We all know that "low fat" and "delicious" don't always belong in the same sentence. Y'all know how I feel about oil. I like it ... a lot. And I think it's healthy when used sparingly. I occasionally cook low fat, no oil recipes though to make up for all the French fries and ramen noodles I eat. Life is all about balance (and yes, I'm a Libra, so I can use that cliche and get away with it).
But I often roll my eyes at the "no oil ever" crowd. When I was asked to review the Complete Idiot's Guide to Low Fat Vegan Cooking, I assumed the recipes would fall into the "no oil" McDougall/Fuhrman camp. However, I was surprised to find that many of the recipes in this book by Bo Rinaldi do call for oil (mostly virgin coconut oil), as well as nuts and seeds (lots of hemp seeds). Now that is my version of low fat.
Maybe I was just really hungry when I was flipping through the book at first, but I swear every recipe sounded like something I'd want to make — Raw Cheesy Hemp Spread, Caribbean-Style Yuca Pie, Margarita Mochi Pizza. It's all really fun, original stuff.
I settled on the White & Green Chili with Tangy Green Chili Sauce and Hemp Sour Cream:
Now, this recipe isn't a come-home-from-work-and-throw-it-in-the-pot dish. It has a lot of steps. First, you make the world's most delicious raw sour cream using hemp seeds. I couldn't stop eating this stuff out of the blender, and I was wishing I'd made more to top the chili with since it's stirred into the chili sauce.
Next, you make the tangy chili sauce with peppers that you roast over an open flame. The hemp cream and chili sauce are combined and that becomes the base for the white bean and tofu chili. You can use canned white beans, but I cooked mine from scratch, so that took longer too. But it was well worth the work and the wait. The roasted green chilies, cumin, and cilantro lend the chili a flavor that's so very different from your average red chili. And I love how the tofu is just crumbled into the mix.
I served my chili with a side of Jalapeno-Corn Cornbread from my book, Cookin' Crunk. It's a sweet cornbread that's loaded with corn and chopped, pickled jalapenos:
But back to the Complete Idiot's Guide to Low Fat Vegan Cooking. I tried a couple more recipes from the book, but I don't have pictures since both were enjoyed while it was dark outside and I was too lazy to drag out my light box.
The Super Green Popcorn (topped with nutritional yeast, spirulina, cayenne, and garlic) was perfect for Friday's movie night. And I enjoyed the Spirulina Splash Smoothie this morning before my run. That was made with frozen blueberries, pomegranate juice, coconut water, spirulina, chia seeds, and hemp protein powder. Delicious!!
Anyway, there's loads more recipes from this book on my list. The snack chapter is especially ripe with awesomeness. There's Curry Quinoa Crisps (baked rice-like crackers made with quinoa) and Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips! I also want to explore the sauces chapter and try the Chia Mole sauce and the Sea Salt and Lime Cream Sauce. This is how low fat should be done!