Dive Into Plant-Based Sustainability With These Easy Recipes

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Illustration by Alyssa Long | Staff Illustrator

Raymond Matthews
Staff Writer

Odds are that at some point you’ve had the misfortune of meeting the fearsome, self-righteous, super vegan that you thought only existed in your kale-fueled nightmares. The super vegan is anything but subtle and can usually be spotted grazing in your local field, singing to their flock of forest friends with a vaguely Snow White-like disposition.

However, the moment said super vegan spots you, prepare for battle. One look at your double-double and animal fries and they’re sure to launch into a list of carnivore-shaming tactics designed to convince you that your cheese-loving, meatasaurus ways are destroying the planet.

Their arguments may include statements like:

  • Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.”
  • Animal Agriculture is responsible for 20 to 33 percent of all freshwater consumption in the world today.”
  • One to two acres of rainforest are cleared every second due to animal agriculture.”
  • Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.”

Unfortunately, the super vegans are actually right about all of those things. While the super vegan’s approach may be off-putting and abrasive, they’re very aware of the damage that meat and dairy consumption are doing to the planet and, for the most part, they’re just trying to do what they think is best for the environment.

Speaking as a run-of-the-mill vegan, I definitely understand the super vegan agenda, but I think that the intensity of some pro-vegan arguments drive people away from plant-based diets all together.

There are a lot of harsh realities about the dangers of animal products that can scare one into veganism, but, more often than not, this fear-based approach isn’t enough to make people stick to a sustainable plant based diet for very long.

So, rather than launching into a scary anti-carnivore tirade, I think it’d be more productive to provide some legitimately edible, inexpensive plant-based recipes that you can easily incorporate into your diet.

These recipes can serve as staples in a transition to a fully plant-based diet, or just some healthy new additions to the diet you already have. Either way, I encourage you to try them out for yourself!

Cauliflower Hot Wings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup of hot wing sauce (Most are actually vegan)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Coat a large baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil.
  3. Chop and separate the cauliflower into bite sized pieces.
  4. Combine the flour, water and spices in a bowl and stir until a thick batter is formed.
  5. Pour the cauliflower pieces into the bowl and toss until well-coated with the batter. Place on the baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until crispy, turning halfway through.
  6. While the cauliflower is in the oven, prepare the wing sauce by mixing the hot sauce and melted butter together in a large bowl.
  7. Toss cooked cauliflower pieces with sauce and put it back in the oven for about another 5 minutes or until just browned.
Cinnamon Vanilla French Toast

Ingredients:

  • 2 large slices sourdough bread (or any firm bread you like)
  • 1/2 cup nondairy milk (Preferably almond or soy milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large shallow bowl, whisk all ingredients (except bread) until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Preheat greased pan to medium heat.
  3. Quickly dip each piece of bread in the batter so that both sides are coated.
  4. Place in your pan and cook until golden brown on the underside. Carefully flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the other side is golden brown as well.
Mushroom Fajitas

Ingredients

  • 3-4 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 orange or yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1onion, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3-4 small flour tortillas
  • 4 cups of chopped lettuce (I recommend Arugula or Romaine)
  • coconut oil for pan frying
  • Lime (optional)
  • Sriracha

Directions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Once hot, add about a tablespoon of coconut oil to the skillet. Then add the garlic, onion, and mushrooms, and cook until mushrooms are slightly browned.
  3. Season generously with salt and chili powder, then toss in your peppers.
  4. Cook until all vegetables are softened, stirring often. Add in your cayenne and black pepper to taste and mix.
  5. Warm tortillas in the microwave or oven (15-20 seconds for microwave) (1-2 minutes in oven set to 350 degrees).
  6. Serve tortillas with greens, topped with mushroom pepper medley, a drizzle of sriracha, and any other toppings you’d like (I’d recommend lime).
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Raymond Matthews is a second-year student from Rocklin, CA, pursuing a Political Science major and a professional Journalism certification. He loves yoga, pilates, listening to 70’s music, and watching classic black & white movies.

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