Isa Chandra Moskowitz has acheived fame for her best-selling cookbooks, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Veganomicon, among others, but in my opinion, her latest cookbook could be one of her greatest yet. Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast & Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes may have been written to help Isa counteract years of cupcake and cookie testing, but the recipes hit on the core of what we all know we should be doing, eating more vegetables.
At first I was a bit surprised that there weren't sections for snacks or sweets … but I guess Isa has those areas covered in all of her other cookbooks. Appetite for Reduction is all about light meals, and is a completely savory endeavor. Though low-fat isn't my personal health goal, I greatly appreciate that this cookbook is quite low in sugar overall. Of course, die hard sweet tooth that I am, I went for the Sweet & Salty Maple Carrots first. They actually turned out not too sweet and not too salty, but in fact tasted like very fresh and bright carrots with a hint of what tasted like natural sweetness. But in actuality, most of the recipes are completely sugar-free or very low in sugars (perhaps even sweetened simply by fruit). Anyone who has already inhaled a lifetime's worth of vegan sweets and processed foods, or who is interested in the vegan diet for health reasons, will probably love Appetite for reduction.
To give you a sampling of what's inside, these are the recipes I have bookmarked to make:
OMG Oven Baked Onion Rings
Recipe from Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast & Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (reprinted with permissions). I have left this recipe with all of the information you will see for each of the recipes in this cookbook (cooking time, intro, notes, and nutrition information).
Active cooking time: 30 minutes; Total cooking time: 50 minutes
When my friend requested low fat onion rings I kind of let out a sigh, maybe I even rolled my eyes. I’m not crazy about onion rings in the first place and so of course I would be even less crazy about low fat ones. Right? Well, sometimes it feels good to be wrong! I ended up gaga over these. Somehow the greasy mess that is a diner onion ring became a thing of beauty when coated in some whole wheat bread crumbs and baked in a superhot oven.
Coupla things. You have to use sweet onions for this, like vidalia or walla walla. Otherwise the taste won’t be as special and the texture won’t be as juicy. Also, if things go as planned, you’re not going to use all of the onions or all of the coating. Just use the nice big rings and use the tiny inside rings for something else. For the batter and coating, you need a lot to get everything breaded, but there will be a bunch left over. Them’s the breaks.
Slice onions into 3/4 inch thick rings. Separate the rings and place in a bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel or something, to keep the onioniness out of your eyes.
Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a rimmed 12×18 baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with cooking spray and set aside.
Now you’ll need two bowls for batter and breading. If you’ve got large, wide cereal bowls that’ll do the trick. In one bowl, dump in the flour and cornstarch. Add about half of the almond milk and stir vigorously with a fork to dissolve. Add the rest of the almond milk and the apple cider vinegar, and stir to incorporate. Set aside.
In the other bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and salt. Drizzle in the oil and use your fingertips to mix it up well.
Assemble the onion rings:
Get a conveyor belt going. From left to right, have the onions, the flour mixture, the breadcrumbs mixture and lastly the baking sheet. Dip each onion slice into the the flour, letting the excess drip off. Transfer to the breadcrumbs bowl and use the other hand to sprinkle a handful of breadcrumbs over the onion, to coat completely. This may take a bit of practice. Carefully transfer each onion to a single layer on the baking sheet. Make sure you use one hand for the wet batter and the other for the dry batter, or you’ll end up with club hand.
Spray rings lightly with cooking spray and bake for 8 minutes. Flip, and bake another 6 minutes. Rings should be varying shades of brown and crisp. Taste one to check for doneness. Serve as soon as possible. With ketchup if you must.
Cal from fat-45
For those with other dietary concerns, there is a full index of gluten-free recipes in Appetite for Reduction, in addition to indexes for recipes under 30 minutes (for those in a hurry), and recipes with downtime (for those who work at home or are busy working on chores).
This is a third party review by Alisa Fleming, founder of GoDairyFree.org, blogger at Alisa Cooks, and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a freelance writer for several publications, with an emphasis on creating recipes for various types of special diets.