Category: Recipe-ish

Revenge of the Junk Food Vegan

During my first go-’round of being vegan, I was the worst example of what a healthy vegan eats. When I wasn’t cooking (read: often) I just ate whatever convenience foods I could find that didn’t contain animal ingredients which occasionally (read: really often) meant that dinner was an entire box of Tofutti Cuties and a large Red Eye from Muddy Waters. It’s strange because being a more healthy vegan, despite that not being the motivation for being vegan again, is a lot simpler than it was then. I spent way too much time talking to droney hippies tell me about allegedly magical shit in natural grocery vitamin aisles and there just weren’t many sources of hard nutritional information available then that wasn’t a typo-ridden zine-format cookbook. Although I have a lot of faith in veganism as a semi-coherent methodology of ridding your life of shit you shouldn’t be a participant in, I’m also pretty skeptical of most advice I get from other lacksadaisical vegans who are really hung up on some particular aspect of nutrition rather than keeping you generally healthy and keeping the scurvy cooties off.

The availability of information post-interwebs has a whole lot to do with this. Soy Not Oi was once the informational gateway for vegetarians to transition to a vegan diet and was also funny as hell, but, in retrospect, I’m terrified that for a long time this was my main source of information. I do miss the emphasis of veganism being centered on animal liberation now that the health benefits of a vegan diet are more widely known and variations like raw vegan diets are becoming popular especially for athletes. I feel like that aspect is somewhat diminished, but I’m also happy that other folks are making better decisions even we’re not congruent in terms of motivations and rationale. Whatevs. Vegan convenience food has improved drastically both in taste and nutritional value because more people are going vegan for health reasons. I’m fine with that because although I’m not super nutrition focused I like the idea that my lifestyle has some some happy side effects.

After all that babble, a little bit of lazy vegan non-cooking. I made this last night. It was after 1am with an alarm threatening to go off at 6am and I was hungry. I wanted convenience and yumminess and little else. I figured out a good compromise I think and it gives me a chance to talk some smack about food, right?:

El Dagwood

2 slices of bread (I used wheat bread)

Veganaise (you can use whatever if you don’t have it on hand)

Some spicy mustard (yellow will also work if you’re totally lame)

Vegan Cheese (I use the Galaxy slices because they’re fucking awesome)

A tablespoon or so of Milled Flax Seeds (basically a flavorless powder that yields lots of Omega oils)

Hummus (I just used some generic store brand plain hummus)

3 or 4 small slices Leftover fried tofu (I had this around from an earlier meal that my wife cooked so this was another bonus ingredient that required no extra work — what you don’t have a big pile of leftover fried tofu? Unthinkable)

Sriracha or gtfo

Slap it all together. Sprinkle the milled flax on the mustard’d and Veganaise’d slices of bread and you’ll hardly know it’s there. I might have also thrown a very spare sprinkle of nutritional yeast in there as well.

Kale, Dude, Kale

I should probably preface this by saying that I generally read and then do not follow recipes. I tend to think of recipes (other than for baked goods unless you want some tyrannically swelling monstroid trying to liberate itself from the clutches of your oven while you pace around, flip the oven light on and off, curse frequently, and wonder what the fuck you should do now) as a list of potential ingredients (if I have that) and a general guide for proportions. Given that fuck the man attitude towards the learned teachings of better cooks than me, I’m going to present this recipe the way that I think about it. This also means the instructions below the list of ingredients is going to be long as fuck. Be patient. I made this last night and it was awesome.

Trendy As Fuck Massaged Kale Salad

  • 1 bunch of kale (whichever kind is cheapest or organic)
  • Kosher salt
  • Balsamic Vinegar (alternatives below)
  • A carrot or two
  • Some olive oil
  • An apple?


1.  First you need to separate the kale leaves from the stems. Some folks like to slice the stems up and include them in their massaged kale. I’ll eventually try this, but I didn’t for this outing. Don’t worry about getting perfect leaves. This is still step one
Rinse all the earthy gnarliness off your leaves. I’m pretty quick about this. Big stuff off and a stray bug turd likely won’t kill me unless it’s some exotic kale slug with toxic mucus or something. Hasn’t happened yet so I’ll assume this is okay. Get the leaves as dry as you can. If you’ve got one of those salad spinner things that would probably work more awesomely than my invert washing container and squeeze the leaves method. I also dumped mine onto a paper towel covered sheet to soak up some of the excess moisture.

2.  Rip the leaves into smaller pieces. I’ve seen a lot of massaged kale recipes that call for thinly slicing the leaves into strips. I’m not on a cooking show so I tear the leaves into quarter and dime sized pieces.

3.  Now would be a good time to slice up some of the other ingredients. I used a couple of carrots. Don’t be stupid and use three like I did. I did small thin slices of carrot. Set your sliced additions aside it’s time to rub some produce.

4.  Throw your mostly dry kale into a mixing bowl that is large enough to fit all of your washed kale and accommodate your gently massaging hands. Spend your time after the salad is completed eating instead of picking pieces of kale off the kitchen floor. Decision time: do you want salty kale, oily kale, or both kinds, country and western? Salt also helps remove the bitterness so even if you’re going the vinegar route you might throw a couple sprinkles of salt in to contribute to that.

5.  After you’ve chosen your destiny you can either toss 3/4 of a teaspoon of kosher salt in your greens or introduce the olive oil portion of your vinaigrette. If you’re going the oil and vinegar route, plan ahead and measure the amount of oil you intend to use and remember that the magic ratio for vinaigrette is 3:1 oil to vinegar. Imagine your dry ass raw kale or your kale and oil soup before making your final decision. Dump your ration of oil on the kale. If you’re using salt and oil, throw the salt in too.

6.  Start your rubbing. You’re basically aiming for 2-3 minutes of hand movements approximate the kneading bread dough. No need to bust out your useless massage certificate or anything. Your kale will shrink a lot and the color will change from the paler green that uncooked kale usually is to a deep, rich, radioactive green. Massaging the kale makes it a lot less leathery and weird. Rub, rub, rub.

7.  Once you’ve massaged the crap out of your kale, throw your other ingredients in. With apples and carrots, it’s pretty easy to eyeball the ratio. I made the mistake of adding far too many carrots and it made eating my salad more like eating a bowl of Grape Nuts. Baaaaaad.

8.  Vinaigrette time. If you measured your oil like a good kid then you’ll just need to dump 1 unit of vinegar to 3 units of olive oil. I’m not a mathemagician so you’ll need to calculate that yourself. I use balsamic vinegar, but you can also use cider vinegar. If you want, mix the two. Or make your plain old cider into mock balsamic by adding some sugar to it. Mix everything around. If I told you to toss your salad you’d start giggling.

9.  Fucking eat. If you’re fussy, you can throw the salad in the fridge for a few minutes. I think colder is a bit more refreshing for a raw salad, but do what you want cowboy.

We all know kale is good for us. It contains an inordinate amount of calcium and vitamin C as well as a bunch of minerals. The nice part is that you’re going to get more of them if you don’t char them out over a burner. Here are some more sanely presented nutritional facts on kale. There’s also some talk in the health food world about kale having inflammatory properties. I’ve yet to find any real information about this that points to causes and potential symptoms so I’ll leave that up to people who have medical conditions and food allergies to figure out.