Vegan Food: How to Cook it + Where to Find it

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Garden Cafe - Woodstock, New York

Taco Party - Somerville, Massachusetts 
Garden Cafe (again) - Woodstock, New York

I love food. I mean I really love food. I like to think of myself as a type of food connoisseur. I don’t really know how to cook nor do I necessarily enjoy it, and I certainly don’t know any fancy technical terms when it comes to cuisine. But I am a pro at eating it. When most people make the change to vegetarianism or veganism (or really any major change to their diet), it can seem impossibly overwhelming. I was very fortunate that when I did decide to kick animal products out of my life, my then boyfriend (now husband) fancied himself a chef. Chris adores cooking. He loves the process, finding new recipes to try, and isn’t afraid of foreign ingredients. If that sounds like you, consider this change a new and challenging dietary adventure. If you are more like me, here are some tips and resources that you will hopefully find as a useful guide.

Research and education are first and foremost in any major diet change. You want to make sure you’re incorporating all the nutrients you need to fulfill a healthy, balanced diet. It may take some trial and error, but when in doubt, pair together a protein, a carbohydrate, some healthy fat, and plenty of greens. This may look like some teriyaki tofu with broccoli and white rice, for example. You can start off simple stupid and progress from there. When looking for recipes and foods to pair, Pinterest is actually an amazing resource. With a quick search, you have hundreds of options to pick from. I found Pinterest to be a saving grace when I first went vegan.

Cookbooks: If cookbooks are more your speed, here are two of my absolute favorites. 'Nom Yourself' by Mary Mattern was my first ever cookbook and I still utilize it to this day. Everything we have made has turned out to be easy and delicious. Another all-time favorite is 'Chloe’s Italian Kitchen' by Chloe Coscarelli. Growing up in a traditional Italian household, it can be a struggle to let go of all those classic meals you grew up enjoying. I was more than thrilled to discover that I can still have all of my family favorites and not hurt animals in the process! From mushroom risotto, to classic Bolognese, to even spaghetti and meatballs (yup, meatballs!), there is a vegan alternative for everything. Chris and I made a sundried tomato cream sauce with penne the other night that was to die for. We have also made plenty of recipes from both books that our non-vegan friends and family members loved (and couldn’t even tell the difference).

Food Blogs: Along with our cookbooks, there are a few food blogs and Instagram accounts that we follow as well. We have made various recipes from each of these and really enjoyed each. You can find absolutely everything from simple staples like homemade almond milk or vegan sour cream, to desserts, to holiday meal ideas, and more. I could go on and on. Literally anything you’re looking to make, I guarantee you’ll find it! The blog we have used the most is Minimalist Baker. A bonus to Dana’s recipes is that they are always gluten free as well as vegan, so if you are gluten intolerant this is a good site to check out. The recipes also include options for those who can tolerate gluten just fine. Two other blogs I follow religiously for their amazing concoctions are Plvnt by Brianna Gallo and the Six Vegan Sisters. Brianna’s jackfruit BBQ pulled pork sandwiches are addictive, and the SVS dessert recipes are drool-worthy. You will be doing a disservice to your tastebuds if you don’t check them out!

Travel: What about when you’re not home? Going out with friends, or even away on vacation? The number one tool I use for these occasions is Happy Cow. You can either access the website or download the app for your phone. Happy Cow allows you to enter your current location anywhere in the world and will not only tell you the nearest vegan food joints, but also vegetarian, as well as places that offer vegan options and health food stores. So, whether you’re going out with some omni friends and need to find a place that offers both, or need to do some shopping, they have you covered. We used it constantly during our recent trip to Italy in addition to lots of research beforehand. When you’re able to plan ahead, do so. Look online, read reviews, ask friends who have been to these places before. It’ll make a world of difference. Vegan Travel is also an insightful resource, especially when venturing overseas. They have articles that range all over the world, and their Instagram is extremely easy to navigate.

Whether you’re planning a dinner for friends or a romantic dinner for two, at home or across the globe, there are always options for you. It may take a little research, but it is worth it in the long run, and the resources available to you are endless. Let me know if you find any new recipes you plan to try, and how it turns out! 


  1. This is amazing so interesting to read and it is true you can't tell the difference between vegan substitutes and real meat. I especially like all the resources that you provide to eat out or new locations that is so helpful thank you this is a great blog

    1. You're welcome! You should really try the Happy Cow app or the website to check out some new veggie places in your area!

  2. I never knew about Happy Cow... I will have to pass the info on to my sons gf.


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