You’ll hear it time and time again from new and seasoned vegans alike: “Veganism encouraged me to get creative.” Learning a whole new way of eating can be daunting, for sure. But when the heart is all in, there is no stopping us.
My creative foodie self didn’t fully awaken until two important events occurred:
Firstly, I had 2 jobs that fostered my culinary creativity. One was at a cafe which showcased organic ingredients and vegan-friendly options. It was there that I learned my beginner skills; knife skills, flavor pairings, basic recipe development, etc. Following that, I worked at a raw vegan cafe and learned even more creative ways to approach food, this time from the raw food perspective.
What was most important in these jobs was that I was encouraged to explore my enthusiasm for food, and my managers took an active interest in helping me, answering all of my questions, and giving me the freedom to express myself through my job responsibilities. Needless to say, it wasn’t the typical kitchen cook experience. Have you ever read Kitchen Confidential? Now that’s a more accurate depiction of working in kitchens!
The second important event that unleashed my creativity was when I switched to eating mostly whole, unprocessed vegan foods. I did this for my health, during a dark period of illness, and so regaining my health was incentive enough to stick to my new path. Stick to the path I did, and I wanted to do it right. I read nutrition books and learned about different foods and what they provide for our bodies. I wanted to squeeze every bit of nutrition out of the foods that I could, and I wanted to feel as vibrant as the summer sun.
With my steadfast motivation, I worked up a storm in the kitchen with every spare moment that I had. In this phase of my life, I grew more than I ever imagined that I could. I’ve embraced my relationship with earth’s nutritious gifts, and in turn I’ve been enriched in body, mind, and spirit.
This post is the first of a new series here, Vegans Create!, in which I hope to demonstrate easy ways that we can creatively satisfy our whole selves through our compassionate diets. Today, I am sharing a recipe for a fancied up hemp milk. I served it with a bowl of granola, which is how I like this best, but you can use it any way you’d like!
What I love about hemp milk is that it doesn’t need to be strained. That means that if you don’t have any vegan milk on hand but need some, hemp milk can be made in a minute without any mess! I made this on a day that I didn’t have any greens yet, and I saw an opportunity to get some in. I added in romaine, a mild green which you most likely can’t detect in the milk. You can also try using spinach. I also added in lucuma because I love it’s deep caramel flavor and how it adds some body to the milk.
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 Tbsp lucuma*
1 1/2-3 cups romaine leaves, roughly chopped
desired sweetener to taste**
-Add all ingredients to the blender (add in the romaine last) and blend until smooth.
*The lucuma is primarily used to thicken this up. If you don’t have lucuma and want it to be thicker, try adding some of your favorite protein powder, a tablespoon or so more of hemp seeds, or a couple tablespoons of rolled oats.
**Because granola is already sweet, I didn’t add any sweetener into the milk. If you would like a sweeter milk, add in a few dates or a Tbsp or so of your favorite liquid sweetener, or 2-3 drops of stevia.