family life

Vegan Vednesday–meatless monday’s cousin

…just like my German grandma would have said it…

Except this weekday meal seemed incomprehensible at first–possibly challenging my German genetics of meat and potatoes and a side of garden veggie dinners.

Farm food is comfort food. Gotta have a side of cow to have truly dined!

A few weeks of scarcity near the Rift Valley in sub-Saharan Africa though, and beans have become our family’s comfort foods too. If you’re hungry and you don’t have food? Well, a 20 kg bag of beans becomes your sympathetic friend.

Returning home to Canada last summer, I didn’t build up a dry goods pantry, or freezer in the basement. Barring some crazy North American economic collapse, we’ll continue to have supermarkets with the basics. But I did buy a humungous bag of dried beans and an equally humungous bag of rice–one that would make my Asian friends proud.

I can stew those babies for a day and have a delightful ‘pot’ of boiled beans.

Not fancy enough? My foodie-spoiled pallete would agree…until you’re hungry and nothing else is around. Then you’ll pretty much eat whatever, and give thanks too.


Though I can’t say I’ve prepared that dish for anything more than amusing friends back home, I know it as the back-up plan in dire emergencies. I can even add the spice mix that we used in Kenya. Our Kenyan housekeeper was as surprised that I wasn’t familiar with Royco as I might be that she hadn’t dined at McDonalds. No continent is the same…


Vegan would imply that this meal is animal product-free…I just enjoy alliteration. I still enjoy a nice cheesy quiche or breakfast at dinner: scrambled eggs and French toast (the kids LOVE that one).

There’s always tofu. I might need to experience scarcity in Asia before I become convinced of its relevance in my life. I’ve experimented enough to know it can be slathered in nearly any sauce and is a spongy protein in camoflouge.

Have you tried veggie burgers? No, not from Harvey’s or other fast food places… Real veggie burgers are yum. Layer on a slice of avocado, drizzle of olive oil and pickles and you’ll be surprised at the flavour.

Recently I took to one particular recipe:

Bean Enchiladas…can’t go wrong slathering burritos in cheese. A little plain sour cream and salsa as toppings, a side salad, and perfetto…LOVE.

You’ll need these ingredients:


  1. Sour cream (or plain yoghurt if you prefer LITE)
  2. Three cans of pinto beans
  3. Small white tortillas
  4. Container of Salsa
  5. Monterey Jack
  6. Can of refried beans

Here’s how to make it:

1.    All yummy recipes begin with a chopped onion and a clove of garlic. Saute in a tsp of olive oil.


2.    Add 1/2 tsp cumin, pepper and salt to taste, and a few sprays of hot sauce (hot sauce, in moderation, emphasizes flavour, much like salt).

3.    Add chopped jalapenos….Now THESE add heat.


Note to self: children must be taught not to touch eyes in the kitchen. I had a screeching, terrified kid one day, when I let her alone in the kitchen to cook, and she’d mistakenly touched her eye after slicing hot peppers. And that kiddo is hearty, not akin to temper tantrums or screaming fits (though loud in her funny fatigue)… First aid treatment swimming through my mind, I left the saline solution in the bathroom and grabbed a 4 L of milk and began bathing her eye over the kitchen sink. Can we say homemade pepper spray?

4.    Add jalapenos and beans. They’re higher in fat, and you don’t HAVE to include them, but I like adding the refried beans for moisture.


5.    How about a can of corn? More nutritents for the brain when incorporating diverse ingredients in your meals. I personally think of corn as farm feed now…a cheap source of carbohydrate. I’d rather consume my carbs in the form of Hershey’s Caramilk bars (plenty of those still in the pantry).

6.    Mixa, mixa, mixa…

7.    Scoop into small white tortillas, fold and turn upside down (so fold doesn’t unravel).


8.    Drizzle a few teaspoons of beef broth over top (so they’re not dry and crispy post-baking) and shredded Monterey jack. Any cheese will do: flecks of feta add zippy flavour, mozzarella with sprinkles of chili, cheddar, whatever you’ve you got. But monterey jack has that tex mex touch!


9.     Bake in a 400 degree oven for twenty minutes.


10.    Serve with salsa and sour cream and a side of greens! Delisioso!


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