So I'm taking this post as an opportunity to review a great new vegan comfort food book, The PlantPure Nation Cookbook. The book, with recipes from Nelson and Kim Campbell (T. Colin Campbell's son and daughter-in-law), coincides with Nelson Campbell's documentary of the same name. And that film is having a one-night-only screening in Memphis on Wednesday, September 30th at the Malco Paradiso (details at the bottom of this post). So I needed to get this review in before the 30th, and it's perfect for a post about comfort food.
Before I get to the book though, I should tell you a little about the film. I wrote a full review of the film for the newspaper I write for, The Memphis Flyer (always great to get my vegan propaganda in the paper!). The documentary follows T. Colin Campbell's son Nelson as he tries to get the Kentucky legislature to adopt a program that will help low-income people access healthy vegan meals. But of
course, there's pushback from Big Ag, and the proposal fails. Here's an excerpt on what happens next from my review:
So Nelson goes D.I.Y. and heads to Mebane, North Carolina, which he calls "land of barbecue" (clearly, he hasn't visited Memphis), to test his plant-based nutrition program on its residents.
Sixteen people sign up for the first PlantPure Jumpstart program, a 10-day vegan challenge in which Nelson and his wife prepare heat-and-eat lunches and dinners made without meats, eggs, dairy, or oil. (Oil is vegan, but Nelson is pushing an oil-free diet to help people reverse serious health problems).
The group — a diverse mix that includes a politician, a journalist, and a cattle farmer — starts and ends the program with biometric testing. One woman's cholesterol count drops from 176 to 139 in only 10 days, and by the end, everyone tests healthier.The film is an amazing testament to the health benefits of a vegan diet. And this accompanying cookbook is filled with recipes that are PlantPure Jumpstart approved. That means they're oil-free and super-healthy. But (and here's the big "but") they're all comfort food dishes — buffalo tofu hoagies, eggless tofu salad, creamy African peanut stew, white veggie lasagna, sesame noodle lettuce wraps, to name a few. No weird raw dishes here. Just comfort foods made healthy, which is great for people transitioning into veganism.
I tried a few dishes from the book, starting with Nelson's Grits — a creamy Southern-style breakfast with yellow corn grits, bell peppers, jalapenos, onions, and smoky bacon bits. Loved this dish! Honestly, I did add a tad bit of Earth Balance and some extra nooch (the recipe only called for a small amount). But this was a perfect start to my day!
Next, I tried the French Dip Sub, which is basically my favorite genre of sandwich.
The filling is made from portabellas and onions, sauteed in broth rather than oil. And it's dressed with a homemade cashew-based horseradish aioli. I didn't miss the fat at all in this oil-free sauce! And the mushroom filling was hearty and delicious. The au jus was made with mushroom broth, vegan worcestershire, and balsamic vinegar — tangier than most au jus sauces I've had but absolutely delicious.
Finally, I whipped up this Pineapple Coconut Smoothie for breakfast this morning.
Although the book shuns oil, they do call for healthy fats in some recipes. This smoothie has a little full-fat coconut milk, which made for a very creamy, almost milkshake-like drink. It also has banana and pineapple, and I added some Vega One French Vanilla protein powder.
If you're local, don't miss the screening of PlantPure Nation next Wednesday! Here are the details!
PlantPure Nation screens one night only on Wednesday, September 30th at 7:30 p.m. at the Malco Paradiso (584 S. Mendenhall). Tickets will be sold at the box office, but seating is limited so an RSVP is required. Call 901-590-2754 to reserve a seat. There’s a pre-party with vegetarian food samples from 6:30 to 7 p.m. at Whole Foods.