Back to basics

Corn Burger

The cliched notion of veg*ns living on tofu alone can be a pervasive one, a situation that is not improved by the number of vegan recipes that rely heavily on soy-based replacements for meat or dairy, using the ‘fu as the go-to ingredient for creating creaminess and substance. While I’ve harped on enough about my lack of fondness for soybean curd, I think depending on any one substance to form the basis of every meal should make anyone nervous.

Before going vegan, I used to add cows’ milk to my tea, coffee, cereal and in baking. At first, I substituted soy milk for the dairy in each of these situations, experimenting with different brands and amounts to try and simulate my former milk-based experiences. Then, I tried taking my tea black—and, later, my coffee too. Gradually I realised that milkless tea and coffee were the familiar and comforting beverages I was used to, simply without that creaminess to soften the edges.

The longer I’ve been vegan, the less I’ve craved creaminess in general. There are occasions when creaminess is precisely what’s called for, however, and lately I’ve been looking to less processed foods such as avocado, ground nuts/ seeds, and pureed legumes to supply the richness that tofu traditionally provides.

These corn cakes were adapted from a Yellow Rose recipe, substituting pureed garbanzo beans and vegetable stock for the tofu and soy milk.

Chickpea Corn Cakes

1 can chickpeas, drained
1 T jalapeno peppers, sliced
1 T lemon juice
1/2 C vegetable stock
1/2 C wholemeal flour
1/2 C cornmeal
1 t baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 C corn kernels
1 T oil, for frying

Combine chickpeas, jalapenos, lemon juice and stock in blender, mixing until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Stir in chickpea mixture. Fold in corn kernels.
Cook as for any other pancakes. Makes 6-8, depending on chosen size.

I’ve found these creative vegans to be great sources of inspiration when it comes to substituting natural foods for processed products:

Susan of the Fatfree Vegan Kitchen is a wealth of creative ideas for creating healthful food. Her blog is my first stop when searching for recipes.

Celine runs Have cake, will travel; co-authored this exhaustive and clever cookbook, and occasionally demonstrates her fabulous accent and cooking skillz on Everyday Dish. Her blog is full of clever recipes and wit.

Hannah, super-talented teen prodigy, blogs at BitterSweet, taking swoon-worthy photographs of gloriously photogenic creations that are always creative and clever. She wrote a book! And she knits and crochets! I particularly love her use of natural foods for colouring Check out her fascinating experiment with beets here.


3 thoughts on “Back to basics

  1. You should check out too. Great recipes over there from the chick who wrote Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and Vegan With a Vengeance. All must-have books. Are they available on your side of the Pacific? You should also check out Skinny Bitch if you haven’t yet. Also very good.

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