Plant-based diets do not have the reputation for being considered indulgent or achieving that sought-after reference of comfort food among mainstream foodies. “I could eat a whole bag of raw kale,” says no one ever, in response to a challenging day. Most of us are proud of ourselves when we work healthy ingredients into recipes we already like – recipes that include dairy, fat and meat! In fact, I was once such a dedicated carnivore that I refused to date a really nice man simply because he was a vegetarian. I remember thinking, “He’s cute but what would I feed him?” Times have changed!
A friend invited me to a vegan cooking show last night and what a great show it was. First of all, our host, JL Fields, founder and culinary director of the Colorado Springs Vegan Cooking Academy, is fun, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and gets the audience excited about cooking vegan. Yep! The woman (me) who refused to date the vegetarian is now enthusiastic about vegan cooking. Obviously, there’s a secret: great recipes plus awesome appliances (an electric pressure cooker and an air fryer) make everything taste better.
My favorite dish was the Kale and Potato Nuggets in the air fryer. First of all, mashed potatoes are nature’s original comfort food, and with the steamed kale mixed in, they are prettier, heartier and taste amazing. (Making them at home – I would top them with butter – but they were delicious without any added dairy or calories.)
Even more than the recipe, I was excited to try something new and expand my horizons when it comes to plant-based diets. While I have no plans to “go vegan” entirely, I’m super excited to have a whole new set of delicious recipes to try at home and take to parties with friends.
It’s easy to create a safe routine and do the things we know we enjoy. But it’s also fun to branch out, try something new and be open to life from a different perspective. Who knows… if the opportunity came up again, I might even date a vegetarian. The recipe referenced in this post is available at www.jlgoesvegan.com.