Having been vegetarian most of my young adult life, the transition into veganhood was, to use the parlance of our times, no big whoop, dude. The basic components of change were there: I already cared about the welfare of animals, Earthly sustainability and health so why not go whole hog (excuse the pun). Throwing myself into cooking was one of the most helpful factors at play in making good on my commitment. I knew I’d have to step up my chef skills and get creative, lest I join the much-maligned ranks of what one of my close veg friends refers to as, “The Potato Chip and Oreo” vegan. This is someone whose heart is totally in the right place but probably also lives exclusively off frozen Gardein dinners and likely feels sick all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love all those little indulgences but if I’m going to be in the vegan game long term (and I plan on it) I knew I’d have to go beyond just eating like a poor, stoned, college kid with three-day-old sriracha and vegenaise stains on her shirt.

A good place to start is with vegan cookbooks of which, there are many! Like-minded friends steered my eager eyes towards Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero; two cool, badass women who compiled a tome of vegan goodness known as the Veganomicon. One side note: I am both excited and pathetically jealous that my husband along with two of our friends met Romero briefly at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary’s July Jamboree this past summer. She allegedly said, upon seeing the three of them walk in dressed all in black, be-spike-tacled and covered in tattoos, “Finally! The punks are here!” (Did I mention she’s super awesome? At least she signed my copy of Vegan Eats World).

Without further ado, let me share a little list of favorite recipes from my own collection of cookbooks!

– Banana, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip Cookies from “Betty Goes Vegan” by Annie and Dan Shannon

– Masala Potato Soup from “Vegan Eats World” by Terry Hope Romero

– Seitanic Red and White Bean Jambalaya from “Veganomicon” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

I do have one recipe I make almost every week that is supremely easy and even better the next day: “Creamy” Chickpea salad (a spin on my mom’s chicken salad recipe).

I have eyeballed nearly all the ingredients every time I’ve made it so I’ll try to give a somewhat comprehensive overview:

3 cans of chickpeas, mashed

1/2 cup vegenaise

A few handfuls of chopped onion, shredded carrot, scallions and celery

1/2 tsp of garlic salt

A pinch of Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up salt

Blend all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy! See? Told you it was easy.

There’s nothing more sadistically fun than cooking vegan food for people of all diets, whether they curse Veganity all to hell or just never really thought about it before, and watch them say through mouthfuls, “I can’t believe this is vegan!” I smile an evil smile and say under my breath, “So my plan is working…” “What?” they ask. “Nothing! Now, eat that before I eat it.”