When I first became vegan nearly 6 years ago, I did so for health reasons. I had high cholesterol, severe acid reflux, and I was at the very end of the healthy-for-your-height weight spectrum. Making the change from omnivore to vegan was actually really easy for me, as I didn't miss cheese or dairy milk the way many other new vegans do. I certainly didn't miss meat at all, since I'd never really been that fond of it anyway.
The struggle I had was in figuring out what to eat, and more specifically, how to prepare it. I'd never had tofu or tempeh before, let alone quinoa, hemp seeds, kale, plantains, or almond butter. I spent much of my first year of veganhood making some truly awful dishes (ie. unpressed, unmarinated tofu, sliced into slabs and fried....mmmmmm). It wasn't until October of 2007 that the cookbook I really needed was published. That book was Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan, and it changed my life! Dreena Burton's recipes were uncomplicated, unfussy, and super nutritious. Most importantly, though, they were delicious! She gave suggestions on what to pair with certain recipes, and her sections on ingredients and cooking techniques were invaluable to me. I have been a big Dreena fan ever since, so naturally I was thrilled when her follow-up cookbook, Let Them Eat Vegan!, came out earlier this year. It has 200 (!!!) recipes and I plan on trying nearly all of them, just as I did for ED&BV. I've blogged about some dishes I've already made (Kale-Slaw with Curried Almond Dressing; Lemon Dijon Green Beans; Caribbean Fusion Stew; Moroccan Bean Stew with Sweet Potatoes; Tempeh Tickle), but this week I decided to go crazy with Chapter 1, Breakfast Bites and Smoothies. The first thing I made was the Wholesome Oat Snackles!, which Dreena says are like having your oatmeal without the bowl. With oats, oat flour, raisins, hemp seeds, applesauce, and maple syrup, they certainly lived up to the hype! I also included a handful of mini chocolate chips, which is listed as an optional ingredient. I don't say no to optional chocolate.
Here are the snackles before cooking:
...and here they are afterward. They were so good! Oat-y, chocolate-y, chewy, and bite-sized. I'm sold!
The next day, I tackled two recipes for breakfast cookies. Breakfast cookies. 'Nuff said.
Behold, the Monsta! Cookies. This time I was smart and pressed them down into a cookie shape.
These babies are loaded with oat flour, spelt flour, shredded coconut, flax meal, pecans, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, and maple syrup. They are packed with healthful ingredients, and although Dreena says these are not your dessert kind of cookie, I'd have to disagree. To me, they are a breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and late-night snack kind of cookie. I should know, because I had one at each of these occasions. I had to freeze half the batch to keep us from eating them all in one day, which really made for some chewy frozen cookies when we dug them back out of the freezer the next day :)
I also made a batch of the (appropriately named) Breakfast Cookies:
I had to make a few ingredient substitutions, but I stayed pretty true to the recipe. These cookies have oats, cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips, nut butter, ground flax, and maple syrup. My son loved having cookies for breakfast, and so did I!
The next day, I made the Oat 'n' Applesauce Muffins:
I'm not a big muffin person myself, but these sounded too good to pass up. And I'm so glad I made them - they were devoured by myself, my hubby, and my son. My son ate 3 of them for breakfast! With oat flour, oat bran, quick oats, raisins, flax seed, applesauce, and maple syrup, this was something I could feel great about feeding him.
Lastly, I made a savory dish for dinner, the Fragrant Kidney Bean Lentil Dal, served over basmati rice with a side of green beans:
It has red lentils, kidney beans, ginger, orange juice, garlic, and lots of delicious spices. It was perfectly seasoned, and other than omitting the red pepper flakes, I didn't change a thing. It was sooooo good. If you love Indian food, then you should definitely make this!
I can't wait to try more of the recipes in LTEV. I haven't even gotten to the burger, pasta, cookie, cake, or ice cream chapters yet! You'll be seeing more yummy food from this cookbook in the future. Thanks, Dreena!