I get asked a lot for cookbook recommendations, and I usually decline to answer because I’m not really a “cookbook person”. Sure, I own a couple dozen that I’ve bought over the years, but I tend to either look for recipes online or just make stuff up (and then promptly forget what I did, so I can never make the dish exactly the same again).
Now, though, I have a recommendation: Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I’m one of those people who loves vegetables. I crave broccoli the way that some crave chocolate. (I crave all kinds of garbage, too, so don’t go thinking I’m being all foodlier-than-thou here or anything.) I can honestly say that despite taking a “vegetarian rumspringa” before deciding to fully vegan, I don’t miss meat. All at. Or milk, or eggs, or cheese. (Okay, that’s a lie. I do miss stinky cheese sometimes. But then I think about where it comes from, and I don’t miss it anymore.) Blah, blah, blah…I love vegetables. That’s the point I’m trying to make.
I think a lot of people get weirded out and worried by the thought of going vegetarian or vegan because they think that means they need to eat a bunch of processed meat-substitutes, many of which are really not very good for you. Sure, that stuff is fine here and there, but veggies and grains and legumes are really where it’s at. Appetite for Reduction excels in making those whole foods the stars of the plate. I like that. I have a few of Moskowitz’s other books, but I think this one is the best.
All of the recipes in the book are between 200 and 400 calories, and full nutritional information is listed for each. I try not to worry too much about that stuff, but it’s a nice side bonus. Aside from the yummy results I’ve had from every recipe I’ve tried, the best part is that the recipes are simple and fast and don’t require 8 billion ingredients or tons of prep time. That’s key for me, because if I foresee 90 minutes of cooking and a sinkful of dishes in my future, I’m all the more likely to just say, “Screw it, let’s order Chinese”.
(Oh my god, WHY am I so bad at reviewing books? I’m sorry. Just trust me, it’s a great cookbook, even if you’re not vegan.)
thank you! while i’m not sure i’ll go vegan (tried it once and missed cheese), i am a vegetarian. and one that’s diet is stagnant and dull. i’ve been looking for something to help me get out my rut, and the meals must be quick and easy to make – i don’t like waiting for dinner on weeknights. this is right up my alley! you sold me, excellent review!
Thank you for this inspiration. I’ve been a vegetarian for a few years now and I want to gradually remove dairy from my diet (secretly hoping it will also help my skin). This post has great timing, as I’ve been particularly recently looking for ways to get all the nutrients I need without eating legumes too often (I don’t digest them well).
But only by reading vegan websites, I discovered that vegetables and grains really do have the nutrients we need (hints to my mom). As a variety of foods is the key, I think this cookbook could be very helpful. Thank you!
I really wanted giving up dairy to help my skin, too, but alas…it didn’t make any difference! I think it does for people who have a sensitivity to dairy, though, so you never know.
I definitely feel better in other ways, though—far less congestion and better digestion!
sounds excellent…i’ve been dying to try a few vegan recipes without going all the way with it and what not…could be a good lily pad for me, eh?
This looks awesome! I am not a veg/vegan, but am trying to eat healthier (and drop 20-30 lbs) since finding out that i have high blood pressure… and I’m too young for such a diagnosis! I think this and Lori Andrew’s book will be a nice start. Thanks!
Lori’s recipes are GREAT! I think I’ve probably made every single one of her vegan recipes. 🙂
This seems like a great cookbook, there are too few cookbooks that is like an ordinary cookbook – but with vegetables! I think a lot of people get scared from being vegetarians/vegans for the whole “hippie-vibe” it is sometimes associated with. Atleast in Sweden. People think that because you only eat vegetables that you wear sarong and walk barefoot all year round.
Also, I saw that Eating Animals (Äta djur) is being published in Sweden, with a new foreword. Maybe a present for your mom? 🙂
She actually already read it (at least I think she did…) in English!
Hi! I’m just curious what ingredients she uses in her onion rings? would you mind telling? not the whole recipe or even ingredient amounts, just the ingredients themselves. and calorie/portion size if she discloses.
and i completely agree about the meat substitute thing. i’m vegetarian and sometimes i get comments about that type of thing – it’s really not that often i eat them! i think maybe a lot of people don’t understand that sometimes people become vegetarians or gravitate towards a vegetarian or vegan diet because they don’t like the taste of meat or animal products.
Melissa, you can actually have the whole recipe for the onion rings—it’s one of the sample recipes on the PPK website! 🙂
Thank you for recommending this, Anna! I decided to go vegan at the beginning of the month – just to see – and am getting so much from it thus far. (Really not missing meat or dairy at all, which surprises me.) The whole PPK website looks incredible, too.
Yay, Catherine!! Congratulations!
I’m always looking for good resources for healthy, delicious food. This looks like a great cookbook!
My copy of this just came in the mail today! Can’t wait to get stuck into it on the weekend. I’m not a vegan but I get veggie cravings too.
Thanks for this review, Anna.
I’m currently pescetarian (I was straight-up vegetarian for 8 years) but lately have been thinking of becoming vegan, for both moral and health reasons. As ashamed I am to admit it, the thing that’s been stopping me is laziness. Basically, I haven’t made time to sit and think about how to plan meals, what I need in my cupboard, and rather than seeing it as ‘How can I adapt the food I eat now and make it vegan?’ I have only just realised that eating vegan is a whole new thing in itself, and the prospect of changing the WAY I eat, as well as what I eat, is actually really exciting. So maybe this cookbook is just what I need to get prepared.
Food has always been an issue for me – I’ve been overweight for quite a few years – and I know that there is plenty of garbage that is suitable for vegetarians because I have probably tried around 90% of it, so I’m really glad you pointed that out in what you wrote. I do think there’s an assumption that if you’re vegetarian, by virtue of that fact alone, you are healthier. Beginning to understand more about food has made me realise this is certainly not the case for me. I weighed far less when I ate meat. What this tells me is not that I want to eat meat again, but that I need to educate myself more about food.
I always enjoy your writing, but I think you do something really special when you write about food. Your love of it really comes through.
It’s true, I really do LOVE food. 🙂 Eating is one of life’s great pleasures, but I love preparing food for other people most of all.
You’ve really hit the nail on the head, by the way—being vegetarian or vegan doesn’t automatically make you “healthy”, and that’s a mistake that a lot of people (especially teenagers) make when giving up meat. The key really is learning about nutrition and figuring out how to apply the principals of healthful eating to a diet that works for your lifestyle and ethics.
I think you’ll like this cookbook. There’s a whole section at the front before the recipes that’s entirely devoted to nutrition and specific vitamins and minerals that we need, and where we should look to obtain them in a natural way.
My guy does all the cooking, and he is the same way. He loves to improvise. It’s great and bad, as sometimes he will make something amazing, then not be able to recreate it. 🙁 I’ve started documenting his recipes to put into our own cookbook.
We have bought several vegetarian cookbooks as of late, being new to the way of eating (thanks to JSF) and they are great for inspiration when you don’t KNOW what to eat.
Thanks for taking the time to review the book.
I think I need someone to follow me around and write down exactly what I’m doing in the kitchen. I can’t be bothered to take notes when I’m cooking!
Judging a book by it’s cover it looks incredibly enticing.
btw/ I noticed you like Helvetica, did you see this article yesterday about Massimo Vignelli.
Not yet, but I have it bookmarked.
Can you tell me if the cookbook also has quantities and temperatures for those of us in the rest of the world? (ie. metric!)
I’ve taken a quick look at the sample recipes on the PKK website but they are all in US measurements.
No, it’s all in imperial measurements. It’s very rare to see a cookbook published in the US with metric measurements!
Thanks alot for the post Anna. I have been vegetarian for about about 3-1/2 years now and I have to admit that I am having trouble with meal planning. Its all about trying new recipes, new ingredients and I think I am just being lazy. Its hard for me also because my husband is not vegetarian, so when I cook (which right now isn’t very often) I am preparing a meal or a meat item for him and then another dish for myself and then because I do not like to waste food, sometimes I eat the leftovers for days. I haven’t tried any of the meat substitutes aside from breakfast sausage and boca burgers (both of which I do not eat anymore.) I do have a veggie burger everytime we go to a Fitz’, local restaurant that serves an awesome one, so good that I had to ask if it was indeed a veggie burger and they didn’t make a mistake.
I do have my share of cookbooks also, but I think I tend to make more recipes that I find off blog sites like yours, Jeremy and Kathleen’s and Smitten Kitchen. I think I will check this one out because what I need is ease of preparation and few ingredients. While I love beans and rice sauteed with any vegetable I have available, it will be nice to try something new.
Sue, if you don’t mention to your husband that a meal is vegetarian, will he even notice? In my experience, people don’t really think about whether or not something has animal products in it unless you bring it up. Plenty of omnivores will cook meals that are vegetarian or vegan without even realizing it, but then panic when trying to plan a meal for a vegan guest. You know what I mean?
I love Kathleen’s recipes, too…and Smitten Kitchen…and 101 Cookbooks!
Thank you for the book recommendation – I have been wanting a cook book that has fab vegetarian/vegan recipes, the family are getting a little bored. This looks like it could provide plenty of cooking inspiration 🙂
When it comes to vegan cookbooks, Isa is not to beat.
I got her book before christmas and didn’t try out all stuff I wanted to do yet. I really love the scarlet barley with beetroots, all of her curries (at leat the ones I tried) are are delish, too. Tonight I will do the “Red thai tofu”.
I’m glad I read this post, and the older meat-eating post you linked back to (Parts of how you described yourself and your decisions is exactly how I feel about myself, but haven’t been able to put into words.).
I’m going to order this cookbook!
I’m not a vegetarian, but if I went with my ethical standpoint, I should be.
Your old post really made me think though. The last few years I’ve decreased my meat-eating a lot, and made an effort to make mostly vegetarian, sometimes pescatarian food at home.
I cook mostly the same dishes, but add beans and veg where I’ve cut out the meat. This isn’t very inspiring though.
Periodically I glide back into complete meat eating again, out of pure laziness and by not making an active decision. For example- why do I put ham in a sandwich, when the stinky cheese I love is tasty on its own? Why do I order regular burgers out of habit, when what I like about them isn’t the actual meat flavour?
As you point out, evey little counts.
Here are some decisions that you writing that post back in May is now influencing:
I’m going to actively decide what meat I actually really want and when I want to eat it.
I’m going to start ordering more vegetarian food in restaurants.
I’m going to stop the “lazy” meat eating- like eating pizzas with chicken and cheapo ready meals with meat.
And finally: I’m going to look up more vegetarian recipes!
Lisa, the decisions you’re making and putting into action are very inspiring! I fully understand the “lazy” meat-eating thing. It’s less about the meat than it is about not thinking about the food at all. It does get easier, though, once you have a library of go-to recipes to fall back on.
It’s definitely easier to order meat-free meals when there’s only one thing you can eat on the menu at a restaurant, too. No decision to be made at all! 😉
My friend made us the Mexican Pasta (not sure if it had a fancier name than that) from this book the other night. It was delicious! I’m not vegan (but am vegetarian) and I’m considering buying this book because just flipping through it was making me hungry. Everything looks so good, and it’s healthy to boot.
Have you tried her Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World book? Oh em gee, not healthy but so delicious. (The above-mentioned friend is actually making a couple hundred of them for my wedding in lieu of a cake. Yeah… she’s a good friend.)
I’ve never used it directly, but I have a vegan baker friend who swears by her cookie and cupcake cookbooks…and the stuff he’s made has been phenomenal! I’m not a big dessert person, but I can definitely get behind an awesome cupcake. 🙂
I’m not vegan or vegetarian but I’ve never been a huge fan of red meat (I stick to poultry mostly) but I bought Veganomicon simply because while browsing it I thought the recipes looked yummy. And while I don’t regularly eat tofu or seitan or whatever, I can always omit them or sub something for them. I have a large collection of cookbooks – though 75% of them are books on baking! I read cookbooks like other people read novels.
thanks for sharing! I’ve been trying to get more into cookbooks instead of just making it up as I go.
while I eat meat in all forms (save veal and foie gras) and LOVE all things cheese, I find that 80% of the meals I cook at home (which I do more than I go out) are vegan or vegetarian. I am like you and love love love love vegetables. love them. I’ll take a bag of brussels sprouts over chocolate any day.
I got the Moosewood Cookbook and the Enchanted Broccoli Forest for Christmas and am obsessed! super easy, healthy recipes and I also love the simple hand-written design of the book.
Yes, yes!! Moosewood & Enchanted Broccoli are both great!!
Ooo I just ordered this! Now I’m totally excited. Do you have any favorite recipes?
I think it’s too early for me to name favorites, but I will say that I foresee a lot of garlicky kale and mushrooms in my future. 🙂
I actually met Isa at a New Year’s Eve party in omaha! She was really rad. She wanted to make brunch the next day but the hosts were all hosted out i think.
hi anna! long time reader, first time commenter. i’ve been vegetarian half my life and went vegan a little over two years ago. i’ve had some slips, mostly with pizza, and am wondering what is your favorite vegan substitute for cheese. i’ve tried teese, daiya, and some others with moderate success but could use your insight.
also, do you have a favorite recipe for vegan mac and cheese?
i’d also recommend terry walters “clean food” and alicia silverstone’s “the kind diet” for some great recipes.
thanks much for sharing this post — i appreciate your feedback on this book and it is on my wish list for sure.
Thanks for reminding me of Alicia Silverstone’s book, I’ve been meaning to check it out!
My favorite recipe for vegan mac & cheese is the one from VeganYumYum:
Lots of ingredients, but well worth the effort. It’s a little classier than Kraft. 😉
For fake cheese, I really like Daiya. I only use it for stuff like pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches, though. Otherwise, I usually improvise a cheesy sauce with nutritional yeast, soy sauce, a splash of soy milk, and a little miso.
Totally just ordered it. Super excited to incorporate more veggies into our meals.
Anna, I forgot to ask, what kind of milk do you drink?
It depends on what I’m doing with it (I never drank glasses of real milk, so it’s really just for cooking/baking/putting in coffee), but generally I’ll use soy, almond, coconut, or cashew milk.
Is there a particular usage you’re wondering about?
For drinking, I love milk. I’ve never been able to drink the soy milk or almond milk, then I just gave up trying and went with antibiotic free milk. That is so expensive that I am back to buying regular milk. I would like to remove dairy from my diet, but not being able to drink milk is something I’m not sure I will be able to do. Now reading your comment I realize that having any of those milks around would be an issue with my granddaughter as she has a life threatening allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. Also, with soy milk, I think I remember hearing that there is a link between too much soy and breast cancer. What do you think of rice milk?
Sue, I’ve used rice milk in cooking and on cereal, and it’s fine for that, but I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever tried to drink a glass of it…so I’m not sure I can really give you advice on that. I will say, though, that many tastes are acquired, and something that tastes “weird” to you at first will likely taste more normal as you have it more frequently. Maybe you’ve experienced that kind of thing with regular milk, like transitioning from whole milk to skim milk—you know what I mean? After a while, the alternative starts tasting better.
From an allergen standpoint, I do think rice milk is probably your best option. As I’m sure you know, rice is extremely well tolerated by most people, and obviously your granddaughter’s sensitivities wouldn’t be an issue. Give it a try. You might want to experiment with different brands, since not all foods are created equal.
I’m not a scientist or nutritionist, so I hesitate to give you advice on the potential risks of soy milk (or cow’s milk, for that matter) from any kind of authoritative standpoint, but I can speak anecdotally about it. First of all, it’s very easy to fall victim to extremist reports about anything, and of course the media is determined to make us pay attention and tune in/buy magazines/click on websites at any cost, and an alarming headline or mass-forwarded email is a great way to scare people—and to make money off of them via ad revenue. (My goodness, am I cynical or what?!) Now, with that in mind…
Dr. Andrew Weil (whose opinion I trust) has written several pieces about soy over the years that I think you may find informative. He’s done a very good job of breaking down exactly what we do and don’t want in soy products, where the concern you mentioned stems from, and how much soy is good for you to consume on a daily basis:
What you want to avoid are modified soy proteins and products containing non-organic soybeans. If you avoid heavily processed foods (become a label-reader—you’ll be shocked by what’s in the most simple-seeming products!), you’re already well on your way to eliminating a lot of bad stuff from your diet. If you buy soy-based products (tofu, soy milk, tempeh, miso, edamame, etc.), check the label to make sure they’re made from organic, non-GMO (non-genetically modified) soybeans. This is very important.
Now, of course, on the flip side, you could start doing some research into the links between the consumption of dairy products (and animal products in general), animal fats, and various type of cancers and other diseases. I honestly think it’s a little silly to worry about soy milk when the health risks associated with animal products are so much greater…but I do realize that’s a pretty intensive subject and really very subjective and absolutely up for debate on both sides of the argument, and the comment field on a blog post might not be the right place to do it. 😉
At the end of the day, here’s where I come down on just about everything food-wise: Eat as much whole food as you can. Stay as close to unprocessed, source ingredients as possible. Read labels. So much of what we wind up consuming in too-large quantities gets into our bodies by way of “hidden” ingredients. The less we consume food products that have been processed, preserved, altered, and packaged, the healthier we’ll ALL be.
Not only is this not a bad review, it is such a good review I am sending the link to my mom right now! She has been trying to eat vegan for about a year (and, as an aside, she is from Newburgh!).
Oh, really? Whereabouts in Newburgh did she live?
I can’t say enough about coconut oil since I switched to baking with it instead of butter. It has many other uses as well.
Oh yeah, I love coconut oil!!
Thanks for this. My biggest roadblock to going vegan is that I don’t eat a lot of processed foods, and it is, or was, at least, my impression that vegetarians/vegans eat an awful lot of processed foods. That is, the vegetarians that I know anyway… I will put this cookbook on my list!
I think the processed food thing comes from a fear on the part of a lot of vegetarians that they’re not going to get enough protein in their diets unless they find a direct substitute for meat. The fact is, though, that it’s very rare for a person to not get enough protein in their diet — the biggest problem (with everyone, omnivore or vegan) is not getting enough fiber, eating too many simple carbs, and totally lacking the nutrients in colorful vegetables. It’s easy to take care of the protein.
The other thing is that those processed fake meats are very convenient, and they’re an easy may for vegetarians to feel like they’re “like everyone else”. A much more healthful approach of course, is to look at veganism as a totally different (and more complete!) way of eating, which comes back around to treating veggies and grains as main courses, rather than side dishes. And that’s good for everyone, of course, not just vegans. 🙂
Thanks for the recc’, I’ll check this out.
I can recommend Sweet Utopia. The peanut butter and chocolate cake brings tears to my eyes every time I taste it…
thank you anna! i can’t wait to try the vegan yum-yum mac and cheese. it looks AMAZING! and thank you for all of your thoughtful and insightful comments about this topic in general. by the looks of it, you have piqued quite a few people’s interests in trying to go vegan — yay! 🙂
I just started reading your blog and I am in love with it! I was just over at Lonny Mag and on page 96 they mention your blog! I’m sure you already knew, but I thought I would tell you just in case you didn’t know. Have a lovely weekend!
I did hear about that! Very cool. 🙂
thank you for a great blog. Silly question but does the cookbook have pictures of the dishes?
asks a reader from Helsingfors, Finland
There is a photo section in the middle with photos of a number of dishes, but no, for the most part it’s just text.
I’m like you–I mostly just bookmark recipes online or throw things together and hope for the best. Still, Veganomicon is by far my favorite cookbook out of the few I own. I’ve never heard of this one until now, but maybe it will knock Veganomicon out of the top spot?
Oh, I forgot to praise Isa’s vegan bruch book. It is full with simple straight forward recipes for stuff one can eat for brunch and 1000 other occasions (waffers, quiche, sausages, salads, roasted veg and so on…) Of all Moskowitz books this is the one I used and most, second comes the Cupcake book (I would say that I am a mediocre baker but thankt to Isa everyonearound me thinks I am cupcakequeen) and the 3d place makes right now “Appetite for reduction” as it is the newest in the cookbook family of mine. Actually I use it in heavy rotation as I long for simple, somehow clean and easy food after the holidays. The book I use a lot nowdays is Yotam Ottolenghis “Plenty”. It is a vegetarian cookbook but most of the stuff is veganized quickly.
Oh and there is something I forgot in awhile. Congrats for going vegan!
I love the design, very cool and updated! AND very good cause!
I decided to go vegan when I was 14.. I stopped somewhere at 18, and since then it was on and off. In the last few months I don’t eat meet.. I feel like a liar because all of my life I knew it’s the right choice so why didn’t I stick with it?
What’s the different between eating a dog, or some other animal, it’s being cute?
“At the end of the day, here’s where I come down on just about everything food-wise: Eat as much whole food as you can. Stay as close to unprocessed, source ingredients as possible. Read labels. So much of what we wind up consuming in too-large quantities gets into our bodies by way of “hidden” ingredients. The less we consume food products that have been processed, preserved, altered, and packaged, the healthier we’ll ALL be.”
This is how I try to live and eat 🙂
I eat meal, but have reduced that from every day in the week – my mom cooked like this – to once in a week. I dicovered many yummy vegetarian meals, eat more fresh fish and try to stick to regional products to keep my ecological foot print as low as possible.
I like this book and am thinking of buying it for my vegetarian friend.
I agree, this book is amazing. I have owned it for a couple of weeks and have tried at least a dozen recipes (including the pictured onion rings!). This is unheard of for me. I have many veg cookbooks and have borrowed many more and have never made this many recipes in such a short time. It is really great.
I’ll second the rec for Terry Walters’ “Clean Food.” Simple, delicious vegan recipes with a strong emphasis on nutrition. It’s organized by season, which is nice — doesn’t sweet brown rice with mung beans and aromatic Indian spices just sound perfect for these cold winter (Northeast USA) days?!
I am getting that cookbook. I really enjoyed those recipes. I am TRUE lover of kale.
I ordered the book! I love your blog and all the wonderful improvements you’ve made to your home and apartment. I’ve been looking to switch it up a little, and eat some more vegetable-centric meals, so I can’t wait to explore this cookbook. Keep up with the book reviews!
i love this book and love seeing positive reviews of it pop up on my blog reader! i’m uber preggo right now, and AFR is about the only cookbook i’m not too lazy to cook from. everything comes together so fast, tastes so good, and makes me feel so confident that my belly dweller is getting the good stuff. i can’t think of another cookbook that has filled me with such enthusiasm in recent history!
also, i was reading through the comments and saw you recommend the VYY mac and cheese, to which i heartily agree! cheers.
thanks for the review on this book, it sounds great. Simple and quick recipes can’t be beat when you’re cooking almost every night ~ I have vegan with a vengeance and love it, and hadn’t heard about this one yet. go vegetarians/vegans! 😀
For any of you who just love veggies try this web site (http://theweddingqueen.blogspot.com) and look for a post in November that has heirloom seeds for veggies, Five COLORS of swiss chard, talk about incentive to cook! Puprle cauliflower etc. I posted it for using it for weddings but the person the seeds come from has tons of great colorful veggies.
after completing a mostly vegan food cleanse for three weeks, we’re now trying to incorporate more vegan recipes into our usual repertoire. after reading your great post on this book i ordered both it and veganomicon. they both look AMAZING during initial perusal, and there’s a great balance between showstoppers for weekend cooking / company and something healthful and interesting for weeknight fare. i’ll be trying the vegan mac and cheese with added spinach this weekend. thanks!
Hi Anna, I love Isa’s books. When I went through my vegan phase, I cooked exclusively from Veganomicon. However, I found most of those recipes to be really intense – time and ingredient wise. I’ll have to give this book a shot, because even though I’m no longer vegan or vegetarian, I do like to have meat free/dairy free days.
The bestest cookbook! I am also working my way through it! Yummy!
I’m french’s vegan and i think that cooking is the best for the taste and also for ethics!:)
Unfortunatly, in France , very few people understand that!!
sorry for my english!
i love your blog! i ordered the cookbook + am finally thinking of making something from it this evening. yay! i just came back to your blog to look for a posting that i saw a while back (when i discovered the cookbook on here). i thought that somewhere (maybe in the comments section) you had listed your favorite recipes from this cookbook. but, i can’t find them anywhere. just thought i’d start with one of your faves!…
am i dreaming? if not, could you point me in the right direction.