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Barbara Rolek

You Can Be Vegan and Still Enjoy Eastern European Favorites

By November 17, 2013

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Have you been depriving yourself of traditional Eastern European dishes because you thought they didn't fit in with a vegan lifestyle? Well, think again. Two books will show you how to eat Old World dishes in a new way.

Vegan Moussaka
Vegan Moussaka
Fawne Frailey and Sebastian Romero Sea Light Studios, used with permission.
Mark Reinfeld's "The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe" (Da Capo Lifelong/Perseus Books Group, 2012) is a goldmine of plant-based makeovers of classics from France, Italy, Spain, Eastern Europe (Romania, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic) and elsewhere.

And, as the name, touts, they all take only about 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish. The book also features guides to European herbs and spices, and wine and beer pairings, as well as a description of each featured region's cuisine. In addition to being vegan, all but two recipes in the book are gluten-free (and those two can be adapted for a gluten-free diet), and all the recipes can be made to fit oil-free, soy-free, low-sodium and sugar-free regimens. Many of the recipes rely on seitan, tempeh or tofu for protein.

Nava Atlas' "Vegan Holiday Kitchen" (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2011) features more than 200 vegan recipes for every holiday that are super easy to prepare. She touches on American holidays like Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July, as well as global celebrations like Christmas and Jewish holidays, brunches, potlucks and appetizers.

Atlas gives variations for making the recipes nut-free, soy-free and gluten-free. The recipes are not so reliant on seitan, tofu and tempeh as in Reinfeld's book, above, and the list of ingedients is typically short and sweet. Here are three vegan recipes from each book I think you will enjoy.

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