Plant Based Ease

With all the talk around Covid and the fact that African Americans are dying at alarming rates partly due to cormorbitities that are in large part very preventable with certain diet choices and/or changes. This reality has caused me to dig a little deeper into the investigation of seeing how a more plant based diet would benefit me by consuming less animal protein and processed foods.

Growing up in the late 70’s, 80’s hitting adulthood in the 90’s, those people I knew that adopted this “vegetarian” lifestyle (as the terms “vegan” and “plant-based” weren’t yet conceived) – for the most part these people ate all of this unhealthy fried, fake meat/processed bullshit; Fast food included – as long as it didn’t contain meat. And frankly, in my opinion, it was arguably way less healthy than a meal with responsibly sourced low in saturated fat meals with quality animal protein options.

Fast forward, its 2020 and the vegan plant-based industry is booming in that this time around, its a much healthier approach to now, a “plant-based” approach that includes more WHOLE foods and less processed/cancer-causing foods than existed in the 90’s and prior.

This article provides a simple way to start eating more in this direction without much stress. Also, lets face it, eating this simple doesn’t need to break the bank ala Whole Foods Market-style. Eating a diet that is predominantly void of meat protein should – and is – cheaper, even with organic foods. Note everything doesn’t need to be organic. Refer to the Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen list.

For this meal, lets start with the frosting. The frosting on the cake to this meal is the roasted roasted garlic. Its so deliciously sweet and takes time to prepare. We do this at the very beginning since it takes the longest to prepare but the goal here is to make enough to last several meals but not so much that it goes bad before you can eat it all – but trust us, if you’re cooking daily or regularly at home you wont waste it. Place a handful (or more) of peeled garlic cloves in aluminum foil and drizzle with EVOO – (extra virgin olive oil) dont be too shy here, topping with salt + pepper. Place in a baking dish. We used a small cast iron pan. Cook on 400 for an hour, tossing/stirring every 20 minutes. When ready, and after cooling a bit, use desired amount and save the remainder in the fridge by storing in a glass jar along with the EVOO from the roasting for later.

Rice comes in many colors and grains. For the purpose of this article, we’ll use white jasmine rice. In terms of methods, I’m now hooked to the instapot way! It’s mainly a “set it and forget it“ process to the perfect rice and it goes like this…(1) clean and measure 1c of jasmine rice (2) place into instapot (3) add 1c water (4) set on High Pressure for three minutes (5) when done let it release naturally for 10 mins then release remaining steam over stovetop air vent. (6) rinse rice in a strainer to remove some of the stickiness, let drain and add liquid fat of choice in stainless steel bowl and mix adding salt to taste. Store unused portion in the fridge.

Black beans and lentils! This is the meat of the meal and starting out, the goal here is to make it simple and non-intimidating but delicious. For simplicity sake, lets use organic drained canned black beans and lentils (1 container each).

This is where it gets good. After draining and rinsing the beans + lentils, add curry powder, onion powder, salt, pepper to taste. Last, add a can of full or low-fat coconut milk. If you want to get fancy, add minced garlic + chopped onions. We even mixed vindaloo curry and regular curry to add a bit of debt and kick to the curry taste. Let all of this simmer slowly at a low heat, stirring periodically.

Broccoli – To retain most of its nutritional value (outside of eating it raw), can be prepared baked, steamed or air fried. We’ll use the steaming method for this article. If steaming, use an inexpensive metal steamer. This method will take the shortest time to prepare. Place a small amount of water in a boiler (0.5-1 inch from the bottom of boiler). Place the strainer in the boiler with the broccoli in the strainer and cover. Let water come to a boil, turn down heat to medium and let cook with steam for 5-8 minutes (depending on desired doneness). The crunchier the healthier + better! When done, place in stainless steel mixing bowls add seasoning and fat of choice. Toss + Serve.

When all ingredients above are ready, create a bowl with the rice as your base. Top with coconut curry beans + lentils. Adorn with broccoli and crown with roasted garlic. Wow, Yumminess overload!!

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