Monday, 19 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #19: Q is for Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food (Recipe Round-Up)

I bought Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort food, by Alicia C. Simpson, hoping that it would have a similar vibe to my beloved Appetite For Reduction. Sadly, it does not. And I have struggled to find inspiration within this book, but I keep trying. I've posted one round-up about it, which you can see here. A shame, because I know that Julie has made a bunch of recipes from one of the author's other books, which is just Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food. Should have gone with that one!

Content warning: In the following paragraph, I'll be mentioned things like calorie counting, portion sizes, and meal plans, as well as disordered eating. Not promoting them, but still discussing them. If you'd like to skip this, please scroll down past this paragraph to the bonus kitten photo I've included!

So, real talk. I find a lot of what this book talks about is potentially harmful. A lot of the recipes have quite calorie-dense ingredients, and the author compensates for this by making portion sizes tiny. There are also some meal plans that range from 1400 - 2000 calories, and the author has written a section about calculating and counting calories. I have never had an eating disorder, but I have definitely experienced disordered eating brought on from unhappiness with body image. I feel parts of this book could be potentially harmful depending on the reader's current state of mind, body image, and eating experiences. I've been working on intuitive eating and body neutrality (helped by the amazing Taylor Wolfram), and the message in parts of this book are counter to the progress that I have been making there. So if you are looking at this book, probably skip those parts if you can and just enjoy the recipes. Or just skip the book all together.

Anyway, KITTEN!

Lil' Bob

Who is this little baby? You'll find out at the end of the post!

Chef's Salad with Baked Hush-Puppies: The salad requires two other recipes to be made first - Roasted Tofu and Frenchy Dressing. The roasted tofu is first pressed and then marinated in mix including soy, maple syrup, a few vinegars, and herbs and spices. This did make for a really nice tofu, that could be used in a number of different ways (including for snacking). The Frenchy Dressing has a base of apple cider vinegar and ketchup, which overpower most of the other ingredients in it. I did substitute water instead of the oil in it, not because I have anything against oil but because oily dressings make me feel ill, which would have impacted the flavour a bit I know. For the salad itself I used baby cos, cucumber, celery (instead of radish), grape tomatoes,and shredded carrot, I left out the scallions. The dressing itself was a bit overpowering on the salad. This recipe says it serves four, but I served two. I served it alongside some Baked Hush Puppies (suggested by the book). As someone who is terrified by deep frying (I'll burn the earth to a crisp, I'm sure), I love baked versions of things. I made a half recipe of these, and they were some great little savoury bites, and nice along side the salad.
Rating: Salad :|, Dressing :|, Tofu :), Hush Puppies :)

Chef's Salad, Baked Hush-Puppies

Taco Salad: Over last summer, I got super into taco salads. They are refreshing, and I love the added crunch of corn chips. This one had no corn chips, but as you can see I fixed that with some pretty blue corn chips I found. The salad itself was nice and refreshing, with cos, tomato, avocado, black beans, and corn (I left out the onion). The dressing is based on soy yoghurt, with lime and coriander. It also calls for a few different types of chili, but I just left them out and used a bit of paprika. Again, this says it serves four, but I served two for a complete meal.
Rating: :)

Taco Salad

Open-Faced Black Bean Burger with Spiced Ketchup: These burgers are based on black beans and brown rice, as well as having veggies and spices in them. I subbed in some grated carrot rather than capsicum. I made a half recipe, intending to get three burgers (two for dinner, one for leftovers to make into a sandwich), but I only got two and a bit using the 1/2 cup per burger recommendations of the recipe. So I just made two bigger patties and baked them for an extra five minutes. The patties were tasty, though a bit fragile. The spiced ketchup is easily made. Initially the spices in it (I left out the cayenne) were a bit overpowering, but it mellows with sitting and goes nicely with the burger. Served with mayo and spinach on the bun. And with a side of potato gems and cucumber.
Rating: Burger :), Ketchup :)

Open Faced Black Bean Burger with Spiced Ketchup

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Lil' Bob

Meet Lil' Bob, one of our adoption kittens. He was found as a feral little kitten, about five weeks old. He was full of hisses and mistrust, but he really just wants hugs. He has come so far over the last week and a half. Still hisses, but is a lot more relaxed. We can hug him, and he is starting to get interested in exploring. And he is so teeny and cute!


  1. I would probably skip the book! I was just thinking the other day how nice it is to feel free from any eating disorders!
    OMG, Lil Bob is so freaking cute! He totally has that little feral look about him!!! Too cute!!

    1. He's so funny. Even when he is purring he still has that look on his face. I love him.

  2. Thank you for the honest review and the warning. I find there is a lot of problematic content when it comes to low cal vegan stuff. I'm glad that you were totally honest about it and it doesn't really sound like we'd be missing much if we skipped it.

    OMG KITTY!!! How sweet! Hi Lil' Bob!

    1. You could definitely skip this book!
      I prefer my food without the problematic diet bullshit.

  3. Yeah, with how much I love the original Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food, I have no desire for a low-cal version!
    Lil' Bob is such a cutie!

    1. I wish I had gotten the original comfort food one!

  4. Lil' Bob is so cute!

    Calorie counting leads to disorderly eating for me, too. It's so problematic.

    Who gives a recipe for taco salad with no corn chips? The mind boggles! Your blue ones look really pretty, though.

    1. I know. The point of a taco salad is that it has corn chips in it so that you get their crunchy salty goodness with all the salad.

  5. I think calorie counting can be helpful for people who overeat all the time, but only if they ditch it after a certain point (and never be too strict about it) And calorie counting is something that isn't for everyone. Like I think it is great to do it, and say "wow! I eat 2,500 calories a day! And this lunch 700 calories, maybe I should eat a little less" or pick something else etc. Or maybe you are eating a normal amount of calories and you can sit back and say maybe this is something else. But it isn't good do it for your entire life. I think a lot of people have forgotten what is it is like to eat when they are hungry, and listen to their body when it is full. It is a complicated issue, that I feel like there is some link between eating/weight to health and some of the links are just hot air. I think working on getting over the fat stigma will be important to be talking about health issues in a more neutral tone (and help doctors draw a line of naturally being fat, or maybe suddenly gaining weight as a symptom)

    Any who, I am done ranting on my soap box, and let me rant about not putting corn chips on a taco salad. WHAT?!! Toss that garbage in the trash. The only exception is if the salad is in a corn chip bowl. It does make me miss the days working at a restaurant and piling roasted bell peppers and onions on a salad with a giant scoop of guac and beans. Mmm....