers more around what I do eat---the thousands of varieties of veggies, grains, proteins & fruits--rather than the few kinds of meat, eggs and dairy I don't eat.

FH said...

Looks yum but you don't really want to be Vegan do ya? Regular food is great too!D

Unknown said...

I make the exact same dish when I am using up pantry items! Well, I guess not exact because I top it with cheese, obviously taking into the non-vegan realm. Anyway, it's an easy and tasty dish!

tigerfish said...

I don't think I can survive without meat for more than 1 week. I have not tried....let me see when...hmmmm

Brilliant Asylum said...

Wow--culinary comments can be brutal sometimes.

I think this looks great for a strict diet. That said, I am glad I am not a vegan. As much as Upton Sinclair's book and "Fast Food Nation" scared me away from certain meats, I could not live without cheese.

Mansi said...

nice work Kelly...good way to clean your pantry and making your vegan friends happy:)

Shayne said...

yes the Jungle can really make one think twice about meat. That is one of my favorite books.