"What I can tell you is that when I eat low-fat, plant-based meals I feel better, weight does come off, and, unless I skip breakfast or something, I never feel hungry. It's becomes a sustainable way of life for me!
Call it a "diet", call it a "lifestyle change," whatever! The most important thing is enjoying life, and doing what makes you feel good, and not just for the moment. (Ice cream is so love-'em-and-leave-'em; I'm looking for something for stable.)
-Isa Chandra Moskowitz, plant-based cookbook author extraordinaire-
If you received this post via email, click here to get to the web version with lots of photos & links.
I'm so excited! Isa's new cookbook is out and it's better than I ever expected!
Wednesday night I got home late-late from work. I had to wait for the worst snowstorm gridlock I've ever seen (beyond anything you can imagine) to clear out, and trudge through snowy slippery roads to get home safely. And there, waiting for me at home was a fire in the fireplace, a bowl of Acorn Squash, Pear, and Adzuki Soup with Sauteed Shiitakes, made from Isa's earlier best-seller, Veganomicon (yes, my husband is the best!)---and best of all, my brand-new copy of Isa's hot-off-the-press Appetite for Reduction, 125 Fast & Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes had finally arrived!
No more need for me to modify recipes from Isa's "fat-style" older vegan cookbooks. Isa's finally come over to the "cut-the-fat" side of vegan cooking. She's cooking without oil, or just a teensy, weensy 1 teaspoonful. If she uses nuts, it's just a teensy-weensy 1/4 cup that's meant to feed 6 people. Even the avocados, the Veganaise, the Earth Balance, and vegan cheese are all gone.
The best part--Isa is a master-chef extraordinaire. If she's figured out how to get low or no-fat & still get maximum flavor, you better believe it works.
Look, the lady is from Brooklyn, New York. She knows amazing food! She knows what Indian, Mexican, Viet Namese, Italian, and Comfort food is supposed to taste like. Isa has high standards. She's got the right amount of kicky spice, the coolest combinations of flavors, and now, in Appetite for Reduction, she's giving us recipes that are nutritionally balanced, kind of quick to make, and weigh in at 200-400 calories a piece. Yes, I'm a happy lady!
And it gets even better. This time, Isa worked with Matt Ruscigno, MPH, RD--a dietitian, who provides us with nutritional info for every recipe, along with a quick review of why a plant-based, low-fat, nutrient-dense diet rocks!
So, what's up with Isa? Why did she move on over to the low-fat, nutrient-dense side of vegan cooking?
I'll let Isa tell you, herself:
"I wrote this book for me!
For years I was at a weight I was happy with, but eventually (like most people) I began to pack on the pounds once again. Not that I need a good reason to gain weight, but I do have a few. I wrote a bunch of cookbooks--one dealing completely in cupcakes--and I was constantly surrounded by food. I also quit smoking (best decision I ever made) and found it difficult to keep cookies from hopping into my mouth instead. But on top of that I was diagnosed with two medical issues that are known to make it difficult to lose weight: PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal issue) and hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism). So even if I wasn't eating more than usual, my slower metabolism would guarantee I put on some extra pounds.
My decision really was a personal one. My knees were achy, my periods were irregular, and my energy levels were low. I needed to change what I was eating--less fat, less sugar--and I needed to get more active. Would that lead to weight loss? I really wasn't sure!
What I can tell you is that when I eat low-fat, plant-based meals I feel better, weight does come off, and, unless I skip breakfast or something, I never feel hungry. It's become a sustainable way of life for me!
So, yes, I wrote this book for me--but of course I hope that it rocks your stove top, too! I wanted to create something fun and positive, something that would empower you in the produce aisle and give you a reason to sport that cute vintage apron. I want you to love your kitchen, love yourself, and yeah, maybe to love tofu just a little bit, too. With love and raised spatulas, Isa Chandra Moskowitz."
And BTW, believe me, she's looking quite svelte & healthy!
More Reasons Why This Is Now My New-Fave Cookbook
- It has it all: soul-satisfying soups, full-on salads, sink-your-teeth-into tofu & tempeh, talk pasta-to-me, comfort curries, chilis, stews, rub-your-tummy veggies, & main-event beans.
- Plenty of gluten-free options or modifications. My gluten-free friends, take note!
- Plenty of soy-free recipes if you have soy-sensitivities or allergies (I'll get to this in a later post, but after hearing Mark Messina, PhD go through all the research on soy in November, bottom line: the safety profile on soy is excellent and the benefits are for real. The soy-scare is much-ado-about-nothing--an internet-sourced "urban legend" with an agenda. The research speaks for itself, and there's plenty of it. I'm sticking to the non-GMO, low-fat, and the real stuff, like tofu, tempeh, edamame, or miso. Stay-tuned for my post "the rest of the soy story")
- Lots of 30 minutes or under recipes. Isa tells you how long a recipe will take to make--and how much down-time you'll have, when you don't have to be in the kitchen.
- All easy-to-find ingredients. Nothing that you can only find in a New York City's Asian or Middle Eastern market.
- Everything's made with real, whole, natural foods. Nothing processed here.
- No vegan cheese. No avocados. No oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. Hardly a nut. Hardly any added oil. At least that I've noticed.
- Isa tells you straight out: "I call for non-stick cooking spray in many of the recipes. Of course that "0" calorie info on the label is a big lie. In cases where the spray is abolutely required, I worked an extra teaspoon of oil into the nutritional info." Isa tells the truth! My tip: Use excellent non-stick cookware like Cuisinart's Green Gourmet, and silicone baking pans & you won't need to bother with spray.
- Appetite for Reduction is a fun-to-read cookbook--and Isa includes lots of TIPS that will make cooking low-fat easy & delicious.
- Salad dressings are made with no oil, or just teensy amounts of oil or nuts and they can be easily modified to go fat-free.
Experimenting with Appetite for Reduction
Last night, instead of heading out to see a documentary that we've been wanting to see--The Inside Job--my husband & I stayed home, and made Isa's "Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Grilled Tofu". No lie--it was fantastic. It was easy to make, and it was waaaay better than anything we would have gotten at a restaurant--and it had no added oil. (actually, he made the Noodle Salad--I worked on pumpkin muffins, black-bean brownies, & a main dish to take to a Saturday night poker & maj dinner party, and a belated Chanukah party on Sunday night)
We poured ourselves 2 glasses of wine. My husband lit a fire in the fireplace, and we ate our dinner on the couch while we watched, "Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg".
Then, I set out to try Isa's new no-oil version of "meatballs". I had concocted my own recipe months ago, based on her Beanball recipe in Veganomicon--but I couldn't wait to try out her latest version: Black-eyed Pea & Tempeh Beanballs. Guess what--her new "meatball" recipe is better than her last. I made up a batch of 21 beanballs, and they're now safely tucked away in my freezer--ready for spagetti & beanballs on a night when I don't want to cook.
Can't Wait to Try:
- 2nd Avenue Vegetable Korma
- Curried Chickpeas with Greens
- Pad Thai Salad
- Chipotle Lentil Burgers
- Spinach Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach
- Arabian Nights Lentil & Rice Soup
- Portabllo Pepper Steak Stew
- Buffalo Tempeh with OMG Oven-Baked Onion Rings and Cool Slaw
- Spicy Blue Potato & Corn Salad
Oh heck, everything looks fantastic & delicious in this cookbook.
Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Grilled Tofu
Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Grilled Tofu--Yes, This is MY PICTURE!
More Vietnamese Noodle Salad
Gorgeous No-Oil Grilled Tofu Made on the Stove with my Brand New Cuisinart Green Gourmet 11" Grill Pan
Walnut (instead of Peanut) Mint Gremolata - Salad Topping
Click here for a copy of the recipe on one page.
Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Grilled Tofu
Serves 6 - Active Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes
(Can be made gluten-free if using GF tamari in place of soy sauce)
1. I used my brand-new non-stick grill pan & it made gorgeous, "grilled tofu". Get a grill pan (Cuisinart Green Gourmet) at Bed, Bath, & Beyond for 20% off.
2. I used Nasoya light firm tofu to cut the fat. My nutritional info, therefore, differs from Isa's
3. I subbed walnuts for the peanuts to up the omega-3s. Use peanuts if you like--it's only 1/4 cup for 6 servings.
1/3 cup warm water
3 tablepoons agave nectar
3 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes, depending how juicy your limes are)
1/4 tsp. salt, optional
12 ounces extra-firm (Light-I use Nasoya) tofu
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 (8-ounce) package of thin rice noodles (vermicelli) I used the pad thai variety
1 medium-size cucumber thinly-sliced half-moons (1 heaping cup or 6 ounces)
4 ounces string beans, sliced into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup) These stay raw!
1 small red onion, sliced thinly (I left this out. I hate raw onions)
2 cups mixed greens
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves
Peanut-Mint Gremolata (I used walnuts):
1/4 cup peanuts (or walnuts), chopped very well. If you could care less about omega-3s, use the peanuts!
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
Zest of 1/2 lime
1. To make the dressing, mix all its ingredients together and stir vigorously. Set aside.
2. Slice the tofu into eight equal pieces widthwise, then slice those rectangles corner to corner to form long triangles.
3. Place in a single layer on a large plate and pour 6 tablespoons of the dressing over the slices. Also drizzle 2 teaspoons of soy sauce. Let marinate, flipping occasionally, while you prepare everything else.
4. Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. Usually they say to boil water, turn off the heat, and soak the noodles for about 8 minutes. Once cooked, drain in a colander and run the noodles under cold water for about a minute until they are fully cooled. Set aside to drain while you finish prepping everything.
5. Mix all of the vegetables and the mint leaves into the noodles. Just use your hands--it's messy, but the best way I found to incorporate everything. Mix the dressing into the noodles and toss to coat. Refrigerate while you prepare everything else.
6. Combine the gremolata indredients in a small bowl.
7. Now grill the tofu. Preheat a non-stick grill pan (love that Green Gourmet) or a cast-iron grill pan or a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Do not spray a non-stick pan with oil--it will ruin it! The tofu will not stick! If you only have a cast-iron pan you will have to spray it that icky non-stick cooking spray or the tofu might stick. Grill the tofu on each side for 4 minutes, or until grill marks appear. If using just a regular pan, cook it for 3 minutes on each side. Add the excess marinade to the noodles.
To serve: Scoop the noodles into six pretty bowls. Wedge two or three tofu peices on the side of each bowl. Sprinkle with the gremolata and serve with lime wedges and extra chili garlic sauce.
Appetite for Reduction
Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Grilled Tofu
Serving Size: 1 serving
|Amount Per Serving|
You'll Have to Wait for Another Day for Isa's Black-Eye Pea & Tempeh Bean Balls!
Quick and Easy Spaghetti & "Real Italian??" Black-Eye Pea & Tempeh Beanballs
Mixing Up the Beanballs
The Beanballs Up-Close-and-Personal
Storing 21 Beanballs in the Freezer - Enough for 7 Servings
Just go buy the book! I got it for $13.05 with free-shipping from Barnes & Noble.