My son came home from college and immediately looked into the refrigerator, the landscape of which looked vaguely familiar but definitely different. After gazing for a few minutes (not grazing), he disappointedly closed the door and asked me in a non-judgmental yet slightly mischievous tone, “Mom, would it be okay if I made a shopping list of a few things you could get for me?”
With a chuckle, he quickly dashed off a note and handed it to me…..
Milk (with actual milk in it)
Cheese (with actual cheese in it)
Meat (with actual meat in it)
Eggs (with actual eggs in it)
Bacon (with actual bacon in it)
Ice Cream (with actual ice cream in it)
Bread (with actual gluten in it or whatever makes it “real” bread)”
I couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of it. At the same time, I was proud that my fridge reflected my “leaning into veganism” eating habits. The doting mother in me (the one that wants him to eat and be happy doing it) rushed out and bought all the food that he loves AND whipped up a big batch of “real” meatballs, too… despite the fact that my “fake” meatballs, which we fondly refer to as “feetballs,” hold up very well when compared to their beefy counterparts! My son probably felt relieved, not to mention starved, watching me pull his carnivorous favorites out of the shopping bags, one by one. I’m sure he doesn’t realize that in the next few weeks during his winter vacation, he will unsuspectingly be leaning towards vegan too. Unknowingly, he will be served vegan foods with somewhat familiar names, like Almond “Milk” and Chickenless “Chicken” Strips and “Mozzarella Style” Shreds, whose names sound comfortingly familiar but that only substitute for the “real” thing. Those quotation marks are the dead giveaway that something is not exactly what it seems! But it will be delicious!
Here is one of the simple, delicious recipes I’ve pulled on him so far….
Pumpkin Black Bean Soup
3 cans (16 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (16 ounce) diced tomatoes
1 can (16 ounce) corn, rinsed and drained
1 can (16 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 cups vegetable broth
1) Puree in food processor until smooth: 2 cans of the black beans and the 1 can of diced tomatoes. Set aside.
2) In soup pot: olive oil, onion, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat and stir until the onion is soft and translucent.
3) Stir in black bean & tomato puree from the food processor.
4) Stir in remaining can of black beans, vegetable broth, can of pumpkin puree. Mix until well blended.
5) Simmer for 25 minutes or until thick.
6) Optional: top with toasted garbanzo beans, garnish with cilantro
Makes 4 large portions or 8 small portions.