Category Archives: Great Products

Food products and cooking tools for the non-fat vegan

Smart Ground and GimmeLean Sausage

I’m big on recipe adaptations. Often, I play with completely different ingredients  and simply build the recipe’s original flavors on top of those new textures. For example, I have a luscious Tagine (stew) that was formerly Chicken Tagine, but is now Yam Tagine.   Sometimes, though, I just want a meat-like product to use so that the new version of my recipe really resembles the original version!  For my ground beef recipes, Smart Ground really does the trick.  First of all, it has no added fat, which is an Esselstyn requirement.  Secondly, it is  tasty and has a similar texture to ground beef.  It is made by Lightlife, and they have a number of products that I really like that fit the no-fat vegan requirements of Caldwell Esselstyn’s diet.

Prior to my awakening, I was a big sausage and brat lover.  Lightlife has saved my sanity with their GimmeLean Sausage.  I use it often when cooking a lentils or any kind of casserole, or I just add it to my oven baked vegetable medley of the week.   One thing to note- both these products will break down eventually if used in a soup.  Usually it is about day 3 of a batch of lentil soup when I notice that the texture is not quite so meat-like.  The flavor is always good though!  You can get these products at Fred Meyer in their natural foods section.

Vegan Yellow Curry Paste

I love curry, so I’ve been on a hunt for fat-free curry mixes.  I like to curry a delicious vegetable ragout with yams and potatoes, apples, onions and brussel sprouts.  It’s easy!  Just spice some vegetable broth with your curry and “roast” the combo above in a covered dish until tender.  Finish it with a little cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken the broth and eat!  Mae Ploy brand curries come from Thailand, and the Yellow Curry is my favorite.  It is actually a paste, and will last for a long time in the frig…maybe a year.  An absolutely luscious combination of lemongrass, garlic, galangal (blue ginger) and kaffir lime, with a touch of cardamom, cinnamon, coriander and tumeric, it is by far the best yellow curry I’ve tasted.  I get mine at a local ethnic market (Star Market on Aurora Ave N.), but you can get it at Amazon – Mae Ploy Yellow Curry.   They make several varieties, but the yellow curry is their only vegan type.  Check out my Yellow Curry Noodle Soup with Braised Radish and Eggplant.

No-Fat Vegan Queso

This stuff is wonderful, and this chef gets a giant star for recognizing the importance of offering a tasty vegan convenience product that contains no oil!  This is a delicious sauce used to accompany beautiful vegan dishes, OR to make a meal out of a simple bowl of pasta or mashed sweet potatoes.   Let’s be honest…no-fat vegans have to spend a lot of time planning and cooking from scratch, and the choice of no-oil vegan convenience foods are scarce.  It feels as decadent as a day at the spa when someone else cooks for me!  Find it at Whole Foods.

Non-Stick Cookware

Years ago, I tossed all my non-stick cookware.  At the time, the “benefits” of cooking with olive oil were being broadly preached to consumers, just as the health and environmental risks of traditional non-stick coatings were becoming well-known.   When I read Dr. Esselstyn’s book “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, and made the decision to remove oil from my diet completely, I knew I was going to need a new strategy for non-stick sauteing and baking.

Today, there is a new crop of environmentally friendly non-stick cookware being introduced to consumers.  There are many brands available, and I recommend shopping online first to read vendor claims about the usability and longevity of their cookware.  For my purposes, I wanted a product that would work for both stove top and oven; as well as something that would last without the constant scratches and peeling that have always afflicted my non-stick pans.

I read literally hundreds of consumer comments and reviews, and finally settled on a titanium fused pan.  Downside: cost.   Upside: everything else.   My pan is non-stick on the inside and outside, so a breeze to clean.  It is oven safe, so I use it for both sauteing and baking. I’ve run this pan through its paces aggressively, and unlike comments about other new “green” brands, I can see no degradation in its “slippery-ness”. There are several makers of titanium fused cookware on the market, mostly in Europe, but I chose Woll’s Nowo brand.  It is extremely well-engineered, with a cool removable handle for baking and ease of storage.

I use this pan every day and honestly, I’m not sure I could be a no-fat vegan without it.  Fabulous.  Check it out – Woll Titanium Fused Frypan