It’s a valid question – so much of what people eat today is made with bread and meat that it’s hard to imagine forgoing gluten in addition to an entire food group. So to those who wonder what a vegetarian (and sometimes vegan) eats when also going gluten-free, rest assured: there are still plenty of delicious options out there. Seriously! I know this sounds totally ridiculous – about as believable as my old theory that Osama Bin Laden was actually hiding in Cancun and working as a bouncer at a bar filled with drunk college kids on spring break (for real though, wouldn't that have been the perfect cover?) – but I promise, it’s true. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t spend my evenings foraging through a remote forest for tree bark to gnaw on. :)
I’m using this week’s What I Ate Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jenn of Peas and Crayons, to a) basically do a tour of my lunch box, and b) show that it’s not insanely difficult to meet one’s nutritional needs while going veg + GF. For an added challenge, these meals are entirely vegan. Many people who are gluten intolerant are also lactose intolerant, so lest these dietary needs start to look like a huge Venn diagram, I’m going to focus on GF and vegan goodies.Let the fun begin!
Snacks: Question numero uno for most vegetarians and vegans is “But where do you get your protein?” Happily, there are many sources of plant protein - all of which are GF - that fit the bill perfectly. Two of my favorite snacks involve said plant proteins: an apple with cashew butter (if cashews aren’t your thing, there are plenty of nut butters on the market that are insanely good…seriously, I could freebase that stuff for the better part of a day and not get tired of it) and multi-grain GF crackers with hummus. The chickpeas in the hummus and the cashew butter pack plenty of plant protein into the day, with the added benefit being that they’re ridiculously delish.
Lunch: Dr. McDougall’s black bean and lime soup, when combined with fresh spinach and brown rice, turns into an excellent source of protein and iron. Oh, and it’s really effing yummy. I find myself getting really stoked for lunch on a regular basis, but particularly when I know that this meal is on the horizon. When the clock turns to 12:00, somebody is doing a happy dance in her office. That somebody is me.
Dinner: The options are endless! Some of my favorite GF and vegan dinners have been featured here, including (but in no way limited to) Southwestern quinoa, millet, and black bean pilaf; Middle Eastern lentil soup, garlic and lemon lentils with rice and spinach, Italian roasted veggie kabobs, with roasted veggies and potatoes...the list goes on. This week, though, I went with my potato cravings (I'm Irish, so I like to think my love of potatoes is genetically embedded) and had roasted veggies and taters.
While cooking for a GF, vegan, or vegetarian diet does require some culinary creativity, it's not difficult at all. Hopefully this shows that it is, in fact, totally feasible – and it’s certainly more feasible than my old Bin Laden in Cancun theory. :)