Every weekend, every day, is meatless in my house, however I wanted to share how Memorial Day weekend was different for us in such a great way. Our friends John and Kristina decided to try a vegetarian lifestyle for a week, which came to a close this holiday weekend. Kristina, who blogs over at Favor Freedom, is going to do a guest post for me to sum up her experience so I can share it with my readers. We visited John and Kristina this holiday weekend with the intention of sharing a vegan meal with friends, but walked away with so much more. I left with a feeling of gratitude to have friends that want to learn more about vegetarianism.
My husband and I wanted to give them a sample of a few of our favorite vegan dishes to taste the different flavors of plant-based food. I made Asian bean burgers and lime orzo with veggies, and my husband made Dr. Fuhrman’s bean and mango salad (recipe below). Everything tasted delicious and it was the perfect vegan meal for Memorial Day weekend. It had the feel of grilling out, without firing up the grill. We ate poolside with our dogs at our feet and it was splendid. John and Kristina kept commenting how much they enjoyed the meal, and I believe them. My husband and I were in heaven being able to cook a non-meat meal for them and talk about vegetarianism. I can only hope they continue to phase out meat, however I am very proud of their accomplishment of eating a plant-based diet for a week. That’s more than a lot of people can say for themselves.
We kept the grilling out theme going on the next day by visiting my sister and fiancé at their pool. Once again we found ourselves eating near the sparkling water on a beautiful day. We are so lucky to enjoy the finer things in life! We ate the leftover bean and mango salad and made a little impromptu sandwich from grilling up veggies. This is a very simple recipe that took absolutely no effort at all, although, I wasn’t manning the grill! Just slice eggplant, squash and zucchini in long strips and grill; layer on sandwich bread and top with lettuce, tomato, avocado, fresh basil and sauce from the Asian bean burger recipe.
That night we wanted to eat the leftover lime orzo but wanted to pair it with burgers again. We ran out of red kidney beans, so we experimented with chickpeas. I’d have to say, I almost like this version better! Just follow this recipe, but sub out the kidney beans for chickpeas. Coupled with a fruit and nut salad and we had a complete meal again.
So, that was our meat-free Memorial Day weekend. I finally understand that being vegan doesn’t have to be difficult in social settings. I’ve been fortunate to get great advice from amazing people in these past few months, which has helped me see this perspective. Bringing food to parties and social gatherings is one of the best tips the vegan community has given me. I’m appreciative of others showing me how to make this transition along the way – sometimes people I haven’t even met but feel like I know through the blogging world or through Twitter. I hope we were able to shed a little glimmer of light on vegetarianism with our friends and that they’re able to do the same for others in the future.
Dr. Fuhrman’s Black Bean Mango Salad
1 large mango (or 2 smaller mangoes), peeled, pitted, and cubed
2 TBSP fresh chopped cilantro
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 C frozen corn, defrosted (or fresh corn off the cob)
3 C cooked black beans or 2 (15-oz) cans black beans (no/low salt), drained and rinsed
3 TBSP fresh lime juice
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 dash of chili powder
9 C chopped romaine lettuce leaves
Mix all the ingredients, except the lettuce.
Allow salad to stand at least 15 min before serving.
Serve on a bed of chopped green lettuce.
(Can be made a day ahead and kept refrigerated, but add the mango and another splash of lime juice before serving.)
From: Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live