Do you eat dog food? Would you?
I’m going to pause here and ask you to wonder why you answered the way you did. If you’re like most people you not only answered “no,” but you recoiled in horror when you did. I’m curious – why is dog food so gross? Aside from the obvious answer from vegans (it’s typically meat-based) the general consensus is that dog food is made from gross stuff people wouldn’t eat.
A while back I pitched an idea to the company that published my cookbook. I wanted to call it Bark and Destroy: Dog Food for Vegan People. The premise? Vegan food that you can share with your dog. In fact I can give you more than a premise. I can give you the synopsis I actually wrote for the book proposal that they promptly rejected:
As a dog owner and vegan, I found myself conflicted when it came to dinner time for my dog. It just felt wrong to eschew animal products in my own diet, but then to serve them up to my furry friend. I started making my own pet food and treats at home, and quickly realized I’d save money and time if the whole family was eating the same thing! So, I got to work developing recipes that I could share with everyone I love – including my dog. Throw in a real-life veterinarian’s seal of approval and some DIY dog treats and you’ve got yourself Bark and Destroy – a vegan cookbook like no other!
Now before you get your panties in a bunch, I want you to know two things. 1) No I am not trying to make your dog a vegan. I’m going to say that one more time because I know you’re already typing up a mean comment: I AM NOT TRYING TO MAKE YOUR DOG VEGAN. 2) Many dogs can thrive on a vegan diet. VeganVet.net is an excellent resource if you’re curious. Ultimately it’s up to your dog and your vet.
OK, now let’s get to the point of this post: Dog food does not have to be gross. Yes, you can buy natural, healthy dog food at the store. You can also make dog food. You can make dog food so healthy and good-tasting that you can eat dog food.
Think about it – you’re already making yourself food, right? Why not make a couple of modifications so your dog can have some too? Well, my publisher didn’t think people would be interested, but I’m here to prove them wrong so I’m going to share some dog-friendly recipes with you over the next few weeks. Let me know in the comments or on social media what you think!
P.S. Here’s a graphic I made with some tips on dog-friendly people food. As with anything anyone you care about eats, always read labels to make sure there aren’t any weird additives or fake sugars.
Vegan Granola Bar(k)
By February 26, 2018Published:
This recipe calls for spices in very small amounts, which is typically safe, and even beneficial, for dogs. Cardamom in larger quantity can be a laxative, which is bad news, but in this small of an amount it’s no big deal. If you have a particularly small or sensitive dog friend you might want to skip the spices.
- 2 cups oats
- 3/4 cup wheat germ
- 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup almond slivers
- 1/2 cup cashews crushed
- 1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
- 1 cup dried cranberries Do NOT substitute raisins for dried cranberries in this recipe as grapes and raisins can be very toxic to dogs.
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter make sure it doesn't contain xylitol
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 Tbs molasses
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ground clove
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 400°F. On a baking sheet with raised sides, stir together the oats, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, almonds and cashews. Bake 8-10 minutes, stirring often, until toasted. Remove from oven, transfer to a large bowl and stir in the ginger and cranberries.
- Line a 11 x 13” baking dish with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray. (A smaller pan such as a 9 x 13” is fine, it will just result in thicker bars.)
- In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the peanut butter, molasses, coconut oil, cinnamon, cardamom, clove and salt to a simmer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour this mixture over the nut mixture and stir together so everything is coated. Transfer to prepared baking dish and use a rubber spatula to spread it out and press it into the pan.
- Place a sheet of waxed paper on top, and press down hard to compact the mixture into the pan. Let this cool in the pan 2-3 hours, then turn out onto a cutting board and use a large knife to cut into bars.
- Preheat your oven to 300°F, and place the cut bars on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 20 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container or plastic wrap.
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