Although I haven’t committed to a completely vegan diet, I have found myself continuing down this path to a more compassionate way of eating. This journey began almost 19 years ago when I gradually stopped eating meat and became a vegetarian. During that time, I continued to eat dairy and eggs. My rationale was that no animal died for my food choices. I willfully ignored the reality that dairy cows and chickens still suffer terribly in factory farms.

With documentaries like Food, Inc., that reality is becoming harder to ignore. The plight of animals in factory farming is going mainstream. The health benefits of a vegan diet are becoming more apparent in books like the China Study. Again, I am reminded about the reasons I became a vegetarian in the first place; eating meat is bad for my health, factory farming is cruel for animals, and the meat industry is bad for the planet. It just doesn’t make sense.

In the end, it is a personal choice. I do think that everyone benefits from a whole foods, plant based diet. If it begins with joining Meatless Mondays, that’s a great start. If it means bypassing the fast-food drive-through and going home to cook, even better. I’ve always been a middle-path kind of person. My path is now just a little farther along than it was before.

This is my favorite Banana Bread recipe from Cook’s Illustrated that I modified to be vegan. It’s may not be the healthiest, as it is using all-purpose flour and granulated sugar, but it is delicious. This vegan version is a little lighter tasting without the butter. The banana and pecans flavors come through in a more pronounced way.

Recipe: Vegan Banana Nut Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 ¼ cups toasted pecans, chopped coarse (about 1 cup)
  • 3 very ripe bananas, soft, darkly speckled, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • ¼ cup vanilla soy yogurt
  • Ener-G Egg Replacer (1 tablespoon dissolved in 4 tablespoons of water)
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • I added some vegan chocolate chips and coconut. Feel free to mix in other ingredients to suit your taste.

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with parchment liners or spray with cooking spray. Combine first five ingredients together in large bowl; set aside.
  2. Mix mashed bananas, yogurt, egg substitute, oil, and vanilla with wooden spoon in medium bowl. (If the mashed bananas are less than 1 1/2 cups, make up the rest with soy yogurt.) Lightly fold banana mixture into dry ingredients with rubber spatula until just combined and batter looks thick and chunky. Fill the muffin tins to 3/4 full; bake until muffins are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 22-25 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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