If you’re vegan and have a closet, there’s a high likelihood that a shirt from Herbivore Clothing is hanging in it. With clever sayings and appealing designs, they make approachable conversation pieces in addition to comfortable daytime wear. So it’s no surprise that the same people who brought you Praise Seitan and Wings are for flying, not frying, have brought an equally fun and approachable aesthetic to their new cookbook.
Eat Like You Give a Damn by Michelle Schwegmann and Josh Hooten offers recipes for the new ethical vegan. While many cookbooks appeal to a reader’s vanity on why one might choose a vegan diet, Michelle and Josh give an unapologetically ethical perspective. As they say in the opening chapter, “This is not a book pushing a diet; this is a book pushing an ethic.”
It’s so refreshing to read the why’s in a vegan cookbook, starting with a real-life account from a former undercover investigator who gained employment at one of Iowa’s largest factory farms for pigs and documented the cruelty and neglect that was witnessed. There’s a foreword by Ginny Messina, registered dietitian and vegan. She covers the health aspects of a vegan diet with some simple guidelines.
Finally, there’s a section on Michelle and Josh’s own journey to veganism, including a book that was an inspiration to both of them – Diet for a New America. (It was John Robbins’ updated version, The Food Revolution, that was a huge impetus for my own transition to veganism.) After explaining how and why she went vegan, Michelle writes, “It feels great that my actions align 100 percent with my beliefs. Once I decided to change my behavior, it was easy to see that all I had to do was change my habits.”
And of course, there are the recipes.
Michelle and Josh are parents with their own business, and the meals in the book reflect that. They are weeknight friendly and not overly time consuming. However, that doesn’t mean they are boring or mundane. They show how quickly and easily one can make something flavorful and interesting in a minimum amount of time. There’s also a Portland feel to the recipes with bowls, Soy Curls, and a free flowing love of nutritional yeast flakes.
I started with the Beirut bowl. I’d purchased a jar of za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend, a long while back. However, it had lingered in my cupboard ever since. The completionist in me liked that I literally had spices from A to Z, and I knew there were some terrific za’atar recipes out there, but that hadn’t propelled me to make any of them.
When I saw this recipe for chickpeas browned with za’atar and served with tomato, olives, onion, and avocado over greens and grains, it was a done deal. The tahini sauce that covers it is delicious. Plus, it was wonderful to have for lots of other uses – as a salad dressing or poured over sautéed kale. Speaking of kale, this recipe actually calls for Swiss chard, but I’m not a fan of its beet-like flavor. So I swapped it out for kale instead.
On the weekends David and I enjoy making a big breakfast spread. On Saturday, we whipped up Herbivore’s tofu scramble, which is a vegetable-free scramble. The tofu is cooked in a hot pan, moved sparingly, and then tossed with spices after it has become browned and crispy in parts.
The mixture of nutritional yeast, garlic and onion granules on the dry tofu was reminiscent of that beloved scramble I had at Bouldin Creek Café earlier this summer. We served it with roasted potatoes and bell peppers, grapes, and a Gardein sausage patty. I’ll definitely be repeating this one again.
For another easy tofu preparation, I made the Unmarinated Go-To Tofu. This simple tofu is splashed with tamari and sprinkled with nutritional yeast flakes. It’s a really convenient recipe for adding tofu in a hurry to a wrap or salad.
Finally, I made Only-Kale-Can-Save-Us-Now salad. This massaged kale salad recipe includes a tahini dressing that’s made right in the same salad bowl. The great thing about kale salads is that they last a long time fully dressed, unlike lighter greens that become wet and wilty. I made a big batch of this and ate it for three days as a salad with various toppings or stuffed in a wrap. I didn’t have hemp seeds on hand, and so I swapped in pine nuts instead.
The publisher has allowed me to share this kale salad recipe with you today.