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Thinking about going vegan, but not ready to give up cheese? You're certainly not alone. Many vegans have gone through a period where giving up cheese felt impossible. Pizza is one of my favorite foods, and I never thought I would be able to give it up.
Aside from fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy eaters know how important it is to stock their kitchens with other nutritious foods that are less perishable. If you want to commit to healthful eating, making it easy to eat well with a well-stocked pantry is your key to success.
The best part about my bi-monthly jaunt to the Asian grocery store isn’t just stocking up on potstickers, dried shiitakes, and chili sauce, but roaming the aisles looking for new stuff to try. From frozen sheets of tofu skin to whole lotus roots, I’ve (almost) tried it all—with varying degrees of culinary success. One of the best moves I ever made was working up the courage to try rice-paper wrappers. Something about them always intimidated me—their stiff translucence, for starters. How do those rough, papery sheets morph into those deliciously delicate rolls that I order every time I set foot inside a Vietnamese restaurant?
Generally, I consider myself an early adopter, but I have to admit that sometimes, I really am the very last person alive to hear a new band, read the latest bestseller, or try a trendy food. That would definitely be the case with amaranth, which I didn’t discover until everyone and their grandmothers were already on board. Better late than never, though, right?
Summertime makes me giddy, and it’s not just the sunshine and subsequent Vitamin D boost that puts me in a good mood. It’s partly the produce: Those juicy tomatoes, succulent stone fruit, and vine-ripened peppers must contain some secret feel-good phytochemicals, because I feel fabulous after eating them. I’m also a big fan of shelling beans—favas, runner beans, and my favorite, cranberry beans. I buy them by the bucketload as soon as they make an appearance at the farmers’ market.
The guys who work the vegetable stands in Paris’ open-air markets really know how to reel in new customers. “Goûtez! Goûtez!” they insist (“Taste! Taste!”). I usually obey orders and am often so seduced by the flavor of a juicy Clementine or perfectly ripe strawberry that I end up walking away with a big box. Recently, I found myself toting home an oversized package of dates, wondering what the heck I was going to do with them all now that I had a lifetime supply.
I think it was Plato who said “necessity is the mother of invention.” Never has this maxim resonated more with me than in the kitchen, where many surprisingly tasty meals were born out of sheer lack of options coupled with a strong desire to eat. This spinach pesto is a good example.
Rice noodles are a staple in Asian cooking. In China, wide rice noodles are cooked, then fried in a hot wok to make tasty chow fun; in Thailand, thin rice vermicelli makes an appearance alongside fried tofu and fresh mint inside cool rice-wrapper rolls; and in Vietnam, bo bun is a snack-time staple: Chilled rice noodles served in a bowl with grated carrot, cucumber, basil, crushed peanuts, and a tangy dressing.
Cooking an elaborate meal is something I don’t get to do very often, and not because there aren’t enough holidays, birthdays, or ends of long work-weeks to celebrate. It’s simply because of time—lack of it. An hour spent prepping something fresh and tasty is an hour spent not cleaning off my desk, not finishing that almost-overdue library book, and not walking the dog. Enter the healthy-in-a-hurry meal. I don’t own a microwave, so there’s a limit to how quickly I can get food onto my plate and into my mouth, and besides, I’ve never been into prefab foods. Instead of relying on packaged products, I’ve developed a repertoire of fast, tasty, healthy meals that take very little time to prepare.