Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Vegan Experiment Day 8 - the finals

Ok, a little late, but here it is: day 8, the last day of my temporary veganism.
Since it is fall and there are pumkins everywhere I decided to try out two vegan pumkin recipes that I found on

I started the day with a pumkin banana orange smoothie for which I mixed 

1 cup (240ml) vanilla soy yogurt
1 cup (240ml) pumpkin puree, chilled
1 cup (240ml) orange juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 ripe banana
dash of ground cinnamon as optional garnish    


You don't have to be too correct about the measurements. Just vary the ingredients however you prefer it! I think with real yoghurt it may taste a bit better. The soy yoghurt just doesn't do it for me.
But besides that, the smoothie was alright. Maybe a bit more allspice and cinnamon to bring out the pumkin flavour. 

For dinner I took the leftover pumkin purree from this morning's breakfast smoothie and made pasta with a nice pumkin pistacchio pasta sauce.

That's what you need for about two servings:

  • 1/2 onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3-5 fresh sage leaves (optional)
  • 1/2 lb. penne, fusilli or other pasta
  • 3 TBS. minced fresh parsley leaves as optional garish
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pistachios
                                              Saute the onion and red pepper in a small frying pan.
    When the onion becomes soft and glassy, add the garlic and lightly saute it also.
    Place the pureed pumpkin in a pot and add the sauteed vegetables.
    Add the vegetable bouillon, red pepper flakes, nutmeg and water.
    Optionally add the sage leaves if desired.
    Cook the mixture until it is warmed.
                                          Puree he mixture once again to form a smooth consistency.
    Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
    Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil.
    Add the pasta and cook until it is al dente.
    When the pasta is ready, drain and return to the pot.
    Mix 1/2 the pumpkin mixture into the pasta and stir to evilly coat the pasta.
    Serve the pasta garnished with pistachio nuts and optionally minced parsley leaves.
    Serve the other 1/2 of the sauce in a “gravy boat” for people to add on top of their serving.
    Optionally if you would like a creamier flavour you can add soy cream.

    I added a dash of each cinnamon and allspice to the sauce, as well. It tasted pretty good, but still a little bland. Next time I think I might add something more acidic to it, such as lemon juice, white wine or vinegar. I could also imagine to mix in some carrots to the puree to add more flavour to it and the juice of one orange.

    Cooking these two wonderful dishes on the last day of my experiment certainly helped me to forget about my dairy/egg/meat cravings for a while. I actually managed to stay vegan one day longer.
    But I ate all the leftovers. so there nothing new to tell you.

    On the 10th day Wil and I celebrated with two nice pieces of Entrecote and a glass of decent red wine. Boy, that meat tasted so good! And I can assure you it came from a happy cow!

    My final conclusion to this experiment is, that being a vegan is not even that hard these days. There are plenty of options and organic stores offer a lot of alternatives to meat and dairy products, whether those are good or not as good... I didn't feel better healthwise, which I thought was weird. I kind of thought I would sleep better, have an excellent digestion (no lactose) and feel more awake and energetic during the day. But nada. Everything was normal. Maybe I am just healthy already...
    I did get a lot of inspiration for more vegetable based dishes. we have been eating a lot of red meat lately. It's just very easy to prepare and you get so much flavour! 
    But hey, there are good reasons to eat less of it, environmentally and from a health perspective.
    We have been more conscious about where our meat/eggs and dairies come from already. Still I think we can improve on that. It just makes you feel better to know that you are eating something for which no animal had to suffer or go through unnecessary pain.
    I will not become a vegan or a vegetarian in the near future, that's for sure. But I have big respect for people who decide to dedicate their life to these kind of diets. I wish some of them would stop being so damn militant about it, though. Veganism is simply not for everyone and it's also not about joining the latest and hippest club. Sorry, but that's often the impression I'm getting. 
    I think it is more important to figure out ways to consume less but therefore better and ethically unquestionable animal products from preferably small local business.

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