Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Nick or better known as EatingVeganWitNick I am a Haitian American born and raised in Queens, New York. I work as an IT analyst for a startup company. Aside from my regular 9 to 5, I host a YouTube/IG (@eatingveganwitnick) web series where I travel around the world reviewing vegan food, also working on developing an app that will make veganism more accessible to everyday people.
What lead you to veganism? How long ago?
A few years ago, I would eat certain foods and my body would feel off. I couldn’t figure out what it was, but I felt slow and lethargic and decided to cut certain foods off slowly. I cut red meat out of my diet in January 2017 and told myself I would do this until the summer…. then summer came and I said let’s go till the end of the year…. then years end came, and I said I’m never eating red meat again. Then I cut out chicken then dairy and seafood. Once I completely cut meat out of my diet, I became more involved mentally with the cause. Finally thinking about the health benefits as well as the endangerment to our animals.
Do you believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into meats?
Yes, we most definitely should expose children to the process of how animals are turned into meat. With giving the youth more information we educate them on how to make better food decisions. This will also force them to ask questions and later change their generation’s outlook on animal-based protein.
Is it every vegan’s duty to become an activist?
Definitely not. We can’t expect every vegan to be hardcore and try to save the planet. For some being vegan goes as far as their diet and that is just as vital.
How compassionate or empathetic are you towards non-vegans?
I am filled with compassion for non-vegans because they don’t know what they are missing out on. I feel so much lighter and feel as if I have more control over my mental health. I do not force veganism on any of my peers but for those who aren’t vegan, I ask…. Why aren’t you vegan?
Any recommended social sites, blogs or pages?
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
Veggie Castle in Queens – Address: 132-9 Liberty Ave, South Richmond Hill, NY 11419
Some encouraging words for new Vegans?
Don’t let the jokes and discouragement get to you. Stick with it because it’ll benefit your health and long-term happiness. It is important to do your research; veganism DOES NOT mean healthy so know exactly what you are putting into YOUR body.
What is the vegan scene like in your city?
Pretty popping! New York City pretty much has everything so it’s not difficult to find vegan food and even have it delivered. NYC definitely provides different vegan cultures and experiences; I can do fine dining and then go into a “hole in the wall” spot and be just as satisfied.
What personal recommendations can you make for people to meet other vegans?
Look up vegan festivals in your city or see if Vegandale festival is close to a city near you. Also, Facebook groups and Instagram can help connect with other vegans.
What does living cruelty-free mean to you? Does it extend to the way you as a vegan treats other humans too?
Living cruelty-free to me means you shouldn’t eat, wear or use any items that caused harm to any animal in the process of making it. Being vegan comes from within we should want to keep not only our bodies healthy but as well as are our minds.
What is the toughest Vegan item to find that you need?
At one-point Vegan, Ricotta cheese was the toughest thing for me to find when I wanted to make lasagna. Every time I would go to Whole Foods or Trader Joes, I could never find it consistently. Until I came to realize I could make it myself all I need to do is just find a recipe.
Talk about a time when you struggled with your Veganism?
My biggest struggle came at the beginning of my vegan journey. I would hang out until late into the evening and would always be super hungry. The first stop for everyone I was with was McDonald’s and other unhealthy food spots. But I stayed strong and ran home to my chickpea hummus and crackers.
Please share your favorite vegan recipe.
Vegan Lasagna with cashew ricotta
Ingredients for Ricotta:
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight (see note)
- 1/4 cup water, add more if you want a more liquid texture
- 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, optional
- Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until it resembles ricotta.
- Soak the cashews overnight or boil them for 30 minutes to soften.
- You can use raw slivered almonds instead of cashews for a very similar result. Another nut will work as well, but the flavor will be a bit different.
- This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of ricotta, serving size is 1/4 cup.
Ingredients for Lasagna:
- lasagna noodles
- 10 Minute Vegan Marinara*
- 8 oz vegan ricotta**
- 1/4 cup vegan parmesan***
- 3/4 cup non-dairy milk unsweetened
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- salt & pepper
- fresh parsley for topping (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside until ready to use.
- Prepare 10 Minute Vegan Marinara according to instructions.
- Add ricotta, parmesan, milk, Italian seasoning and a pinch of salt & pepper to a bowl. Stir until well combined – add more milk if you want a thinner consistency.
- To assemble, spoon 1/2 cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 13 x 6 baking pan. Layer 3 lasagna noodles over the marinara and spoon 1/3 of the remaining marinara on top of the noodles followed by 1/3 of the ricotta mixture. Repeat layers – noodles, marinara, ricotta, noodles, marinara, ricotta.
- Spray a piece of foil with non-stick spray and cover the lasagna. Place in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- For a crispier topping, turn the oven to broil, cook for an additional 2-5 minutes (or until desired browning is reached – be sure to keep an eye on it while the oven is on broil).
- Remove the lasagna from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice into 6 pieces and serve.