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From 3 July 2005 Issue

Sausage and Lentils
From Greg Lawson - ParkStranger@aol.com 

I was just watching Emeril Live on the Food Network. I love and hate the Food Network; there is so very little about that channel that is vegan friendly. It is painful watching so many of the cooks slamming a piece of dead animal on the counter and saying "Mmmm, isn't that beautiful?" Well, no, it's pretty disgusting to those of us of the vegetarian persuasion.

Occasionally there are vegetarian recipes on some of the shows, but it's obvious that they really don't understand the concept of vegetarianism. Once on the show Sarah's Secrets, Sarah made a "vegetarian" casserole with chicken stock. Hello, Sarah? Chickens don't grow on vines. Hey babe, maybe you are thinking of Chick Peas.

I think I understand why there are no purely vegetarian shows on the Food Network. If there was one, it would just about invalidate all the other shows on the channel. Unless the presenter chef kept their mouth shut about ethics, about the environmental reasons for veganism, about the many health benefits of a plant-based diet and just presented the vegan dishes, they would be in conflict with all the other bloody, greasy, nasty, unethical, germy, smelly, environmentally irresponsible, health-endangering meat based shows.

So anyway, tonight I liked and hated Emeril's recipe for French Sausage and Lentils and I realized how easy it would be to veganize, so I stole his recipe and made it animal-friendly. Emeril usually kicks up the garlic so I did, Another Notch. I also added some hot pepper flakes, cause I live in El Paso and eat hot peppers every day. By the way, did you know hot pepper can kick up your metabolism and help you lose weight? If the vegan products I call for in this recipe aren't available in your area, they can be ordered from The Mail Order Catalog ( http://www.healthy-eating.com/ ) or from veganessentials.com or Pangea at http://veganstore.com/ or you can use whatever vegan meat substitutes you have on hand. Feel free to play around with this recipe as you so desire, after all, I stole it, make it your own.
............................................

Vegan Sausage and Lentils

(Prep time - 15 minutes, Cooking time - 1 hour. 4 to 5 servings, tons of good quality protein, minimal animal suffering [just the bugs and small animals who died in the lentil fields. Hey, we aren't perfect, we just try to minimize suffering as best we can])

* 4 slices vegan bacon, diced (Lightlife brand, an alternative can be two strips of Primal Strips brand jerky, hickory flavored)
* 1 stick Vegi-Deli brand Quick Stix (any flavor) cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces, and halved crosswise,
* 3 Yves brand vegan sausage links
* 1.5 oz bag of Stonewall's Jerky (mild or wild)
* 1/2 cup diced onion
* 1/4 cup diced fennel bulb (optional)
* 1/4 cup diced carrots
* 2 teaspoon minced garlic
* 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 cup brown lentils
* 2 sprigs fresh thyme or a teaspoon dried thyme
* 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes and their juices
* a shot of wine if needed, for the pan or for the cook
* 3 cups vegetable stock (add more stock or water if you desire, but this should not be a soup)

* 1/4 cup whole-grain mustard, for serving
* Crusty vegan bread, for serving (suggestions for the bread - spread with crushed garlic and or parsley and or non-trans fat vegan margarine or shredded white vegan cheese)

Heat the olive oil.
Place the vegan bacon in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the bacon until crispy, about 3 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan. Brown the sausages, in the hot oil until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Remove the vegan sausages from the saucepan and set aside. Add the onions, fennel (if desired), and carrots to the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and bay leaf and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the lentils and stir, about 1 minute. Return the browned sausages and bacon to the pan, stir in the thyme, hot pepper flakes, tomatoes, Stonewall's Jerky, Quick Stix pieces and vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook 50 to 55 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and have soaked up most of the liquid. Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.

Serve the lentils and sausage with mustard and crusty bread.

Go on to Those Colorful Rubber Bracelets
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