Hello, readers. I am so excited to introduce you to this author. Her name is Lindsay S. Nixon and she is a cookbook author. Her cookbooks, The Happy Herbivore and Everyday Happy Herbivore, give readers options for low-fat/fat-free vegan dishes. Trust me. These are two of the best cookbooks. Are you ready for some fun? Pull up a chair and settle in for a good time.
I want to welcome you, Lindsay, to Coffee Time Romance. I feel so privileged to be the one to conduct this interview. Here is a little bit of Lindsay’s professional background:
Lindsay S. Nixon is a rising star in the culinary world, praised for her ability to use everyday ingredients to create healthy, low fat recipes that taste just as delicious as they are nutritious. Lindsay's recipes have been featured in Vegetarian Times, Women's Health Magazine and on The Huffington Post. Lindsay is also a consulting chef at La Samanna, a luxury resort and four-star restaurant in the French West Indies. You can learn more about Lindsay and sample some of her recipes at www.happyherbivore.com.
You can purchase a copy of Everyday Happy Herbivore: Over 175 Quick-and-Easy Low Fat and Fat-Free Vegan Recipes. Buy on Amazon. After vegan chef Lindsay S. Nixon wrapped up her popular cookbook The Happy Herbivore Cookbook last year, she went back to her kitchen in her new home of St. Maarten. Island-living encouraged Nixon to come up with simpler fare, which led to a follow-up cookbook focusing on recipes that bring tasty back to quick-and-easy.
Now, in Nixon's much-anticipated follow-up cookbook, Everyday Happy Herbivore, readers will see, once again, that just because plant-based eating is optimal for health, it doesn't have to also be expensive or time-consuming.
Everyday Happy Herbivore includes more than 175 doable recipes–recipes that are so quick and easy, you could cook three healthy meals from scratch every day like Nixon does. Each of Nixon's recipes is made with wholesome, easy-to-find, fresh ingredients and include no added fats. With additional notes indicating recipes that are ideal for preparing ahead of time and those you can whip up with just a few dollars, Everyday Happy Herbivore will be the must-have cookbook for anyone desiring a healthier, happier menu!
Would please tell us about yourself? Are you married? Do you have children?
I am married — for almost 6 years now. No kids, unless you count the pugs. Or my husband 🙂
I think the pugs and hubby both count as children *smile* Can you tell our readers a little bit about vegan cooking? I know what my ideas originally were. I was in for a wonderful surprise when I began cooking from The Happy Herbivore.
In the broadest sense, any cooking that doesn't involve animal products (meat, fish, dairy, eggs) is vegan cooking.
I don't really consider what I do "vegan cooking" — my recipes are all about using whole plant foods, no added fats, keeping it healthy — and too often, "vegan" recipes don't necessarily fall into that category. A lot of vegan cookbooks use weird, expensive ingredients or they don't use healthy ingredients (they use lots of oils, processed flours, etc).
My goal is making healthy recipes that are easy, affordable, use common ingredients we all have — and taste delicious. They just happen to fit the definition of vegan, too.
Here is one of Lindsay’s delicious recipes for you to try:
Chocolate Mug Cake– serves 1
Chocolate cake? check. Single-Serving? check. Made nearly instantly? Oh yeah! This whole-wheat chocolate cake goes from flour to in your mouth in under 5 minutes.
4 tbsp white whole wheat flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp nondairy milk
¼+ cup unsweetened applesauce
2-3 tbsp vegan chocolate chips
In a small bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and cinnamon
together, set aside. For a really sweet cake, add more sugar. In another small bowl, whisk ¼ cup applesauce, nondairy milk, and a drop or two of vanilla extract together. Pour wet into dry, then add chips, stirring to combine. Add another 1-2 tbsp of applesauce, until the batter is wet and resembles regular cake batter. Pour batter into a coffee cup, and microwave for three minutes (at 1000 watts).
Per Serving: 276 Calories, 4.1g Fat, 59.3g Carbohydrates, 7.8g Fiber, 31.6g Sugar, 8.3g
(Note from Kimberly: As someone who has tried this recipe (repeatedly, I will add), it will take care of any chocolate fix you may need and you don’t have to feel guilty about it.)
I will admit that I was more than a little skeptical when these books arrived. As an omnivore, I was hesitant to try this type of cooking, but I was honestly amazed at how delicious these recipes are. How do you come up with these fantastic and tasty dishes?
Aw thanks for such a generous compliment! My inspiration is a good mix of trying to replicate recipes that I used to eat that were either not plant-based (vegan) or not healthy, I'll create something on the fly or I'll be inspired by an ingredient.
For example, I saw a beautiful bunch of chard I couldn't pass up so I took it home and created a recipe for it.
That is incredible. I was also surprised by the ease of finding some of the ingredients and the price really does fit any budget. When you combine those things into the fact that these recipes are fairly easy to make and I can do it without dirtying every pot, pan or dish in my tiny kitchen, I am over the moon. Was that the plan as you began creating these dishes?
Oh yes, absolutely. Nothing is more discouraging to me than a cookbook — vegan or otherwise, that uses weird, obscure ingredients I can't find — or can't afford, or long, complex recipes that take hours to prepare and dirty every pot and pan I have. I get home cooks. I'm a home cook — and so I'm all about easy, quick, budget-friendly. I don't have the time to fuss, I need dinner on the meal, in 30 minutes flat.
As someone who lives on an extremely tight budget (hubby and I are both college students), trust me when I say these recipes are quick, simple and cheap. The ingredients (most of them) can be purchased at your local supermarket (or Wal-mart).
Do you have suggestions for some of our readers who may have a difficult time finding certain items in your recipes? (Nutritional yeast, TSP/TVP, etc.)
Visit your local health store. There are TWO in my tiny town of 12,000 people, so I'm optimistic that everyone has access to a health store. If you don't, there is always Amazon.
Are you ready for a couple more delicious recipes to try?
P. Chocolate Smoothie | serves 1
Peas & Chocolate? Yes, I know, it sounds crazy but you can’t detect the peas at all. The smoothie only tastes chocolately but the peas give it a nice boost of protein and other nutrients to start your day right.
1 c nondairy milk
½ frozen banana
½ c frozen peas
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
agave to taste
Combine milk, banana, peas and cocoa in a blender and whiz until smooth, adding more nondairy milk as necessary. Taste, adding agave or other sweetener, as needed.
Per Serving: 108 Calories, 1g Fat, 20.5g Carbohydrates, 4.7g Fiber, 11.3s Sugars, 7.5g
(Note from Kimberly: As a college student who is in a hurry constantly, this is the perfect way for me to start my day. I don’t care for bananas, but this little tip helped me: (from Lindsay’s cookbook): To avoid a hint of banana flavor, use a barely ripe or still slightly green banana.)
Quick Burgers | makes 4
I developed these burgers in a hotel room: they’re quick, easy and require very few ingredients. (In fact, except for the beans and a seasoning packet, I sourced all the ingredients from the complimentary “breakfast bar”). I make these burgers any time I need a super-fast meal or I’m really low on ingredients.
15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp onion powder (granulated)
1 tsp garlic powder (granulated)
1/3 c instant oats
Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside. In a mixing bowl, mash black beans with a fork until mostly pureed but still some half beans and bean parts are left. Stir in condiments and spices until well combined. Then mix in oats. Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into thin patties with your hands. Bake for 7 minutes, carefully flip over and bake for another 7 minutes, or until crusty on the outside. Slap into a bun with extra condiments and eat!
Chef's note: If you only have rolled oats, chop them up in a food processor or blender so they are smaller and more like instant oats. Rolled oats left whole tend to make the burgers fall apart.
Per Burger: 109 Calories, 0.5g Fat, 17.6g Carbohydrates, 3g Fiber, 2.2g Sugars, 5g Protein
Tell us about your cookbooks. I can imagine it was a labor of love.
They both feel like my children. So much work went into creating them. I know that I wrote both of them, but they are so different, but special and great in their own way. I wrote my first book in my super tiny NYC apartment (my kitchen was about the size of a coat closet). Then I wrote my second while living abroad on a small French island. Now I'm writing a third book on a mountain.
That is incredible! What wonderful locations to be able to create, dream and write.
Here is another recipe for you:
Sweet Potato Dal | serves 2
This soup is Dal-icious! It’s so flavorful you’ll want seconds. and thirds!
1 small sweet potato, skinned
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp garam masala, plus extra
1 cup vegetable broth, plus extra
1/2 cup red lentils
4 cups spinach, or more
Dice sweet potato into small ½-inch cubes, and set aside. Line a medium pot with a thin layer of water and saute onions and garlic for a minute. Add a pinch or two red pepper flakes and continue to cook until all the water has cooked off. Add turmeric, ¼ tsp garam masala and stir to coat. Add 1 cup broth, uncooked lentils, and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce to low, cover, and simmer for a few minutes, about 5. Add sweet potatoes, bring to a boil again and reduce to low and simmer, until lentils are fully cooked (they expand and the sauce thickens), about 5 minutes more. Check periodically to see if you need additional broth (I tend to add an extra ½ cup but it can vary). Once lentils are cooked and sweet potatoes are fork tender, taste, adding more garam masala as desired (I like to add another ¼ tsp but some blends are stronger than others). Add spinach, continuing to stir until spinach cooks down and softens. Add salt to taste and serve.
Per Serving: 232 Calories, 0.9g Fat, 42.2g Carbohydrates, 17.7g Fiber, 4.7g Sugar, 15.4g Protein
I am at an age where I’ve begun to realize that I need to cut more meat from my diet. When I grew up we didn’t have to worry as much about steroids and pesticides in our food. Now, it’s scary how many chemicals are in our food. Did something happen that caused you to become vegan? Or is this the way you’ve always been?
I don't identify as a vegan (you can read about that here ) I follow a plant-based diet for a lot of reasons. I am motivated by my health, but also the plight of farm animals, the environmental benefits and the humanitarian aspects. There is simply no other choice for me, eating plant-based is the only choice.
The more I see on the news, the more I tend to agree with you. I was raised on a dairy farm and never had any concerns about the food on our table. Lately, the horror stories on the news make you take a second look at your refrigerator, freezer and plate.
How do you recommend a person begin the journey to discovering vegan food?
Jump in. Take it one meal at a time.
Here’s a couple more recipes to tempt your tastebuds:
Skillet Refried Beans | serves 2
Sure canned refried beans are easy, but you just can’t top the taste of homemade. The little effort required here is so worth it — these beans are fantastic!
1 small onion, finely diced
15-oz can pinto beans (undrained)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
Line a skillet with a thin layer of water and saute onion over high heat until translucent and most of the water has cooked off. Add cumin, chili powder and a few dashes of paprika, stirring to coat the onions. Add beans with their juices and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and mash beans well using a fork or potato masher. It will look very soupy, don’t be alarmed. Crank the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium and simmer 10 minutes. If the beans start popping and splashing, cover for a few minutes, then uncover. Stir every minute or so, scraping along the bottom to lift the beans. After 10 minutes, the liquid should have significantly reduced. It may still be a little soupy, that is alright, it will thicken as it cools. However, if it’s really soupy, cook longer. Add salt and pepper to taste then serve.
Per Serving: 216 Calories, 0.4g Fat, 41.7g Carbohydrates, 15.7g Fiber, 4.8g Sugar, 13.7g Protein
Spicy Orange Greens | serves 2
The slightly spicy orange sauce in this dish is one of my favorites. You can serve it with any greens you like or have on hand, but collard greens are my favorite to use. For a complete meal, serve over or tossed with noodles.
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp orange marmalade or jam
4 cups greens (any)
Pour water, soy sauce, ginger and red pepper flakes into a skillet. Turn heat to high and saute until the ginger is fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in marmalade and then add chopped greens. Reduce heat to medium and using tongs, turn greens into the sauce. This will help cook the greens down; stop when your greens are bright green and have softened. Serve.
Chef's Note: Cooked broccoli florets may be substituted for the greens. Toss cooked broccoli with the sauce once it's been warmed and serve.
Per Serving: 156 Calories, 1.5g Fat, 32g Carbohydrates, 8.8g Fiber, 11.6g Sugars, 10.1g Protein
What is next for you? Will there be more cookbooks? (I’m begging you to say yes.)
I'm writing my third cookbook now. She'll be here this time next year.
*Interviewer doing a happy dance* Can you tell our readers where they can find you on the web?
I want to thank Lindsay for sitting down and chatting with us today. A more personal thank you is needed as she has definitely opened this interviewer’s eyes and helped me turn my eating habits around. I cannot wait to hear more from you. These cookbooks are truly amazing and I encourage all of you to pick up your own copies. The recipes within the pages will tease your tastebuds like you would never imagine.
Here are a couple more recipes from Lindsay before we sign off:
Sage Gravy | makes 1 1/2 cups
Good over greens, mashed potatoes, faux chicken—anything really.
This is my latest go-to gravy.
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup nondairy milk
1 tbsp rubbed sage (not powdered)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp white whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp garlic powder (granulated)
1/4 tsp onion powder (granulated)
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
1 lemon wedge (juice of)
pinch salt, black or white pepper
Whisk all ingredients together in a medium pot, taking care to rub the sage between your fingers to break it down into smaller bits, especially if your brand is a little rustic with bigger leaves and stick pieces (pull out those sticks if you can). Squeeze the juice out of your lemon wedge completely, and discard the rind. Bring gravy to near boil over high heat but just before it boils, immediately turn off the heat and remove the pot to a non-hot burner, stirring it. Taste, adding black or white pepper and salt as desired.
Chef's Note: Brown rice flour may be substituted for a gluten-free option.
Per Serving (1/4 cup): 29 Calories, 0.3g Fat, 4.7g Carbohydrates, 1.2g Fiber, 1.2g Sugar, 2.6g Protein
(Note from Kimberly: It’s delicious over biscuits, too.)
Apple Fritter Cups | 12 muffins
As my friend, Sheree`, says “These treats just jump right in to your mouth and make you dance!”
1 ½ cup chopped apple (skin optional)
1 c nondairy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup light brown or raw sugar
2 c whole wheat pastry flour
½ tsp salt½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon, divided
nutmeg or ground ginger
Preheat oven to 350F. Fill muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. Toss 1 cup apples with a few dashes of cinnamon and a little brown sugar until well coated and set asides (“topping”). In a small bowl, whisk nondairy milk with vinegar and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ½ to ¾ tsp cinnamon (your choice) plus a dash of nutmeg or ginger, and stir to combine. Whisk in sugar, then pour in milk mixture. Add vanilla and remaining ½ cup apples and stir to combine. Spoon into muffin cups just a tad more than ½-way full. Add “topping” on each. Bake 15-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Basic Glaze recipe from Everyday Happy Herbivore:
1 cup of powdered sugar
5 tsp non-dairy milk
Meanwhile, make glaze, substituting 1 tsp of liquid with 1 tsp pure maple syrup (optional). Drizzle warm fritters with glaze.
Tip: Once the fritters completely cool, the liners will peel off. If you plan to eat them warm, lightly spray the inside of the liner with oil-spray to prevent sticking or forgo the liners and grease your muffin tin or use a nonstick pan.
Per Fritter (without glaze) : 102 Calories, 0.4g Fat, 20.9g ,Carbohydrates, 2.4g Fiber, 5.5g Sugar, 2.7g Protein
Thank you, Lindsay, for sharing these wonderful recipes with our readers today. It has been a pleasure. If you haven’t gotten your copies of The Happy Herbivore or Everyday Happy Herbivore, I encourage to do that now. OR you can enter for your chance to win one of the two copies we are giving away today.
eMail us with your answers to these questions:
- Lindsay's dad e-mailed her a list of different types of pasta that he had found in one of her mom's old cookbooks. How many pastas were on the list?
- What are the 5 ingredients listed for vegan eggnog?
Contest Update: Congrats to Debra and Karin!
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