So, usually I’m not a fan of fake business – fake vegan meat, replicated mince, “chick’n” dishes…whatever. Since Man-thing got his birthday present of a 3-in-1 waffle-maker/snackwicher/griller his mind has been spinning with all the goodies he can make. He was rather sad-face about the lack of tuna cheese snackwich (which is apparently a favourite), since we don’t keep meat in the house, so I’ve decided to show him that it is possible to make something similar which is delicious, healthy and sensational, really. There are some amazing recipes out there already, so this is just a another mini variation on the theme – it can be pimped out to the heavens and back with endless modifications depending on your kitchen swag. Mushed corn folded in? Yes please! Cheesy, nommy sweet potato sauce, or eggplant queso dip sauce? Testify! Chocolate sprinkles? …ok, maybe not. This meal is 100% savoury and I love it for that fact alone.
This filling can be kept in the fridge for pretty much anything – a “tuna” pasta, salad, or wrapped in some delicious lettuce leaves. I made lots on purpose so that I could try all three 😀 I can’t claim outright that this tastes “just like the real thing”, because a) I haven’t had tuna in years, and b) Man-thing pulled his indulgent face, even though I thought it tasted pretty darn similar, but it’s frakken delicious, especially if you add the extras such as tofu and stuff. So, what you see below is the basics – the scaffolding upon which a Michelangelo might perch with a pastry brush and a portable blender. Vegan tuna should be a source of celebration, of joy! I apologize, therefore, for the blargh bread (Man-thing’s choice, not mine!) and instead draw your attention to my fabulous new plates! Shiny! 😀
Ingredients (makes about 2-3 cups):
- 1 sheet nori/seaweed wrap, chopped finely
- 2.5 cups chickpeas, mushed with a fork (or roughly 1 can)
- 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
- 1 TBSP soy sauce
- 1 medium pickle, diced finely
- 1 TBSP mustard
- 1/3 cup artichokes, chopped finely
- pinch salt
- 1/3 cup celery, minced (not actually optional but I forgot it 😦 )
- 1/2 cup tofu (didn’t have any, but this would be premium for extra creaminess)
Plonk some of this in a pita with some tofu mayonnaise, or with some tahini-tomato sauce with lettuce and crispy radishes for the bestest lunch meal ever! Alas we had no pitas, but a girl can dream. 😀
Whilst Man-thing was making a snackwich for me to photograph (since I had a salad & soup combo all laid out for my lunch) I had to stop him and make my own version for snaps because he was sprinkling cheese everywhere on his. He bought cheese (for the first time in months!) because of the bread-acrobatic machine, and since I didn’t have agar powder to make vegan cheese I wasn’t in any position to argue with that, since he keeps the house 100% meat-free of his own choice. Whilst we were then in production-line mode we started discussing the excessive consumption of animal products in society, and how unnecessary the quantities were (“never mind” the animal cruelty, if I can even say such a thing, because that’s my #1 reason for being a vegan).
Man-thing passionately understands that overindulgence/consumption is part of a greater problem, and actually gets excitable when he tells me that if humans were to cut down their animal meals it would make an immense difference. He truly understands my position, often stopping at random during the day to tell me how proud he is to have a vegan wife who sticks to her guns (d’aw). He’ll also not share with others what I learnt for myself later on (e.g. lack of B12 can lead to serious health issues and also to funny side-effects such as greying hair) so that people won’t give me “told you so’ speeches. He also says he knows he’s a hypocrite (his words), but knowing what he does about the impact and reality of cruetly just isn’t enough (though he hasn’t watch all the videos of industry farming, for example). He will enjoy himself at barbecues and at a meat-laden buffet, because he says eating vegetarian 90% of the time already makes him feel good that he’s possibly waylaying the chances of heart disease and other issues later on in life, as tend to strike middle-aged men.
The fact that he can honestly tell me that cutting back on eating animal products (he’s also on soy milk now!) makes him feel positive about the future and his health is great, and I’m just as proud of him for making that decision for his own sake. He can choose on his on time whether he’d like to be a committed vegetarian or even vegan in later life, but for now I am so utterly blessed to have found a husband who will hold me through the mini-panic attacks at restaurants when we’re not sure if what served is actually vegan, who will set aside his shyness and speak to managers on my behalf, or simply say that I feed him enough in front of my family. Those things mean the world to me; he means the world to me! If his current reduced-flesh lifestyle means more years together, hurrah and cheer!
My actual point is that it’s interesting when I get roped into these unsolicited conversations where people just want to address the fact that they consume animal products but know there’s that “something” wrong about it. It becomes tricky because I want to be sensitive to people I care about, champion their small concessions to trying to minimize their impact on animals and those industries, and I want them to feel “safe” enough around me to discuss these issues without feeling threatened and defensive, as many appear to be around vegans/vegetarians. On the other hand, there’s a burning in my gut, in my soul and in my brain that just whirls with images of the cruel realities of the abuse of animals for human consumption on the various levels of existence, and how I feel I should share what I’ve read or seen because it’s as logical as pulling back someone who’s about to cross the road and get hit by a car. Sound extreme? Animal cruelty is extreme, brutal and undeniable.
I still feel intense guilt over the fact that, despite wanting to go vegetarian at 13, I didn’t step up early enough and begin my transition to veganism. I feel guilt over being such a “quiet” person and not taking every opportunity to dish out info and opinions, but sometimes (or most of the time), I become rather selfish and simply want people to be ok around me, to not think I’m judging them – I just actually want to help everyone and everything, but it doesn’t always seem possible; it’s almost a battle within one’s own species to negotiate the terms of existence. I’m not going to force my views on anyone if I can help it, but I need to learn to also be able to share my experiences in a positive way that doesn’t petrify people. I guess that’s why baking & making cruelty-free foods is the best way for me to try and strike that balance; to be able to live with myself and with others.
Phew! WALL OF TEXT, BEGONE! (I fully allow readers to skip across to the pictures, recommendations & recipes and prance off again *shygrin*)