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.

Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero

“Discover the Way of the Salad!”


There are a few reasons why I love Terry Romero’s cookbooks: engaging text, downright delicious recipes, and the fact that you don’t even have to be vegan to enjoy what she makes. It’s actually included in the name of her latest cookbook: Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to be Vegan to Love. Salad Samuri is no change from her previous works (Veganonmicon; Vegan Pie in the Sky) in that there is fun for everyone.

Salad Samurai: Salads by the Seasons

Romero dives right into salads by talking about ‘The Salad Samurai Code’ with tofu pressing, portability and storing, ingredients, and seasonality. This leads the reader to see how she breaks down her book, mainly by the seasons. And don’t think salads are strictly for the long, hot, dog-days of summer. Winter and fall recipes include Smokehouse Chickpeas ‘n Greens Salad, Sesame Noodles in the Dojo, and Seitan Steak Salad with Green Peppercorn Dressing, which are hearty for anytime of the year.

Meal planning is important but pretty dull, and Romero attempts to make it fun (She succeeds! Who likes to menu plan? My hand will remain down!), and provides tips on how long as a general rule certain components should be kept with a plan for tackling salad menu planning.

Fun & Resourceful Supporting Recipes

Ok, her recipes are great, but all the supporting recipes are what makes the book gold and a valuable kitchen resource for me. I love this book for all of the separate supporting recipes that I can mix and match, and totally beef up my old, tired favorites – her dressings and ‘seriously hearty salad toppings’ are the bomb: Pickled Red Grapes and Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan are keeps for more things than simply salads.

Here is a tempeh recipe to try from the book. The accompanying Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan (look for the recipe in the book) is a supporting recipe, and an example of what makes this book gold.



Pepperoni Tempeh Pizza Salad
Serves 2
If a layer of pizza is the foundation of your food pyramid, toss this zesty salad into your well-balanced diet: “pepperoni” tempeh nuggets, fresh basil, olives, onions, and a vibrant pizza “sauce” dressing are served up not on a crust but on a robust blend of spinach and arugula. Guilt-free and gluten-free, it will leave you feeling great about having another slice, er, salad bowl. Perfect as is, but decadent with a dusting of Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan (page 35 in the book).
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with basil and garlic (do not drain)
  2. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  5. 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  6. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepperoni Tempeh Bites
  1. 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  2. 2 tablespoons tamari
  3. 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  4. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  5. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  6. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  8. 8 ounces tempeh, diced into 1?4-inch cubes
For the Salad
  1. 2 cups baby arugula
  2. 3 cups spinach
  3. 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn into bite-size pieces
  4. 1 cup plain toasted pita chips or Classic Croutons (page 39)
  5. 1/2 cup pitted, chopped Kalamata olives
  6. 1 sweet onion, sliced into half-moons
  7. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  8. 2 tablespoons Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan (page 35)
  1. Set aside 1/2 cup of the diced tomatoes for the tempeh bites. Add the remaining tomatoes and the rest of the dressing ingredients to a blender and pulse until smooth. Chill the dressing until ready to use.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved 1/2 cup diced tomatoes with the paprika, tamari, vinegar, garlic powder, fennel, and black pepper. Preheat the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the tempeh and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until browned, then stir in the marinade. Fry for another 3 minutes, until the tempeh is sizzling and most of the marinade is absorbed, then remove from the heat.
  3. Add to a large mixing bowl the greens, basil, pita, olives, onions, and oregano. Pour over half the dressing and toss to combine. Divide the salad into serving bowls, top with the tempeh, and serve with the remaining dressing. Sprinkle each serving with hemp parm.
  1. Prepare the dressing up to 2 days in advance and keep chilled in a tightly covered container. You can also make the tempeh the night before and gently warm it before assembling the salad.
Sand & Succotash

Book Information:

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher (thank you!) and any opinions are my own.

Recipe and image from Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to Be Vegan to Love by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.

Differences Between Tofu, Tempeh, and Hatcho Miso Soybean Paste

Soybeans are an excellent source of lowfat protein, and fit into many meals. Tofu, tempeh, and soybean paste all have different uses and properties to them.

Sand and Succotash | Differences Between Tofu, Tempeh, and Hatcho Miso Soybean Paste

Soybeans are an excellent source of protein and can be processed and served in a number of ways. Soybeans can be found in many levels of processing from bean form or to a paste, or even fermented. Tofu products are easy to prepare and cook with, and can be served cold or cooked.

Basic Tofu

Tofu is a processed soybean curd that comes in different styles and textures. Tofu can be incorporated into meatless entree dishes or pureed for desserts. This style of soybean is one of the most recognized, and is widely available in most supermarkets. Firm and extra firm tofu are great candidates for slicing for grilling or pan-frying. This firmer style of tofu holds marinades well. Silken tofu is used when a creamy puree is needed, such as for sauces, dressing and desserts.

Tofu nutrition depends on the style, and the different coagulants used in tofu can affect the overall nutritional value as well. An average 3 oz. serving portion of extra firm tofu provides about 45 calories, 15 of which come from fat, with 6 grams of protein and no cholesterol.


Tempeh differs from tofu greatly in taste and texture. It comes in a rectangular shape with a brownish color. Instead of having a neutral flavor like tofu has, it has a deeper flavor and aroma. Tempeh is actually fermented soybeans that are made into a dry cake form and can be crumbled up or sauteed by itself or used in recipes. It requires less processing than tofu, which ultimately keeps in more fiber. Tempeh is found in the refrigerated section of supermarkets.

Tempeh nutrition is higher than tofu due to the manufacturing and handling process. But, the nutrition varies with tempeh since it can be found processed with other grains such as brown rice and barley. Read the labels and check to see if it is all soy or a mixture of ingredients. Mixing the soy with other grains will enhance flavor and provide slightly different textures to the tempeh.

Miso Soybean Paste (Hatcho Miso)

Miso soybean paste is found in different styles depending on what the soybeans were processed with. Different grains are used in the fermenting process for a little color and for flavor. Aging comes in to play here and the miso texture, flavor, and color is also affected greatly by the amount of aging that was done.

Miso is found in both dried and in a paste form. Miso comes by a variety of names, but if soybean-only miso is what is desired then look for ‘hatcho miso’ which contains only soybeans. If it doesn’t say hatcho miso, other ingredients were added to the miso and fermented with, such as barley or brown rice.

Miso soybean paste nutrition is unique in that it provides the all-important B12 vitamin. Sometimes miso or miso products may be processed with fish, and some miso types are very high in sodium. Soybean paste made with only soybeans contain more dietary fiber and protein than those misos made with other ingredients.