Real Talk About Vegan Cooking On the Internet

Rachel’s Team Pick:

I’ve been meaning to write this article myself for approximately a year. See, the thing is, while I do really believe that veganism is healthy and makes me happy, and while I own eight vegan cookbooks and follow innumerable blogs which frequently feature recipes like garlic scape pesto pasta and blackberry cornmeal pancakes, 90% of what I eat is chips and salsa. And I don’t mean by that “the type of food category to which chips and salsa belong,” I actually mean tortilla chips and jarred salsa. About once every two weeks I pull it together and make something with more than two ingredients, but ultimately working on this website is very time consuming and even if I do plan to eat something with real vegetables in it they often go bad in my fridge before I can actually make that happen. Anyways, someone else on the internet beat me to the punch in terms of coming clean with you guys about this. It’s cute and worth a read. He’s not wrong about the Goddess dressing.

lunch, dinner, and also not infrequently breakfast

Respectfully, I’d like to add a few items that I feel were overlooked:

1. Mixing chickpeas in a bowl with a bunch of tahini and lemon juice and eating it with a spoon
2. “Fancy salsa,” which involves mixing canned black beans and Mexicorn in with Tostitos salsa and involving more than one food group
3. “Nooch toast,” which is just like regular toast except you also put nutritional yeast on it
4. Putting some almond butter on a spoon and then pouring maple syrup over it, then putting it in your mouth
5. “Tasty Bite” ready-to-eat packets of Indian food, to be bought outrageous amounts when on sale at Meijer.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


    • Thank you, you just saved my life! Because the only thing left in my apartment were one apple and some peanut butter =)

  1. Rachel you are welcome to have my jar of salsa if you can open it, because I certainly can’t so it’s been sitting in my cupboard for two months. #noroommates

    • Stick a little hole in the top with a sharp knife, it breaks the vacuum seal and voila! (I try really hard to pretend I’m at least a bit butch. It does not work)

      • or you could use a spoon and push up against the underside of the lip of the lid. it’ll break the seal as well.

        • I ended up using a butter knife to kinda pop the lid off. I don’t know why I’ve never thought to do that? Usually Dina’s method works for me but this was a pretty stubborn jar.

          Anyway, hah, thanks for all the advice everyone! Of course now that the jar is open I have nothing to eat it with.

    • Turn jar upside down. Smack firmly on the counter. (On the lid. We’re not going for a bar fight here.) Open jar. SHAZAM

    • where were you guys when I just googled “how to open a jar that seems stuck” literally 10 minutes ago??!!

  2. Tasty Bites are amazing and the best! (with couscous, because, well, you have literally no money until pay day. but there’s still couscous in your cupboard)

  3. Dipping a thing in either peanut butter or salsa counts as more of my weekly meals than I’d ever admit to.

  4. If you want to get really fancy – Warm up a can of black beans, half jar of salsa and frozen corn (optional, if its on hand). Pour over some rice and ta-da!

    • Yes I do this all the time!! I use Trader Joe’s Pineapple Salsa because it’s cheap but adds a really interesting flavor.

  5. This article = my life.

    I’m trying to learn to cook, but I will always go back to the spoonful of peanut butter or hummus on my way out the door.

  6. When Im felling lazy i mix up some chai Vega nutritional shake with rice milk and sunflower seed butter in a blender and call it a day. One serving has 50% of the daily recommeded intake of almost every vitamin and mineral you can think of. So I don’t feel so guilty when I don’t eat an actual meal. =\

  7. Peanut butter and rice should become your new best friend.

    Also, Tasty Bite is SCRUMPTIOUS. The last time I had reason to buy it I had just watched The Darjeeling Limited, and so ended up buying more than was probably necessary. At least it didn’t go to waste, though.

  8. Man, toast smothered in Earth Balance. It’s perfect for when you’re too drunk to trust yourself with any utensil sharper than a butter knife.

  9. I recently discovered Trader Joe’s Punjab Choley. Instant Indian food at it’s finest! I’ve never tried “Tasty Bite,” I’ll have to look for it. Is that a Whole Foods thing or something?

  10. Hahaha this weirdly makes veganism more appealing to me, because it makes me realize that I can still be vegan AND lazy. :D

      • Before I was vegan, I never realised that I am allowed to toss a ton of things that taste nice in a bowl together, cover it in sauce, call it a bowl and eat it.

        My favorite is lazy sushi bowl.

    • I had the same thought. I am a meat eater and I still have a very lazy diet. The groups on my food pyramid are Cereal, Ramen Noodles, Pop (ok, “Soda” for those of you not from the Upper Midwest or Canada), Ice Cream, Burritos and Pizza From 7-11.

      • And my idea of cooking is when I get eggs and make the Microwaveable Omelet which looks like this!

        You get a microwave-safe bowl. Take a tiny little sliver of butter and put it at the bottom of the bowl and nuke it until the butter melts (15 seconds usually, 30 if your microwave sucks like mine and won’t let you only nuke for 15 seconds).
        Then you get two eggs and crack them in the bowl, and then beat them. Then add a couple of cups of milk and beat it with the eggs. Then, when both are well and truly beaten, pour in some salt and pepper, and add whatever “fixings” (e.g. veggies that taste good with omelets, like peppers, green onions or capers) you want in it, and stir those together.
        Nuke it for about a minute and a half to two minutes.
        Add a slice of cheese on top.
        Nuke it for another 30 seconds to a minute, as long as it takes for the cheese to melt and for everything to fully solidify. Then let it sit for a few minutes to cool down (it’s REALLY hot when it’s done!) and eat!

        Super-quick, super-lazy.

        • Also I apologize for putting a non-vegan lazy person “recipe” in a vegan post but this is the only microwave recipe I know (other than borscht, which is also not vegan) and I was wondering if maybe someone could think of a vegan equivalent of this? Because I’m not sure how using egg substitute instead of eggs might change how you would prepare.

          • I think omelets are the single most difficult thing in the world to veganize. I’m intrigued by your microwave borscht recipe though, that might be doable. Care to share :)?

          • I just noticed this comment now, but I think the only non-vegan part of it is a beef bouillon cube. I would have to look the recipe up though because I don’t know it off the top of my head.

  11. That article made me laugh because this is exactly what I do. I figured every other vegan/vegetarian out there made meals everyday and were fancy chefs or something, this has really opened my eyes.

  12. Ok-mok with almond butter and anything sweet, honey, jam, whatevs. I live off that. I have totally just poured Goddess onto random things and eaten it. Hell, I’d probably eat cardboard if it had Goddess on it.

  13. Hummus + sriracha sauce.
    Hover over container with either wheat thins or carrots. I do this almost every day when I get home from work and too hungry to make dinner yet.

  14. Despite all the awesome recipes posted on Autostraddle, this is perhaps the best food article I’ve read. Nachos & salsa are a frequent dinner of mine. If I have an avocado or some shredded cheese in the fridge, shit gets fancy. One time I put a scrambled egg on top. It was a good decision.

    My last girlfriend cooked everything from scratch and made me feel bad about things like eating Uncle Ben’s rice. And yeah, it’s easy to make rice on the stove and tastes better that way. But I can literally stick a packet in the microwave, go pee, and have dinner waiting for me. Food that makes itself? Please and thank you.

  15. Quinoa only takes 15 minutes to cook! Then you can but salsa in it. Sounds fancy and stuff but really, it’s lazy rice. And it has more protien

    • You can make quinoa in a rice cooker, too. I do so all the time. To the point where I’m not exactly sure how you’d cook it on the stove.

      • I need to know more about this! The rice cooker is a necessity, though I only recently started making anything other than rice in it. Quinoa I don’t have o watch over sounds lovely….also, you can wrap seitan “sausages” up in tin foil and throw them in the rice cooker for 40 min = voila! Who knew?!

    • I have made pasta sauce in my rice cooker, because I was too lazy to clean a pot. Yep.

  16. I make “fancy salsa” too, but mine involves mixing jar salsa half and half with that fresh pico de gallo kind of salsa they sell at grocery stores. You get flavor of the canned with the fresh texture of the other stuff!

  17. Most things I eat have nutella on them to make it edible. If I want to get fancy, I put cookie butter on it. Or walk to my mom’s house to raid her fridge for leftovers.

    • Yeah, I’m not vegan either but I love that site. I’ve been trying to eat less meat lately and I’m glad that there’s a site out there with vegetarian recipes for people like me.

      If you’re interested in other lazy-person vegan recipes I hear that PETA’s College Cookbook has a lot of them; most of them don’t involve much more than a microwave since they’re designed for college kids living in the dorms.

  18. I’m one of these strange people that actually enjoys cooking fancy stuff for fun and this entire thing is mildly horrifying for me.

    Like, people live like this? What?

    • Ever since I quit eating meat/most dairy I’ve been mildly terrified of being too lazy to get all of my necessary nutrients….that being said, this article made me giggle, and I would definitely use a few of these as quick snack options between actual meals.

    • I think I feel like this about 90% of the time… but yesterday I ate hummus and pickled turnips because I was focusing my cooking energy on making a better mojito.

    • Me too. I mean, nooch toast? D: I like toast and I like nooch but that’s just sad.

      My lazy meals: Sun chips with refried beans, avocado, and Daiya; fast simple chickpea curries; steamed vegetables; sandwiches; smoothies; bean and rice burritos with the Mahatma spanish rice.

  19. Veggie Dog in a Piece of Wheat Bread Folded to Resemble a Hot Dog Bun

    I have done this.

    Thank you. I feel validated.

    • Vegan or not, I feel like everyone has done this with a hot dog at some point.

      Better yet is when you really just say “fuck it” and eat the hot dog without the bun OR bread. I also learned from a book once that dipping uncooked hot dogs in hummus is delicious, and my life has never been the same since.

    • Thank you for this!! I wish there were a CSA that we didn’t have to drive an hour each way to pick up because I want to do tht so bad!! My partner an I are mostly vegan and eat very little processed food so I’m always on the lookout for tasty new recipes to keep things interesting. I’ll definitely be following your wife’s blog :)

  20. Not vegan but a lot of my meals are hummus. Or gluten free crackers. Not always together. Or beans. Sometimes alone. I’ve been busy lately.

    I seriously feel like I should print out these ideas and give them to my roommate though because his diet consists primarily of poptarts and this stuff is still better.

  21. Take care of yourself Rachel! I was an unhealthy veg for years and it’s no good. But despite being more proactive about my diet, I’m still lazy, so I’ve developed a few lazy recipes I do multiple times a week to make sure I’m not living off of triscuits.

    I can’t say enough about Amy’s chili. It’s full of protein and fiber and totally vegan. Just open the can, dump it in a pan, and instant meal.

    Stir fry: Chop up and throw all the veggies you have in your fridge into a pan. If you don’t have a rice maker, get one! All you have to do is throw water and rice into it and push a button. Voila. This literally takes me a half an hour to completion.

    Smoothie: I buy bananas in bulk, chop them up into pieces and freeze them, so they’re sorta like the creamy base for my smoothie. I usually use half an apple, frozen strawberries/other berries, add in protein powder and super green antioxidant powder. I sometimes add in kefir (you can find water kefir in some health stores) or just water because my blender sucks and needs liquid help.

    • Also, as a side note, if you’re ever curious just HOW BAD/GOOD your diet might be or what sorts of nutrients you might be missing in the day to day, there is an awesome free app called MyFitnessPal. It allows you to scan barcodes/search for items to track how much protein/essential nutrients you are getting daily. You can also use it to count calories if you are so inclined.

  22. Yesterday I read this, realized I was stupid hungry, found gluten free crackers in the hall (still at school), didn’t have anything to go with them besides chocolate syrup.

    It was a weird snack.

  23. I feel like there’s an interesting feminist discussion to be had about how the Internet is making us all feel guilty for not having more time/energy/desire to cook big fancy meals more often.

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