Hi, my name is Emily and I’m a vegan in the Midwest. No, I don’t live in Chicago or Minneapolis, or Omaha for that matter. I live in the great capital/college town of Lincoln, Nebraska. I’m not looking for sympathy (ok, maybe I’m looking for just a little), but it is definitely not easy being vegan here. In bigger cities, or even booming metropolis’ such as Des Moines, there are vegan restaurants and co-ops and there are even vegan clubs that have monthly get togethers and share recipes and food. In Lincoln, we have a pizza place (Yia Yia’s Pizza) that offers vegan cheese, a burrito place (Oso Burrito) that offers tofu, a soup and sandwich place (Maggie’s Vegetarian) that has the weirdest hours known to man and a Mexican/American fusion bistro (Pepe’s Bistro) that is known for their brunch. Of course there is always Chinese, Indian and Thai but what if I want a big, fat, juicy burger? Or some super garlicky pasta with a huge slice of “cheesy” garlic bread? What if I want some greasy hash browns with some scrambled tofu and white bean “sausage”? One would think that with the growing population of vegans in the country, there would be options for people like me to satisfy my cravings if I would like to go out. But since there isn’t, my husband and I have become quite the cooking duo and I feel we have mastered the art of vegan cooking (and it only took 6 years).
There are a lot of healthy and hearty substitutes out there to replace meat and cheeses. If anyone tells you that they tried to be vegan but found they were lacking certain nutrients, you have my permission to hit them and tell them to try harder. It is always going to be difficult when changing a way of living, especially your diet, but don’t give up because once your body has adjusted to the change not only are the perks of being vegan are incredible, but the impact you have on the environment from being vegan is also something to brag about. There are multiple cookbooks and websites out there to help start the journey of becoming a vegan, but here is a recipe that helped me and my husband get through the first couple of months.
16 oz. of chickpeas drained 1 tsp. pepper
¼ cup breadcrumbs (or panko) one pinch of salt
2 tbsp. flour 1 tsp. turmeric
1 tbsp. cumin one package of pita
1 tbsp. ground coriander 1 cucumber and some lettuce
½ tsp. cayenne pepper 1 tomato and hummus of any kind
In a food processor, combine chickpeas with breadcrumbs and flour. When it is a pasty substance, add the rest of the ingredients (up to turmeric), incorporating well. Place mixture in the fridge and let it sit for 30 minutes. During this time, I like to cut my vegetables, arrange my plates with pita and hummus and heat up my pan with canola oil over the stove. After waiting 30 minutes, pull the mixture out of the fridge and make small balls (using an ice cream scoop is a good idea) and place them in the pan. Some people like to bake them in the oven, but I like my falafel nice and fried. Make sure to evenly cook all sides of the falafel, making them golden brown. Once they are done cooking, place them on the pita and dress with cucumber, tomato, lettuce and hummus. This recipe impresses vegans and non-vegans alike. It is full of flavor and so easy to make. I have been told on numerous occasions that this recipe is the best falafel ever consumed. It’s easy and delicious and it doesn’t take too long to make, it’s every Americans dream come true, vegan or not.
She’s not lying when she says this falafel is the best. I love it and I can’t wait to make it now that I have the recipe. Let us know what you think if you try it. Also, if you have any questions about being vegan, shoot away!