Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Yummy Food from Supermarket Vegan

When I first got to San Francisco, I brought only one cookbook because I flew here first and couldn't carry too much stuff, but I knew I had to have a book so I could get right down to cooking and eating in the way I prefer.  Whenever I move, I tend to rely on one book above all others: Supermarket Vegan by Donna Klein.

This book rocks because even someone like my little sister, whose idea of cooking is to take mini tacos from the freezer, open them up, add extra cheese, then put them in the microwave, has many of the ingredients on hand.  And because it contains nothing that cannot be bought at any grocery store, it has recipes my sister will actually eat, which makes us both happy.  I want to feed her good food instead of crap, but she will not even touch anything that has tofu, nutritional yeast, Earth Balance, artichokes, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, or sundry other items that, to me, are just normal things.  You know, there isn't one plant I can think of that I just don't like no matter how it's prepared.  But my sister will be afraid to eat a mango chutney and peanut butter pita pizza with broccoli just because it's called "pizza" and she knows it doesn't have dairy cheese.  (She did eventually eat those, and regretted having missed out previously when she was scared of it.)

With her tastes in mind, from Supermarket Vegan I made the Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Soup with Toasted Corn (recipe is here) and the Coconut-Curried Lentils with Basmati Rice (recipe is here).  I cooked my rice with a large pinch of saffron, an expensive spice my friend Sara gave to me that I may never replenish after it is gone, but that really gives basmati rice an authentic Indian oomph, especially when it's cooked in a rice cooker.  And I served it all together with salad.  Healthy and colorful and delicious!
The lentils are the bomb, man.  A little sweet, so flavorful, and very simple to make.  But the soup was even better.  Donna Klein may be my go-to soup resource!  Its thick base is sweet potatoes blended with roasted red peppers from a jar (although I'm sure you could roast your own peppers), and then to top the whole thing off, you toast some corn on the stove top in oil and put them in there.  It's a perfect flavor combination, and definitely the kind of thing to use as an example to people to show that going vegan causes you to expand the variety you eat, not restrict or limit it. 

Since all that is so healthy, I thought I'd destroy it all with Klein's easy-peasy Blueberry-Oatmeal Bars (recipe here).
Please, do not think for one moment that because it says "blueberry" and "oatmeal" in the title that this is healthy.  Oh no.  The fat is vegetable shortening, and although I used non-hydrogenated, organic vegetable shortening, it's still a high-fat dessert.  It's a classic recipe really, the kind that people made before anyone had heard of the word "vegan," an accidentally animal free, low-cost, delicious, easy recipe that I totally could have seen my mom making.  Flour, sugar, fat, oats, and fruit preserves.  It doesn't even require vanilla extract. 

Even my picky sister enjoyed this food!  Mission totally accomplished. 


  1. I love your approach to feeding a reluctant eater — it makes so much sense and I bet she really appreciates it. I have a Donna Klein book called Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen, but like so many of my cookbooks, it sits on the shelf unopened. You've inspired me to take a closer look.

  2. Wow, those blueberry bars look so incredible.

  3. That's awesome of you to make food for your sister! And that soup sounds rockin', I love when simple ingredients can be so impressive. And there's definitely a place for homemade baking that isn't healthy.


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