Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Herbivore

A while back, I bought a new cookbook called The Happy Hebivore. I had made a recipe from the site that inspired the book before with some pretty decent success. So when I heard about the cookbook, with over 175 of these yummy healthy vegan comfort foods featured, I pre-ordered it on Amazon.

Although... "happy herbivore" reminds me of these "Happy2BHardcore" CDs that I am really into.  Happy Hardcore is a dance genre that is basically electronica with high, cheery vocals.  This CD pictured below is one of my favorites:

But back onto the topic of food, I could not wait to start making stuff from this cookbook!  This is the second of probably more installments of recipes featured from this book.

Why this book?  Well, unlike many other vegan cookbooks, it generally features cheap and accessible ingredients.  Also, the recipes are generally quick to make.  Finally, the recipes don't contain added fat, which keeps calories down. 

You know how people say just because something is vegan doesn't mean it's healthy?  Well, this book's recipes are vegan AND healthy (AND comforting... this ain't rabbit food, baby!).

The first recipe I tried was Red Lentil Dal (recipe linked here).  One of the ingredients was garam masala, which I could not find in the market but was able to substitute by combining other spices, which is what I did here:

Another hurdle I had to overcome was using veggie broth.  We didn't have any cans, but I always have bullion cubes on hand for this.  It definitely needs to be salted, but it's a lot more compact than cans!  One cube makes 2 cups, which was perfect for this recipe!

Here are all/most of the ingredients, waiting to be used.  I don't think I had enough onion, so I compensated by adding a little more tomato.  Produce was in extremely low supply, so this was going to have to work.

This recipe also calls for tomato paste.  I personally was sick of getting those little cans of paste because I'd often use a tablespoon and then have to pray that I'd use the rest of the can before it went bad.  No more with this tube!

Here's the finished product in the pot, topped with cilantro that was on its way out:

I also started on a little jicama salad to use up more old produce.  I flavored it with orange juice, lemon juice, and some mexican fruit spice powder (not pictured).  Peeling that jicama was a chore -- had to just cut off the skin rather than rely on the veggie peeler.

From the cookbook, I also made the cornbread recipe.  See my lovely method of keeping the cookbook open???

I had some frozen corn on hand, so a dumped a little bit of it into the batter.  "The Ukrainian" was later pleasantly surprised to find corn in the cornbread.

Here's the uncooked batter in a silicone pie dish:

And here's the after-shot.  Look at how beautifully it popped out of the dish!  Keep in mind there was no fat added or pan greasing involved.  I added paprika on the top before baking.

The cornbread had a nice texture (not too dry or moist) and no weird "spoiled milk" smell that I feel comes from a lot of cornbread that I've had.  It is a little sweet (because I added the "optional" 2 tbsp of raw sugar), so I think I'd omit that next time.  I also think it could have used a little more salt, but perhaps removing the extra sweetness would take care of that problem.  For something made out of coconut milk and whole wheat pastry flour, this sure came out good!

Finally, I wanted to try one of the faux-cheese recipes that are in The Happy Herbivore.  Admittedly, although I've made vegan mac n' cheese before, I was worried about how this would turn out.

I served it warm in a bowl with some leftover pita chips.  I nervously asked how it was, and "The Ukrainian" said it was good!  I agreed, though next time, we need to add some green chiles. ;)

Here's the whole dinner together.  I made some mixed rice to go with the dal.  The dal was not what I expected it to be.  It was not spicy at all in spite of adding chili powder at the end.  In fact, I found it to be a little bitter... not sure why.  There are similar recipes in the book tha actually call for curry powder, which was the taste I was sort of expecting while making this.

What I did learn, though, is that red lentils cook 2x faster than green ones!

There were plenty of leftovers for "The Ukrainian" to take the work for the next couple of days, which is always my goal when I make dinner for him.  I feel good knowing he's eating something flavorful and healthy.

In short, I'm really diggin' this cookbook so far!  Stay tuned for more recipes from this cookbook!


  1. Oh I am going to order that too! I'm not vegan but I'm doing a no-dairy challenge because of stomach issues so this is perfect for me :)

  2. Did you make the garam marsala exactly as the recipe calls for? Subbing ingredients for a mix you are trying to replicate may be what is causing the bitter taste. There is an Indian market near S&E's house. I'm sure they would have this there.

  3. I love cornbread! That looks really good. In fact, that whole meal looks very tasty and healthy! Very nice job. And I always love it when I find a cookbook that produces a whole bunch of great recipes.

  4. Did you cook all that in ONE day?

    I don't know how I lucked out, but I think I got my garam masala at my local CVS pharmacy of all places.

  5. Haha! I can't believe you just mentioned Happy 2b hardcore. I totally remember that. I think I had a couple of the different cds. They had more than one right?

    It's so funny that you posted about this cookbook. I just came across it the other day and bookmarked it so I can get it later. I'm glad that you like it.

  6. My wife just bought that cookbook. I'm super excited about all the great stuff in there!

  7. In fact, right now I'm eating some sausage balls that were made from the Happy Herbivore.

  8. daaaaamn you cooked up a storm! glad you are enjoying the book! and you are soooo cute!