Tuesday, February 3, 2009

More Veg Out With Mike

One of my favorite hobbies is traveling, visiting new places, or revisiting old haunts, and exploring all that those areas have to offer. During these explorations, I often find myself seated at a table, fork in hand, excited to indulge in the local culinary offerings. My ultimate quest is to discover the best eggplant Parmesan trattoria or tastiest pizza palace. I also scour downtowns and back alleyways in search of classic Mexican or Asian cuisine, delectable vegetarian fare or delis that offer amazing subs, heroes, grinders, hoagies, Dagwoods…er, sandwiches. And don’t forget good, old-fashioned diner food.

Ahh, those were the days, right? I mean, you’re saying to yourselves: Mike can’t eat all that diner food, given that he’s a vegetarian, that he is constantly shoving healthy eating down our throats, that if he doesn’t use the word “fiber” in every other sentence something very bad may happen to him.

Hold on a second: FIBER, FIBER, FIBER!

There, I feel so much better. Where was I? Right, explaining how much I miss some of the greasy, tasty, fattening, comforting foods that are found in thousands of diners or cafes across the far reaches of this planet. Foods like fried chicken, chicken-fried steak, bacon and eggs, cheeseburgers, macaroni and cheese, Reuben sandwiches or a home-cooked turkey dinner with all the fixings. And meatloaf.

Man, of all those comfort foods that I have given up in search of a healthier, slimmer, happier Mike, meatloaf with mashed potatoes, smothered in brown gravy is tops on my list.

Wait, did someone mention brown gravy? Here’s a meat-free brown mushroom gravy that tastes as good as your granny used to make:


One of the reasons I created my VEG OUT WITH MIKE series was the need to find healthier ways to enjoy comfort foods, like meatloaf. But there’s one large obstacle for someone like me when it comes to meatloaf.

Ah, what’s that, Mike?

How about the first four letters.

You mean: M-E-A-T?


My challenge was to create a meatless meatloaf, without giving up flavor and texture, while not only satisfying my vegetarian and heart-healthy lifestyle, but a meatless loaf that was loaded with protein. Because like it or not (and I know many of you LOVE meat), meat remains the number one source of protein. And one of the biggest challenges for us veg-heads is making sure we get enough protein in our daily diets. Which brings me to my next video:


This meatless meatloaf has over 50 grams of vegetable protein and is loaded with FIBER…there’s that word again. And the best part: It tastes great!

But who can eat meatloaf, meatless or otherwise, without mashed potatoes? I already showed you how to make a delicious brown gravy, meat-free and healthy, now all we need are some potatoes (and a few veggies, like broccoli or cauliflower or asparagus or carrots, on the side), mashed and smothered with milk and butter, right?


These garlic smashed potatoes have no butter or milk. And I gotta tell ya, they are one of the tastiest dishes I’ve inhaled in a long time. A friend of mine just tried this recipe, a gentleman who loves his butter, by the way, and told me that these potatoes were amazing. To quote: “I actually tasted the potato…and that’s a good thing!” For the best mashed potatoes, and the healthiest, you’ve ever wolfed down, check out this video:


Have I forgotten anything? I don’t think so. Okay, maybe dessert. I’m going to have to work on that one, perhaps for the next Veg Out With Mike.

Remember, comfort foods don’t have to be loaded with unhealthy fats and sodium and animal protein to still taste good…and bring you the comfort that has made them your favorites since childhood. I hope you enjoy one, or all, of the above recipes. And, as always, keep living your (healthy) life every day, every way with livelife365.

Until next time…




Faisal Admar said...

i was so shock at first when see the cooking picture. i thought you really against your rule which is eating meat lol.

i was cheated before when i attended a biz meeting in one of the hotels in penang, malaysia and i thought they cooked fish and some other meats but i only found out that they are veggie after finish eating them lol.

now you are making me hungry...

p/s: do you have any picture of you when you were young? just wonder ;)

Anonymous said...

This is a great series! The whole idea of never giving up your favorite comfort foods just because you give up meat and poultry has been the core premise of my diet and my book "Have Your Cheeseburger And Keep Your Health Too!" for over a decade.

Whether you choose to cook from scratch like you do, or use one of the many convenient meatless foods on the market that do a great job of mimicking the real thing like buffalo wings, chicken nuggets, bacon, meatballs and more, there's really no excuse for not eating foods in their healthiest, and ideally plant-based versions, since you never give up a thing!

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Anonymous said...

So ... when are you getting your own Food Network show? I hate that there are no vegetarian shows on there.

Anonymous said...

I am not a veggie but will make sure I eat some vegetable everyday.
See you around.

Anonymous said...

I love finding healthier versions of good ol' comfort foods! Thanks for these ideas.

Am HUGE on the traveling and one of the best parts about it is definitely the food. So tasty to try the local cuisines around the globe :)

Unknown said...

faisal: if prepared well, meatless dishes are delicious and make you not even think about meat. I will try to round up some old photos of me younger. You can watch the beginning of my "I Miss My Hair" video--those are shots of me on the bike and flashing the peace sign...

melanie: thanks for the great comment, i will have to check out that book. and i agree, meatless dishes can not only be healthy but tasty...

passionategreen: i would love to do a veggie cooking show for the food network...do you have alton brown's agent's phone number?

lunaticg: good luck with the veggies!

sagan: agreed, traveling to new places is a wonderful way to discover diverse foods.



ආගන්තුකයා said...

Such a nice Blog.I like you'r blog.Keep blogging.

Paul Eilers said...


Have you ever thought about starting your own line of food items, like Paul Newman did?

I think it would do well!

Jane Doe said...

Thanks for the info, I'm trying to eat better now since I have so many health issues. I'll be sure to try these out!

Anonymous said...

Heeeey Mike, :)

I watched this video on the meatless loaf and just love how natural you are. I felt like I was right in the kitchen with you. Having done this type of cooking most of my adult life, I just LOVED watching you and seeing what little tricks and variations you added to this. I learned a lot.

I never thought of using my electric hand-held-beater for the beans. Great idea! And the walnuts or olives I've never done. YUM!! What great additions. I have used sunflower and pumpkin seeds, etc. But I actually think walnuts would be reminiscent of my mom's stuffing on Thanksgiving Day....a taste from my past. They are so good cooked with other flavors.

Have you heard of Bragg Liquid Aminos? It's sort of like soy sauce but has no wheat or salt in it...AND YET, it is high in natural sodium and has a soysauce-ish taste, full of necessary amino acids and is made from soy. I tend to be allergic to salt, even sea salt, but BRAGG does not bother me.

You meal looked so delicious. IT would great served with squash and cranberries for Thanksgiving. I learned another cool thing. I never thought of putting gravy on meatless loaf or meatless burgers. Although I've made it many times.

I REALLY enjoyed watching this. And I am so proud of you. You are creative in many many ways, musically, cooking, artistically with the videos....just wonderful! :)


Sandee said...

Now I'm hungry for a double double from In and Out Burger. Just kidding.

Have a terrific day Mike. :)

Anonymous said...

"Remember, comfort foods don’t have to be loaded with unhealthy fats and sodium and animal protein to still taste good…and bring you the comfort that has made them your favorites since childhood." So true! Thank you for sharing some of your secrets. Much appreciated!

Jackie said...

You are really good. I love garlic mashed potatoes!! I will definitely give these a try. They sound and they looked fabulous!!

You should be on t.v.!!

Unknown said...

akon: thanks, i intend to do just that...

paul: sounds like a good idea, actually. now all i need is some of newman's money to get started...

jane: good luck

robin: wonderful insights, as usual, robin; thanks. your meatloaf recipe was an inspiration for this one. i will check out the bragg liquid aminos...

sandee: you know something, i love in and out, just can't eat the double doubles like i used to...dang it.

mark: hope your try the meatloaf...

shinade: thanks! and those garlic smashed potatoes tasted better than i could have ever hoped for...



kRiZcPEc said...

thanks for sharing the tips, yet I thought Macaroni and cheese is free of meat, only that it's surely fattening, so why skip that altogether as well? I'm curious.

Anonymous said...

As the other half of a recent vegetarian convert I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart for these recipes.

Great stuff!

Unknown said...

kriz cpec: true, mac and cheese is meatless and most vegetarians will eat it, but i plan on making a healthier version, without cheese or pasta...stay tuned...

john: good luck on your veggie conversion...



brexians said...

for those that they like the animal protein i could suggest a sauce which could skyrocket the taste of the vegetables
it is simple
1 low fat yogurt
2 fspoons kalamata virgin olive oil
1 spoon vinegar
pinch of salt peper
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill/parsley
and a pinch o hot madras curry
mix them all and bon appetit

have a wonderful week Mike and you all

Dyan said...

Mike: There is always something interesting here! I've awarded you the Triple Award. You'll find it here: http://blog.voiceoftheangels.com

pchi said...

I love veggies!

but sometimes I feel like eating grass!

but yes, fiber is really a big deal and they're obviously more healthy than meat

Anonymous said...

Mike, I'm not a vegetarian, but eat large quantities nontheless. I enjoy garlic potatoes but never thought to add the olive oil to the combination! I won't make that mistake again! Nice article!

Ish said...

I will definitely try the vegan mushroom gravy i hope it taste good!!!

j said...

You are a great ambassador for the vegetarian cause.

One of the things I learned to love at the Natural Gourmet was tempeh, which can be made into all sorts of tasty comfort foods (like sausage, for example; or part of a veggie reuben). But that seems like a tough ingredient to make mainstream. Perhaps you would be the one to make it so ...

Unknown said...

anuntpioc: looks tasty...

dyan: wow, thanks, i will check it out

pchi: nothing against meat, but fiber = forever

bill: you gotta try them with olive oil; you will not be disappointed

health assistant: just have to keep stirring it, and stirring, and stirring...

jennifer: i will try to create a tempeh recipe just for you since you called me a "great ambassador for the vegetarian cause"; thanks for the tip!



Susan Blake said...

So glad I stumbled onto your site! I'm signing up to follow you. I have a lentil loaf recipe you'd love, and I gave up mashed potatoes and use smashed cauliflower instead - I need the fiber and nutrients. Its fun to come up with new things isn't it? Hope you'll stop by my blog space too.

Faisal Admar said...

i agree with shenade. you should be on tv! hehehehehe.

Unknown said...

suzen: that lentil loaf sounds intriguing...will check out your site and let you know what i think...

faisal: where do i sign up?



Martin MY said...

I really admire your inventivness. Being a Vegetarian I always thought was a tough life, but you seem to hbe thriving. Although I'd never become a vegetarian, you have mmy total respect for how you live you dietry life and what you do to inpire others. Soon to become Guru if not already Mike I suspect!

jh said...

I really think that this is the way to impact people's health. Like it or not the way to eat healthier is to start by making the food we eat healthier and then move on from there. There is a smart reason why our mothers put cheese on our cauliflower and broccoli! These recipes are awesome. The meatloaf is one I will have to try soon. Thanks.

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Anonymous said...

I make your potatoes about once a week. They're amazing. Sometimes I saute some fresh rosemary sprigs... and add white truffle oil

Anonymous said...

I like your information... Very good for all..

Anonymous said...

same with you, i like veg, we need to always to take veg to prevent most common diseases and better living.

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