I love cookbooks. I have a small but growing collection of them next to my dog-eared collection of foodie magazines. Recently, I received a review copy of Lindsay Nixon’s blog-turned-book, The Happy Herbivore.
The Happy Herbivore is packed with more than 100 vegan-friendly recipes.
Lindsay’s book inspires me to be more creative in the kitchen by pairing interesting grains, fruits and vegetables together — without driving myself crazy at the grocery trying to find obscure ingredients.
I adore Lindsay's simple yet thoughtful recipes. They have enough pizzazz to keep from seeming boring, yet are recipes that both pro foodies and novices can handle. Plus, for all of you omnivores out there (like me) who wonder how vegans can give up cheese, Lindsay has great vegan options for cheesy favorites like Baked Shells and Cheese, Easy Macaroni and Cheese and Fettuccine Alfredo.
Read on to learn more about Lindsay and her book, The Happy Herbivore — then go grab a copy and get going in the kitchen!
Lindsay Nixon is the definition of a happy herbivore. Photo Courtesy Lindsay Nixon.
1. What inspired you to pen the recipes in your cookbook?
I think a lot of people buy into the myth that eating healthy is expensive or hard, and I wanted to disprove that with my cookbook. I wanted to show that eating vegan meals can be delicious, easy, approachable and affordable. I took care to use “everyday” inexpensive ingredients that we all have and buy regularly. I’m a home cook, so I get the push and pull we all feel at meal times.
My recipes are a good mixture of pure creativity — revamping a dish that I used to love and perhaps wasn’t so healthy — or is a fresh take on a traditional dish (such as Blue Corn Chickpea Tacos).
2. What is your favorite recipe from each section in the cookbook?
My favorites come and go in waves. I’ll be obsessed, I-can’t-get-enough of one recipe, and then it’ll fizzle and I’ll obsess over another recipe.
Breakfast & Brunch
I love this recipe morning, noon or night. It’s perfect when I’m not in the mood to cook, and I can always add in my leftovers, whether its left-over beans or veggies. It’s so simple and yet so universally awesome.
Muffins & Breads
I make the cornbread at least once a week, but the Banana Bread is constantly on my mind.
Soups, Dals & Chilis
Sweet and Spicy Butternut Soup
It’s too hot for soups right now, but I’ll probably make Sweet and Spicy Butternut Soup as soon as the temperatures cool. I love, love, love that soup.
Burgers, Wraps, Tacos & More
Blue Corn Chickpea Tacos
It’s obnoxious how often I make those.
Quick One-Pot Dinners
It’s just so easy and so, so good but this time of year with the seasonal corn and tomatoes, the Tofu Chilaquiles is off the hook.
Tofu & Vegan Meats
Portobello Steaks are to die for.
Mix & Match: Vegetables, Grains & Beans
I’m totally obsessed with the Baked Beans right now.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
I love Carrot Cake.
Dips, Snacks & Finger Foods
All day, every day.
Spreads, Gravies & Sauces
Quick Queso Sauce
I can’t get enough of the Quick Queso. I sometimes wonder if there needs to be an intervention. I make it constantly.
3. Who taught you how to cook? When did you first learn how to cook?
I’m self-taught. Going vegan forced me into the kitchen. Back then there weren’t really any vegan products, and most restaurants didn’t have veg-friendly options, so if I was going to eat, I had to make it myself. There was a lot (a lot!) of trial and error, but I ended up really falling in love with cooking and experimenting. It’s been very natural for me, organic almost, as if this is what I was always meant to do. I’m very grateful.
4. How does food connect people?
I live abroad and one thing I really like about the European culture is that everyone stops and takes time to eat, savor their meal and eat together. It creates such a beautiful bond between people. I always think back to that saying, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” which is true in many ways for me, as I cook with love and show my love for others by cooking for them. I think eating together is a great way to celebrate life. Make sure you set time out of your busy lives to be with the people you love.
5. Which do you prefer: cooking or baking?
6. What cookbooks are in your kitchen?
I only have my cookbook in my kitchen right now. I own several cookbooks, but I left them back in the states. I have The 30-Minute Vegan on my Kindle, however.
7. Why is a vegetarian/vegan diet important to you and to the planet?
I’m motivated by the plight of farm animals, the health benefits, humanity and the environment impact. The meat, dairy and egg industries wreak havoc on our planet, and overfishing is harming the delicate ecosystem in our ocean. Even if you take away the big commercial farms, animal products are still not truly sustainable. Leaving animals off our plates is the greenest way we can eat.
8. What can we teach today’s youth about the importance of taking care of both our bodies and our planet by choosing healthy food?
We only have one body and one planet, and everything is connected. I think human health and well-being is firmly linked to a healthy planet. Every time we can make a healthy choice for ourselves, and for our planet, we should do it. What we put on our fork makes such a huge difference. Changing the way we eat can have such a profound impact on our environment and health.
9. What advice do you have for newbie cooks and bakers?
Don’t be afraid of failure — keep trying. Practice really does make perfect. The first four batches of muffins I made did not rise, and when they finally did it was an exciting and happy moment. No muffins will ever taste that good again.
10. If you could make a meal or dine with any celebrity chef or foodie, who would it be and what would you make or eat together?
I’d love to make Anthony Bourdain eat tofu —I kid, I kid.
I’d love to cook with Jamie Oliver. While he’s not veg, he appreciates eating healthier. I think we could rock.
Freelance writer and editor Kim Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on her blog, www.kimberlyloc.com.