Author Isa Chandra Moskowitz introduces this beautiful cookbook by debunking the myths of hunger and hardship so often associated with vegan cooking: “Healthy cooking doesn’t have to mean deprivation. It doesn’t mean restraint, it doesn’t mean willpower, and to hell with the idea of ‘being good’.” Moskowitz explains that this is not just a cookbook about reducing fat and calories. Appetite for Reduction is about reducing unhealthy ingredients that we put into our body and reducing our grocery store costs because beans and grains are cheap. Also, in the bigger picture, it’s about reducing our environmental impact by cutting down on the packaging and carbon emissions and methane from an animal-based diet, not to mention simply reducing animal suffering from caged chickens to baby cows to slaughterhouses.
Before you can argue that a vegan diet is not balanced enough to give a human body what it needs to sustain itself, Moskowitz explains basic nutritional requirements, outlining each and how the vegan diet can meet - and sometimes beat - a non-vegan diet. So as not to frighten away the new vegan, the author dives into the ‘anatomy of a salad,’ including tools of the trade and recipes for delightful salads and dressings such as Spicy Blue Potato and Corn salad, Warm Mushroom Salad with Cranberries, Green Goddess Garlic Dressing and Peanut Lime Dragon Dressing.
Chapter 2 presents “Totally Stuffed Sides” with OMG Oven Baked Onion Rings and Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (Caulipots) with numerous ideas for dressings, as well as Scarlet Barley and Bhutanese Pineapple Rice and Eggplant Kibbeh. If your mouth isn’t watering by then, try Chapter 3’s “Rub-Your-Tummy Veggies,” with great advice on prepping veggies as well as cooking them, with a special section on the benefits of steaming vegetables. This chapter includes healthy yet hedonistic dishes such as Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Sauteed Escarole and Coriander Mushrooms with Cherry Tomatoes.
Chapter 4 is filled with even more imaginative creations for “Main Event Beans,” such as Mango BBQ Beans and Unfried Refried Beans, not to mention several variations on hummus, such as pizza Hummus and Shabby Sheik Hummus. Tofu follows the beans with Chapter 5’s “Sink-Your-Teeth-Into Tofu and Tempeh” recipes with Masala Baked Tofu and Chilli-Lime-Rubbed Tofu and Buffalo Tempeh. Preceding these recipes is an introduction to the Wonder Twins - Tofu and Tempeh – to inform and alleviate fear in those who have been exposed to ‘scare mongering’ (soy mongering).
If you think that once the beans and tofu have been served, there is nothing left for a vegan to eat, sit back for three more chapters, which include “Talk Pasta to Me,” “Soul-Satisfying Soups” and “Comfort Curries, Chili and Stews.” Each of these chapters include more 10-50 minute recipes for delectable, enchanting dishes such as Cajun Bean Balls and Spaghetti, Mom’s Marinara, Arabian Lentil and Rice Soup, Yam and Black Bean Soup with Orange and Cilantro, and Irish Stew with Potatoes and Seitan.
And, if those recipes weren’t enough to fill you with adventure, imagination and an appetite, two final chapters contain even more tips on how to stay vegan even when you think you don’t have anything to eat at lunch or snacks, with chapters entitled “The Elements of A Bowl” and “The Importance of Eating Sandwich.” These sections break down how to prepare easy-to-take-with-you lunches for in a bowl or in a sandwich.
Each recipe gives you information on serving size, time to prepare and complete the meal, as well as breaks down the nutritional information AND provides a key to whether the recipe is gluten- or soy-free, and there are often notes to make the prep easier or how to serve the dish.
Appetite for Reduction not only provides extremely diverse and relatively easy recipes using a huge range of plant-based food; it is an enlightening, entertaining must-have cookbook for vegans, experimental vegans, and even the carnivore chef. Highly Recommended.