When I first when vegan I didn't know how to cook anything. My mom had taught me how to cook really well as I was growing up, but all of the things I had recipes for and knew how to cook I could no longer eat. So for a long time all I ate was spaghetti with broccoli. All of my cooking attempts seemed to end in disaster and I didn't know what to do with all of those vegetables I saw in the store. I didn't know anyone else who was vegan and though my mom and I experimented with recipes we found online, I really didn't know where to go for vegan advice or recipes.
I went through this phase for probably a year and a half before I found out my pilates teacher, Janae Wise (see her vegan mothering blog here), was vegan. Around that same time a friend of mine asked if I wanted to join the university Animal Allies Club or if I knew of anyone who would want to join. This is when things started to pick up. Janae taught nearly weekly classes on everything from holiday baking to the benefits of a plant-based diet which I began to attend regularly. I learned a ton from her about vegan cooking and nutrition, as well as got recommendations for vegan cookbooks AND got into the vegan blogging scene. Through the Animal Allies Club I was able to meet a bunch of other vegans attending my university. Through them I started learning about assorted vegan products, and started learning how to cook like a vegan. Probably the biggest influence on my improved cooking skills was Chris Manor, a long-time vegan and creative cook. When I started going over to Chris's house to make dinner and try some of his recipes I was blown away by how awesome vegan food could taste! One such dish was the recipe below, vegan nachos. The nacho sauce has the perfect taste and consistency, and while it isn't watery if you leave it on your chips long enough it will make them just a tad soggy just like traditional nacho cheese. Really, this stuff is amazing! Another great thing about it is while I usually use the same ingredients in my nachos you can basically add whatever you have in your kitchen. Just use the same base and get creative!
1 Tbs Earth Balance
1/2 C Nutritional yeast
1 Tbs Unbleached white flour
3/4 Unsweetened plain plant milk
1 Tbs Yellow mustard
2 tsp Soy sauce or Braggs
1 tsp Salt
3/4 C Black beans (or any other kind of bean), cooked
1-16 oz can Diced tomatoes and green chilies
Small can of jalapenos (optional)
Garlic powder, to taste
Onion powder, to taste
Paprika, to taste
Chili powder, to taste
Mix Earth Balance, nutritional yeast, flour, milk, mustard, soy sauce, and salt in a sauce pan over medium heat until Earth Balance is melted. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the mixture is thick and bubbly. Serve over re-fried beans and chips and top with vegan sour cream if desired.
Recipe thanks to:
My friend, Chris Manor