Appetite for Reduction was one of the first vegan cookbooks I bought, so why on earth has it taken me this long to review?! I used it quite a lot when I first went vegan, and decided to revisit it in May and see what I could get out of it.
It’s essentially a healthy eating book, ideal for anyone trying to lose a bit of weight. It’s Isa though, so she’s not making any sacrifices on the flavour front. Every recipe gives you a full break down of calories, proteins, fat, sugar, etc, so if you’re tracking any of those things it will definitely make life easier for you.
It wouldn’t be a healthy eating book without a salad section, would it? I started with the first recipe in the book: the everyday chickpea-quinoa salad, which also contains the balsamic vinaigrette and basic baked tofu. As you may have spotted, I used red quinoa, as we had a bit left in the cupboard, and it never hurts to prevent a dish from being totally beige! It wasn’t the most exciting of salads- the vinaigrette wasn’t that exciting, and we were really relying on the tofu to bring some fun and flavour to it.
The trattoria pasta salad with white beans was very much my kind of salad. The sun-dried tomato walnut dressing was just spectacular – so flavoursome. We used spinach instead of rocket, because rocket is the leaf of the devil.
And the goddess nicoise was even better. It was my first ever nicoise salad, so I’m not entirely sure what I was aiming for. Despite the instructions to keep all the components separate and the green goddess garlic dressing on the side, I just mixed everything up – it was in our lunch boxes, so it was getting mixed up either way. It was so delicious, though the dressing was very potent and may not have made me too popular in the office. The chickpea/tuna concoction was especially flavoursome.
I swear by Isa’s mac and cheese sauce from Superfun Times, so I had high hopes for her mac & trees recipe, which uses the easy breezy cheezy sauce. It was the most yellow cheese sauce I have ever seen, but it wasn’t quite as flavoursome as I’d hoped. It was nice, but it won’t challenge my existing favourite mac and cheese recipe (from Superfun Times, also by Isa).
On a fancier pasta note,I tried the lasagna with roasted cauliflower ricotta and spinach…only without the spinach, as our supermarket was out of all green leaves. Instead, I added mushrooms and smoked tempeh to beef it up a bit. The roasted cauliflower ricotta was nice and easy to make – I blitzed all the ingredients together (Isa recommends mashing the cauliflower into the tofu ricotta with a potato masher, but I thought a nice smooth mixture would be preferable). The sauce isn’t pre-cooked, so there’s not too much more prep to do – though I fried the mushrooms, of course. And it makes an extremely delicious lasagna. This is perhaps my favourite lasagna recipe – it was that good.
I’ve made the Arabian lentil and rice soup before, and it was just as good as I remembered! It’s very easy to make, and the rice makes it quite a filling lunch. I liked the simple seasoning, but Dr HH found it a bit boring. He’s wrong, obviously, but I’ve included his foolish feedback here anyway.
I’m a big fan of a good broccoli soup, but I’d never order one when eating out, so the name of this bistro broccoli chowder was a bit baffling to me. The parsnip is a fun addition, and this was a really thick soup – perfect for a hearty lunch!
I don’t usually make too many curries, due to Dr HH’s incredibly high standards. But I couldn’t resist the eggplant-chickpea curry, even though aubergine curry is his speciality. The recipe cooks the aubergine to perfection, that sweet spot where it’s just melting away in your mouth. And the addition of chickpeas elevates everything, so this one is definitely a winner.
He got into the kitchen himself to make this lentil and eggplant chilli mole, which I found very well seasoned, but he found a little mild. He was a bit sceptical about essentially boiling the aubergine rather than frying it first, but was won over by the texture in the end.
Regular readers may have picked up on the fact that I’m crazy about tempeh. Most Czech supermarkets sell smoked tempeh, so I chucked some of that in this smoky tempeh and greens stew. It’s a classic stew – hearty, flavoursome, perfect for tucking into on an autumnal evening, but still good during summer in Prague.
This book is absolutely jam-packed with recipes, and, though it wasn’t my original intention, I’ve decided to continue using it for another month. There are a lot of one-pot recipes, which is very much my kind of cooking. And even though most of my recipe tweaks make the final dish somewhat less healthy than the original recipe, I still like to think it’s been a month of healthy eating, and more to come!