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The Nine Best Vegan Substitutions That Don’t Taste Vegan

These nine easy Vegan alternatives will make Meatless Monday that much easier
July 21, 2016

The best vegan substitutions (you won't even know the difference!), Waiting on Martha

Almost six years ago I gave up meat (I’m a pescatarian) and never looked back.  Honestly, it was one of the easiest changes I’ve ever made.  And while I’d like to say giving up dairy has been as easy as giving up meat, the truth of the matter is giving up dairy has been hard!  But, like many others I struggle with food intolerances caused primarily by dairy, so learning to live without it in my every day life is extremely important.  

Luckily there are so many vegan substitutions for my favorite condiments and toppings these days that taste just as good (if not better) than the real thing.  And just because you’re not completely vegan or even vegetarian, you can still enjoy these vegan substitutions in your dishes, and enjoy the benefits of cutting out those sketchy ingredients and chemicals in the traditional versions.  Plus eating less meat is not only better for your overall health it’s imperative to the survival of our planet.  I’ve turned my husband, parents and friends onto all of these you see here today for the simple fact that they make us feel better eating them, and truthfully it’s rare they can even tell the difference.

A word to the wise though; always choose soy free “meats” whenever possible and like everything moderation is key.  At the end of the day these are still processed foods and the healthiest way to live is always with unprocessed, whole foods. Truly, MKR

No. 1…Quorn Chik’n Tenders.  When I became a vegetarian a few years ago, one of the biggest things I missed were crispy, fried chicken.  Thankfully I can still get my fix whenever the craving hits with Quorn’s alternative that’s meatless and soy free.  Seriously tastes just like ’em dunked in a little ranch, honey mustard or my personal favorite McDonald’s BBQ sauce.

No. 2…SO Delicious Coconut Milk Coffee Creamer. I’ve been a fan of using SO Delicious’ coconut milk for some time now, whether it’s in a smoothie, my morning coffee or in a dessert.  So when I discovered its French Vanilla coffee creamer, I was immediately sold.  

No. 3…Follow Your Heart Pepper Jack Style Slices.  Cheese is by far the most difficult thing to fake in a vegan sense.  But if cheese is a must for you go with the Follow Your Heart pepper jack; it’s the best you’ll find and trust me I’ve tried them all!

No. 4…Field Roast Italian Sausage.  This vegetarian sausage will appease even the biggest meat-lover.  With fresh eggplant and packed with fennel, red wine, garlic and sweet peppers, it’s great in homemade soups as well as backyard barbecues. 

No. 5…Follow Your Heart Veganaise (Soy Free).  There are plenty of recipes and dishes that call for mayo, and they’re better for it (let’s be honest with ourselves).  Hence why this vegan substitution can always be found in my fridge.  I use it in my broccoli salad, my onion spinach dip and so much more. 

No. 6…Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream. I can’t imagine eating Mexican food (and I LOVE Mexican food) without sour cream.  To my pleasant surprise, this vegan sour cream tastes just as good (again, if not better) than the real thing.  I’ve realized quite often it’s a textural thing for me with food and condiments, and this is one that I’m happy to be able to still enjoy thanks to a solid vegan version. 

No. 7…Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese.  Like the sour cream, the cream cheese will make you double-check the label in disbelief.  It’s THAT good.  Whether as a bagel schmear, mixed in your favorite dip, or inside a cheesecake, this vegan cream cheese is a solid, solid alternative.  Dice up some fresh chives and/or herbs for a little extra flavor. 

No. 8…Lightlife Smart Dogs. These “veggie dogs” have been popularly dubbed the best vegan hot dogs around.  They contain no cholesterol and are lower in fat as well as calories than real hot dogs, and needless to say they’re not made up of all of that sketchy stuff that we’ve all heard is in traditional ‘dogs.  I’m a huge fan of these because—let’s be honest here—the secret to a great hot dog is cooking it on the grill with all in the sauces, relish, and for me coleslaw on top! 

No. 9…Field Roast Breakfast Sausage. Some mornings just call for breakfast sausage.  But as a vegetarian, I won’t get anywhere near the real thing.  Fortunately, this vegan version tastes incredible (even the Mr. agrees).  I’ve served them many times to guests around the brunch table and to my delight, nobody knew the difference. 

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Photography, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha

Roasted Zucchini, Corn, Fava Bean & Orzo Salad with Shrimp Skewers

Celebrate Some of Summer's Best Flavors with This Easy Dish
July 20, 2016

Blog-Food-GrilledOrzo2
Blog-Food-GrilledOrzo

I’ve been on a summer clean eating kick, with my heirloom tomato salad and my fresh frisee salad.  Today’s dish is another favorite recipe of mine that celebrates so many simple summer flavors all in one bite.  Welcome to my orzo salad with sautéed zucchini and corn, Fava Beans, shallots and cilantro. 

I’ve always loved orzo; it works so well in a dish when you need some sort of carb or starch, but want to make sure the vegetables are the star of the show.  I gravitate to this rice-shaped pasta especially when sautéing zucchini, squash and fresh summer corn zipped from the cob.  Like pasta, it will pick up any flavor you’re cooking it up with.  It’s also great to have on hand because you can cook it in bulk, freeze it, or even keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days to use with salads, side dishes and soups. 

You’ll also notice I use Fava Beans here; a  smoother, richer bean than any else.  Fava beans may be new to some, and truthfully they aren’t the easiest to find, but if you see them please give them a try!  This delicate bean gives an almost creamy consistency to each forkful, and feels like a treat to eat by the time you’re done preparing it.   Before they’re peeled, they look like an overgrown sweet pea, and they MUST be double-peeled before cooking (a little lesson I learned from (Food Network’s Chopped).   Here’s a great how-to if it’s your first time peeling the beans. 

The rest of the ingredients for my orzo salad really speak for themselves, and preparing for this simple dish as I’ve shared below is as straight-forward as you’ll find.  As for the shrimp skewers: they’re just as easy and can be prepared and grilled in less than 10 minutes.  Simply toss the shrimp (after peeling and deveining of course) in any spicy seasoning (I prefer THIS one or Old Bay, and is also what I use for the zucchini) and place onto skewer sticks for quick grilling.  And in fact, this entire meal is one of those 30-minute-and-under gems!  But something to note: there is a lot of multi-tasking that needs to happen for this recipe, so take your time and read through the recipe in its entirety before beginning, and have all your components prepped and ready to go.  Enjoy!  Truly, MKR

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Roasted Zucchini, Corn, Fava Bean & Orzo Salad with Spicy Shrimp Skewers
Yields 4
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Prep Time
7 min
Cook Time
23 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
7 min
Cook Time
23 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1-11/2 peeled and deveined shrimp
  2. 3 ears of corn, zipped
  3. 2 zucchini halved lengthwise
  4. 1/2 lb. orzo
  5. 1/2 lb. fava beans peeled
  6. 1 large shallot, diced
  7. juice of 2 fresh limes
  8. 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  9. Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  10. spicy seasoning, or Old Bay
  11. Cayenne Pepper
  12. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees, light/start your grill.
  2. Toss your shrimp with a tsp. of olive oil and spicy seasoning, place on skewers and set aside.
  3. Toss zucchini with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and spicy seasoning. Place on a roasting pan and roast for approximately 10 minutes or until zucchini is tender and cooked through, but not mushy.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the orzo al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water and set aside.
  5. While zucchini is roasting and the orzo is cooking heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium/high heat in a large saute pan or dutch oven. Add shallots and cook till translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add corn and fava beans cook an additional 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. While everything is sautéing place your shrimp on the grill and cook 2 minutes per side.
  7. Add orzo to your corn and bean mixture, plus 2 additional tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch (or two) of cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Cook an additional 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  8. On a large platter lightly mix the orzo mixture, zucchini, fresh cilantro, a bit more cayenne (if you like it spicy, salt and pepper. Serve with shrimp skewers.
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Photography, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha

Sautéed Shishito Peppers, Grilled Okra & Fresh Corn Salad

Simple Summer Sides for Clean Eating
July 14, 2016

Grilled shishito peppers, grilled okra and corn salad, recipe by @waitingonmartha
Blog-Food-CornSalad

Summer tabletops that look like this make seasonal eating easy (emphasis on the EASY).  And for those of you following along on Snapchat (username Waiting On Martha), you’ll know I’m trying to eat cleaner and put the focus back on fresh, in season, local ingredients.  This focus on eating “clean” has in turn also highlighted my love of simple ingredients and flavors.  Case in point: grilled fresh vegetables from the garden seasoned simply with a little oil, salt and pepper.

First up: shishito peppers.  If you haven’t tried these, stop what you’re doing and go out and find some at your nearest Asian grocery market (if you’re in Atlanta you can find them at the Buford Farmers Market).  They’re a milder pepper, but be warned about 1 in 5 will be on the spicy side so be prepared for a little game of pepper roulette. You can of course grill them, though I usually throw them into a sautee pan or even a wok.  They are SO simple to make; simply drizzle organic olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper to taste.  You’ll cook them until they char and start to shrivel up about 5-7 minutes and then just eat ’em up.  

Second: grilled okra.  I’m a firm believer that okra is one of the south’s best fruits of the earth (click here for Southern Living’s 10 best okra recipes to see for yourself).   I’ve eaten them all sorts of ways, but I really might prefer simple and grilled above all else!  All you need to do is halve them and put them on skewer sticks, drizzle with organic olive oil, salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne. Grill for about 10 minutes (or until charred) and pop the entire thing in your mouth!  I’ve found that grilling them as such will also take the slime out of them entirely.

Lastly, my corn salad is quite possibly the biggest crowd pleaser of them all.  It can be served cold, warm, room temperature…your call.  I’ve enjoyed it as a salsa, as a salad and straight out of the sautee pan too.  All you’ll do: dump the fresh corn kernels (stripped easily from the cob with one of these) or frozen corn if you must to a sautee pan with (plenty of) un slated butter and salt.  When in doubt, add more butter.  To serve, simply add chopped green onions, fresh cilantro and give it a quick stir…you don’t want any of these ingredients to get mushy so definitely save them until garnish at the end.  It is seriously so easy, so fresh and SO tasty.  Enjoy!  Truly, MKR

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Sauteed Shishito Peppers, Grilled Okra & Fresh Corn Salad
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For the Sauteed Shishito Peppers
  1. Shishito Peppers
  2. olive oil
  3. salt and pepper to taste
For the Grilled Okra
  1. Okra, halved
  2. olive oil
  3. salt and pepper to taste
  4. cayenne to taste
For the Fresh Corn Salad
  1. 2-3 ears of fresh corn, peeled or 1 can of canned corn
  2. butter to taste
  3. salt to taste
  4. Green onion, chopped, to garnish
  5. Fresh cilantro, chopped to garnish
  6. Lime, cut into wedges, to garnish
For the Shishito Peppers
  1. Drizzle olive oil and and a dash of salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Sautee, grill or cook in wok until peppers char and start to shrivel up.
For the Grilled Okra
  1. Halve the okra and put them on skewer sticks.
  2. Drizzle sticks with olive oil, salt and pepper and a dash of cayenne (to taste).
  3. Grill for 10 minutes (or until charred).
  4. Serve and enjoy whole.
For the Corn Salad
  1. Dump the corn kernels into a sautee pan with a generous amount of butter and salt.
  2. Add more butter and salt to taste.
  3. Chopped green onions, fresh cilantro and fresh lime wedges.
  4. Serve garnishes atop corn salad - cold, warm or at room temperature.
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