As I continue on my lovely vegan journey I am intrigued by all of the new foods that are listed in my recipes and cookbooks. Ingredients I never expected to show up in my salads or soups are plastered all over the place. Take, for example, the black bean brownies I made. Yes, you read that correctly. Black Bean BROWNIES. I was a sceptic myself, until I made and devoured the little guys. Grant hasn’t come on board the vegan train yet so he is constantly making funny faces at me while I experiment in the kitchen.
Grant – “Christine, you know you just added black beans to the brownie batter, right?”
Christine – “Yes, because they are Black Bean Brownies….”
Grant – “That’s just wrong….”
I have to give him credit though; he does try every single recipe I make. He may hate about 3/4 of them but he tries them/I shove the spoon down his throat. Here is a list of a few new ingredients I have been testing out in the kitchen!
1) Coconut Oil
Pre-vegan I solely cooked with olive oil and occasionally sunflower oil if I had it handy. When I first started cooking vegan I discovered many of the recipes asked for coconut oil. I began researching the benefits of coconut oil and I was pleasantly surprised by my findings.
- Provides Hair Care
- Skin Care
- Stress Relief
- Maintain Cholesterol levels
- Increased Immunity
- Proper Digestion
- Bone and Dental strength
- And it is so yummy!
(Source: Organic Facts)
As a HUGE coconut fan I can’t believe I never cooked with the stuff in my pre-vegan days. It makes cookies taste better, works great for frying tofu, and makes a kick ass salad dressing!
2) Agave Nectar
Agave Nectar is awesome. I still cook with honey (another vegan faux-pa) but Agave Nectar is a nice alternative. Agave Nectar comes from the Agave plant, the same plant in which tequila is made from – another reason to love Agave! The nectar produced from the plant is known in Mexico as “honey water”. The sweet liquid is used in many recipes as an alternative to honey or as a binder (sticky substance to hold everything together). Here are a few substitutions I’ve made recently with Agave Nectar:
(Source: Agave Nectar)
- Mojitos!! Yes my amigos, this delicious alcoholic beverage can sub the sugar water for agave nectar and save you on the calories!
- Granola Bars (use instead of honey)
- Cookies (use as a sweetener)
- Toast (spread on toast with some PB)
Kale doesn’t have a good reputation. Most people dismiss the thought of Kale because they’ve tasted it once and had a bad experience. Well my friends, it’s time to get Kale back into your life. Kale is loaded, and I mean LOADED, with good stuff. Take a look at just a few of the health benefits of Kale:
- Low in calories, high in fibre, 0 fat
- High in Iron (ladies take note)
- High in Vitamin K, A, C
- FILLED with antioxidants
- etc, etc etc.
(Source: Health Benefits of Kale)
GO GET SOME KALE. NOW. It’s at your grocery store, in the clear bins right beside the baby spinach. Start off by adding a handful to your salad. Step it up by adding it to soups, sandwiches, and pastas. And when you are used to the flavour and craving more of the powerful green stuff, put some in your smoothies! Blend that baby up and devour your green smoothie goodness. You’ll thank me later.