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Vegan 101: Adapting Menus

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Adapting menus to make them vegan (and gluten-free, if you are also moving toward gluten-free) may seem hard and cumbersome and tedious at first. But adapting menus can really be as easy as 1, 2, 3.

One, you likely already have in your quiver many favorite foods and recipes that you will not need to adapt. So incorporate those foods and recipes as often as you can. This first step can be especially helpful if you have others in your family who are balking at your move toward veganism. Some of them may feel that you are rejecting them along with meat, milk, eggs, and bee spit. It happens. So be prepared to feed them what they are used to that you can eat, too. In the vegan gluten-free meal in the accompanying photo, the Lundberg’s wild rice mix fills this first category. Surely, you and yours liked rice before you thought about going vegan (and perhaps also gluten-free).

Two, learn to fix new vegan foods that are fast, easy, and delicious. You will soon find that you do not even have to think about how to fix them. You will just fix them while you are on the phone, say, and, voilà, supper is ready. The trick with this step is to make sure that you build the habit of adding the staples for these new foods to your regular shopping list so that you can fix these foods whenever you want. In the vegan gluten-free meal in the accompanying photo, the baked tofu with A Taste of Thai peanut satay sauce fills this second category. Simply slice the tofu, put it on a baking tray, pour the entire jar of satay sauce over the tofu, and bake in a medium oven till the tofu is heated through (about 15-20 minutes). Keep tofu in your fridge and peanut satay sauce in your pantry (both are vegan and gluten-free).

Three, learn to find new vegan recipes and to adapt other recipes. In the vegan gluten-free meal in the accompanying photo, Giada’s Spicy Sesame Green Beans and Kale fills this second category. This recipe by Giada de Laurentiis was a new one for at least one vegan. The recipe is already vegan and gluten-free, so it required no special adaptation. And even nonvegans enjoy it.

So as you can see, adapting menus to make them vegan and gluten-free is as easy as 1, 2, 3.