I was in the middle of cooking my fourth dish from The Happy Herbivore: Over 175 Delicious Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes before I noticed that the entire cookbook is a) fat-free or low-fat and b) vegan. Call me unobservant, but it's really because the recipes are so delicious that I just didn't notice the absence of fat or animal products. Ok, and maybe I didn't read carefully.
While the The Happy Herbivore thoroughly covers every category from breakfast to dessert, its inventive array of homemade meat substitutes is what first caught my eye. As a thrifty - er, budget-challenged - vegetarian, I subsist on beans, beans and more beans. Healthy, yes; exciting, no. I just can't afford fancy veggie dogs, burgers, and other packaged veggie foods. So author Lindsay Nixon had me instantly salivating with promises of "Tuna" Salad, homemade Seitan Pot Roast, and Spicy Sausage.
And I was not disappointed. First I whipped up a batch of Mexican Chorizo in about five minutes and devoured it rapturously ontop of homemade sopes. Encouraged, I tried my hand at making my own Chicken-Style Seitan. The recipe promises "a dead ringer for country-fried or baked chicken," and it did not let me down. Best of all, it only took about two minutes of prep time, and the recipe also produced delicious gravy! I also like the recommendations for seasoning blends like No-Chicken Broth Powder and Poultry Seasoning Mix. I'll be using these even in my own recipes.
While the book certainly does offer a bountiful assortment quintessential veg-centered staples, such as Veggie Croquettes and Smoky Black Bean Enchiladas, those fast and easy meat substitutes are what really make it unique. With hearty Soul Burgers, rich Cheater Pad Thai, and hilarious Torkey, The Happy Herbivore will satisfy both vegans and omnivores alike. The flavorful and protein-rich recipes will make you forget meat was ever an option. And you just may fall in love with beans all over again.
by Sadie Kneidel