Veganomicon * Simply Vegan

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Veganomicon is the best vegan (no meat or dairy) cookbook out there. It’s reputation is based on the quantity and variety of its recipes, and the complexity and deliciousness of the resulting dishes. There are more than 250 recipes, presented with wit and lighthearted punk-rock irreverence, as well unpretentious and helpful instructions. These vegan dishes don’t only try to mimic meat-based meals; they are just good food. Our household doesn’t adhere to a vegan diet, yet we’ve found some of these recipes great eye-openers as to how tasty and accessible homemade vegan food can be.

– Elon Schoenholz

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When I went vegan, I was 14 years-old (14 years later, I still am). At the time, my parents made me sell them on the idea of maintaining my health sans animal products. At first the task seemed incredibly daunting. Once I found Simply Vegan, I had all the answers.

This book is perfect for beginning vegans because it has specific sections on how to be a healthy vegan, as opposed to a “Fritos and Sprite” vegan. The text goes into various sources of proteins and minerals, and includes ready-to-go weekly shopping lists and daily meal lists. If you’re getting into veganism, you can do it safely and intelligently with a minimal amount of work; just buy the stuff on the shopping list and cook it.

I won’t say the recipes in this book are the best ever. They certainly can’t hold a candle to much of Veganomicon. But if you know your way around a spice rack, they’re pretty good. Either way, there’s no better book I’ve found which covers the nutritive bases and really can set a new vegan on the right path to whole health. 14 years later, I’m still vegan and my folks are mostly vegan as well.

– Ian Hall

 

[Veganomicon was also suggested by the following readers: Charlotte, Scott Carlson, Chris, Jared, Terri Alice, Ryan Freebern and Ian Hall. -- SL]

Veganomicon
Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Terry Hope Romero
2007, 336 pages
$17
Available from Amazon

Simply Vegan: Quick Vegetarian Meals
Debra Wasserman, Reed Mangels
2006 (4th edition), 224 pages
$11
Available from Amazon

Sample Excerpts:

from Veganomicon:

Chickpea Cutlets
We try not to play favorites, but this is one of our babies and a recipe that we are sure will take over food blogs worldwide. A combination of chickpeas and vital wheat gluten formed into savory cutlets, it’s perfect for when you want something “meaty” buy don’t want to go to the trouble of making seitan. We serve these cutlets in myriad ways, packed into sandwiches or smothered in mustard sauce, with a side of mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. It’s vegan food that you can eat with a steak knife and, best of all, it is fast and easy. You’ll probably want to double the recipe if you’re serving it to guests.

1 cup cooked chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup vital wheat gluten
½ cup plain bread crumbs
¼ cup vegetable broth or water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated with a microplane grater
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon Hungarian paprika
¼ teaspoon dried rubbed sage
Olive oil for pan frying

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Beanball Sub
This is a conglomeration of a few recipes from the cookbook that also would make great use of leftover Beanballs (page 189). We throw in a handful of spinach just for posterity; you need not be so healthy if you don’t feel like it. Also, if you don’t want to make the Pine Nut Cream (page 164) and just want to use some soy cheese, we won’t judge you. These would be perfect for a Super Bowl party, or since you are a vegan and hate football, a Nobel Prize party. Ooh, we can’t wait to see who wins for physics this year!

1 recipe Beanballs (page 189)
1 recipe (4 cups) Marinara Sauce, or any of the variations (page 205)
1 recipe Pine Nut cream (page 164)
4 hoagie rolls, split open
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, well washed

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Tip
To toast sesame seeds: Preheat a small pan over medium-low heat. Pour in the sesame seeds and toast them, stirring often, for about 3 minutes. Once they are browned, immediately remove them from the pan to prevent burning.

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Tip
This is our favorite way to prep collards: To get rid of the tough stem without having to sit there cutting it, you can actually easily tear the leaves from the stem with your hands. Fill the sink with water, pull off the leaves, rip them into large pieces (collards are tough, they can take it) and put the leaves into the water to rinse them. No need to drain, just give them a shake before adding to the pan.

from Simply Vegan:

Summary: It is very easy for a vegan diet to meet the recommendations for protein, as long as calorie intake is adequate. Strict protein combining is not necessary; it is more important to eat a varied diet throughout the day…. This concern about protein is misplaced. Although protein is certainly an essential nutrient which plays many key roles in the way our bodies function, we do not need huge quantities of it. In reality, we need small amounts of protein. Only one calorie out of every ten we take in needs to come from protein (1).

(1) Food and Nutrition Board, institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2002.

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Generally, vegan diets can be low in fat if they emphasize grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Some foods vegans eat such as oils, margarine, nuts, nut butters, tofu, tahini, avocado, and coconut are high in fat. These foods should not be the center of one’s diet but should be used sparingly. For example, tofu is high in fat. If you ate a pound of tofu, you would eat about 22 grams of fat. Eating a smaller amount of tofu (4 ounces) and serving it over rice with vegetables could provide the same number of calories and less fat.

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Calcium, needed for strong bones, is found in dark green leafy vegetables, tofu made with calcium sulfate, calcium-fortified soy milk and orange juice, and many other foods commonly eaten by vegans. Although lower animal protein intake may reduce calcium losses, there is currently not enough evidence to suggest that vegans have lower calcium needs. Vegans should eat foods that are high in calcium and/or use a calcium supplement.