For several years my husband and I ate a mostly vegan diet. I may of slipped on a piece of cheese every now and again, but I'm sure you wouldn't judge me for that. The reason I originally went vegan was that I had 30 pounds to lose. Over the course of 6 months I ended up losing all that weight just by cutting out dairy and meat. I can't say I lost the weight because I became a marathon runner because anyone who knows me knows that is most certainly not the case! It was purely because I changed my diet which I thought said a lot about the merit of giving up my full fat latte. I felt overall better and less jiggly. Fast forward....While we were waiting for the basement of our home to be completed we lived at my in-laws for 6 weeks where the land is flowing with whipping cream and beef tenderloin. I never really recuperated and went back to a mostly omnivorous life for the past year.
Anyway, my goal for the new year was to go back to as much of a vegan diet as possible. I may at some point give you the reasons why I believe it to be a great choice. For now I'll share a few recipes here and there that you might enjoy.
I used to make the original carnivorous version of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana with cream and a double dose of pork (i.e. Italian sausage and Bacon.) It's one of Aedan's favorite soups I make. I (almost) veganized it by changing up the ingredients. Guess what? He still loves it!
I say this is almost vegan because I used Trader Joe's (my grocery boyfriend) Italian Sausage-less sausage instead of a completely vegan version. This variety has egg whites, but I say you can't win em' all right? If you have found a better vegan sausage please give me a holla!
(Almost) Vegan - Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana
- 12 oz Trader Joe's Sausage Links or equivalent - Sliced thinly
- 1 yellow onion - Chopped
- 3-4 Potatoes - 1 1/2 pounds(ish) - Sliced thinly in half moons (or however your little heart desires)
- Olive oil - 4 t. divided
- 2 cloves of Garlic - Minced
- Kale - 4 Big Handfuls
- 1/4 C. Better than Bouillon No Chicken Broth
- 8-10 cups of water depending on how much you like salt
- 2 C. Organic Unsweetened Soy Milk
- 1 t. Dried Thyme (or if you're amazing - fresh)
- Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
In a large pot heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add onion and cook for 7 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic at the last minute of onion cook time. Add bouillion and water. Bring to a boil.
In the meantime, heat 2 t. olive oil in pan over high heat. I find a non-stick pan works best with this sausage. Saute sausage until brown and crisp. Set aside.
Add thyme, potatoes and kale. I put 4 cups of kale in the recipe, but I say go buck-wild with the throwing of the greens in the pot. They're greens right? We're supposed to eat a whole heck of a lot of them, so I probably put in 8 cups. Who knows?! Use your own judgment :) Lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender. At about 5 minutes before the cook time has ended add in soy milk and sausage. Season with pepper. Voila!
Tips: Better than Bouillon is my favorite vegan stock option. Skip the MSG for goodness sake!
Oh! I'm a lifetime Weight Watchers member, so I often calculate WW Points just to see how many a recipe has. This one only has 3 Weight Watchers Points points per cup. Heeeyyyyy! It's your birthday!