This Doesn't Taste Like My Usual Cheese
This Doesn’t Taste like My Usual Cheese!
So often when people venture into the new world of veganism or plant-based living, they’re faced with that time-honoured question that comes up no matter what your dietary choice: “What am I going to eat tonight?”
For many, the question becomes a burden rather than a glorious challenge to try something new. They expect that the meals or food items they make as a vegan/plant-based eater should taste like their meat/dairy/fish counterpart and are extremely disappointed and discouraged when they don’t.
Perhaps we’re setting ourselves up for dissatisfaction and disappointment. This realm needs to be entered into with the idea that you’ll be trying new foods and new flavours that you’re not familiar with and these splendid foods need to be enjoyed based on their merits alone.
When you try a new Indian recipe, are you disappointed that it doesn’t taste like your favourite Italian recipe? Probably not, because you’re approaching it as a different category and you don’t have expectations that it’ll taste like an Italian meal.
So maybe the same holds true for vegan/plant-based recipes – they’re a different category and will have a different taste. They’ll be new and bring a flavour all their own.
No, vegan cheese doesn’t taste like dairy cheese – but then again, why should it? Instead of comparing, it’s important to taste it as a new food taste, sensation and texture onto itself.
It might make it easier to give these new recipes and foods a chance to grow on you and become more familiar before dismissing them as inferior to the “original” after an initial experiment.
I would venture to say that very few of us were completely enamored with the taste of yogurt the first time we tried it, but after several attempts, it began to grow on our taste buds.
TOFU OR NOT TOFU?
And it’s also a matter of the recipe – how many of us have squished up our noses at the very idea of tofu? But I’ll go out on a limb here to say it’s no doubt only because it hasn’t been prepared correctly. With the right recipe and an open mind, people can realize the tastiness and versatility of tofu.
With that in mind, here is a lovely marinade for firm to extra firm tofu*:
Sweet Citrus Marinade
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon brown sugar (I use organic coconut sugar)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Siracha or other hot sauce
2 cloves of garlic thickly sliced
Whip this together and pour over sliced or cubed tofu (extra firm, drained) making sure the pieces are covered. Leave for at least two hours and up to eight in the fridge. Remove from the marinade and either use a frying pan to heat up the tofu or put it in a 450-degree oven for 15 minutes/take out, turn over and add remaining marinade for another 10 minutes. Enjoy as a side with some veggies or as a topping for a salad!
TIP: To drain my tofu, I wrap it in a paper towel, place it between two plates and add two heavy books on top of it. I leave it for about 30-60 minutes. This dries it out and allows it to be ready to take on the flavours of your marinade.
TIP: You can freeze fresh ginger root and grate it frozen – helps it keep much longer than in the fridge.
It’s important when starting a new lifestyle such as veganism to keep your reasons for doing so front and center – they’re what’ll see you through disappointment and becoming discouraged.
Just sayin’ is all!
By Lou Hooper
For more information on my online course for new and/or struggling vegans entitled, “The Vegan Journey: A Beginner’s Pathway (tips/tools/support)”, please click on the Vegan Support Pathway in the menu above.
*recipe from the cookbook, Thug Kitchen; the tips are mine ; -)