But, What Can I Feed You?

A while ago, I got accidentally embroiled in an online battle over veganism.  I say accidentally because it happened on a YARN forum.  I had no idea that I would be part of an attack-the-vegan moment on a  yarn website.  The upset was because a guest at someone’s home had indicated that she was a vegan.  The host, panicked and angry, felt that it was a complete over-stepping for a guest to expect her to go “out of her way” to make “complicated vegan recipes” that “no one else would eat.”  She also felt that, since she wouldn’t insist that a vegetarian make her meat, a vegetarian or vegan should not ask her to make food items for them. There were many others in agreement with her points.

Here was my take on this (though I admit that I only went about 2 rounds in the conversation because I won’t argue with people on the internet):  If someone coming to my house had a peanut allergy, I would be ok with making food that was peanut free.  If someone coming to my house didn’t eat pork, I would not make pork.  Neither of these would be that hard (there are a lot of nut-free pork-free foods) and all of the other folks eating could certainly enjoy food that was suited to the particular guest’s dietary needs.  It’s pretty much the same for veganism, except that vegans may actually be easier to feed.

While vegans don’t eat meat, most meat-eaters do eat vegetables/grains/fruit.  This means that meat items cannot be enjoyed by a vegetarian/vegan, but non-meat items *can* be enjoyed by a meat-eater.  See what I did there?  Green beans made with a little olive oil and salt can be quite enjoyable for a vegan, and also eaten by those who have pork chop on their plate.  Baked potatoes can be served with butter for those who eat butter, and without (surely that’s not more work) for those who don’t.  A tossed salad is a pretty normal part of a dinner party.  Vegans tend to love salad ; )

I think that the upset is because people are under the impression that they have to make a complex vegan dish, when the reality is that a meal can be composed of very simple vegan items (and many vegans eat this way).  A vegan informing a host isn’t saying, “you must slave for 3 hours creating a vegan lasagna and vegan home-baked bread.”  Instead, usually, the person is saying something more along the lines of “could you have a couple of side dishes that don’t have animal products in them?”  Honest, it’s not that hard!

So, the next time you hear someone say: “But what CAN vegans eat?,” you can reply:  apples, kidney beans, peas, plums, apricots, seitan, tempeh, arugula, celery, tofu, bok choy, almonds, oatmeal, bananas, lentils, blueberries, yucca, pinto beans, macadamias, corn, peanuts, cabbage, peppers, pears, carrots, sunflower seeds, dill pickles, walnuts, dates, spaghetti, coconut, edamame, eggplant, guacamole, grapefruits, onions, potatoes, lettuce, endive, figs, filberts, fava beans, guava, grapes, greens, hummus, pretzels, peanut butter, spinach, chard, soy milk, olives, artichokes, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, peaches, garlic, lemon curd, veggie burgers, veggie dogs, escarole, leeks, pomegranate, ugly fruit, salsa, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, miso soup, soda biscuits, applesauce, vegetable soup, water ice, sesame seeds, cream of wheat, cheerios, raisins, okra, garbanzo beans, wheat berries, rice, kale, broccoli, olive oil, oranges,  molasses, tahini, watermelon, millet, black beans, bulgar, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, lima beans, peppers, macaroni, smoothies, stirfry, dahl, tabouli – you get the picture and I’m getting hungry, so I’ll stop there.  : )



P.S. If you really want to go all out, there are a few cookbooks for vegan cooking that I highly recommend.

Butt-Kickin Insanely Easy Accidentally Vegan Chocolate Cake

My mom taught me to make this cake and she most certainly was not a vegan, but the cake is!  My daughter (who is 10) often makes it for us now, because it is that easy.  She likes to make it in cupcake form.  The cake is so moist that it does not need icing, but a peanut butter / vegan cream cheese / vegan confectioners sugar mix does make a rocking icing for it as well.  So, here you go.

Wacky Vegan Cake

Picture from I-don't-remember-where. We eat ours too fast to photograph!


  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cold water


In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Pour the cold water over the mixture and stir until moistened. Pour into 8 x 8-inch pan. Bake at 350°F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it springs back when touched lightly.


Vegan Eggplant "Non-Parmesan"

We’ve had more than our share of eggplant this summer, so I’ve tried to come up with things the kids will eat.  This went over ok with some people, but some of them ate it right up.  So, here goes:

Vegan Eggplant “Non-Parmesan”


1-2 eggplants (medium to large), sliced thinly
2 sleeves of saltines, blended to a fine powder (pretzels or will work)
3 cups flour
4 tsp salt
4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup vegan non-parmesan (or regular if you aren’t a vegan)
4 cups soy milk (unsweetened, unflavored or milk if you aren’t a vegan)
1/2 cup white vinegar
olive oil (NOT EVO – it smokes too fast)

(note – depending on how big your eggplants are, you may need to do a second batch of the wet and dry mixes)


Place soymilk in a shallow bowl and add vinegar.  Whisk until the milk thickens.

Place dry ingredients in larger shallow bowl and mix well.

Individually, dip slices of eggplant in the milk mix (both sides) and then press firmly into the dry mix (both sides)

AGAIN, dip in milk mix on both sides and repress in dry mix (yes, you DO want them double coated, believe me)

Cooking can be done in a pan on the stove (coat with olive oil, fry on a medium-high temp) or in the oven (oil a bar pan or cookie sheet, bake at 425*).  Flip tomatoes when bottom is browned and cook on second side.

Pat dry if needed with paper towels before serving.

These are great the next day cold on a sandwich too.  Or, layer in a casserole with marinara sauce (and mozz if desired).