Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Garlicky Kale with Tahini Dressing from Vegan with a Vengeance |

Garlicky Kale with Tahini Dressing from Vegan with a Vengeance |


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.

The Recipes

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

Garlicky Kale with Tahini Dressing
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  1. 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  2. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1 pound kale, well rinsed and coarsely chopped
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. Lemon wedges to serve
Tahini Dressing
  1. 1/2 cup tahini
  2. 2 cloves garlic
  3. 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  1. 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.
  2. Serve with a drizzle of Tahini Dressing.
  3. Garnish with lemon wedges.
Tahini Dressing
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
Adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance. Find more recipes from Isa's website: The Post Punk Kitchen.
Adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance. Find more recipes from Isa's website: The Post Punk Kitchen.
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Book Information:

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.

Mesclun: Specialty Baby Salad Greens

Mesclun Mixes

A quick look-up in a dictionary for the word ‘mesclun’ will yield a simple definition: a salad made of greens and herbs. If you take a closer look at the different mesclun salad mixes in the produce section, you’ll find a wide array of baby lettuces and fresh herbs.

Many different greens are used in the mix. The key to mesclun mixes is that they are grown and cut as small leaf lettuces, ensuring they are tender and less bitter than their adult forms. While mesclun can be sautéed and served warm, mesclun mixed greens are often simply used as a salad base.

Growing mesclun at home is easily started and grown in a container at home, and the seed mixes vary. The manufacturer’s or grower’s mix may depend on desired salad color, texture, growing times, or the salad’s flavor profile. Check the labels of different brands for a mix that suites you and follow the recommended growing instructions.

Here is a list of five of the most popular greens that make up a general mesclun salad mix, and their daily value percentages from a single serving size.

Mesclun – Five Popular Greens Inside a Mesclun Mix

  • Endive – Leaf vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. Endive can be found as frisee (curly endive) and escarole (broad leaf endive). Endive provides both flavor and texture to the mix. Per one-half cup serving, endive adds 11% DV Vitamin A, 3% DV Vitamin C, 9% DV Folate.
  • Radicchio – Variegated colors in red or green. Gives a nice bitterness and color to a salad. Per 1 cup shredded portion, radicchio gives 6% DV Folate, 5% DV each Vitamins A and C, and has 37mg Omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Arugula – This leafy green also goes by the name of rocket or roquette, and adds spice to the salad. Per 1/2 cup serving, arugula leaves give 5% DV Vitamin A, and 2% DV each Vitamin C and Folate.
  • Chard – Also can be found as Swiss chard, chard are the leaves from the beet plant, Beta vulgaris. Per 1 cup raw serving, Swiss chard gives 44% DV Vitamin A, 18% DV Vitamin C, 3% DV Vitamin E, and has 22mg Omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Dandelion Greens – Not the typical weed, this wider leaf variety gives great flavor and texture to the mix. A 1 cup serving of chopped dandelion greens gives 112% DV Vitamin A, 32% DV Vitamin C, 10% DV Calcium, 8% DV Dietary Fiber, and gives 144mg Omega-6 fatty acids.


Neufeldt, Victoria, Ed. Webster’s New World College Dictionary. 3rd Ed. New York: Simon, 1997.

Nutrition Facts and Analysis found on 

Garlic and Onion Sauteed Collard Greens

Unlike other greens that can be wilted easily in a hot pan, collard greens can withstand longer cooking times and different cooking methods.

Sand and Succotash | Garlic and Onion Sauteed Collard Greens

Sand and Succotash | Garlic and Onion Sauteed Collard Greens

And because collard greens are tougher and more fibrous than other greens, they are used in recipes with longer cooking times. When they are sautéed collard greens can benefit from a quick boil before sautéing. Since by definition, sautéing is quick cooking in a hot pan, the collard greens will not cook through all the way. A quick sauté after boiling ensures flavor and tenderness.

This recipe makes about 4 servings depending in serving size. For a little spice, sprinkle with red pepper flakes right before removing from the pan to a serving dish. This recipe doubles easily when two bunches of collard greens are used; adjust the onions and garlic as desired. Add the salt and pepper at the end to taste as needed.

Garlic and Onion Sautéed Collard Greens
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  1. 1 bunch collard greens
  2. 2 cloves garlic
  3. 2 tablespoons minced white onion
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. Salt and black pepper to taste.
  1. Rinse off the collard greens to remove any dirt. Shake to remove excess water. Roughly chop the collard greens into large squares of 1 to 2 inches in size. If the leaves are very large with thick center veins, cut out the center veins entirely with knife.
  2. Place a large pot of water on the stovetop to boil. Once boiling, add in the chopped collard greens and boil for about 5 to 8 minutes. If you want softer collard greens then boil a little longer - and if you want crisper collard greens boil them for a little less time. Once they are drained and sautéed, they will not be cooked down much longer.
  3. Once the collard greens are cooked to the desired degree of doneness, drain in a sieve and shake to remove as much water as possible.
  4. In a sauté pan set over medium high heat, add the olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add in the onions and stir around for about 2 to 3 minutes. Using a garlic press, squeeze the garlic cloves into the sauté pan and cook just until fragrant (do not color the garlic).
  5. Place the collard greens into the pan and cook until they are hot. Add salt and black pepper if desired and transfer to a serving dish. Serve immediately.
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