Appetite For Reduction, a review

This post is part of the ppk’s 2011 cookbook challenge.

I’ll admit it there are a few things I am a fangirl about.  I realized books by Isa Chandra Moskowitz got added to the list when I knew the date that her new book was coming out and ran over to Book People to buy it rather than getting it cheaper from Amazon. I am sorry to say that this time it wasn’t because I was trying to shop local or save money. I got the book at Book People because I knew I could get it there quicker than if I ordered it. And yes, I have a million cookbooks.


Honestly, besides my fandom I was especially excited for the this cookbook because I have had a lot of trouble losing weight, even as a vegan. For one thing I eat too many fillers (rice, pasta, beer, and bagels) which all have a lot of calories. This has been hard to accept because I feel like I eat really healthy. I mean I eat kale several times a week and I am not a big sweets person or a baker. And I make almost everything from scratch. But for some people I guess it just isn’t that easy. We feed our dogs the same amount and one is perfect size and the other is always putting on pounds. Sure, some of this is because he gets into the trash, but mostly it is that they are different dogs. 

Being vegan and loving to cook different things every day also makes calorie counting so much more difficult for me. It is really easy to look up the calorie info in ready made foods and chain restaurants and enter it. Easy enough, anyway, until you die of a heart attack. It is not so easy to enter in a vegan pot pie that has a crust, a sauce, 10 vegetables that you don’t know the weight of, and random ingredients that are never in the databases like nutritional yeast and soy cream. When everything in your meal is homeade, like seitan sausages, you have to add them all too, bit by bit. Someone needs to make a vegan calorie counting site. Someone a lot smarter than me. Anyway enough complaining, I can figure it out it just takes some motivation and now Appetite for Reduction has made things so much easier because all the nutritional info is right there. It inspired me to start keeping track again and I have been very successful, losing a pound a week since I got the book. Even during Christmas! I have been using this phone app called LoseIt that is super easy to use and log things,  it is the first thing that has worked well for me since going vegan .

The book starts with a nutritional primer that was co-written with a vegan nutritionist and athlete who not only knows his stuff, but also seems to have all the most up to date info and makes it really easy to understand. I think this would be a great book for anyone starting out on a vegan diet, even if they are doing it solely for animal rights reasons or because they want to eat healthier but not necessarily lose weight.

The book is divided into sections after the nutrition bit; salads, sides, veggies, beans, tofu & tempeh, pasta, soups, curries, chilies & stews and then guides for sandwiches and bowls.  So far I have tried many of the recipes and most of them have been very successful and very filling.  Usually when a recipe says 4-6 servings I hope that it will be enough to feed my partner and I but these have actually worked well for my appetite, partially because I make a side as well. Note that my partner eats a lot and he has been having two servings of everything and I take the 4th with me for lunch the next day so your results may vary.

One of my favorite really quick and easy meals has been the buffalo tempeh with mac & trees. Although it isn’t the most photogenic recipe it was so good that I have already made it twice. Mixing broccoli made the macaroni healthier and the tempeh was just fabulous, the creamy mac & trees went just perfect with the spicy tempeh. The whole meal took less than 20 minutes start to finish.

The Arabian Lentil Soup was also really easy and made out of pantry stapels. The comforting lemon and rice mix was perfect for the dreary winter days we have been having.

The Lentil and Eggplant Chile Mole made with fresh cornbread  was very hearty my partner is a big mole fan and he really liked it. I loved the cornbread which had scallions and fresh corn inside.

I also loved the mushroom sauce in the creamy mushroom pasta. I want to put it on everything. It would be really good on the caulipots (mashed potatoes with cauliflower) recipe.

We also tried the black-eyed peas with plantains where the plantains are steamed instead of fried. They were suprisingly good!

Overall I don’t think the recipes are as omg brilliant as the ones in the Veganomicon, BUT (and this is a huge but) they are healthier, use less fat, use more vegetables, don’t have as many ingredients, and can almost all be actually prepared in 30 minutes, although some need to cook after that none of them take longer than an hour from start to finish. It is healthy, easy, tasty weeknight food. If you have the Veganomicon it is kind of like the mix and match segment turned into a whole book.

I also really like that there is information on how to steam vegetables, how to make quick bowls with your leftover dressing, and make sandwiches.

Plus it is named after a guns and roses album.

Honestly, if you were going to get just one vegan cookbook, I would say this is the one to get.

16 thoughts on “Appetite For Reduction, a review

  1. janet

    Love your review and way to go on losing 1 lb/week – a very healthy pace for reduction! I have only made one recipe so far (Tamarind BBQ Tempeh and Sweet Potatoes) and found it very flavourful and filling. Other recipes are calling, too, though, like the Arabian Lentil Stew.

    Btw, I didn’t know about the GnR reference..🙂

  2. sara

    i just got this book and the buffalo tempeh with mac & trees is the recipe i’m most excited to try. yours looks great. thanks for the review!

  3. Jes

    I was wondering how the new cookbook was–thanks for the rockin’ review! All of the things you made from it looks super yummy, especially that mushroom sauce. Mmm I could go for that right now.

  4. T

    Awesome review! I am looking so forward to having a bit of extra cash and nabbing this cookbook- those pics look awesome! But let’s face it, everything Isa touches is pretty much golden.

  5. jessy

    your reviews = awesomesauce! i got AFR a few weeks ago and i loooooove it so much! you make a really good point about how people are different so even if you’re eating the same stuff you can still process it in different ways. i never thought of it like that & it makes total sense. i fo ‘sho agree on the vegan calorie counting site. man, that would be so glorious! i try to keep up with sparkpeople but i just can’t do it & weight watchers thingy online isn’t the best for me either (and i’m not renewing). but anyways…..

    so far we’ve only made the lentil soup (looooved it!), the red thai/curry tofu, the basil green beans – oh, and the cajun bean balls & pasta (sooooooo super yums!). i’ve really been digg’n AFR & i need to try the buffalo tempeh, mac ‘n trees, and that black-eyed peas with plantains. everything looks so awesome! kick booty on losing a pound per week, even over christmas. hells yeah, that rocks so hard!

    p.s. – i just love your dishes! they’re so pretty & super cute!

  6. Shannon (Vegan Burnout)

    We made the Arabian Lentil & Rice Soup too–it’s so good! I’m about to go heat up some for lunch. Definitely try the Miso-Apple Tofu. The combo sounds weird, but it’s awesome. Oh, and the Sweet Potato Biscuits…I could eat the whole batch (defeating the whole “healthy” thing).

  7. Erin

    Great review! I’ve been cooking out of AFR for a few weeks too, and interestingly enough, haven’t made any of the same recipes that you have. The buffalo tempeh sounds awesome though, that’s going on the short list!

  8. Mihl

    Somehow your blog disappeared from my reader. I have to catch up! This was a great post and a great review. Your pictures look so mouthwatering. You chose some awesome recipes from the book. I just ordered it but have to wait for about 2-3 weeks until it’ll arrive from the US. Almost cannot wait!

  9. cathy

    The interface is kind of clunky, but if you have access to a Windows computer you can use Nutribase Junior (or a more expensive version of Nutribase) to calculate the nutrition info of recipes. I haven’t found anything that works as well for Mac.

  10. lazysmurf Post author

    cathy- I use this one online for calculating recipes, I have to stick with it now because I have so many things entered now that I couldn’t possibly change http://nutritiondata.self.com/ I like it because it generates a lot of neat charts!

    I

  11. Johanna W.

    I just have to say that I love this book so far, too, myself. I’ve made the chili (using Teri’s chipotle sausage), and several other recipes. I did, however, start an unintended thread on Amazon after a person commented on being disappointed that there weren’t any dessert recipes. My point was that someone trying to keep calories low probably should skip dessert. I don’t want to start another debate here, but I’m just sayin’.

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