I've long been a fan of Lindsay Nixon's Happy Herbivore empire. We go way back. When I first started Vegan Crunk in 2007, Lindsay was also getting her blog off the ground. We often traded comments, and when I learned that she was publishing her first cookbook, I reached out to her for advice on publishing my own. It's so cool to see what an amazing brand she's built now with three cookbooks, a very active website, and a devoted legion of "herbies" who follow her plant-based, low-fat lifestyle.
Of course, I jumped at the chance to review Lindsay's new cookbook, Happy Herbivore Abroad. Like her last two books, this one is filled with simple, low-fat vegan comfort fare. But this time, the girl's gone global.
You see, Lindsay has done a TON of traveling, so she's using this book to share dishes that she's sampled along the way, and she's also included little short stories and photos from her trips to Paris, Brussels, Croatia, Spain, the list goes on. It's like you're traveling right along with her. For someone like me who has only crossed the border into Mexico once, it's fun to live vicariously through the travels of others.
As for the recipes, most are very easy dishes that can be thrown together on a week night after a busy day at work. Take, for example, this Pasta e fagioli:
It's just pasta, white beans, and marinara sauce from a jar. Sure, once doesn't necessarily need a recipe for that, but you know what? I've never even heard of Pasta e fagioli because I'm not very sophisticated. So I'd never think to add white beans to my pasta. But it's damn delicious. Also, I used gluten-free quinoa elbow noodles in this, because I actually prefer their texture over wheat-based noodles. Is that weird?
Of course, not every recipe is three-ingredient simple. There are plenty of recipes made from fresh veggies, like "Cheater" African Green Beans (an Ethiopian dish made with berbere and peanut butter), Thai Mango Curry (fresh mango and peppers simmered in a chili-coconut sauce and served over rice), and Moroccan Vegetables (yellow squash, zucchini, carrots, raisins, and spices). And the dishes come from all over — Germany, England, Mexico, Japan, the Dominican Republic, Spain, Africa, Iraq, France, the list goes on.
The book only includes a handful of dessert recipes, but like all of Lindsay's recipes, even the sweet treats are oil-free. But that doesn't mean they're dry or flavorless. I made this Blueberry Bundt Cake a few nights ago, and I can't stay out of it:
The bundt cake comes from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and this one is just delicious. It's only mildly sweet since the cake only contains a half-cup of raw sugar and a little powdered sugar for the glaze. And although the cake is oil-free, it's still super-moist thanks to applesauce.
Now y'all know I love my good fats and occasional fried foods, but a girl can't eat fatty foods at every meal. So I'll reach for Lindsay's book when I'm looking for a little balance. It's also a great book for anyone looking to shed a few pounds or for those hoping to travel around the world without ever leaving their kitchen.