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The College Greens: Plant-Strongifying Recipes!

Plant-Strongifying Recipes

When you start eating a plant-strong diet, there are a lot of “typical” or “traditional”
foods that don’t make the cut. This can be especially hard around the holidays, when
family recipes and holiday customs are so tightly tied to the celebrations. Most of
the time, we recommend that you try to find new foods to bring into the holiday mix,
creating new traditions for you and your family to share. People often get caught
up in trying to find replacements that are exact re-creations of their old meals, and
feel discouraged when “it’s not the same.” Especially in the case of faux cheeses or
meats, these products are typically highly processed and aren’t really plant-strong
choices. Instead of trying to replicate your old meals, we suggest branching out and
embracing the goodness that plant-strong meals have to offer.

However, sometimes there is that one dish that you really just don’t want to give
up. In that case, you just need to re-work the recipe to bring out its plant-strong
potential :) Most dishes can be plant-strongified. They may not come out the exact
same texture or taste as the original, but they are usually pretty close and just as
delicious! (And who knows, maybe you’ll end up liking the new version even better
than the original!) This week, we each selected one of our favorite family recipes
that we have plant-strongified to share with all of you.

***

In Tara’s family, it’s an unspoken rule that her mom’s famous Squash Soufflé be
present at basically every family gathering. When Tara started eating a plant-based
diet, she and her mom re-worked the recipe so that Tara could continue to enjoy
sharing the family favorite. The texture is a little different, but the taste was not
compromised in any way whatsoever. The yumfest continues :)

Here are the original recipe ingredients:
1/3 cup margarine
2 cups squash (acorn, or acorn and butternut)
1/2-3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup white flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 pinch baking soda
1 pinch salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
cinnamon to sprinkle on top

Here’s the new plant-strong version:
2 cups squash
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

2 Tbsp ground flax mixed with 6 tablespoons water (egg replacement)
1 pinch baking soda
1 pinch salt
1 cup almond milk (we usually use vanilla)
1 tsp vanilla
cinnamon to sprinkle on top

(bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes)

***

When Craig was growing up, there were always a few times each year when,
unexpected and unannounced, the smell of cinnamon buns cooking in the oven
would infuse the morning air with promises of a good day to come. But now, with a
plantified cinnamon bun recipe on hand, the smell of goodness comes even sweeter
in knowing that it comes not from a can, but from a wholesome, healthier and
family-prepared treat.

In Craig’s case, there isn’t a “beforehand” recipe because they used to just buy the
ready-made dough to pop out of the can and put straight into the oven. Now, with a
homemade recipe, not only is it healthier, but it also adds a whole new dimension to
the activity because you can enjoy mixing and making the dough yourself!

Lindsay Nixon (Happy Herbviore)’s cinnamon bun recipe can be found here. 

***

For Jenna, one simple meal that was a family favorite, and has now been plant-
strongified, is the quick and tasty quesadilla. Instead of a regular flour tortilla,
chicken, and loads of cheese, there are countless varieties of plant-strong
quesadillas to make. You can start with a whole wheat or corn tortilla (Ezekiel
are Jenna’s top choice). Pick a bean (or two!) next. Then chop up and sauté a nice
variety of vegetables, or you can just leave them raw. Time for some spices and
nutritional yeast, and then it’s ready to be all mixed together and placed in the
tortilla and warmed in the oven or skillet. Then top your masterpiece with some
fresh salsa, avocado, hummus, or other plant-strong topping. Let your creativity and
tastebuds run free and enjoy creating your own plant-strong quesadilla (and maybe
new family favorite)!!

Some tried and true favorite combinations:

Spicy Quesadillas
-kidney beans (and/or black beans)
-mushrooms
-spinach (or other greens)

-onion
-peppers
-corn
-garlic
-cumin, chili powder, oregano, nutritional yeast
-fresh salsa (topping)

“Italian” Quesadillas
-cannellini beans
-mushrooms
-onion
-peppers
-broccoli
-kale (or other greens)
-garlic
-marinara sauce
-oregano, basil, parsley, nutritional yeast

Sweet Potato Quesadillas
-black beans
-sweet potato (cubed)
-onion
-peppers
-mushrooms
-collard greens (or other greens)
-garlic
-tomato sauce
-lime juice, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, nutritional yeast
-avocado (topping)

***

When getting into the plant-strong lifestyle, we really recommend jumping in and
fully appreciating all of the wonderful new flavors that the wide world of plants
has to offer. However, we also understand that sometimes, there might be that one
meal that you just can’t cut your sentimental ties with. And in that case, we want you
to know that plant-strongification is completely possible. So go for it! You may be
surprised what deliciousness you will uncover when you seek out a recipe’s plant-
strong potential.

Planting love,

-The College Greens

About the author

The College Greens
The College Greens: Tara, Jenna, and Craig. Tara is a junior at Bucknell University, currently majoring in Education and minoring in Creative Writing, and planning to do a nutrition program upon graduation. Jenna is a sophomore attending Duquesne University, and she is studying to become a Physician Assistant. Both Tara and Jenna are certified in Plant-Based Nutrition through Dr.Campbell's eCornell program. Craig is a senior at Bucknell University. He is majoring in Chemistry and minoring in English, and is planning to go to medical school to become a pediatrician, where he hopes to incorporate lifestyle medicine in his practice.

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