Long before I went vegan, I was already having troubles with having bread. I don’t even mean digestive problems, but just handling the ever returning question: what do you put on top?! There’s so many options. I mean, go to the grocery store: even if you have already proudly decided on something like chocolate sprinkles (what we Dutch folks call ‘hagelslag’ and put on our bread, indeed), you’ll find yourself having to choose between over ten different types. Just imagine the things that could possibly happen when you would end up making the wrong decision… This is a serious problem.
However, that is not what most people worry about when it comes to vegan, preferably healthy bread toppings. This conversation has fastly become a classic in my repertoire: ‘So, if you eat vegan, what do you eat?’ ‘Yes, well, that’s everything except animal products. That’s a lot of food.’ ‘Okay… So, for example: what do you eat in the morning? On bread?’ My communication skills can be a bit lacking sometimes. Okay fine, oftentimes. So my answer would be a silence, in which I would think about porridge, followed by something like: ‘Peanut butter is vegan.’ Which is not, I repeat: NOT, a good answer.
How great peanut butter may be, there is so much more great vegan food to put on your slice of bread. And I strongly feel as if more people should be aware of that. There’s a gigantic vegan community out there, and I’m the newby, but this is important stuff for everyone. So, here I am, spreading the word on bread toppings. (I’m perfectly aware of the hassle going on about eating wheat, gluten, yeast, what not. We may come to that.)
First of all: dark chocolate tends to be vegan, and so dark chocolate spreads and sprinkles come in vegan varieties as well. YES. Other than that, there’s jam from all possible types of fruit, with or without added sugars. There’s peanut butter. There’s butter from all kinds of actual nuts, for those lucky bastards who can have them. The others can munch on spreads made out of seeds, like pumpkin, sunflower and of course sesame seeds. There’s so many options, really. I am amazed every time I enter a supermarket. You’ll just have to check the ingredients to be completely sure if it’s vegan.
But then there’s even more. There’s all kinds of spreads, made out of veggies and legumes, for example. Like every vegetarians’ favorite: hummus. Hummus is a spread usually with mashed, boiled chickpeas and sesame paste as its main ingredients. Further it contains olive oil, pepper, salt, garlic, lemon juice, herbs, spices, anything you want. You can get it in every other store, but you can also easily make it yourself, you see? There’s tons of different recipes to be found on the webs. Adding sundried tomatoes is an easy way to add some strong taste, for example. But you can also add all kinds of vegetables, like pumpkin. You can also replace the chickpeas by other legumes, if you prefer. I am still drooling thinking of two different types of kidney bean spreads two of my friends once made. I haven’t tried to replicate them yet.
You can also leave out the legumes all together and make spreads with just vegetables. Or you don’t process those precious veggies and eat them just how they come. It can be that easy. You can make complete salads on top of your bread. Or you put those veggies together in a salad and eat it without the bread, as a salad. Or you top your beloved bread with already processed beans, in the form of tofu or tempeh. Also consider having fruits, like banana, pear and avocado. So, so many options!
Then there’s also all kinds of more special spreads in organic stores, as well as all kinds of ‘fake cheese’ and ‘fake meat’ (which aren’t always vegan). And there has to be so much more I haven’t even mentioned (or heard of).
And now, dear you, we have finally reached the point at which I’ll be sharing with you my very first Bread of the Week! This is so exciting! Check it out.
I present to you: slice of bread with Wilmersburger fake, vegan cheese, tomato, sunflower seeds and salad. It wasn’t that impressive, but I like the colors and how it looks completely normal.
One of the most important things I discovered during the 10-days Vipassana meditation course I had recently: paprika on bread. Oh my dear. Here with sneaky yet important tahini underneath and lovely sunflower seeds on top.
Homemade pumpkin hummus! I am proud. Even though it’s the easiest thing ever. It goes something like this: soak and boil chickpeas, cut and boil pumpkin, put together, add some salt, pepper, cumin and cinnamon and use some equipment to puree the thing. Oh, and I added some agave syrup to make it sweeter. And you might want some garlic, or whatever else. Go ask your search engine for inspiration, or just simply check your fridge and pantry.
So, I hope with all my heart that I was able to clarify some of the uncertainties about what vegans eat on their bread. If they even eat bread. Porridge and smoothies are getting more and more popular. And such. Also, I hope I didn’t exceed your attention span along the way.
Actually, I could use your attention still for the following: even though you choose wisely on a vegan topping, you might want to check the bread itself as well, for there can be dairy products hiding in there. I don’t even know why (to make it more creamy? to keep the bread forever young?), but sadly some people find it necessary.
That’s it for today. Now go make some spreads.