I am not a vegan. I am not even a vegetarian. Yet, nevertheless, fellow foodies, I have found this most extraordinary vegan cookbook that I would like to recommend to you.
The cookbook is called The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Vegan Recipes to Glow From the Inside Out, and the author is Angela Liddon who writes a food blog:
This is Liddon’s first cookbook. It was released on March 4th. Since then, Chapters/Indigo have selected The Oh She Glows Cookbook as their Top Book Pick of 2014, it has been an Amazon.com bestseller booklist for weeks and is on the New York Times’ bestseller list.
Liddon is originally from Moncton N.B. and now lives in Oakville. She is a self-trained cook and photographer, not a chef, and is very forthright about her origins in the food industry. In her background sketch, she writes about struggling with an eating disorder from the age of 11 or 12. After earning a Masters’ degree in social psychology, she began writing her incredibly successful blog. Delighted by being able to make use of her creative abilities, she eventually changed her career direction, opening and running a bakery for several years. She now concentrates on writing and recipe development. In 2009, she writes, she shifted her diet to plant-based after doing much research on nutrition, animal welfare and the environmental impacts of factory farming. Her aim, she says, is to create healthy, unprocessed, animal-product free recipes with tasty and good-for-you food.
I must confess that I too have been inspired by these same claims for animal-free products and have tried to be a vegetarian twice. The first time was when I was in my 20’s and the experiment was a total failure. I was trying to lose weight (which I didn’t) and I relapsed quickly, finding it just too inconvenient to give up meat and missing my toasted BLT’s too much. (I don’t know who I was kidding about healthy living — I was a smoker at the time.) Anyway, the second time I tried, I had done a bit more homework. I managed to stay vegetarian for a couple of months and then started to feel sort of tired, weak and wispy. After a blood test, my doctor told me that I was missing or low in certain “trace minerals”, something that could be fixed very easily. (Obviously, I didn’t do enough homework.) The whole project began to seem like too much trouble and I gave it up.
I do know that I would never be vegan. As I understand it, veganism is a very compassionate philosophy which believes that animals are not here to be exploited by man, and that commercialization of animals necessarily involves a fundamental, inhumane component and lack of respect for basic life. Vegans try not to use any animal products in any way. So, while I might be persuaded to give up eating meat — eggs, milk and cheese just aren’t a possibility. Vegans also do not use leather, silk and wool and, while I certainly wouldn’t wear fur, I’m not sure that I could go much further. And what about ants that I kill when they come into my house? And I’m afraid that I have stooped to using mouse traps. Anyway, trying never to exploit animals in any way, all started to seem a bit obsessive and besides I like to try new things and eat different types of food when I travel. I’m just not willing to give that up.
So, having confessed to my own doubts and liabilities, why am I so impressed with this vegan cookbook?
What I have been convinced of, over the years, is the beneficial effects of a primarily plant-based diet — both for the individual and for the planet. (An interesting study just came out on April 1st. It was carried out by experts at University College London who analysed the eating habits of 65,000 people, over eight years and matched them with causes of death. The clear finding was that eating more fruits and vegetables was linked to living a longer life in general and, in particular, a lower chance for premature death from heart disease, stroke or cancer. Published in the Guardian, see
Anyway, I try to eat vegetarian meals at least two or three times a week and I’m always looking for great tasting new vegetarian dishes.
Liddon’s book features more than 100 recipes and, although I’ve only tried three so far, all three have been winners. There are breakfasts, power snacks, entrées and decadent desserts, most of the recipes are allergy friendly and there are lots of gluten-free options. What I also like is that most of the ingredients are attainable at the local grocery store. Since you know my feelings about large amounts of kale, we’ll pass over the crispy kale chips and I’ll leave you with a truly divine recipe for
from Angela Liddon’s The Oh She Glows Cookbook
1 medium sized ripe avocado, pitted
1/2 lemon, juiced plus lemon zest for garnish
1 – 3 garlic cloves (I like three — but this makes it super-garlicky)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil (probably optional)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 servings/6 oz of your choice of pasta (Liddon uses 3 oz of spelt and 3 oz of Kamut spaghetti)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
1. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor. Process until smooth. Now add in the pitted avocado, basil, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy.
3. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into a large bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.
The sauce is creamy, rich, garlicky — absolutely delicious. And, of course. if you are not vegan you can use it with regular spaghetti.