Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cookbook Review: Everyday Happy Herbivore

In the midst of the holiday frenzy, I was delighted to get the Everyday Happy Herbivore cookbook by Lindsay Nixon. I was fortunate to be recipe tester for this book after meeting Lindsay at a book signing in Pittsburgh earlier this year. I've been making these recipes all year after first testing them and can honestly say that this is my favorite cookbook.

The recipes truly are for everyday meals. I work full-time, spend a lot of time exercising, and also this year spent a lot of time socializing feral kittens for adoption, so I rarely had the time or motivation to cook elaborate meals after work. These recipes were a godsend. I could make most of them in less than 10 minutes; the longest took 30. And for most of the recipes, I had the ingredients on hand so didn't have to buy anything additional. When I did have to buy ingredients, they were always easy to find at my local grocery store. I was testing recipes while I was doing Project: Food Budget, so I really kept track of my spending. When I did have to buy ingredients for a recipe, they would usually cost me less than $5.

And these fat-free and low-fat recipes also helped me to maintain my 30+ pound weight loss. To maintain my weight loss, I eat veggies, whole grains, and protein (legumes or soy) at every meal. This combination fills me up and keeps me satisfied so that I'm never starving and chowing down vegan cookies because I'm crazed from hunger. Plus, veggies, whole grains, and legumes are the most healthful things you can eat, so these recipes helped keep me strong and healthy (I continue my record of not being sick for about 13 years!)

In addition to being quick and easy to make, using everyday ingredients I had on hand or were inexpensive to buy, and helping me stay slim, these recipes are delicious! When I first started making Lindsay's recipes, I was skeptical whether fat-free (the recipes have no added fat, like oils) could be good. Now, I'm a true believer. I use Lindsay's fat-free cooking techniques all the time, but I never feel like I'm dieting or restricting what I eat because everything is so good. I've made some of these recipes every single week for the past six months because I love them so much. Here are my favorites!

The recipes I've made the most are
  • Miso Gravy. If I need more greens or grains in my day, I whip up some of this gravy in about three minutes and pour it over steamed kale or quinoa, or make a bowl of steamed greens, brown rice, and either beans or tofu and pour this on. It's one of the best all-purpose gravies I've tried.
  • Tofu Fries. These "fries" are easy to prepare and have a great texture from the tofu having been frozen. And they're delicious. Even my tofu-hating husband grudgingly admitted that they "weren't bad." I often have a meal of tofu fries and steamed kale and brown rice with miso gravy. It's a nutritionally complete meal that's quick and easy to make and delicious.
  • Everyday Mushroom Gravy. This is another fantastic gravy for pouring over steamed greens or grains, and it has the added benefit of being filled with nutritious mushrooms. It's so delicious, I've eaten it by the spoon like soup!
  • Cheese Sauce. This is the best all-purpose vegan cheese sauce out there! It makes my steamed kale sing, and it's also delicious on other steamed veggies, potatoes, and the tofu fries (as cheese fries!).
  • Greens Quiche. This quiche takes about five minutes to prepare and 30 to bake. It's a high-protein meal with tofu and greens and is a perfect breakfast on mornings when I strength train and need a high-protein breakfast. It also makes a good lunch served with a simple salad and a grain.
  • Smoothies. If you're familiar with the Happy Herbivore website, you have probably made Lindsay's smoothies. I have one of them pretty much every single day and sometimes add flax meal for extra protein. My favorites are Cinnamon Bun, Neapolitan, Oatmeal Cookie, P. Chocolate (high-protein for after strength training), and Peanut Butter Cup. I have yet to try the Mojito Smoothie, which seemed to get rave reviews by the other testers.  
  • Balsamic-Dijon Vinaigrette. This salad dressing takes about one minute to make, and I have it every week if not every day. It's a great dressing for a salad of mixed greens, walnuts, and apples.

Other great recipes I tried are
  • Spinach and Artichoke Fritatta. Another good high-protein breakfast dish, this eggless fritatta has a perfect texture and tastes amazing.
  • "Oyster" Po'Boys. Made with oyster mushrooms, these sandwiches were phenomenal!
  • Island Portobello Burgers. These are the antidote if you're bored with regular portobello burgers. These are extremely flavorful and very easy to prepare.
  • Smoked Cauliflower Soup. This five-minute recipe brings a new, smoky taste to traditional cauliflower soup...and takes about five minutes to make.
  • Spicy Mushroom Stir-Fry. I love, love, love this dish. It uses sweet red chili sauce and is super quick and easy to make. It's great over brown rice with steamed broccoli on the side.
  • Cauliflower-Pumpkin Curry. This is another of my favorites from the book. I've made the Peanut Pumpkin Curry variation over and over. It's a fabulous complete meal when I add chickpeas and serve it over brown rice.
  • Skillet Frijoles Negros. This has to be my all-time favorite black bean recipe. I've had these beans on a tortilla with some cheese sauce, or as a side.
  • Chickpea Tenders. Wow! When I tested this recipe, I thought it would surely blow the vegan community away. These high-protein tenders have a taste reminiscent of chicken without tasting like it so much that it's gross. The texture is great too. 
  • Pablo Pasta. This Mexican take on classic mac and cheese is amazing! It has a spicy, creamy sauce and includes black beans.
  • Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce. This creamy sauce is amazing over pasta.
  • French Toast Muffins. Amazing! I made these muffins several times and even brought them into an early work meeting. No one could believe they're fat free! I topped them with Lindsay's maple glaze from her first cookbook, and they were incredible. 

There are so many other recipes I tried and loved, and I can't wait to try the ones I didn't get a chance to test. If you're looking for quick and easy recipes that are delicious and nutritious, order this book!

And congratulations to Lindsay for another fantastic cookbook!


  1. You really make me want to get the Happy Herbivore cookbook. Will look into it.

  2. Just stumbled across our blog after Lindsay posted a link on Facebook, and I'm so excited to have found your blog. I live in Pittsburgh too (east suburbs, really) and am slowly converting to a vegan diet. Can't wait to read more of your posts! I got this book just before Christmas, and have only made one thing out of it so far (the Cajun Gumbo - so tasty!) but am blown away by the creativity of these recipes.

  3. I have both her cookbooks and they are AMAZING! I have never had a cookbook that I have liked every single recipe I have tried. I am not a full vegan (yet) but choose vegan if at all possible. I am completely vegetarian though. Back to the book- I love that it's so easy to find all the ingredients at my local grocery store- no more ordering ingredients online!!

  4. Thanks! Great review. I'm off to buy both books now with the gift card I got for Christmas.

    Keep up the great work on the blog. I find it so motivating and helpful. I'm a long-time vegetarian who is trying to eat vegan when I can, and your blog is great inspiration.

  5. Bought the book on Monday and we are converting over to vegan-have 2 weeks of breakfasts planned and have to finish up are lunches and dinners and off to shop-cant wait to start-after reading Forks over Knifes and finding this book and a few others-still need to get her 1st book-hoping this weekend!

  6. Nice to meet so many other Happy Herbivore lovers :-)