Words by Marléna Ahearn
Photos by Julia Merrell
Eating plant-based is beneficial to your health, the environment, and reduces harm to animals. Knowing this, perhaps you've decided to try Veganuary, or vowed to eat less meat in 2020, and you're looking to go vegan. Veganism is more than a diet or an ethical stance—it's also delicious!
If you’ve ever considered going vegan, or are just looking from some new meal inspiration, check out the favorite go-to meals of four Rochester vegans.
Ali Lawrence, owner of Spirit and Abundance
I love a green smoothie with very little fruit with a small bowl of granola or fruit with plant based yogurt. In the colder months, I gravitate towards tofu scramble with veggies, oatmeal, or if I’m in the mood for a treat, waffles or pancakes!
Usually, I eat some kind of bowl that I can eat without having to heat it up at work. Salad, grain bowls, burrito bowls, and soups are my go-to. When I'm not working, I love to make bean burgers or pasta.
Bowls are a go-to for dinner too, but I also love pancakes or waffles (because breakfast for dinner is a thing), pasta with loads of veggies, bean burgers with a side salad, or a new fun recipes I'm testing for the blog or my classes.
I'm addicted to tortilla chips, but I also love fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, kombucha, and homemade breads and muffins.
Andrea Parros, owner of The Red Fern
I love a bagel sandwich! My recipe includes half of a sprouted wheat bagel, toasted with scallion cream cheese, tofu egg patty, or ginger tamari tofu and pickled veggies.
I gravitate towards rice paper wraps! Some of my favorite fillings are: caesar salad, marinated kale or steamed beets and cashew macadamia cheese, and shredded cabbage, cucumber, carrot cilantro, and peanut sauce.
I also love soup or vegan spanakopita from Voula's, both of which are something I can grab quick and eat fast during the lunch rush!
My dinners totally depend on the season. I eat a quesadilla from the restaurant 2-3 times a week for dinner. I also go out to eat 1-2 nights a week for Taco Tuesdays or to support another local restaurant that I love, like Rocco, Bar Bantam, or Swan Dive.
In the winter, I make a lot of pasta bakes and baked nachos. In the summer, I love to make an assortment of vegan cook-out foods: grilled veggie burgers & sausages, pasta salad, corn salad, baked beans, green salad, grilled veggies—I love grilling!
Keri Barone and Elizabeth O’Conner, owners of Whole Abundance
For some more meal inspiration, Keri Barone and Elizabeth O’Conner, owners of Whole Abundance, share some of their favorite vegan recipes. At Whole Abundance, they focus on whole-food, plant-based, no oil, no added sugar recipes that are simple and delicious!
Cherry Banana Smoothie Bowl
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 1⁄2 cup frozen cherries plus more for topping
- 1 cup frozen kale or spinach
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 tbsp ground flax
- 2 Brazil nuts, chopped
- 1 tbsp dried goji berries
- 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
- Frozen cherries
1. Mix banana, cherries, kale/spinach, almond milk, hemp seeds, and ground flax in a blender.
2. Add toppings and enjoy!
Eggless Salad Sandwich
- 1 can garbanzo beans ( can substitute navy or white beans)
- 2 baby cucumbers
- 2 tbsp chopped red onion
- 1 tbsp brown spicy mustard
- 1 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1/8 tsp celery salt
- salt & pepper to taste
1. In a medium bowl, add mostly drained garbanzo beans, (Leave a small amount of the liquid for
moisture) and fork mash them.
2. Add cucumbers, mustards, onion and seasoning. Mix thoroughly.
3. Serve on your favorite bread or roll. If you're feeling adventurous, try dice bell pepper, olives, or pickle relish.
Recipe by Whole Abundance
- 1-2 cups brown rice
- 1 large onion
- 4-6 cups fresh spinach
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2-inch piece ginger, grated
- 1/4 small poblano pepper, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (Save liquid (aquafaba) for sauteing all ingredients.)
- 1 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 1⁄2-1 cup aquafaba
- 1⁄2 lemon
- 1⁄4 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
1. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
2. Heat medium-sized pot to medium-high heat. Add onion until translucent. Add splashes of water, vegetable broth, or liquid from the garbanzo beans to prevent sticking.
3. Add garlic, ginger, and poblano pepper. Cook over medium heat about 3-4 minutes.
4. Add garam masala, turmeric, salt, and pepper and continue to cook in additional bean liquid (aquafaba) for 1-2 minutes.
5. Add tomatoes (undrained), chickpeas. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Reduce heat to low and mix in lemon juice, spinach, and cilantro. Cook over low heat 1-2 minutes.
7. Serve over brown basmati rice.
Still curious about veganism, food, and recipes? Check out our vegan classes at Rochester Brainery.