Veganomicon, simply the best cookbook to transform you from meat-eating to a 100% plant diet, has inspired my cooking for over 3 years. Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s earlier books, “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World” and “Vegan With A Vengeance” have amassed devoted followers, too, and I always wondered if I wasn’t missing out.
Actually, I never understood the hoopla over Vegan Cupcakes, because I gave up consuming animal products primarily for improving my health, and most vegan confectionaries–while better ethically and environmentally–are not necessarily healthier than non-vegan ones.
Generally speaking, vegan versions of non-vegan recipes merely substitute animal fat (butter, eggs) with equal amounts of plant-derived fat (oil) and vegan sweeteners for sugar. Many people don’t realize that some vegan dishes are even less healthy than the original because they are prepared with excess oil (often fried) and salt, artificial coloring and flavor enhancers.
While avoiding animal products alone is good enough for many, I have always had a weakness for sweets and salty snacks, and still struggle to resist foods with empty calories. I don’t mean to spoil the vegan cupcake party, but did you know a single vegan cupcake may have 400-500 calories, or even more (blame the icing). That’s like eating an extra meal! And who among us can eat a fraction of a cupcake?
On the other hand, I believe most people find it easier to limit themselves to eating 1-2 cookies averaging 100 calories each.Eating well comes down to finding a balance, and that entails managing portion size. So that was my logic for caving in and purchasing both”Vegan With A Vengeance” and the Post Punk Kitchen hosts’ latest, ”Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar”.
Although I resisted purchasing “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World”, I now recognize how its crossover appeal to all sweet lovers has the power to demonstrate to the broader population (i.e. 98% non-vegans) that any food can be prepared without using animal products and taste at least as good.
Within a few short weeks of the two books arriving, I tried most of the myriad pizza combinations in VWAV, which include preparing dough and toppings of Tempeh Sausage Crumbles, Classic Pesto and Basil-Tofu Ricotta. The fragrant Curried Split Pea Soup was really delicious and easy to make, too.
Among dishes to prepare from VWAV: Pumpkin Waffles, Chili sin Carne al Mole, Matsoh Ball Soup. And who couldn’t use another felafel and veggie burger recipe up his sleeve? This book has desserts, too: Banana Split Pudding Brownies, and Ginger Macadamia Coconut Carrot Cake (trying not to dwell on the desserts, as I’ve got cookies to bake!)
I dove into “Vegan Cookies” by making the Sweet Wine Biscuits with Sesame cookies (reminiscent of an old Italian family recipe), which were amazingly light and not too-sweet, despite the fact that I use whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour and reduced sugar. Containing sweet port, these cookies go well with wine or coffee, too.
“Vegan Cookies” must-bake recipes include: Sell Your Soul Pumpkin Cookies, Tahini Lime Cookies, Whole Wheat Fig Bars, Peanut Butter Blondies, NYC Black And White Cookies, Lazy Samoas, Ooh La Las (Vegan Oreos!), Linzertorte Thumbprint Cookies, Magical Coconut Cookie Bars, and Chocolate Chip Mint Leaf Icebox Cookies.
Now it’s time for me to get back to a lifetime’s worth of baking! Why not check out these books and go make yourself some vegan cookies or pizza, too?