Cookbooks #

Introduction #

I suspect that most people are indifferent about whether they eat animal products as long as the food tastes great. Therefore, I’ve put a lot of effort into recipe development. Here I list some of my favorite cookbooks.

On Ingredients #

Tofu #

When tofu isn’t specifically required (e.g., scrambled tofu), I prefer soybeans. Tofu isn’t a whole food. Soybeans work great for ice cream, mayo, and cheese recipes.

Tomato Paste #

Manufacture of tomato paste typically involves straining out seeds and skins. This makes no sense to me. Throw your whole tomatos (including skin and seeds) in a blender and dehydrate them to a paste. As far as I can tell, this paste is indistinguishable from regular tomato paste. Plus, but you get the benefits specific to the tomato seeds.

Coconut #

Coconut is one of the most confusing foods from a health perspective. It’s among both the worst and best foods for our health!

Salt #

Excess sodium from salt is really bad for our health. However, salt contributes a lot of flavor to savory recipes. As a work-around, Dr Greger identified miso as a way to add salt without impairing health. However, miso is not a great salt substitute. It has its own flavor and is way more expensive than salt. Finally, we got a great solution. Whenever salt appears in a recipe, use a 50/50 mixture of potassium chloride and sodium chloride.

Milky flavor #

There are a lot of options to approach a milky flavor using plant-based ingredients:

  • Soybean
  • Cashew (and, to a lesser extent, other nuts and seeds)
  • Cauliflower
  • Coconut flour
  • Oats
  • Tapioca

Vanilla flavor #

Some recipes call for vanilla extract. Ethanol is often used to extract the flavor from vanilla pods. In USA, a vanilla ticture cannot be called an extract without containing at least 35% ethyl alcohol.1 The ethanol is probably not a big deal if you’re baking, because the it will mostly evaporate. However, for recipes that are not heated intensively, vegetable glycerin can be used as an alternative to ethanol. If you’re not making a flavored liquid then there is an even better option: whole vanilla bean powder. Whole vanilla bean are also great, but bean powder is less expensive than intact beans.

Mustard flavor #

Some recipes call for ready-made mustard. This condiment typically contains a bunch of ingredients such as vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt, turmeric, paprika, and garlic powder. There are disadvantages to using the ready-made condiment instead of mustard seeds.

  • The salt is probably 99% sodium chloride.
  • The ready-made condiment is often cooked.

The reason to prefer raw mustard seeds is that the myrosinase enzymes are deactivated by cooking.

Cooking oil #

The best choice is to avoid oil completely. However, it would be dishonest not to acknowledge that there are some recipes, made without oil, where taste is substantially compromised. If you decide that you’re willing to use oil, which is the least harmful? Extra-virgin olive oil gets the hype, but canola oil might be more healthful.23

Bibliography #

Campbell, K. (2015). The PlantPure Nation Cookbook: The Official Companion Cookbook to the Breakthrough Film…with over 150 Plant-Based Recipes. BenBella Books

Frank, L. E. (2023). Seed to plate, soil to sky: Modern plant-based recipes using Native American ingredients. Go, Hachette Books.

Fisher, C. (2016). Straight Up Food: Delicious and Easy Plant-based Cooking without Salt, Oil or Sugar. Green Bite Publishing.

Page, K. (2014). The Vegetarian Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity with Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, and More, Based on the Wisdom of Leading American Chefs. Little, Brown and Company.

Notes #

  1. Vanilla extract ↩︎

  2. Vogel, R. A., Corretti, M. C., & Plotnick, G. D. (2000). The postprandial effect of components of the Mediterranean diet on endothelial function. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 36(5), 1455–1460. ↩︎

  3. Pourrajab, B., Sharifi-Zahabi, E., Soltani, S., Shahinfar, H., & Shidfar, F. (2023). Comparison of canola oil and olive oil consumption on the serum lipid profile in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 63(33), 12270–12284. ↩︎