Laura Theodore, the Jazzy Vegetarian’s new hardcover book, Vegan-Ease: An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet* is exactly as it sounds. The 130 recipes in Vegan-Ease range from lighter fare to hearty and satisfying meals. There’s comprehensive nutritional information for each dish, and Laura has included an Ease-Factor ranking for each recipe to help you plan your meals to fit your schedule. Helpful tips and chef’s notes are sprinkled throughout the book as well. Along with the beautiful full-colored pictures that accompanies almost every recipe in the book, she also includes twelve menus for every occasion. Whether you are planning for a four-course holiday, basic buffet, easy breakfast or family-sized meal, these menus will help you create balanced, plant-based meals that will definitely impress your family and friends.
Laura discusses Why a Plant-Based Diet?, and includes Ease-y essential guides, which lists basic ingredients to keep on hand, kitchen tools and shopping lists, and table of equivalent measures. Also, The Plant-Based Dietitian, Julieanna Hever answers the common questions associated with nutrition and the plant-based diet.
Here is an excerpt from Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease: An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet © Laura Theodore (Jazzy Vegetarian, LLC 2015), reprinted by permission.
Top Five Tips
for Vegan-Ease Cuisine
Here are my Top Five Tips for starting on the path to Vegan-Ease Cuisine: Easy vegan meals, without sacrificing great taste or giving up the textures and flavors we all love!
- If you are new to vegan eating, start by serving one non-meat, plant-based meal each week for dinner. Try preparing hearty and satisfying favorites like Chili, Lasagna, Soup, Pasta, Easy Casserole or Meatless Burger.
- Use mashed bananas, ground flaxseeds mixed with water or whipped organic tofu to replace eggs in many baked goods recipes. This works especially well when making muffins, brownies and many cakes. (If a baked goods recipe calls for just one egg, in most cases you can just leave the egg out and your recipe will still be perfect!)
- Now widely available in most supermarkets, purchase rice, soy, almond, cashew, coconut or oat nondairy milk for topping cereal or as a substitute for dairy milk in almost any recipe.
- Got a sweet tooth? Organic, dairy-free, fair trade dark chocolate is available in most supermarkets and health food stores.
- When food shopping, take a moment to explore the rainbow of colors and tastes that fresh produce has to offer. Try adding one new vegetable or fruit to your cart every time you shop. This will make your journey toward a vegan diet more flavorful and fun.
From hearty main dishes, to decadent desserts, the vegan diet offers a wide range of options. And best of all, you’ll be making the world a better place, one tasty recipe at a time.
Laura was gracious enough to answer some questions, for us Plant-Based Junkies (PBJ)
Question 1: Laura, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for the PBJ Family. Speaking of busy schedule, what do you enjoy doing during your downtime? What are your hobbies, and interests?
Thanks for asking Laura! In the summer I love to garden (lots of potted herbs and flowers on my back deck) and I adore swimming. When I am not writing cookbooks, creating new recipes, planning my podcast, or producing the television show – I write music and I am working on a musical too.
Question 2: Two thumbs up on your new book, “vegan-ease”. I wholeheartedly am in love with this book. Living in the midwest (smack dab in the middle of Illinois), vegan, plant-based whole foods can sometimes seem scarce in my neck of the woods (or shall I say corn fields, and soybean fields). I learned the hard way when I began my plant-based journey. By that I mean, I had to learn there really were healthy options at my local grocery store (we do not have Whole Foods, or Trader Joes nearby). This book is not only a must-have for newbies to the plant-based world, but is useful to all of us that are looking for easy, healthy, and delicious meals using simple everyday ingredients. You could not have made it any easier for us plant-based peeps. One of the first recipes that jumped out at me, that I tried (and love) was Laura’s Spaghetti. What is one of your favorite, quick, go-to meals from your new book?
Firstly, thank you so much Laura for the kind words of support! The Hungry-Guy Burger is a really easy and satisfying meal solution, year round. My husband loves burgers, and I like to change it up using different types of beans, spices, herbs – or even binders. Sometimes I swap out the salsa for a mixture of tahini and water (to bind), or I even use organic catsup to hold a plant-based burger together! The goal of the book, is to share easy recipes, that can be ease-ily re-created in the reader’s home kitchen – and that burger recipe is a real stand-out!
Question 3: What is your response to those folks that say they could never give up their meat, dairy, or processed foods? Also, any suggestions for those that say they are not big fruit or veggie lovers?
I say to please look at three factors in our world today. Eating animal-free is one of the best ways to improve health, slow down global warming and have compassion for animals! Here’s how I explain this theory in the book:
“One of the best things we can do to support the environment is to add more animal-free meals into our menu plan. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, “Animal agriculture accounts for at least 14.5 percent—and, according to some studies, as much as 51 percent—of greenhouse gas emissions, 50 percent of antibiotic use and 37 percent of pesticide use.”1 The vegan publication, VegNews reports: “It takes 100 to 200 times more water to produce a pound of beef than it does to grow a pound of plant foods.”2 Wow, that’s a lot of H2O! With issues of record droughts facing parts of the U.S. and the rest of the world, we can actually make a real difference in the water supply by reducing meat consumption, and this is no small thing.
Of course, the foremost reason to forego animal foods is out of concern for the welfare of—and overall compassion for—animals. According to the animal protection organization, Farm Sanctuary: “Far from the idyllic, spacious pastures that are shown in advertisements for meat, milk, and eggs, factory farms typically consist of large numbers of animals being raised in extreme confinement.”3
Another reason to consider adding more organic, vegan meals to your diet is to achieve better personal health. Processed foods, along with pesticide-laden foods, are not the best choices to help maintain a fit body, so adding more whole foods on a regular basis is certainly a great way to start on the path to supporting good health. The founder and executive director of the Wellness Forum, Dr. Pam Popper, states: “There are few people who disagree with the idea that eating a better diet is the key to enjoying better health, and an increasing body of medical evidence shows that many degenerative diseases can be stopped and even reversed by eating the right diet: one based on whole plant foods.” 4”
4 Jazzy Vegetarian, Laura Theodore, Book Publishing Company, 2011.
Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease is the go-to for folks who say they do not like fruits and veggies. As I have shared on my television show many times, I am often challenged in my own home, trying to get my husband to eat enough fresh produce. I have become pretty crafty at hiding fruits and veggies in various recipes – from main dish casseroles (I hide spinach, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms and more) to fruity desserts (I hide apples, raisins, cranberries…etc.)!
Question 4: What has been your most rewarding benefit from living this plant-based lifestyle?
I am rewarded with mails and posts everyday from folks sharing that my cookbooks, television series or podcast has changed their lifestyle and made their life better! So many young children watch my show and that warms my heart! This keeps me going!
Question 5: Thank you again for taking time out of your extremely busy schedule, for the PBJ Family. What would you like to share with those thinking about starting a whole foods, plant-based diet, but are frightened or unsure if they will be able to succeed?
If you are new to vegan eating, start by serving one, non-meat, plant -based meal each week for dinner. Try preparing hearty and satisfying favorites like Chili, Lasagna, Casseroles, Soups or Spaghetti. In these recipes you will not miss the meat!! Plus, adding vegan desserts is really ease-y – folks are so surprised that tofu or cashew cream takes the place of diary in desserts! Most vegan desserts and baked goods actually taste better than dairy and egg-laden versions! YAY!
Thanks for sharing Laura!!!
Want to try a recipe from Laura’s new book?
Mac ‘n Peas with Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce (page 114) is a perfect recipe to try, now that fall is officially here.
CLICK HERE for recipe
Here are pictures of a few recipes I have tried from the book so far.
Oh my goodness, SO GOOD!
Rich Black Bean Soup (page 82)
Chili-Maple Brussels Sprouts (page 216)
Laura’s Spaghetti (page 108)
Leave a comment below to enter our GIVEAWAY. Tell us how this book will benefit you?
The contest is open to U.S. readers, and will end at midnight on October 19th. The winner will receive one of Laura’s Jazzy CD’s, along with an autographed copy of Vegan-Ease. Winner will be chosen randomly, and announced on the blog Tuesday, October 20th.
UPDATE: CONGRATS, REBEKAH!!
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Disclosure: The publisher sent me a copy of the book to review. All opinions are my own, and I happily recommend this book to you. Also, this post contains affiliate links, indicated by a *.