If you’re trying to introduce some variety into your meals while dialing up your health a notch, Isa Moskowitz’s “Appetite for Reduction” offers up the perfect combination. This vegan cookbook is full of everything we’ve come to appreciate from the prolific author such as her sense of humor and her taste for the exotic. Plus–in a first for Isa–a concern for health.
Why health? As Isa explains in the intro: “I wrote this book for me!”
I wrote a bunch of cookbooks–one dealing completely in cupcakes–and I was constantly surrounded by food. I also quit smoking and found it difficult to keep cookies from hopping into my mouth instead. On top of that were 2 medical issues, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and hypothyroidism…I needed to change what I was eating–less fat, less sugar–and I needed to get more active.
All of the recipes in “Appetite for Reduction” were reviewed by registered dietician Matt Ruscigno, who furnishes nutritional info including calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, carbs, fiber, sugars, vitamins and minerals–for every recipe.
The book begins with “Full On Salads,” which Isa defines as salads that can be real meals “not real meals like how supermodels consider cigarettes and lemon water a real meal, but truly satisfying real meals, the kind that make you lick your plate and dream about leftovers.”
12 dressing recipes, including “Green Goddess Garlic Dressing” and “Green Onion Miso Vinaigrette” match with Isa’s salads and will also complement your own original inspirations.
Subsequent chapters (and example recipes) include:
- Totally Stuffed Sides (i.e. Quinoa Puttanesca)
- Rub Your Tummy Veggies (Eggplant Dengaku)
- Main Event Beans (Mango BBQ Beans)
- Sink Your Teeth into Tofu and Tempeh (Masala Baked Tofu)
- Talk Pasta to Me (Creamy Mushroom Fettucine)
I found the next 2 chapters the most welcome, given this year’s prolonged winter weather–even if that means it just feels cold here in Hawaii.
- Soul Satisfying Soups (Arabian Lentil Rice Soup)
- Comforting Chili, Curries and Stews (Veggie Pot Pie Stew)
So far, I prepared four recipes (Lentil and Eggplant Chili Mole, Egyptian Millet, 2nd Avenue Vegetable Korma, and Cranberry-Cashew Biryani), and all were delicious and comforting. Usually, I tweak recipes to eliminate fat and sweeteners, but these recipes are quite lean and nutritious as-is. In fact, none have more than 400 calories.
Appetite for Reduction concludes with 2 additional sections, “The elements of a Bowl” and “The Importance of Eating Sandwich,” which build upon the other recipes by transforming them into sandwiches or bowls (aka “delicious, delicious lifesavers”).
One of the simplest recipes in the book is “Everyday Chickpea and Quinoa Salad” which–you will not be surprised–Isa eats everyday. Why not try it yourself, and see how it feels to be Isa?
Recipe reprinted with permission of the author
2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed. Optional add-ins: roasted garlic, baked tofu or tempeh, shredded carrot, sprouts, fresh basil
1 recipe Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing (below)
In a large mixing bowl, mix all the salad ingredients together. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Keep chilled in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days.
Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing
1/4 cup cashew pieces
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon agave nectar
3/4 teaspoon salt
A few pinches of pepper
First place the cashews and shallot in a food processor and pulse to get them chopped up. Then simply add the rest of the ingredients. Blend for at least 5 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides often, until completely smooth. Chill until ready to to serve.
Some more winning features of “Appetite for Reduction”:
- The recipe titles alone get you excited. For example: “Quinoa, White Bean and Kale Stew,” “Arabian Lentil Rice Soup” and “Eggplant Provencal.”
- All recipes display the number of servings, active time and total time (which includes waiting). Many of the recipes take below an hour to prepare including down-time.
- It contains many “one-pot meals,” with fast and easy preparation and cleanup, including “Portobello Pepper Steak Stew” and “Irish Stew with Potatoes and Seitan”.
- The appendix categorizes the recipes into Gluten Free, Soy-Free, Recipes under 30 minutes (dozens!), and Recipes with downtime.
About the only thing that could use improvement are the photos which are few, and whose quality doesn’t match the level of Isa’s recipes.
So, whether you’re a vegan looking for a change of pace, or just interested in improving your health with meals that are both nutritious and satisfying, “Appetite for Reduction” is not to be overlooked!
If there are any cookbooks or cookbook authors that you especially love, can you please leave a comment below?