10 years ago, Isa Chandra Moskowitz put out a vegan cookbook that upended the typical stereotype of vegan cuisine with the emphasis on liberated and inexpensive vegan cooking. The original Vegan with a Vengeance contained a stockpile of recipes that were animal-free, and both tasted and looked great on the plate. 10 years later, she celebrates the anniversary with an updated version that contains ‘streamlined ingredients’ and ‘easier directions.’ And while it has many new recipes in the new book, the core feel is still the same – that cooking is fun and shouldn’t be complicated. Especially if you’re vegan.
VWAV (Vegan with a Vengeance) 10th Anniversary Overview
The nitty gritty: over 150 recipes, gorgeous food photography, and great tips throughout. She puts the focus on the ingredients and how they interact in the recipes, and she skips the straight standard vegan substitutions for non-vegan items. For example, she makes good use of coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, flaxseeds, vegan yogurt, and almond milk in place the typical processed vegan egg replacers. Know your ingredients and how they work, and you can create anything. More and more, when I’m cooking at home (vegan or not), I try to cook pretty clean and those types of recipes are ones I treasure the most.
Don’t skip the introduction. Her intro vibe sets the tone and spreads throughout the book. And her list of kitchen equipment made me feel at home – she lists the basics because that’s all you’ll really ever need. Her tips for the cast iron skillet were just plain funny. “Just make sure to hand wash with as little soap as possible and to dry immediately. Yes, I know, the Internet says not to wash with soap at all. But you know what? That’s gross”. I can lol on this because I feel the same way, and my trusted cast iron grill skillet has been non stick and fabulous for years.
As a baker, I loved the Veganize It! chapter. It includes Get Rid of the Eggs and Do away with Dairy. Her butter recipe was the tip of the year for me as coconut oil is my new go-to kitchen staple, but mixing it with applesauce and using that as the butter, well, that’s just genius.
Moskowitz organizes her recipes by type: Brunch; Muffins and Scones; Soups; Little Meals, Finger Foods, and Sammiches; Sides; Pizza and Pastas; Entrees; Cookies and Bars; Desserts. It ends with metric conversions.
The most memorable: Tempeh Reuben. The Reuben is one of those meals that is an experience. After all, it doesn’t even call itself a sandwich, just simply ‘The Reuben’. Meaning, in my opinion once you’ve had a great one, you’ve lived. The classic Reuben contains sauerkraut, corned beef, 1000 Island dressing, rye bread, and Swiss cheese. The VWAV’s version: balsamic and tamari marinated tempeh with a vegan sweet dressing with capers. The photo made me want to lick the page, so thank you Kate Lewis.
The one recipe I ‘need to do now!’ is the Eggplant Bacon. Eggplant slices are baked until crisp and brown in a hot oven, turning over once in the process. The temperature is then lowered, and the eggplant slices are dipped in a concoction of soy sauce and liquid smoke before being reheated. I can think of about a million ways to enliven sandwiches, salads, and more using this eggplant bacon.
Overall, an excellent cookbook, and if you are new to Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s take on vegan cuisine, you’ll be very satisfied. She practically invented modern and delicious vegan cooking.
Here is a sample of the many delicious recipes from the book. Easy to put together, and beautiful on the plate.
Garlicky Kale with Tahini Dressing Recipe
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound kale, well rinsed and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Lemon wedges to serve
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- Sauté the garlic in the olive oil over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Add the kale, the salt, and a few splashes of water. Use tongs to toss the kale around, coating it with the garlic and oil. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Serve with a drizzle of Tahini Dressing.
- Garnish with lemon wedges.
- Place all ingredients, except for the parsley, and 3/4 cup of water in a blender and blend until smooth. Add extra water, as needed, to thin. (Remember that it will thicken once it’s refrigerated, so keeping it on the thin side is not a bad idea.) Pulse in the parsley, taste for salt, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Any variety of kale is delicious sautéed. Note that lacinato kale will cook faster than green or red curly kale. You can use the stems of the kale if they are on the slender side, about 1⁄4 inch wide. If they are any larger, cut the leaves away from the stem.
- Vegan with a Vengeance, 10th Anniversary Edition: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock.
- By Isa Chandra Moskowitz; Photography by Kate Lewis.
- Da Capo Press; 2015.
- ISBN13: 9780738218335.
- Paperback and ebook versions.
Recipe and image from Vegan with a Vengeance 10th anniversary edition, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.
Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.