Make us your home page
Instagram

Vegan cooking classes add flavor to the meat-free lifestyle

Students can learn to make this Minted Bean Salad.

Photo by Jessica Miller

Students can learn to make this Minted Bean Salad.

When Debby DeGraaff first started teaching vegetarian cooking lessons more than 25 years ago, it was a matter of necessity. In an Internet-less age, she was the only one who knew how to cook tofu and was willing to share some tips.

Later, as she became a vegan, she again noticed the lack of instructors and filled the void. Today she is just one of a group of chefs dedicated to healthy and animal product-free cooking sharing advice with other vegan foodies.

"There are always some new ones and some regulars," ­DeGraaff said of the 30 to 50 people who attend her monthly vegan and gluten-free cooking classes at Nature's Food Patch in Clearwater. "They want to learn how to cook simple, delicious, clean and healthy" meals.

Held at the café next door to the health food market, with a big screen behind the counter showing a top view of the bowls and pots, the class is similar to a cooking program on cable TV but with the benefit of interaction. With all ingredients next to the table, the chef can show what's being used and on what aisles they can be found.

Among the students are men and women, young and old. Some are veteran vegans, others newbies to the diet, like David McGlothlen, who recently adopted a meat-free lifestyle "because of a woman and trying to lose weight."

"The more information I get, the more successful I can be cooking (vegan). My biggest problem is that I don't want to start cooking until I'm hungry and that's too late."

The classes address that and other vegan pitfalls, like the common question of where to get enough protein, during the recipe demonstrations. Want to save time and make sure you don't binge? Make a larger batch of chickpeas than needed for a curry dish and make hummus to store and snack on in between meals. To avoid the need for supplements, add nutritional yeast to more recipes, because it is the only vegetarian source of vitamin B12 available. Explore beyond the American diet and try some international recipes for bean dishes full of protein and iron that have been made for more than 1,000 years.

"Education is very important to us and what we believe sets us apart from other grocery stores," said Cheryl Rosselle, marketing director for Nature's Food Patch and the one responsible for organizing the scheduled classes. "The store is 26 years old and I believe that we've been doing classes for just about that long. It is our vision to serve and inspire our community in order to build a healthier world."

The themes for classes are determined by the students, who fill out feedback forms stating what they would like to learn. Lately, not only vegan but raw dishes have increased in popularity, so the store has brought in Brad Myers, also known as "The Vegabond Chef" to teach how to have a diet of exclusively uncooked foods.

The ingredients and menus are left for the chefs to choose.

The classes are offered free of charge and a full schedule of upcoming classes can be found at naturesfoodpatch.com.

Vegan cooking classes

Classes take place frequently at Nature's Food Patch, 1225 Cleveland St., Clearwater. Upcoming classes include raw Halloween candy and vegan Thanksgiving dinner. For a full schedule see naturesfoodpatch.com.

Garbanzo-Tomato Curry

2 tsp. sesame (or olive) oil

1/4 tsp. fresh, whole cumin seeds (fresh, whole)

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. curry powder

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1 inch fresh ginger, grated or chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf

1 large onion, chopped

2 cups garbanzo beans, cooked

1 cup cauliflower, chopped

3 cups chopped tomatoes

3 cups cooked basmati rice

Sauté spices, cumin seeds, garlic, ginger and bay leaf in oil. Add vegetables, tomatoes and beans. Simmer 10 minutes. Serve over warm basmati rice.

Source: Clean and Green Vegetarian Cuisine: A Cookbook for Healthy Vegan Living by Debbie DeGraaf

Vegan cooking classes add flavor to the meat-free lifestyle 10/16/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 17, 2013 9:57am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Glen Campbell's wife Kim discusses challenges, guilt caregivers of Alzheimer's patients, others face

    Life Times

    If there's one thing Kim Campbell would change about caregiving for Alzheimer's patients, it's the attitude so many of us have toward transferring a loved one from home to a long-term care facility. According to Campbell, it's often the most kind, loving decision you can make. It's not a sign of failure, but one of …

    Kim Campbell, wife of country music legend Glen Campbell, is acknowledged by those attending the free event where she shared the story of her personal journey with Alzheimer???‚??„?s disease and the struggles she faced caring for her husband on Friday (5/26/17) at the Suncoast Hospice's Empath Health Service Center in Clearwater. Empath Choices for Care, a member of Empath Health, and Arden Courts Memory Care hosted the free event where Kim shared her story to help others understand the early stages, how the disease changes lives, the challenges families face and the role of caregiver.
  2. What happened when I took my dad to a Pitbull concert

    Music & Concerts

    TAMPA — "So, you know how you like Pitbull?" I asked my dad. "We can see him."

    Selfie of Divya Kumar and Anand Kumar at Pitbull/Enrique Iglesias concert.
  3. Tampa City Council votes to accept travel invitation from Cuban ambassador

    Blogs

    The invitation came to Tampa City Council chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin in a June 9 letter from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.

    The Tampa City Council voted 6-0, with Frank Reddick out of the room, to respond to a travel invitation from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 25

    Events

    St. Pete Pride Festival: The daytime festival covers Central Avenue's Grand Central District with more than 350 vendors, multiple stages, live music, art and food. 9 a.m., Grand Central District, 2429 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 342-0084.

    Kristen Whalen poses for a photo before the start of the St. Pete Pride Parade in St. Petersburg last year. It's that time of year again, so check with us for your planning purposes. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times (2016)]
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 24

    Events

    St. Pete Pride Block Party and Night Parade: St. Pete Pride's popular parade moves to downtown St. Petersburg's scenic waterfront. The block party brings DJs, food and drinks starting at 2 p.m. The parade steps off at Fifth Ave NE and Bayshore at 7 p.m. with fireworks at 9:45 p.m. 2 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth …

    Thousands line the streets of Central Ave. during the St. Pete Pride Parade in St. Petersburg.  [Saturday, June 25, 2016] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]