Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Adventures in Vegan Convenience

My experiment this week, now that our kitchen is back in operation, was to try and make it a full week eating only vegan meals.  Easy enough if I was cooking, but a variety of things have gone haywire since Monday - massive metro delays, meetings going well into overtime, etc. - that have put my plans to cook up a storm awry.

Breakfast has been easy - avocados & tomatoes, whole grain bread & Earth balance and, this morning, farro with spinach & daiya.  We had leftovers of Sunday's Seitan dish, but they've since been depleted.  I've barely had time to scarf down food at my desk, but, lunch in my work neighborhood fortunately has tons of convenient vegan options.  Instead of white pizza with veggies or grilled cheese (my usual "I have no time to eat!" standbys), I've opted for rice and veggie bowls from Java Green and vegan sushi from Oh Fish!

Convenience vegan dining!  Samosas, bean salad and baby carrots.
Tonight, I finally got home around 7:30 p.m. in no mood to cook.  Rather than throw in the towel on my nascent experiment by ordering pizza, I decided to walk over to our local market to see what they have in the way of vegan convenience foods.  I've explored convenience foods before, but never through the eyes of a vegan.

Our market has a terrific little deli.  It was very easy for me to find prepared bean salads that were vegan.  One was three bean (kidney, pinto and chickpeas) with diced veggies in an apple cider vinaigrette, and the other was a black bean salsa with corn and tomatoes.  Directly across from the deli, I was able to pick up some vegan samosas from Saveur India, a local Indian restaurant.  I knew the frozen section had a wealth of lacto-ovo veg options, but I wasn't sure what was available in terms of frozen vegan options.  However, I found a Sukhi's Vegetable Frozen Naanwitch and an Amy's Kitchen Black Bean Tamale Verde.

We happen to have tons of fresh-cut produce and whole fruit in the fridge, so it will be easy for me to supplement all of the above with fresh food.

So, while a crazy week doesn't seem like the ideal time to experiment with a vegan diet, it has shown me that you can enjoy healthy vegan options when you're strapped for time and patience.  Granted, I am blessed with a number of local grocery, quick-serve and casual dining options that go above and beyond for vegetarians and vegans, but I think the variety of plant based foods out there is only increasing.

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