Who's Cooking: Jennifer Greene of Bellport

Jennifer Greene of Bellport prepares her homemade Mixed Jennifer Greene of Bellport prepares her homemade Mixed Greens With Beans and Garlic, left, and Easy Veggie Burritos. (Oct. 28, 2011) Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

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JENNIFER GREENE

Public health program manager for the Humane Society of the United States, she lives in Bellport.

How long have you been a vegan? About 10 years. I grew up eating the standard American diet, but I stopped eating meat, and it was a gradual process. A few years ago, I organized a Long Island vegan meetup, and we have 400 members. I'm also involved with NutritionFacts.org, a noncommercial website that promotes healthy eating to avoid chronic disease.

Do you have a favorite meatless product? The Gardein products are wonderful -- superconvenient, delicious and easy to find in town. They have "beefless tips" that are good, and my family has tried the barbecued wings, Tuscan breasts, crispy tenders.

What might you cook on a weeknight? Morningstar Farms ''chicken'' strips with tortillas, avocado, tomatoes, salsa. You can put in rice, so it's more like a burrito. You can use fruits and veggies, whole grains. It's so easy to make a sliced barbecue sandwich using seitan and barbecue sauce.

Where do you find meal ideas? I'm a compulsive cookbook collector, but you can go online and find any recipe for a plant-based or vegan-based alternative. The "Engine 2 Diet" has great recipes. Rip [Esselstyn] developed this diet to help another firefighter's high cholesterol; from that came a website, then the book.

Were there any surprises about going vegan? I never met kale until I was in my 30s, and it's like a new friend. I'll saute it with some garlic and pasta, maybe mixed with some black-eyed peas, or maybe folded into a taco.

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Is there anything your vegan diet lacks? The happy thing is there are plant-based versions of everything. It's not about deprivation, but abundance. I love vegan cookies and vegan ice cream.

Where do you like to eat out? It's easy to go meatless with Chinese, Thai and Mexican -- most ethnic cuisines, actually. For a treat I'll go to Three Brothers Pizzeria in Rockville Centre for their full vegan Italian menu or vegan brunch.

 

Mixed Greens With Beans and Garlic

1 to 2 vegetable bouillon cubes

1 to 2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 pound frozen chopped kale, mostly thawed

10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, mostly thawed

1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15.5-ounce) can small white beans, drained and rinsed

Salt and pepper, to taste

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Cooked brown rice or whole-wheat rotini pasta

1. In a deep, lidded skillet or pot, combine and heat to a simmer 1 cup water and bouillon cubes; add chopped garlic and cook, stirring, about 1 minute.

2. Add kale to skillet. Cover and stir occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add spinach, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes more, or until tender, adding a little more water as necessary.

3. Stir beans into greens and heat through; add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over heated brown rice or tossed with whole-wheat rotini pasta. Makes 4 servings.

 

Easy Veggie Burritos

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½ large onion, chopped

4 ounces mushrooms, chopped

1 (12-ounce) package frozen Morning Star Farms Crumbles (or other meat alternative)

4 large flour tortillas

1 (14.5-ounce) can vegetarian refried beans

1 avocado, sliced

1 red or green pepper, sliced

1 mango, sliced

Prepared salsa

Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

1. Combine chopped onions and mushrooms in medium pot over low heat; cover and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables release moisture.

2. Add frozen Crumbles; cook another 5 minutes.

3. To make individual burritos: Spread refried beans over half a tortilla and place, bean-side up, in a 10-inch skillet over low heat. Spread vegetable and Crumbles mixture over beans, then lay strips of avocado, pepper and mango. Spoon on salsa and roll the tortilla around fillings; garnish with fresh cilantro. Repeat with remaining 3 flour tortillas. Makes 4 burritos, about 4 servings.

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