Delicious Meatless Recipes that will Change the Way you Eat
By Tal Ronnen
Whether you're seeking to reduce your carbon footprint, lower your cholesterol, or save dough on your grocery bills, eating a plant-based diet makes sense. So, what's stopping all the health-conscious, eco-conscious, and cost-conscious Americans from cutting out meat and dairy products? For most, it's the fear of being doomed to bland, meager meals of tofu, sprouts, and brown rice, day after day and after night after night.
Chef Tal Ronnen used to love steak, overstuffed pastrami sandwiches, veal scaloppini, paella with spicy sausage, and all kinds of rich, scrumptious, satisfying food. When he became a vegetarian and then a vegan, he took his taste buds with him. In fact, he took them further. "I became obsessed with the idea of creating vegan food that was just as mouth-watering and delicious as anything I'd ever had as a meat-eater," he attests. In THE CONSCIOUS COOK; Delicious Meatless Recipes that will Change the Way you Eat (William Morrow, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; October 2009; $29.99 Hardcover), Chef Tal shares his enticing, unexpected vegan dishes with everyone who relishes eating beautiful, flavorful, and filling food. Every recipe delivers on his promise to omnivores and foodies: "You won't miss the meat."
A vegan visionary who has cooked for notables from Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres to Kathy Freston, Chef Tal specializes in meat- and dairy-free fare that is rich and buttery, elegant, luscious, and substantial. In THE CONSCIOUS COOK, he reveals his secret: maximizing the nutritional benefits and taste of his favorite plant-based proteins. Whether cozy, sophisticated, or fun to gobble up, every entrée in the book features a center-of-the-plate protein packing a powerful energy-boosting, hunger-banishing punch. Among the eclectic treats and surprises, cooks of all appetites and motivations will delight in:
- A simple recipe for the magic ingredient that makes it easy to fill raviolis, thicken soups and sauces, top off desserts, and live without dairy: cashew cream.
- Finger foods fit for a cocktail party, a potluck, or a Super Bowl spread, including innovative twists on classics, like Artichoke and Oyster Mushroom Rockefeller.
- Sensational salads pairing great homemade salad dressings, from Champagne Vinaigrette to a Parmesan-free Caesar, with vegetables beyond lettuce.
- Wholesome, rich, creamy, and hearty soups, from Tomato Bisque to Split Pea with Tempeh Bacon and Chipotle Cream.
- Pointers on cooking with top quality premade products, like Gardein, a garden grown protein with the texture and taste of chicken, steak, or pork that will fool everybody.
- Vegetarian sandwiches that truly eat like a meal, from a Gardein "Steak" with Horseradish Mayonnaise to Cajun Portobello with Avocado and Rémoulade.
- A striking array of really satisfying vegan entrées, from quick and casual to elaborate, including Old Bay Tofu Cakes with Pan-Roasted Summer Vegetables, Artichoke Ricotta Tortellini with Saffron Cream Sauce, Tempeh Creole, Gardein "Chicken" Scaloppini with Shiitake Sake Sauce, and Paella with "Sausage."
Since, in Chef Tal's definition, "being vegan means eating everything in the world except animal products," he leaves room for dessert. The tantalizing selections range