why plants don’t have feelings / sprouted wheat bagel with cashew cream cheese & maitake mushroom bacon

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DSC_0084 Whether you’re vegan (VEE-gan not VAY-gan, which sounds like we’re from another planet) or not, chances are you’ve probably heard some wild accusations about it. Translation: we only eat hummus, we are from white, wealthy families, we all have tattoos, we are skinny and pale, we don’t eat carbs, we are angry at everyone who isn’t vegan, we only ride bicycles, we love animals more than people, we are hipsters, and we are self righteous liberals. While some vegans may fall into these categories, this is a gross generalization of a growing demographic that in my experience, are a diverse and wonderful group of individuals.

I am not quite ready to go back to college, and be the group of dinos eating the beef surrounded by the veggies. 

So why all the judgement?

Like religion and politics, food is very personal. Your plate is as powerful as slapping a blue elephant sticker on your car or wearing a cross around your neck. People notice and sometimes, take offense. This is the reality of our world, and there’s no reason to flip out because someone disagrees with your diet choices. If the goal of veganism is compassion and respect for all living things, then we must embrace and accept our own species first! But sometimes, this can happen…

After noticing the tempeh reuben on my plate, a seemingly innocent diner observes: “You’re a vegan?”

“Yeah,” I reply.

“But what about plants?” cries the diner with a shocking amount of passion. “Plants can feel pain too!”

“*$%&#!@&$^%#@!” <– exclamation inside my head.

What I actually say –> “Plants don’t have a central nervous system, which means they cannot feel pain in the same way that sentient beings can.”

This is a generally accepted principle, however, there are still some people who argue that plants do feel something when harvested. But even if that is true, it still leaves us with the same options: eat plants & animals (who definitely feel pain and suffer needlessly), or just eat plants. For me, the choice was easy.

Now that you’re feeling moody and want to throw hummus at everyone, why not blow their minds with a creamy, fluffy, and indulgently thick cream cheese that will make you feel like you’re in a Philadelphia cream cheese commercial from the nineties! Cashews play the leading role in making this oh-so-dreamy spread, along with my good friend, the bagel. I adore Alvarado Street Bakery sprouted whole grain onion & poppyseed bagels. Seriously, buy these bagels and let them change your life for the better. Toasted and topped with a huge dollop of herbed cream cheese and crispy maitake mushroom bacon and you are in for a serious taste bud explosion!

Did you say cream cheese?
Did you say cream cheese?

Sprouted Wheat Bagels with Cashew Cream Cheese & Maitake Mushroom Bacon

1 bagel, sliced & toasted (I recommend Alvarado Street Bakery Onion & Poppyseed Bagels)

2 cups raw cashews, covered with at least 4 cups of water and soaked overnight

1 1/2 tsp probiotic powder (you can buy a jar of probiotics in capsule form at many natural foods stores; just open capsules and pour out powder)

1/2 cup fresh water

1 T dried herb blend (I recommend Penzey’s Fox Point Blend) or 1 T fresh chives, minced

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 container or 2 loosely filled cups of maitake mushrooms, split apart by hand

1 tsp olive oil or refined coconut oil for sauteing mushrooms

pinch of sea salt & freshly cracked pepper to taste

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DSC_0056After the cashews have been soaked in water overnight, drain and rinse, then place them in a high speed blender. Add the water and probiotics and blend on high until creamy and smooth. Pour into a small mixing bowl and cover with a piece of cheesecloth. Leave in a cool, dark place overnight.

Remove cheesecloth from fermented cashew mixture, and stir in the seasoning blend and salt. Set aside. In a saute pan, heat oil over a medium flame and add mushrooms. Allow them to brown for a few minutes before stirring with a wooden spoon. Once they are crispy, turn off flame and place on a paper towel to drain.

To serve, spread a generous dollop of cream cheese on a toasted bagel and top with maitake mushroom bacon. Makes about 2 cups of cream cheese, or enough to serve 4 merciless plant eating unicorns.

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2 thoughts on “why plants don’t have feelings / sprouted wheat bagel with cashew cream cheese & maitake mushroom bacon

    Peggy said:
    February 3, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    I am very interested in the bread and cheese you refer to as diet staples. Any brands you like or recipe ideas? I have limited time and to be honest, I’m not a great cook! Loved hearing you speak at my cleanse class. And now I can correctly pronounce vegan. wooo hooo! Peggy

    Sent from my iPhone

      J. Z. Manley said:
      February 4, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      Hi Peggy!
      I love Alvardo Street Bakery and Food For Life (for brands of bread). These companies sprout their grains and only use whole grains. You can find them in the freezer section at natural foods stores. Try to stick to whole grain breads, sprouted when possible, and avoid any white flours and breads with added sugars. The best storebought vegan cheese brands are Dr. Cow and Punk Rawk; they aren’t cheap but if you don’t have time to ferment your own nut cheese than I highly recommend them. You can purchase both of them at veganessentials.com.
      Thanks for reading 🙂
      Jenny

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