Happy Plate: the vegan experience

By Annalena Eckton, Reporter

How do you get protein? Do you never go out for dinner? Are you getting enough calories? These are some of the most frequently asked questions targeted at vegans. In contrast to popular myths, it is in fact plausible to be a very healthy vegan who gets plenty of calories and nutrients. But Veganism remains one of the most daunting diets because it eliminates major food groups that are commonly incorporated into nearly every meal of the day. While meat is not so difficult a swap, the thought of restricting all dairy scares some people.

In this day and age (thanks to the food pioneers of past generations) we are blessed with access to thousands of books, recipes, and tips detailing how to apply veganism to your life. According to food allergies expert, Jill Castle, MD, eight foods make up about 90 percent of all dietary allergies. Half of these are meat and dairy. Given this statistic, almost half of food allergies could be avoided with a vegan diet. Whether for moral reasons or health concerns, the trend continues to grow in popularity. As Portland is known for catering to alternative eating habits, with a number of specifically vegan restaurants, it may be worth a try. Here are two delicious wrap recipes perfect to take for lunch on the go.

Taco Lettuce Wrap

Taco “meat”
1 cup walnuts
1/4 cup soaked sun dried tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
sprinkle of cayenne (optional)

Lettuce wrap
1 lettuce head with large leaves
1 large carrot (shredded or chopped finely)
1 avocado (sliced)
1 chopped tomato or 2 tbsp salsa
1 tsp sunflower seeds
Optional: hot sauce or chipotle sauce

Combine all ingredients for taco meat in food processor and process until it is the consistency of ground meat. Spoon spoonfuls of this mixture into the center of individual lettuce leaflets. Add veggies, sunflower seeds, and drizzle with choice sauce. Wrap up or eat taco style.

Thai Collard Wrap

Peanut sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup canned coconut milk
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp curry paste

Collard wrap
Collard greens with stem from the base removed
Sliced tofu (raw, baked, or fried in skillet)
Shredded cabbage
Green onions (chopped)
Carrots (shredded)
Cilantro leaves
Sesame seeds

Blend all peanut sauce ingredients until smooth and put aside in a dipping bowl. Place desired portions of tofu, veggies, and sesame seeds in the center of each collard leaf and wrap up like a burrito. Dip the wrap in the peanut sauce as you eat.