The Pot Luck: How to Expose Your Co-Workers to Vegetarian or Vegan Food

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, it may be hard to decide what you will bring to a workplace potluck. Many co-workers can be critical and you don’t want to be the one left starving or eating potato chips because everything else may contain meat or dairy(if you are vegan). Not wanting people to look at your dish like it is from out of space, may discourage you to bring anything at all. But, I am here to say that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are some quick and easy dishes to take to a work potluck:

Pasta

There is something really eye-catching about the colorful blend of vegan and vegetarian pasta. I’ve rarely seen people pass it up, unless it wasn’t overdone or looked like it got ran over.  But, your pasta will not look like it got ran over, it will look lovely and delicious. I believe in you.

If You’re Vegan:

20140223-vegan-pasta-dried-tomato-olive-bread-crumb-recipe-12.jpg

Triple Garlic Pasta With Oven-Dried Tomatoes, Olives, and Bread Crumbs retrieved from Serious Eats

If You’re Vegetarian:

Garden Vegetable Pasta Bake retrieved from Deb’s Perfect Bite. Substitute with vegan sausage. 

Tips and Tricks:

Taquitos

Taquitos are an easy finger-food for co-workers and they are really tasty. These are not your average gas-station taquitos and they are much healthier.

If You’re Vegetarian:

Black Bean Taquitos retrieved from Hannaford

If You’re Vegan:

Spicy Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos retrieved from Talia’s Tomatoes

Gluten-Free Vegan and Vegetarian

Tamales

Tamales are made with masa or maize, a dough made from hominy(ground corn). Many gluten-free products use corn as a substitute for wheat flour, which contains gluten. Tamales are delicious and hearty.

If You’re Vegan:

Vegan Tamales with Mushroom and Green Chile retrieved from MJ’s Kitchen

If You’re Vegetarian:

tamallg.jpg - Marian Blazes

Garden Vegetable Tamales retrieved from About Food

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The Three Types of Quinoa

Why Quinoa?

Quinoa is rich in nutrients like b vitamins, protein, calcium, fiber, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, folate, manganese, and amino acids among other nutrients.

There are three types of quinoa:

Black, red, and white. Each type has its own distinct flavor and texture.

Black Quinoa

Higher in fiber content, black quinoa has a sweeter flavor and crunchier in texture than red and white quinoa. It’s ideal for desserts and salads which require a sweeter flavor.

Black Quinoa Blueberry Pudding retrieved from Daily Garnish

Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa retrieved from 101 Cookbooks

Red Quinoa

Crunchier than white quinoa and less crunchy than black quinoa, red quinoa is the middle grain used for almost anything. It holds it’s shape better than white quinoa, providing a slightly earthy balance for salads and savory cakes.

Quinoa Stuffing with Butternut Squash, Cranberries, and Pistachios retrieved from Gimmie Some Oven

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Quinoa Potato Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce retrieved from Vogue Vegetarian

White Quinoa

Having the softest texture of the bunch, white quinoa is often used in soups, cakes, and summer salads. The flavor is not as strong, causing added ingredients to stand out. It is important to not overpower white quinoa with too much lemon or tart flavoring.

Post image for Kale, Quinoa and White Bean Summer Salad with Tahini Miso Sauce

Kale, Quinoa and White Bean Summer Salad with Tahini Miso Sauce retrieved from Balance and Yoga Wellness

White Bean, Quinoa And Kale Stew with Fennel

White Bean, Quinoa And Kale Stew with Fennel retrieved from Taste Space

Include Quinoa in Your Diet!

Soul Food for Healthier Living

Growing up in a southern black household, I’ve had my share of soul food. Unfortunately, the soul food I grew to know and love was not always the healthiest. A lot of it was filled with pork and animal fat. This type of eating often leads to many health issues and conditions, shortening the quality and quantity of life. Luckily, by the time I was a teenager, I had convinced my parents to seek healthier alternatives to traditional ingredients that are used in soul food. Since becoming vegetarian, I have filled my palate with a wide assortment of vegetables, fruits, grains, herbs, and spices.

Black-Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas are symbols of prosperity. My family eats them for every holiday, and even when it isn’t a holiday. Traditionally, they are cooked with ham, but it’s time to stir away from pork and meat flavoring.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad retrieved from “Down Home with the Neely’s” on the Food Network

Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Collard Greens and Red Bell Pepper retrieved from Food on the Table

Collard Greens

Collard greens can be used in a wide-range of recipes and are a staple of the African American and southern community. We love collard greens, especially with a lot of spice.

Spicy Collard Greens with Rice retrieved from Vegenista

Collards Stuffed with Red Beans and Rice retrieved from Fat Free Vegan

Collard Greens with Onion and Tomato retrieved from About Food

Red Beans and Rice

Red beans and rice are a flavorful staple of Creole cooking, enjoyed in both the United States and in Haiti.

Vegan Red Beans and Rice retrieved from Healthy Eating Rocks

Candied Yams

Candied yams are simply delicious and are often baked with marshmallows. There are other ways to make candied yams with simply and natural ingredients.

Candied Yams retrieved from Yummy Plants

Cornbread

Cornbread can be done so many different ways. Some people love sweet cornbread and some people love savory cornbread.

Jalapeno and Honey Cornbread retrieved from That Was Vegan

Introduction to Rastafarian “I-tal” Cooking

I’m interested in flavorful recipes that are full of nutrients and have natural favors. If anyone has ever noticed Rastafarian people, many of them are very healthy people, full of spirit and stamina. This can be attributed to their daily eating habits.  I-tal cooking focuses on local fresh food, free of meat, dairy, and eggs.

When Cooking I-tal Food:

Thoroughly Cleanse Produce

No Salt, With the Exception of Sea Salt

Salt often takes away from the natural flavor of natural food and is often processed. Sea salt is in it’s natural form.

Use Wooden Utensils or Cookware From the Earth

Despite the cookware not taking away from the food itself, using cookware made from the earth encompasses meaning of I-tal cooking.

Common Key Ingredients

The key ingredients used in I-tal cooking provide a lot of flavor and nutrients, making this style of cooking unique. Use whatever fresh vegetables you want because it is your food.

Callaloo

Scotch Bonnet

Sweet Potatoes

Plantains

Coconuts

Annatto

Pimento Berries- “Allspice”

Ackees

Susumba

Breadfruit

Vegetarians Don’t Need to Put Dairy in Every Dish

I’ve noticed it’s a trend in the vegetarian community to put dairy on most meals to substitute for the loss of meat in the vegetarian diet. Dairy has vitamin D, vitamin B12, and calcium. It also has cholesterol, and for people who are lactose intolerant, it causes a lot of unnecessary bloating. Use dairy, but not for every meal, or even for most meals. It’s All About That Base A vegetarian lifestyle was intended to be a ‘living’ lifestyle, meaning most of your dishes should be plant-based and not dairy-based. Try plant-based sauces with ingredients like avocado, nuts & seeds, legumes, coconut, vegetables, herbs, and tofu.

Raw Vegan Basil Cashew Sauce retrieved from saavyvegetarian.com

Five Ingredient Red Curry Coconut Sauce or Dressing retrieved from choosingraw.com

Walnut 'Bolognese' Spaghetti Sauce - Vegan & Gluten Free-

Walnut ‘Bolognese’ Spaghetti Sauce retrieved from thehonoursystem.com