Monday, September 15, 2014

Plant Power Review and Giveaway

I am a Nava Atlas fan. I own, love, and have reviewed two of her earlier books, Wild About Greens and Vegan Holiday Kitchen. I'm also honored to be a contributor on her wonderful website, VegKitchen. Her latest book, Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More Than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes is destined to become a vegan classic. With jaw-droppingly exquisite photos from gifted vegan food photographer, Hannah Kaminsky, readers will have a tough time deciding which vibrantly colorful recipe to make first.

Whenever I crack open a new cookbook, I find it hard to choose which recipe to make first. I'm so excited, I want to try them all! This time, my bountiful harvest of apples decided for me, and I've been enjoying lots of Green Smoothies with Banana and Apple for breakfast. It's such a naturally light, sweetly delicious, and nutritious way to start the day. And it's such a lovely shade of green!

Serendipity is when you're thumbing through the pages of a new cookbook, land on a photo that whets your appetite so strongly your tummy starts to growl, and you find that you have ALL of the ingredients on hand to make it! That's exactly what happened when I eyed Hannah's gorgeous photo of Nava's Chickpea and Kale Sandwich Spread. While my photo doesn't come close to capturing the recipe in all of its lusciousness, I can honestly say that after eating this sandwich, every time I look at my own photo I start to salivate a little. With every bite, a savory combination of curry, cumin, mustard, and dill danced deliciously together in my mouth.

It's a challenge getting my husband, Mark to consume enough food to ensure that he's eating enough calories. Fortunately, he loves pizza and pasta. (Good for his waistline, not so much for mine.) More and more I've been cooking without oil, preferring to eat my fats in their whole-food form. So I really appreciate that Nava gives readers the option of sautéeing with oil, vegetable broth, or water, and gives the appropriate measurement for each. I joyfully dug into her recipe for Pasta with Hearty Lentil and Spinach Sauce (choosing the vegetable broth method). Served with a side salad and toasted ciabatta, this peasant-inspired meal was molto buono, and Mark eagerly asked for a second helping!

Crumbled tempeh and chopped walnuts seasoned with chile and sweet paprika are at the heart of these scrumptious Tempeh and Walnut Soft Tacos. Their meaty texture and picante flavor will delight ominivores and vegans alike. We enjoyed this dish accompanied by Nava's Southwestern Flavored Kale Salad with tomatoes, avocado, red bell pepper, and corn topped with a creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing.

I'm a sucker for Asian sweet and sour dishes, and the recipe I'm most anxious to try next is the Sweet-and-Sour Stir-Fried Vegetables with Seitan or Tempeh. I'm sharing Hannah's gorgeous photo along with Nava's recipe below, so we can all try it together. If you make it, please let me know what you think!

The recipe for Sweet-and-Sour Stir-Fried Vegetables with Seitan or Tempeh by Nava Atlas ©2014 is reprinted with the kind permission of HarperOne.

Photo ©2014 by Hannah Kaminsky.
This sweet-and-sour stir-fry, featuring high-protein seitan or tempeh along with colorful vegetables and pineapple, has several steps but can be made easily and at a leisurely pace. Best of all, it results in a delicious and nourishing meal. This is especially good served over bean-thread noodles or Asian brown rice vermicelli, but soba or udon work well, too. Long-grain brown rice and brown basmati rice are good choices as well. Serves 6.

1 tablespoon safflower or other high-heat oil, or 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1 pound seitan, cut into bite-size chunks, or one 8-ounce package tempeh, diced
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large broccoli crowns, cut into bite-size pieces
2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini or yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 medium ripe fresh tomatoes, diced
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks (about 3/4 inch thick) or one 20-ounce can unsweetened pineapple chunks in juice, drained and liquid reserved
Sweet-and-Sour Sauce (recipe below)
Hot cooked rice, quinoa, or noodles

Optional Toppings:
Chopped cashews or walnuts
Reduced-sodium natural soy sauce or tamari
Sriracha or other Asian hot sauce

Heat half the oil, broth, or water in a stir-fry pan or wok. Add the seitan or tempeh and stir-fry over medium-high heat until lightly browned, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil, broth, or water in the pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until golden. Turn up the heat; add the garlic, broccoli, and bell peppers and stir-fry for 5 minutes.

Stir in the zucchini and stir-fry just until everything is tender-crisp, about 2 minutes longer, then stir in the tomatoes and pineapple chunks.

Stir in the sauce and cook until it thickens. Taste and adjust the sweet-sour balance with more agave and/or vinegar (as called for in the sauce recipe) to your liking.

Serve at once over hot cooked grains or noodles. Pass around any of the optional items for topping individual portions.

Sauce: (Makes 1½ cups)
½ cup fruit juice (pineapple juice works best — use reserved juice from canned 
pineapple if using; mango juice or nectar is good, too)
2½ tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch
½ cup vegetable broth or water
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium natural soy sauce or tamari, or to taste
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 to 2 teaspoons grated fresh or jarred ginger

Combine the fruit juice with the arrowroot in a mixing bowl and stir until dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together.

Note: Why a pound of seitan but just 8 ounces of tempeh? Seitan is more moist and less dense; a pound of tempeh would be quite intense in this dish. But if you’re a big fan of tempeh and want a higher-protein dish, go for it—use two 8-ounce packages.

Nutrition information:
 Per serving with seitan: Calories: 264; Total fat: 7g; Protein: 22g; Carbohydrates: 32g; Fiber: 4g; Sodium: 516mg
Per serving with tempeh: Calories: 237; Total fat: 9g; Protein: 10g; Carbohydrates: 34g; Fiber: 6g; Sodium: 237mg

If you want to transform your kitchen, your plate, and your life with fresh and flavorful vegan recipes you'll want to enjoy over and over again, Plant Power is the perfect book for you! Along with more than 150 delectable recipes, you'll find a guide to the benefits of a plant-powered life, nutrition basics, meal-planning strategies, and much more. And now you can win a copy of Plant Power for yourself or someone you love. Simply leave a comment below, and then follow the prompt in the Rafflecopter box! (This step is required for entry.) After you leave a comment, you can earn additional entries by following any or all of the other Rafflecopter options. I'll be selecting one lucky winner at random.* Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Giveaway is open only to readers with US and Canadian postal addresses.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If the product is purchased by linking through this review, I receive a modest commission. 


Lauren said...

I hate when people say that plant-based diets are expensive! Our grocery bill has noticeably gotten smaller since going vegan!

Rebecca said...

Is that all vegetarians/vegans are thin and weak. I get "you don look vegan" what does that even mean?!

MonsterAteMy said...

It bugs me that some people believe all vegan/vegetarian food is just aping meat. The abundance of crappy processed burgers and such doesn't help!

remember.jasmine said...

The age old protein debate has got to be the most annoying. If vegan bodybuilders are winning competitions, then obviously you're just doing it wrong!!

Judy Petullo said...

I love your creative descriptions, like "With every bite, a savory combination of curry, cumin, mustard, and dill danced deliciously together in my mouth." Thanks for the post and recipe.

Anonymous said...

I have tried several of Nava Atlas delicious recipes by visiting her website. Nava Atlas cookbook would be a tremendous benefit to myself to learn more about what healthy plant-based eating is all about. I have read reviews on this particular cookbook and it seems like it is full of information that answers questions on what is a plant-based diet, how does one get started on a journey towards a healthy plant-based diet, how to set up your pantry and meal plans.

Brenda Dean said...

I have never tried a recipe of Nava's that I didn't love. Looking so forward to seeing the new cookbook!

MamaBearMary said...

That it's too time consuming to cook and prepare healthy food, it's really not. Like anything, once you get used to it you get more adept at it! Plus, even if it takes extra time, your health should be a priority that can budget that time in.

Shelah said...

That it's boring. Strange, because most meat eaters eat the same few things day in and day out! I just let my colorful and fragrant meals speak for themselves!

sarahhhhhh said...

that you're automatically skinny!

Marika said...

This new book sounds like a must have! I love Nava—she's a culinary force!

Jennifer Manriquez said...

My biggest pet peeve is the idea that without meat a meal has no 'substance.' I actually had friends bring meat dishes to a birthday party I was hosting because they "needed food with substance." Grrrrrrr. I was so relieved when hardly anybody touched their offerings. ;)

Megan W said...

I did one week vegan earlier this summer and have been back at it for two weeks. Thanks for the post. I've already gotten a few new ideas!

Melissa said...

That we don't get enough protein. So wrong, I get plenty of it, probably more than some meat eaters.

Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family said...

I think a couple of things gripe me when people here I follow a plant based diet 1) you need protein there is no way plants give you enough 2) don't you get tired of eating veggies?

Amanda H said...

Meat gets boring and repetitive very quickly. Veggies - there are soooo many different kinds and ways to prep them, the options are almost endless!

Anonymous said...

Finding new recipes my son will eat makes me happy.

Ashley said...

The "protein" myth really bugs me! But I just share vegan foods with protein and try to educate. :)

VeganMarr said...

Oh yes, by far, the misconception, misinformation about protein. Oh how i wish I could THROW that word out of the human language! It's criminal how mis-educated people have been about it.

I agree w/Judy about ur desription of the chickpea salad...that's the one that caught my eye the most. But they all look very colorful & pretty & yummy!!

OK, may I mention a 2nd pet peeve? That some humans will do ANYthing for a dog or cat...yet not blink at eating a cow, pig, chicken, turkey, fish....

Anonymous said...

I can't stand how people seem to look down at vegetarians. I think every should try to eat one meatless meal a week! It would change they're opinions I think.

The Vegan said...

What many people don't realize is that excessive protein is a bad thing. It can lead to osteoporosis.
In fact the countries which have the people with the highest intake of protein is the highest incidence of osteoporosis.

Meanwhile the dishes in this book delicious!!! :-)

Julee said...

I can't wait to try the Sweet-and-Sour Stir-Fried Vegetables with Seitan or Tempeh! It looks amazing!

Jenni (aka Vegyogini) said...

I don't appreciate that people think veganism is "so hard." It's actually so easy! And that's exactly what I tell them. As soon as you know what to look for, it's a piece of (vegan) cake. Thanks for the giveaway!

Patty T said...

The stir fry sounds yummy! Will be trying it and looking forward to seeing all the recipes in the book!

Jennifer K said...

What really drives me crazy is when people comment that it's unnatural because we need to take supplements. Meanwhile, their cow milk is fortified as well as most wheat products. Nothing natural about that either! But hey, it's part of living in the modern industrialized world

Terri Cole said...

As a vegan fat chick, the myth that all vegans are super-fit and/or skinny makes me a little crazy.

gaia at cinci dot rr dot com

Tammy said...

This looks delicious! Would love to have this to add more plant-strong foods to my life.

MerylAnnB said...

Wow, YUM! xoxo

djschoo said...

My annoyance is that people tell me I'm "always hungry" because I don't eat meat. It's actually the exact opposite -- I'm the one in my social circle who explicitly *doesn't* get hit with cravings for, say, root beer and pizza -- but more do they know how hungry I am? It's bizarre. But funny!

Penelope said...

I hate when people say that you can't get enough can. Protein is found in veggies and legumes...and nuts...and seeds...and...

Kate said...

I would love to win a copy of this cookbook! The sandwich spread looks especially delicious.

WritePublishDie said...

The plant-based diet didn't begin with some mantra-chanting hippies in California during the sixties.

It was started during World War II by a British gentleman named Donald Watson. He was veganism's founder.

Anonymous said...

I follow Nava's blog and have saved and tried multiple recipes and I have to say that all of them have been wonderful and helped us use up our CSA. If I am not sure what to do with something I check out her blog and site. Thanks for the opportunity to own the book
Marsha vamoody(one)(at)verizon(dot)net

Karen Delaney said...

The protein myth is the one that bothers me the most. Basically, I don't argue, just tell them that I'm still alive after over 36 years without meat.

Teri said...

Love the blog, love the book! I just got a copy from the library and would love one of my own!

Book and Cat Librarian said...

People ALWAYS tell me that they can't be vegan because they love ice cream, and other examples like that. I always tell them that there are equivalent vegan substitutes for just about everything.

Jessica Eagle said...

Thanks for this giveaway :)

It bugs me when people says: Ahhh...that's why your thin, you don't eat enough protein !!! Grrrr...sometimes I just ignore the comment, but when I feel like explaining I give facts about plant-based protein food and give explain of celebrity or known people that are vegetarian.

Annette said...

The myth that plant-based diets aren't complete is what bothers me.