Meatless in Miami: Vegan on the Down-Low

It's a fun fact that Oreos have long been so fake that they are in fact completely free of egg and dairy. A lot of meal ideas are either likewise  vegan or easily made so with the slightest tweak. Some surreptitiously vegan everyday items include guacamole, salsa, portobello burgers, pasta primavera, hummus, veggie sushi rolls, veggie chili, and most dark chocolate.  Here are a few more to start with:

Pasta Puttanesca (or "whore sauce" as my hilarious brother calls it): A wonderful, flavorful Italian dish that is completely vegan with the omission of anchovies. The base is your favorite whole wheat angel hair, a can of black olives, a jar of capers, and fresh or canned crushed tomatoes. What really makes it pop though are the spices: rosemary, oregano, sage, and as many red pepper flakes as you can handle. I can't imagine that dissolving oily fish into this could possibly be an improvement.

Split-Pea Soup: It's painful that more often than not a pig's "hock" is immersed in this otherwise hearty, healthy and potentially vegan dish. I make mine using dried green and yellow peas, sweet onions sauteed in vegan butter, a whole bag of organic baby carrots (one of the veggies where you can blatantly taste the difference between organic and regular), some soy milk, ground pepper, fresh thyme, and sea salt. A giant pot that feeds 8 or more costs less than $6 to make.

Peanut-Butter and Jelly Sandwiches: Sometimes you just can't beat a classic. I eat several of these a week on my favorite sprouted grain bread (higher in protein and gluten free if you fancy), with organic peanut butter and concord grape jelly. If peanut butter doesn't excite you, almond, cashew or even macadamia butter will take your sandwiches to the next level.

For eating out, as I mentioned in a previous column, most places will happily take the egg our of your Pad Thai or the chicken out of an otherwise veg-tastic salad. For more at home, this website has a massive list of supermarket and junk food (if that's your thing) that is all vegan by accident. Happy tweaking!

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