The Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York is the stuff of vegetarian legend. I've never been to New York, but if I ever go, a stop at Moosewood is a must. One of my first — no, definitely my first — vegetarian cookbook was Mollie Katzen's The New Moosewood Cookbook. The Perfect Protein Salad from that book is one of my old vegan standards that I made often in the days when I only had a handful of vegetarian/vegan cookbooks.
In case you're not familiar, the Moosewood Restaurant was opened in the early 70s by a group of hippies. It's collectively owned and run on principles of shared support, mutual responsibility, and a lack of hierarchical structure. The cooks there are not classically trained. They're just people who love food. It sounds like my kind of place.
It's not totally vegan though. They do serve some cheese and fish, but there are vegan options. And the many volumes of Moosewood cookbooks published over the years have plenty of vegan recipes and many more can easily be converted by swapping out an ingredient or two. Their latest book, Moosewood Restaurant Favorites, is a massive 400-page tome of comfort food.
For my review, I wanted to try something naturally vegan, and it wasn't hard to find a vegan recipe. Flipping through, it looks like the majority of the recipes are, indeed, vegan. The fish stuff is only a small chapter that I'll just pretend isn't there.
I picked the Thai Noodle Salad.
This cold noodle salad is so flavorful! You can't see the sauce because it's made with coconut milk and tends to blend in with the pasta, but you can definitely taste the mixture of lime, coconut, rice vinegar, cilantro, garlic, scallion, and coriander. The pasta and sauce are tossed with sauteed red bell peppers, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, and snow peas. The recipe called for asparagus, but I subbed snow peas because I couldn't find asparagus this time of year.
It was really tough narrowing this down to one meal. So much of this book is just mouth-watering — Moroccan Vegetable Stew, Country-Style Soft Tofu, Vegetable-Tofu Lasagna (it's vegan!), Confetti Kale Slaw, Muffuletta (with baked tofu), Creamy Vegan Rice Pudding, and Vegan Chocolate Cake.
I may not have the chance to visit the Moosewood Restaurant for years. But until then, I'll just use this book and pretend I'm there.