Featured Book: Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Mary’s Notes: Although many of the recipes in this book do contain a small amount of oil, it is used mostly for sautéing and an easy substitute is either vegetable broth or water. I like the book because of the many unique recipes with unusual flavors and original ideas. These are a few of my current favorites. I have modified a couple of them slightly to sauté in vegetable broth or water instead of oil, which I find does not change the delicious quality of the recipes and reduces the calories even more.
Appetite for Reduction
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Isa Chandra Moskowitz is an award-winning vegan chef and author of several best-selling cookbooks, including Veganomicon, Vegan with a Vengeance, and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. A Brooklyn native who began her vegan cooking journey more than twenty years ago, she is inspired by New York City’s diverse cuisine. You can find her cooking and writing at The Post Punk Kitchen (theppk.com).
All of Isa’s recipes in this book, Appetite For Reduction, are plant-based, low-fat, satisfying, and nutrient-dense: lots of nutrients with fewer calories. The beauty is you can follow these recipes and not have to obsess over calories to maintain your weight.
Active time: 15 minutes. Total time: 30 minutes
A plate of piccata is like an instant fancy dinner with all the stops. One second you’re just sitting there, all normal-like, but the moment that first forkful of lemony wine bliss touches your tongue, you’re transported to candlelight and tablecloths, even if you’re sitting in front of the TV watching Dancing with the Stars. This version is made with chickpeas, which makes it super fast, and it’s served over arugula for some green. I know lots of people are accustomed to piccata with pasta, and that is the Italian tradition, but my first piccata was as a vegan and we vegans love our mashed potatoes, so that is what I suggest serving it with.
1 tablespoon vegetable broth
1 scant cup thinly sliced shallots
6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
2 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup dry white wine
A few pinches of freshly ground black pepper
A generous pinch of dried thyme
1 (16-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup capers with a little brine
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups arugula
Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Sauté the shallots and garlic in 1 tablespoon of the vegetable broth for about 5 minutes, until softened. Toast the bread crumbs by stirring constantly in a dry non-stick pan for about 2 minutes. They should turn a few shades darker. Add bread crumbs to vegetable mixture.
Add the vegetable broth, wine, salt, pepper, and thyme. Turn up the heat, bring the mixture to a rolling boil, and let the sauce reduce by half, it should take about 7 minutes.
Add the chickpeas and capers and let heat through, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and turn off the heat.
If you’re serving the piccata with mashed potatoes, place the arugula in a wide bowl. Place the mashed potatoes on top of the arugula and ladle the piccata over the potatoes. The arugula will wilt and it will be lovely. If you are serving the piccata solo, just pour it right over the arugula.
Miso Udon Stir-Fry with Greens & Beans
Active time: 10 minutes. Total time: 30 minutes
Everything you want out of life in one bowl. Or at least everything you want out of dinner: filling udon noodles, beans, and greens with flavorful, salty miso. I love azuki beans here; they have a sweet and nutty flavor that cuddles right up to the miso. They also have a tendency to fall apart just a bit, which is great for coating the noodles. However, if you can’t find azukis, black beans taste really great, too. For this recipe, use whatever miso you have on hand, but note that you may have to add more to your liking because misos vary in saltiness.
1 pound broccoli, stems sliced thinly, tops cut into florets
8 ounces brown rice udon noodles
3 Tablespoons vegetable broth
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch swiss chard (about ½ pound), coarse stems removed, chopped roughly
1 cup thinly sliced green onions, plus extra for garnish
½ teaspoon salt (optional)
1 (16 ounce) can azuki beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup miso
½ cup hot water
4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Sriracha hot sauce, to serve
Prepare a pot of salted water for cooking the noodles.
Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. First, sauté the broccoli in a dry non-stick pan with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes. Cover the pan and flip once or twice. The broccoli should be browned in some spots. Add a splash of water at the end, then cover for another minute. The pan should be steaming. Remove the broccoli from the pan and set aside. (By the way, that is my favorite way to prepare broccoli in general if I am serving it on the side.)
At this point, the water should be boiling. Use a mug to remove ½ cup of water; you can use that to mix into your miso in a few steps. Then cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain when ready.
Now, we’ll put everything together. Preheat the large pan again, over medium heat. Sauté the garlic in the broth for about a minute, until fragrant. Add the chard, green onion, and salt, and sauté for about 5 minutes, until wilted. Add the beans and let heat through.
In the meantime, in a mug or measuring cup, mix together the miso and warm pasta water until relatively smooth.
Add the drained noodles to the pan, along with the miso mixture and broccoli. Sauté for about 2 minutes, using a pasta spoon, making sure everything is nice and coated. Taste for salt. To serve, top with sesame seeds and green onions and keep the Sriracha close at hand.
Mango BBQ Beans
Active time: 15 minutes. Total time: 1 hour
Plain old BBQ beans are nice and everything, but mango gives them another dimension—a tart, tropical sweetness that makes them a bit more special. Barbeque flavors really benefit from a nice, long cooking time. Let these simmer on the stove for at least 45 minutes so that the beans absorb more of the flavor and the mango cooks down and melds with the tomato sauce. Serve with greens and rice.
3 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 mango, seeded and chopped small
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable broth
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or ¼ teaspoon if you want it less spicy
¼ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon salt (optional)
1 (25-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 to 3 tablespoons agave nectar
Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic in the broth with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until translucent.
Add the mango, tomato sauce, broth, red pepper flakes, coriander, salt, and kidney beans. Turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot, leaving a little room for steam to escape, and let cook for about 45 minutes, stirring often. The sauce should thicken and the mangoes should cook down a great deal.
Turn off the heat, mix in the agave and liquid smoke, and let the beans sit for about 5 minutes. Taste for sweetness and add more agave if needed. Adjust the salt and seasonings, and serve.
Five-Spice Delicata Squash
Active time: 10 minutes. Total time: 50 minutes
Delicata is the golden child of squash; it’s tender, sweet, creamy, and best of all, you don’t have to peel it; you can eat the skin. I’ve been using this water bath/tinfoil method to cook delicata for as long as I can remember…way before the internet told us how to cook things. I think it brings out the most flavor without adding a ton of (vegan) butter. Five-spice is a perfect blend for squash; star anise, cinnamon and uh, three other spices, I suppose. It just brings out the best.
2 average-size delicate squash, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed
4 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Fill an 8 by 13-inch baking pan with about 1 ½ inches of water. Place the squashes in the water, cut side up. Drizzle each slice with a teaspoon of maple syrup, then sprinkle evenly with the five-spice and salt. Place a piece of parchment paper over the pan and then wrap with tinfoil and bake for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is pierced easily with a fork. Serve warm.
Active time: 20 minutes Total time: 30 minutes
Salade Nicoise is a bistro staple. It’s steamed potatoes, crisp green beans and salty Nicoise olives dunked in a lush dressing. Traditionally it is served with tuna, but I serve it with lightly mashed chickpeas that are spiked with briny capers. NYC sidewalk cafes are lined with ladies talking on their cell phones, reading French Vogue, and eating this salad. Now you can bring it home, sans all the bus exhaust in your face and the crazy drunk guy trying to steal the bread basket off your table.
Green Goddess Garlic Dressing is a perfect accompaniment, but you can also serve it with the more traditional Balsamic Vinaigrette, if you prefer. Tiny red potatoes work best here, but if you can’t find any, then chop up regular ones into 1-inch pieces. This recipe does make a bunch of dirty dishes, but be a goddess and have someone else clean them up! For time management purposes, prepare the dressing while the potatoes are steaming, or (even better) prepare the dressing day in advance.
1 (16-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons capers
½ pound small whole red potatoes
½ pound green beans, stems removed
½ small red onion, cut into thin strips
1/3 cup Nicoise olives (kalamata olives work, too)
8 cups chopped red leaf lettuce
1 cup cherry tomatoes (orange if you can get them)
Fresh parsley and chopped chives, for garnish
About ¾ cup Green Goddess Garlic Dressing (recipe follows)
Prepare your steamer for the potatoes. Once it’s ready, steam the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes; they should be pierced easily with a fork. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath by filling a mixing bowl halfway with ice water. Add the green beans to the steamer and steam for 2 more minutes, until the beans are bright green.
Transfer the potatoes and green beans to the ice bath immediately. Let them cool while you prepare everything else.
Place the chickpeas in a mixing bowl and use a small potato masher or a fork to mash them. There should be no whole chickpeas left, but they shouldn’t be completely smooth like hummus, either, you want some texture. Add the capers and 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Mix well and set aside.
To assemble, place the lettuce in wide bowls. In a Salade Nicoise,, usually all the components are kept together, instead of tossed. Place a handful each of potatoes and green beans in piles on the lettuce, along with a wedge of sliced onion and a handful of tomatoes, Place a scoop of the chickpea mixture in the center and top with the olives. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with the dressing on the side.
Green Goddess Garlic Dressing
Serves 6 (3 Tablespoons each)
Active time: 15 minutes. Total time: 15 minutes
This is the stuff! I don’t use the word mouthwatering lightly, but the moment this dressing touches my tongue it just permeates every taste bud, and perhaps even the very core of my being. Herby, garlicky, tangy, luscious, vibrant….I’m gonna burn out all my food adjectives if I go on. I love to pour it on grain and bean salads. The tahini makes it a natural player in a Middle Eastern spread, and the miso makes it equally at home with Japanese dishes. But really, with all the flavors going on, it’s kind of everyone’s best friend. Again, use whichever miso you have on hand.
2 to 3 average-size cloves garlic
½ cup fresh chives
½ cup fresh parsley
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon miso
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
Pulse two cloves of garlic, the chives, and the parsley in a food processor just to chop everything up. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until very smooth. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides a few times. Now you should adjust it to your liking. See if it needs more salt and garlic, and thin the dressing with a tablespoon or two of water, if needed. Note that it will thicken a bit as it’s refrigerated, so if it appears thin, don’t worry!
Transfer to a tightly sealed container and chill until ready to serve.
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