Shortly after Nate was born and I started eating a very heavy plant-based diet. Not completely plant based, mind you. But I could just sense that my body needed lots of fresh, whole foods after giving birth to get itself back in shape.
There is a huge transition in diet and cravings after giving birth, and Let Them Eat Vegan! helped me make that transition beautifully.
The first thing you notice when you read Dreena’s book is that she’s the kind of lady you’d love to have coffee with. She’s witty, fun, and she’s easy to relate to. You get the strong sense that you’d be fast friends with her. You want to bring her into your kitchen. It just adds to the deliciousness of her food.
Let’s talk about her Panfried Falafel Patties for a minute. Who needs cookies when you can eat these? Really! When I told Dreena on Twitter that I’d been making batch after batch, she asked if I was dipping them in her Smoky Spiced Tahini Sauce and I replied that, yea, the sauce is delicious but I’d just been pulling them out of the refrigerator and eating them. No sauce necessary.
In true Dreena style, she replied, “Now that’s some falafel lovin’!” And, yep, I do love her falafels. In fact, I’ve made them more times than I can count and I’ve never gotten a photo of the finished product. (Guilty as charged.)
When you make her falafel, you must – and I mean must – make her Quinoa Tabbouleh. I used to live in Columbus, Ohio and frequented The North Market. There was a little middle eastern restaurant that served the best tabbouleh I’ve ever had. Since going gluten-free, I’ve tried to replicate it several times but just couldn’t get it quite right. Well, Dreena did. It’s got the perfect balance of acid, veggies, parsley and quinoa.
I’ve also made her No-Fu Love Loaf, Chickpea and Artichoke Bliss in a Dish, and her Beans n’ Greens Soup and every dish has been completely delicious. Joe loves everything I’ve made of hers, too, so if you’re worried about your hubby missing the meat you shouldn’t. I suggest sneaking in at least a couple of plant-powered dishes every week.
I do have a BIG confession to make. You know how much I love dessert, right? Well, I’ve never made any of Dreena’s desserts. It’s not because they don’t sound incredible, or because they aren’t fully in line with my ‘healthier dessert’ philosophy. It’s only because her savory dishes are so jam-packed with flavor, texture, and pure yumminess that I’ve spent all of my time there. Her food is that good.
I do have some of her desserts on my to-make list, like her Sugar-Free Chocolate Cake, Raw Banana Nut Bars with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting, and Frosted B-raw-nies. They’ll be flying out of my kitchen soon.
Please note that Dreena’s book isn’t completely gluten-free or refined sugar-free. At least half of the recipes are gluten-free. For many that aren’t, she gives substitution options. From the way she describes how to substitute, it’s clear she’s tested and retested the recipes with the gluten-free version. You’ll feel confident that the results will be stellar.
You’ve got to give her Panfried Falafel Patties a try. I bake them only because it’s easier than standing at the stove. I’ve included her instructions for baking the falafel in the recipe below.
From the book Let Them Eat Vegan! by Dreena Burton. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2012. www.dacapopresscookbooks.com
- 2 (14-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup (packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (not chopped, just torn from stems)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions (mostly white but some green portion)
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 2 to 3 meidum to large cloves garlic (use 3 large if you love a garlicky kick)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon tumeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon (rounded) freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I use 1/4 teaspoon; use more if you like things spicy)
- 3/4 cup rolled oats (use GF-certified oats for gluten-free option; see note)
- 1/3 cup millet flour, or other flour, seasoned with a few pinches of sea salt
- Splash of oil for panfrying (use less or more per personal preference)
- In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, onion, celery, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, and spices, and process until the mixture is incorporated and starting to smooth out, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Then add the oats and pulse a few times to work them in. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes if possible (refrigerating will make it firmer and easier to shape).
- Take small scoops of the mixture, 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons (using a cookie scoop is helpful, but you can use your hands, rinsing when needed to keep the mixture from sticking to your palms) and form in to balls. Once finished, place the seasoned millet flour in a bowl. Add the falafel balls to the bowl and lightly toss, then toss a moment in your hand to remove any excess clumping of flour.
- Lightly oil a nonstick skillet over medium or medium-high heat. Place the falafel balls in the pan, flattening slightly with a spatula, and cook for 6 - 9 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crisped on the outside, working in batches, if needed. Serve.
You can also bake these falafels: Spray the balls with a spritz of olive oil, if you have a spritzer; otherwise you can leave them as is or very lightly coat with oil with your hands. Bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 20 to 22 minutes, flipping once through the baking process, until a little browned and crispy in spots.
I’m so excited that I get to share Let Them Eat Vegan! with you. In fact THREE of you will get a copy of this incredible book. You will LOVE taking Dreena and Let Them Eat Vegan! into your kitchen and making your family healthy, plant-powered meals. I know I have.
To enter, fill out the form below!
Contest details: Open to US and Canadian residents only. Contest will remain open until Thursday, May 23rd at 11:59pm CST. Winners will be notified by email and their names will be posted on this page.
From my sponsor: Plan To Eat was born from our desire to eat real food – great food – prepared at home, together as a family. Plan To Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together. PlanToEat.com.