Recently, I had thought to change my diet once again. Four months ago D and I had given up meat for personal reasons. Since then we have been what is classified as Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians, meaning we do not eat meat but will still consume dairy products and eggs. The only reason we decided to hang on to eggs was because we have a family friend not too far away that raises her own chickens and we know how those chickens are raised and treated. Knowing that these eggs came from chickens that were allowed to roam free and eat bugs and wallow in their chicken-ness was very important to us. The dairy was something we have hung on to out of shear addiction. Knowing that the only reason we hung on to dairy was out of addiction and the fact that I am lactose intolerant, I decided to try to omit this food from my diet.
This is actually turning out to be harder than it first seemed. We have come to learn that dairy products are in many more food items than we originally imagined. Something so simple as margarine has milk in it. Call me stupid but, I had no idea. My thought, as long as it’s not “butter” then it must be okay. Right? No. Not so much. Most margarines actually have either Buttermilk or Milk in their ingredients so in order to find even a butter substitute you have to go hunting to either your major chain grocer found in a larger metro area or a health foods store…which you would find in a larger metro area…not helpful for us since we live in a very small town about an hour away from any larger metro area. See what I’m getting at here? Travel to such an area for mayo and butter is inconvenient to say the least.
SO, that being said, we have been experimenting and are still developing different recipes to replace some of our favorite foods and make them Vegan. Vegan means not eating any animal products at all. No dairy. No eggs. No gelatin. This includes even crackers “made with real cheese” and everyone’s favorite Jell-O. Think it’s easy to do? Think again. Try grocery shopping and look at the label of every single item you want to buy. Nearly everything has some sort of dairy or egg product. Seriously.
Recently, I attempted to make vegan mashed potatoes and gravy. This is a major comfort food for me and since I don’t eat meat, my gravy is impacted and since I am trying to get rid of dairy, my mashed potatoes are impacted. I decided I would use Coconut milk as my milk replacement in the gravy and potatoes. I also thought I would use margarine instead of butter in my potatoes. After making this dish I was so excited and proud of myself for coming up with something that was completely vegan…until I discovered the margarine thing…then I was sad…
That’s why my gravy will be the only thing I talk about as being vegan.
What you’ll need:
1 can of Vegetable Stock or 8oz homemade Vegetable Stock
3/4 of a can of Coconut milk with the liquid drained leaving only the solid
2 TBS Cornstarch
2TBS Cold Water
Salt/Pepper to taste
1/2 TSP Garlic powder
1/2 TSP Onion Powder
1/2 TSP Ground Sage
What you’ll do:
In a small sauce pan mix together all ingredients excluding water and cornstarch.
Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 15 minutes to allow all ingredients to incorporate.
Combine water with cornstarch as directed on the box.
While stirring gravy slowly add in cornstarch.
Gravy will thicken as you stir.
This gravy takes on a surprising chicken flavor. It was delicious. You may need to add more cornstarch mixture if your gravy does not thicken to your preference. As always, with everything I make, I suggest playing with the seasonings. You may not want the sage or may want to add more of one of the other seasonings. I always say, play with your food. I mean it. Get your butt in the kitchen and PLAY.
As for the mashed potatoes, I did use margarine so unfortunately they were not vegan…they were quite tasty with the coconut milk solids but they were not vegan. Still, this was an experiment that I felt was quite successful. I have gravy back. That brings me joy and yes, I did clean my plate!