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Veg Stock Hack (VS Plant Oils)

You'd think that our reactions against eating plant-based protein like tofu or skipping dairy, things with eyes, processed junk, or faux-vegan foods would create a bit of eyebrow-raising and eye-rolling... but no. It's the letting go of empty-calorie, nutrient-poor OIL* that seems to rankle us humans most!

 

Here's the deal: cooking and sautéing, can be done by slowly adding veggie stock intermittently while letting ingredients cook. The veggies brown and that savory-umami caramelization still happens. Even clean up is a breeze, if you soak the skillet-pot-pan. 

For example, sautéing onions without oils can be successfully done with the following steps. Keep in mind that this takes a little practice (and is worth the effort). Also, each vegetable, starch, etc might need to be adjusted in terms of timing and amount of veggie stock. By the way, some plant-based cooks add veg stock (or water) to the pan before adding ingredients. I wouldn't recommend this, as the dry heat allows the caramelization (browning) process to do its magic. 
 

  • Heat up fry pan (aka skillet) for one minute on med-high, then add onions.

  • Let the onions begin to brown a bit first, then stir. 

  • As the onions begin to stick, stir a bit more.

  • When onions are browned, add a couple tablespoons of veggie stock and scrape the bottom of the pan well.

  • Repeat adding a dash of veggie stock and continue to scrape the bottom of the pan, as needed.

 

My best culinary advice? Make home-made veggie stock with (almost) everything in your kitchen. Include 1/4 to 1/2 cup of lentils (51g / 102g) and a handful of dried shiitake mushrooms for texture and nutrition. And don't shy away from garlic, herbs, and spices, as well as frozen veggies (good value, too). Always start with a mirepoix base (onions, celery, carrots) and add whatever you have. After it's drained and cooled, transfer to small containers. Keep some in the fridge and freeze the rest. Voila! Nutrish stock for everyday cooking. Bonus: this is an inexpensive, low-waste cooking hack.

* NOTE: first cold-pressed olive oil has been shown to improve brain health in some reputable studies. However, the negative effect of added oil - via the saturated fat content and empty calories - outweighs the benefits. A pure olive oil spray in small amounts is probably fine (beware of silicone added)... but WHY if we can't ultimately taste it and it has a tiny added value? Plus, WPF for brain health are readily available and include: green leafies, cruciferous family, raw walnuts, berries (especially blueberries), apples, ginger, fennel, rosemary, basil, dark cacao powder (72%+), and garlic.

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