The Plantpower Lifestyle

My friend Ruth knows me so well! Back in December she gave me the lifestyle cookbook The Plantpower Way by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt for my birthday. For over a year I have embraced a more plant-based lifestyle, and this was brought on by my gluten and dairy intolerances. In their book, Rich and Julie do a beautiful job presenting their vegan lifestyle in a very accessible way. There are so many “traditional” recipes in there that I thought I could never eat again if I wasn’t eating cheese or dairy. For example, I haven’t had lasagne in over a year, but they have a lasagne recipe featuring zucchini in place of the noodles, topped off with a “cheesy” homemade tomato sauce. They point out that we’ve been trained by “Big Food” into thinking that we must rely exclusively on animal and dairy products. Even if you have no intentions of going vegan, this book can put a healthy lighter spin on some of your favorite recipes. Rich and Julie make an articulate environmental case for eating less dairy and meat, and you can’t argue against it, even if you’re not planning on giving up animal-based foods entirely. They illuminate the carbon and water usage of the animals-for-food industry. It’s so compelling that even the most devoted carnivore can appreciate the value in decreasing their animal consumption, even if it was only by one meal per week.

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My new food Bible

So the food in The Plantpower Way is good for your body, and good for the planet… but how does it taste? I’ve tried about ten of their recipes already, but here are the ones I want to share right away— the flavors are out of this world!

1. CAESAR SALAD

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Dairy-free caesar salad

If you’re eating the usual Caesar salad, do yourself a favor and just stop doing that… forever. Rich and Julie’s Caesar salad is dairy-free, dairy being the reason I hadn’t had a Caesar salad in over a year! I have a lot of experience blending nuts for dessert recipes, and their dressing called for blended cashews to create the creaminess. Fortunately I always have buckets of cashews lying around. There is a special ingredient in there for the cheesy taste, which I won’t share here, because it’s not my place to give away their recipe. Go buy their book! The crumbly topping is made from walnuts, and again, with other secret ingredients! Dairy-based Caesar salad is a potentially unhealthy food when you think about it, but Rich and Julie’s recipe is really guilt-free, and is packed with nutrition!

2. BASIL HUMMUS

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Mid-afternoon Mediterranean snack

That “secret ingredient” shows up even here in their basil hummus recipe. I don’t know why, but I’ve never added basil to my hummus, even though basil is one of my favorite flavors. This hummus is incredibly refreshing and easy to make. No, I didn’t dip the dates directly in the hummus, but it was one of those situations where I was having a craving for sweet and savory at the same time!

3. CAULIFLOWER TACOS WITH TOMATILLO SALSA

While the entire meal was delicious, my photographs of the sauces came out the best! I had never cooked with tomatillos before, and I ended up with an amazing result:

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Non-dairy taco sauces

I was freaking out about the tomatillos when I got home from the market. When I peeled off their husks, my fingers got all sticky! I was thinking ‘what on Earth happened to this batch of tomatillos?’ After a few minutes of good ‘ol Google research, I learned that this sticky coating is found underneath the husk of tomatillos as a deterrent to critters, so you can simply wash this off when working with tomatillos. The tomatillo recipe in the book took about ten minutes to make!

Again, if you’re worried about missing out on cheese in your life, their garlic cashew dip in the background is way better than any cheese I’ve ever had.

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Vegan tacos with spicy roasted cauliflower

Cauliflower takes the place of meat in their taco recipe. Their recipe also calls for golden beets, but the batch of beets I was working with were so mushy and past their prime that I decided to leave them out. It didn’t matter, since the cauliflower tacos were stellar with the sauce toppings!

4. GINGER CARROT TURMERIC SOUP

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A warming vegan anti-inflammatory soup

A few weeks ago we were visiting our cousins in San Antonio, and they were having a soup party! I actually carried the significantly-sized The Plantpower Way cookbook in my carry-on all the way to Texas to share it with them, as they are big into healthy eating, too! (The cookbook is not huge, but not something you want to walk around with all the time.) As we planned out the soup party, we decided I would make the Ginger Carrot Turmeric soup, and it was a huge hit!

What are you doing in your diet or lifestyle to move away from unsustainable reliance on animal-based products? Please share in the comments below!

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2 Comments on “The Plantpower Lifestyle”

  1. Lisa January 19, 2016 at 07:04 #

    Very cool! The taco sauces look especially yummy!

  2. Marisa LaValette January 19, 2016 at 07:14 #

    They were fun and easy to make! Less than 10 mins apiece

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