Plant-based eating is becoming sought-after because of its many health benefits. A lot of people are looking for ways to stay trim (or lose weight), protect their heart and prevent cancer.
Most people starting something new need it to be super-simple and fast to get going and keep with it. And even us seasoned cooks (I'm 13 years into this way of eating) like a handful of go-to, delicious, QUICK recipes.
How has this recent surge in plant-based eating come about? I believe it's largely due to the work of T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., a nutritional biochemist at Cornell, who did government-funded studies on plant-based eating for more than 40 years. Campbell first published his findings in peer-reviewed journals (the kind most doctors are used to reading), and in 2005 wrote "The China Study," which thoroughly explains the science behind this way of eating and explains its benefits. Campbell, who wrote the forewords to two of my books, has been lecturing around the country since publication of this groundbreaking book.
About three years ago, Brian Wendel read "The China Study," was amazed by it and decided that everyone should have this information. He decided that the best way to do this would be to make a movie. So, with no previous experience in this field but with a passion to get this vital information out to the general public, he managed to pull together a crew from Los Angeles, and together they proceeded to make a documentary about Dr. Campbell's work.
On Friday, I chose to make three recipes from this book: a soup, a salad with a no-oil dressing and a dessert (yes, plant-based desserts rock). I certainly enjoyed them and think you will too.
To your health!
Raspberry-Hemp Mixed Green Salad
By Anastasia St. John
5 ounces mixed greens
1 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed
1 medium carrot, shredded
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
Raspberry-Orange Vinaigrette dressing (recipe follows)
Toss all the ingredients with Raspberry-Orange Vinaigrette dressing.
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Puree orange juice, raspberries and balsamic vinegar until smooth. Add black pepper to taste.
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 pinch of cinnamon
2 cups organic red lentils, rinsed
1 medium sweet potato, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 or 2 teaspoons sambal oelek (chile paste) or dried red chiles (I used Chiapaspaste.)
4 cups water
Pink Himalayan sea salt
1 small bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
1. Toast the cumin seeds and powder, fennel seeds, curry powder, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon in a cast iron frying pan on high heat until the cumin seeds start to pop.
2. Add the red lentils and stir until the spices are mixed in. Add a splash of water and continue cooking and stirring. Add the sweet potato, carrots, onion, sambal oelek, and 4 cups water.
3. Stir, cover, and bring to a boil, then stir again, turn down the heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes and lentils are cooked. Add salt to taste, and serve garnished with fresh cilantro.
Raw Date Power Bars
By Moira Nordholt
Serves 8 to 10
1 cup fresh or dried dates, pitted
1 1/2 cups organic almonds
1/2 cup cocao nibs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dried shredded coconut
1. If using dried dates, soak them for a few minutes in just enough water or orange juice to cover; drain.
2. Pulse the almonds in a dry food processor until they're broken up but still in crunchy chunks. Add the banana, cocoa nibs, dried chopped dates and vanilla, and blend just until mixed.
3. Sprinkle coconut over the bottom of a small square baking pan. Scrape the mixture onto the pan and spread out evenly; press it down gently with your hands. Sprinkle coconut over the top.
4. An hour or more of refrigeration will make it easier to cut the bars and serve, but these are at gooey, datey, tasty best at room temperature.
What's your favorite plant-based dish? Would you try this cookbook? What makes you favor one cookbook over another?
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