• I recently took a trip to New Orleans and was totally blown away by the culture. @lac30 and I went to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and had such an amazing time. We also got to explore all the beautiful and historically rich neighborhoods of the city, which included trying a lot of delicious vegan variations of classic NOLA dishes. (@seednola was THE BEST. Vegan Beignets FTW!) I was inspired to explore the area's food for the Nut-Free Vegan site, and today I'm presenting a slightly different take on traditional creole dirty rice. This one is filled with amazing spices and vegetables, and the secret ingredient that really puts it over the top is that I ditched the usual pork sausage and chicken gizzards, opting instead for everybody's favorite plant-based protein: the @beyondmeat Beyond Burger. Obviously, it's delicious! Get the link in the bio and see for yourself. Do you have a favorite creole dish? I'd love to hear what it is!
  • The weather is really starting to warm up and it seems like it might finally be here to stay. That means you'll need something to help you stay cool. Enter these delicious Piña Colada Popsicles! With only FIVE ingredients they're really easy to make and super refreshing thanks to the tropical flavors. If you want a festive way to chill this summer, grab the link in the bio and give these a try!
  • Today I'm sharing another recipe from the website's Staples and How-Tos page: Nut-free, Vegan Ranch Dressing. If you haven't visited this section yet, its mission is to provide simple ways to make common plant-based items you'd probably have throughout your refrigerator and cupboards. The recipes are often things there are a million versions of online, but these, of course, are made without nuts—something that isn't always the case in other versions. . . . This recipe for a simple Ranch dressing is incredibly easy and works as a fine base for other flavors. I, for instance, love Ranch with a little avocado blended in. That's just one of countless ways to jazz it up though. What's your favorite way to eat it? And what kinds of things can you not eat without a heaping helping of Ranch to accompany them? I use it on A TON of different things—sometimes as a dressing, but mostly as a dip for just about everything. 😳 . . . Grab the recipe in the bio and bookmark it for whenever you need to restock on everybody's favorite dressing!
  • For Throwback Thursday I thought I'd share one of the most popular recipes on the Nut-Free Vegan website. It's a Beefless Beef Stew, which incorporates @Gardein Beefless Tips to help it keep that "meaty" flavor. I think this dish has been such a big hit for the site because it's a veganized version of a comfort food that everybody knows and loves. I've received quite a few emails and comments to the effect of "I made this for my family and they didn't even miss the meat!" I love that. To me, dishes like this—and all these new plant-based options we're seeing in the fast food industry—could be a great transition tool into a vegan lifestyle. I don't have any statistics—either for this recipe or those Impossible Whoppers—that prove this is true. But I think if any of these things can get an individual, or better yet, a family to skip meat for at least one meal per week, it makes a difference. When I started this site I set out to be of service (that's kind of my mantra in life in general), to the animals, to the planet and to people. And while this Beefless Beef Stew isn't necessarily the kind of thing I want to post too regularly, I'm happy that it's been successful in reaching so many non-vegans. That makes a difference on a lot of levels. Grab the link in the bio and try it for yourself! (Note: I think Gardein's incredibly beef-like beefless tips are really at the center of what's made so many people love this!)
  • I'm taking a break from food today to share something different. Every once in a while I'll post a photo of an animal friend from a sanctuary, and I think this one of Bruno, the one-ton steer at @FarmSanctuary in California is so great. I got to watch this big boy goof around while my wife, @lac78, was nearby. He had such a beautiful personality and really enjoyed playing with people. It was a great reminder of why, after reading Jonathan Safran Foer's book, EATING ANIMALS, I immediately opted into a #vegan lifestyle. If you follow my account or visit my site, you probably know about all the amazing work these sanctuaries do, and just how similar the animals they look after—the lucky few who, in most cases, escaped short, torturous existences—are to us humans. And if you're not aware, if you're only here for the food, I encourage you to look up a nearby sanctuary and plan a visit. There are many of them now, so chances are there's one around. . . I'm only bringing this up today because sometimes I want to remind people—and myself—why I began The Nut-Free Vegan and why I live my life the way I do. Protecting and doing no harm to these animals is ultimately why the site exists. And I also mention it because last night I listened to a really moving interview with photographer @IsaLeshko on the CBC (do yourself a favor and Google "Isa Leshko CBC and listen to it—you'll thank me latter) about her book, ALLOWED TO GROW OLD, which consists of images of aging animals at sanctuaries. These photos are treasures because most of the cows, chickens, sheep and other creatures born into the factory farming industry will never see an age close to those captured in this book. Isa's project is a great reminder of why people who are "vegan for the animals" made that choice. And with this most recent U.N. report citing factory farming as potentially the biggest contributor to the environmental catastrophy we and every other species is in the middle of, it's a good idea to spread the word about just how sentient and important these animals are, because saving them could mean saving ourselves.

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