Embracing the Vegan Lifestyle

November 18, 2016

Embracing the Vegan Lifestyle

Vegan Inspiration and a Thanksgiving Recipe from JCC Member Beth Brenner Rose

A few months ago, Beth Rose’s teenage son was cooking dinner to sharpen his culinary skills for the Maccabi ArtsFest. He needed a specific spice for his recipe, and Beth brought him to an Asian supermarket to look for it. She passed a container of live crabs, and as she watched a woman choose one and stuff it in a brown paper bag, Beth made the decision to embrace a vegan lifestyle.

Beth did not grow up with pets and does not consider herself to be a big animal activist, but she feels that if she can get everything she needs from plant-based products, there is no reason for her not to be vegan.

Although her husband and kids are not vegan, her husband completely supports her decision. Beth feels that as her children get older, they are entitled to make their own choices about living a vegan lifestyle. She will cook non-vegan dishes for her family, but if there’s a vegan meal on the menu for dinner, everyone enjoys it.

Beth became a JCC member seven years ago when her younger son joined the 2’s class at the preschool. She already lives an extremely healthy lifestyle – she works out every day and has been off of dairy for decades (she also seldom ate red meat, but enjoyed fish, chicken and turkey). Beth has worked out most recently with Sean Shuman, a trainer at the J’s Owings Mills fitness center who is also a strict vegan. Since starting her vegan diet, she feels healthier and more energetic than ever.

Beth’s strongest advice to people considering a vegan lifestyle is to understand how easy it is to find vegan options. Most restaurants have great vegan dishes, and the internet is an excellent resource for vegan recipes. You also have the opportunity to eat a great selection of beans and seeds and it’s wonderful to know what sources of food provide what needed nutrients.

“It’s also easy to eat vegan, Beth says, “it takes less time to grab an apple or some cucumbers and hummus or a handful of raw almonds than it does to grill a steak.”

“You’re eating what comes from the earth – there won’t be any shortages,” she points out.

“This Thanksgiving, Beth’s mom will prepare her traditional stuffed turkey, but Beth, her brother and sister-in-law (who are also both vegan), will be enjoying a vegan dinner…including this stuffing.”

“It’s a kind way to live,” she says, “and we can all use a little kindness.”

Simple Vegan Stuffing

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 45 mins
Serves: 8


1 large loaf wholegrain bread or 2 small baguettes, cubed & set out to dry overnight (~9 cups loosely packed)
¾ cup uncooked green lentils
3 Tbsp olive oil or vegan butter
½ cup white onions, diced
¾ cup celery, diced
salt & pepper
3 – 3½ cups vegetable broth (+ more for cooking lentils)
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 2.5 Tbsp water)
3/4 tsp dried sage, or 1 ¼ tsp fresh sage, chopped

  1. The night before, cube your bread and set it in a large bowl to dry out – you want it to be the texture of day old bread – noticeably dry but not rock hard.
  2. The day of, if you haven’t already cooked your lentils, do so now by thoroughly rinsing 3/4 cup lentils in cold water, then adding to a small saucepan with 1 1/2 cups veggie broth or water.
  3. Cook over medium-high heat until a low boil is achieved, and then lower to a simmer and continue cooking uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 pan (or comparable sized dish) with foil or spray with nonstick spray. Also prepare flax egg and set aside.
  5. Sauté onion and celery in the olive oil or vegan butter and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant and translucent – about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  6. To the bowl of bread, pour most of the broth then add the remaining ingredients (sage, cooked veggies, flax egg, and lentils) and mix with a wooden spoon. The key is to make sure it is about the consistency of a meatloaf. If it’s too dry, add more broth and mix again. If it’s gotten too wet, add more bread.
  7. Transfer to the prepared pan and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, then remove the top layer of foil so the top can brown. Increase heat to 400 degrees and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the top is well browned and crisp.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving. Leftovers reheat well in the microwave or oven, though best when fresh.

Taken from The Minimalist Baker

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