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Andrea Honaker: Easy, healthy vegan cooking

 
By Andrea Honaker
The Gaston Gazette
updated: 9/4/2015 3:52 PM

Canadian chef Douglas McNish found out first-hand that not all vegan options are created equal.

Early in his career, he put on 40 pounds by not choosing the right kinds of foods. So he went back to the basics, rediscovering healthy cooking and slimming down. McNish's third cookbook, "Vegan Everyday: 500 Delicious Recipes," features some of the plant-based, organic, gluten-free recipes that he has crafted.

"One of the reasons I worked so hard to create delicious, nutritious recipes is that, these days, a great deal of vegan food on the market is simply not healthy. It is loaded with salt and preservatives, refined grains and starches and unhealthy sugars and fats," he wrote in the book's introduction.

The easy-to-make recipes are designed to please vegans and non-vegans alike, and each contains tips on food prep, substitutions, where to find ingredients and more. The dishes touch on almost every food category, including breakfast, juices, appetizers, sauces and spreads, snacks, sides, beans and grains, pasta, stir-fries, soups and stews, baked goods and desserts. McNish also gives advice on stocking a vegan pantry and using whole foods in cooking.

Singapore Summer Rolls

Makes 8 rolls

Ingredients:

4 cups hot water

8 10-inch (25 cm) rice-paper wrappers

4 cups shredded carrots

2 cups finely sliced red bell peppers

2 cups finely sliced cucumbers

1 bunch fresh mint leaves

Place hot water in a heatproof bowl. Working with one wrapper at a time, submerge wrapper in hot water until pliable, about 30 seconds. Remove and pat dry. Lay wrapper flat on a clean work surface.

In the middle of wrapper, place cup carrot, cup red pepper, 1/4 cup cucumber and 5 or 6 mint leaves. Carefully fold bottom edge of wrapper over filling. Fold in sides and continue rolling up from the bottom, gently packing roll as you go. Press down firmly to ensure that roll holds together.

Repeat with remaining wrappers and fillings. Serve immediately or cover with a damp paper towel, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Quick Sweet-and-Sour Tofu Stir-Fry

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 pound firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

cup thinly sliced red bell pepper

cup broccoli florets

cup chopped pineapple

cup sweet-and-sour sauce, homemade or store-bought

In a large skillet over high heat, heat oil. Add tofu and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add red pepper, broccoli and pineapple; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, until pepper and broccoli are tender. Add sweet-and-sour sauce and stir to combine. Serve immediately or let cool, transfer to an airtight container.