Three Ideas for Warm, Vegan Recipes

Tuesday Jan 7 | BY |
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Cooking Vegetable: Potato, Carrot, Beet, Zucchini, Onion, Cabbag

Last December I was visiting Kevin and Annmarie in balmy Berkeley, California, for our quarterly “in-person” Renegade Health meeting.

It was cold by Californian standards. Since houses are poorly insulated in California, I actually felt the cold everywhere I went (I must admit, I was poorly equipped for it).

It was the only time in California that I ever felt the need for a winter jacket, gloves and a hat!

By the time I left, shortly before Christmas, the weather had warmed up to a decent 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 celsius) and sunshine every day.

When I got back home in Montreal, temps were shortly averaging at least minus 5 Fahrenheit (-20 Celsius!). On Friday, it was -35 with the wind factor (-38 Celsius).

I read in the newspaper recently that for the first time in 20 years, the USA saw more record cold temperatures than record hot temperatures last year. That includes that record-low temperature that Northern California experienced last month.

Even Kevin’s flight was delayed until Monday because of the cold weather.

Now that we’ve got this exciting information out of the way, let’s talk about warm, vegan cooking ideas for this winter!

Depending where you live, going on a 100% raw vegan diet might not be your best bet right now to stay warm! Eating a lot of raw fruits and vegetables is a great idea to stay healthy this winter, but including warm cooked, healthy foods is a good idea.

1) Turn on that crockpot

I decided this year that cooking with a crockpot is not rocket science. People want crockpot recipes, but really you can throw in anything you want and it will still turn out great.

To make a great crock pot soup, make sure you have at least one or two chopped onions, some garlic, a few bay leaves and some seasonings of your choice.

Add chopped or diced veggies of your choice. Root vegetables are especially good (carrots, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, potatoes). Add other vegetables of your choice: celery, corn, leeks, broccoli, squash, mushrooms, etc.

You can add some beans, but they should be already cooked. Red lentils can be added without cooking them first.

You can add some grains like rice, but they should be cooked as well.

Once you’ve put in enough vegetables to make a soup, and optional beans, add in enough liquid to cover, or more if desired. Low-sodium vegetable broth is your best bet.

Cook it on “low” all day, or between 7 to 9 hours.

I highly recommend adding a bunch of greens to this soup, but if they cook quickly (like spinach), you should add them in the last hour of cooking.

As you can see, I didn’t give you a recipe for your crockpot soups, but rather a methodology that you can use based on the ingredients that you have available. Experiment! You can’t go wrong.

2) Morning Grains

Many people are sensitive to grains and gluten, so this recipe can be skipped. I personally find it extremely satisfying on very cold mornings, and it leads to sustained, powerful energy that you need to go about the day.

For your grain, you can used rolled oats, steel cut oats, or an organic morning grain mixture, such as the ones sold by Bob’s Red Mill. I love the latter and find it more satisfying that basic oatmeal.

Using a crockpot, you prepare this right before going to bed. I personally use a Zojirushi rice cooker, put it on the “porridge” setting and use the timer feature so it cooks at exactly the right time.

In your crockpot (or programmable rice cooker), throw in 1 part of morning grains to three parts of water. I like this ratio for a thick porridge. If you prefer a runnier porridge, add it more water or liquid. If you don’t find it savory enough, use half water and half unsweetened almond milk.

Throw in a few raisins or chopped dried fruits, and a small handful of nuts or ground seeds (you can also add the nuts in the morning instead), and some Ceylon cinnamon.

If using a crockpot, cook on low all night. Add in fresh fruits before serving.

3) Baked Yams

Baked yams are great. Buy the biggest ones you can find, and bake a bunch of them at 375 degrees for about one hour. Smaller yams will require less cooking time, so check on them once in a while. Remember to poke them with a fork a few times beforehand, so they don’t explode.

When baking yams, always bake a bunch. You can bake them a tad undone so they can be reheated later.

You can top baked yams with many great toppings, including one or many of the following:

– Black beans
– Salsa
– Guacamole or plain avocado
– A protein source of your choice
– Sweet spices, such as cinnamon
– Peas
– Corn
– Marinated salads
– Olives
– Currants
– Home-made salad dressings
– BBQ sauce
– Salt and seasonings of your choice

Baked yams with your favorite fixings, and a side of salad or steamed vegetables, are an excellent winter comfort food.

Those recipe ideas should keep you warm for the next week.

Got any comments or ideas to share? Post them below!

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.


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  1. You can also cook sweet potatoes in the crock pot. Just wash them off – place in the crock pot while still wet. Either low or high setting can be used. The high setting will concentrate the starch more and the potato will be sweeter.

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