April 12, 2011

The Natural Vegan Kitchen, review and recipe | Mighty-O wins

The Natural Vegan Kitchen, by Christine Waltermyer, is my kind of cookbook. The recipes are a fusion of vegan and macrobiotic cooking, with whole, unrefined foods that are delicious and satisfying. There are a few more raw foods and less salt as well as more "cultural variety in meals, such as Mexican, Indian and Italian versions of macrobiotic recipes" than you usually find in traditional macrobiotic cooking. The recipes are appealing, well-balanced and easy to prepare, making them suitable for beginners as well as experienced cooks. We loved the meals prepared with Christine's recipes.

Moroccan Stew

I asked my husband to choose a few recipes to test, and he must have been feeling nostalgic, because two of the recipes he chose began with the word, "mom's," as in Mom's Vegetarian Beef Stew and Mom's Potato Salad. He also chose Moroccan Stew Over Couscous.

Mom's Potato Salad

All three of the dishes were easy to prepare and wonderful, though we drastically reduced the amount of mayo in the potato salad because I can't stand gloppy salads. I'm looking forward to trying some of the other salads and salad dressings like Arugula with Pecans and Pears, Creamy Pumpkin Seed Dressing and Raspberry-Poppy Seed Dressing, as well as the lovely-sounding grain, bean and vegetable dishes. Most of the recipes are marked as gluten-free, or can be made gluten-free.

Moroccan Stew over Brown Rice Couscous

I'm happy to be able to share one of the recipes with you, courtesy of The Book Publishing Company.

Mom's Vegetarian Beef Stew served over brown Basmati rice

Mom's Vegetarian Beef Stew (Reprinted with permission. Please do not re-post.)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed (or other) oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 cups cubed and peeled rutabagas (we used turnips)
  • 4 large carrots, cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ground black pepper
  • 2 cups bite-sized seitan chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari
  • 1 tablespoons kuzu starch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water (or arrowroot or cornstarch)
  1. Heat the water and oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of the salt. Cook and stir for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the rutabaga, carrots, broth, remaining salt, and pepper to taste.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Add the seitan, peas, tamari, and kuzu mixture. Cook for 5 minutes longer.
  5. Serve hot, with a slice of your favorite bread for dipping.
Christine Waltermyer is the founder and director of the Natural Kitchen Cooking School, with classes offered in New York and New Jersey. With more than a decade of experience in the field of natural cooking, Christine is a masterful chef and teacher, specializing in macrobiotic and vegan cuisines. She teaches cooking classes for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine's (PCRM) Cancer Project and has co-taught with legendary natural food leader Michio Kushi at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Full disclosure: I received a free review copy of the book. All opinions are my own, humble opinions.

Head over to The Book Publishing Company Web site where you can enter to win a vegan cookbook.


The Mighty-O Donut wins on the Food Network

Miss E tucks into "a pink one."

Sara Beth Russert is The Food Network's first doughnut champion. Sara Beth makes the famous vegan, organic Mighty-O Donuts in the Walingford neighborhood in Seattle, which just happens to be a few blocks from my house. I'm not going to pretend that ANY doughnuts are particularly healthy, but if you look at the ingredient list of a Mighty-O Donut versus a "normal" doughnut, there's a vast difference in both the number and kinds of ingredients you'll find. The ingredient list of a Mighty-O looks pretty much like it would for a baked good you were making at home. Even though I live around the corner, I rarely go there, because I don't eat a lot of fried foods, but I'm still happy that an organic, vegan doughnut won first place! Congratulations Mighty-O! I did head over to Mighty-O the other day with Miss E in tow, and after touching and smelling every flower between my house and the shop, and collecting numerous walking sticks, we each enjoyed a freshly-baked doughnut. Actually, she enjoyed the glazed top half of her doughnut!


  1. Andrea, I am currently loving the same book! I've had the pleasure of taking Christine's cooking classes at Whole Foods & she's as great as her recipes. Highly recommend the walnut-lentil pate, African vegetable stew, and the zesty orange salad dressing on raw kale salad. Enjoy!

  2. What a great review, thank you! The potato salad sounds fantastic!

  3. I don't know what's in the Moroccan stew, but it sure looks pretty! All of those pictures look great. I have heard really good things about that book so far. (Another one to add to my list!)

    It's a good thing I don't live as close to Mighty-O as you do, otherwise I might visit there far too often :)

  4. Abby,
    Lucky you to have taken classes with Christine. Her recipes seem so simple but the flavors are really great. I'll look up the recipes you recommended, because I'm certainly looking forward to trying more.

    We've enjoyed everything we've made so far from the cookbook. It's a pleasure to review really good cookbooks.

    I should have posted the stew recipe, but I was really tired, and the recipe was a lot longer than the one I chose. Both were delicious, though.

    Yeah, Mighty-O could be a big temptation if you like doughnuts. :)

  5. That sounds like my kind of cookbook! I'll have to add it to my Amazon wish list.

    That donut that Miss E is eating sure looks good. I've never had a vegan donut. If I ever make it to Seattle, I know where I'm headed. :o)

  6. I always have books I want on my Amazon wish list. Right now I have a feeling that Appetite for Reduction will be my next purchase.

    Yes, you should definitely stop for a doughnut if you come to Seattle, though I doubt you'll be able to just get one once you see them!

  7. I so want that cookbook! I wish my library system had a copy of it. I will "recommend" that they get one, although my other "recommendations" have yet to be fulfilled, lol... :-) Thanks for the review!


  8. I can't believe you live in walking distance to Mighty-O! I went there a couple of times during our trip to Seattle a few years ago. They were so good! And the area was so cute; I loved it!

  9. All the food looks so good, especially that Mom-style stew! I'm with you; I think potato salad is best with just a very light touch of mayo equivalent....that's the way my mom used to make it when we were kids; basically an oil and vinegar dressing with a little touch of mayo--it was delicious.

    I'm glad Mighty-O's won the contest! But, I've never liked donuts...maybe because of overexposure from working in bakeries...Miss E is adorable as usual!

  10. I will definitely try that "beef" stew because my husband loves anything with seitan, and I love just about any kind of stew!

    And I'm with you.... I don't (ever) eat donuts, but maybe I would if I lived in Seattle? Anyway, it's a very cute photo!

  11. Courtney,
    Keep after the library, and check often to see if they've ordered the books you want. They have budget woes like everyone else, but they're probably still ordering books — might as well be vegan cookbooks. :)

    Too bad we didn't live here, then. I could have walked over and met you at Mighty-O.

    Your Mom's potato salad sounds just right — light on the mayo.

    I thought the doughnut tasted pretty good — really light, and not excruciatingly sweet, though the fat content is more than I want to consume. I remember when my father would occasionally bring jelly doughnuts home for a special treat, and I used to try to brush the gritty sugar coating off because I couldn't stand the the feeling of it on my hands or in my mouth. Still can't. And I don't like glaze.

    Miss E only ate the top half of her doughnut — the part with the glaze. We'd make a good pair — she could eat the top and I could eat the bottom. :)

    I hope you and your husband enjoy the stew as much as we did. :D

    It's hard to never eat donuts when I live so close to Mighty-O. I prefer the holes or the minis, and next time I go that's what I'll get — it's much less of a commitment. I suppose that now that Miss E knows about Mighty-O, I'll probably have to go again.

    So I hear there's going to be a Mad City Vegan Fest — and I'll be in town! Are you going?

  12. It's great to have good cookbook reviews...it's always lame to buy one and be disappointed!

  13. That is definitely my kind of cookbook, too. . . can't wait to get my copy. I saw your comment about mostly GF, and then saw the stew photo, and thought, "looks like seitan," and then saw that it WAS, indeed seitan--boo hoo! Oh, well, I'm sure lots of the OTHER recipes are gluten free! ;)

    Miss E sure does look like she's enjoying that award-winning donut, though! :D

  14. Katie,
    I know what you mean. You can't always tell from reading the recipes whether the food will be good. I was very pleasantly surprised by how well the recipes from this book turned out.

    You know, I thought of you as I was writing that, and realizing that two of the three recipes we tried were NOT gluten-free. But really, as I flip through the book, I can see that most of them are. Maybe you could use beet bacon instead. :D It would probably taste just as good.

  15. Congrats to Mighty-o! So proud of them.

    I would love to try the natural vegan kitchen. good to know there's a few GF recipes.

  16. Bitt,
    It's pretty great that Mighty-O took top honors, especially with a favorite contender like Top Pot in the mix.

    There are more than just a few GF recipes — nearly all of them are GF. It just happened that my husband picked two that weren't.

  17. Hi Andrea,

    As the author of The Natural Vegan Kitchen, I am so delighted to read your great review and all of the fun comments! Your dishes look like they came out great. Now I'm curious to try my mom's potato salad with a lighter touch of mayo. Hmmm...and I'm also dying to try that vegan doughnut!!! : ) Thanks so much and happy cooking! xoxo Christine

  18. I love the juxtaposition of the macrobiotic dishes alongside the donuts! Both appeal to me. I guess I'm kind of like that - I have a great desire for healthy foods, but like Miss E., I love me some frosting! But, I will seriously have to look into that cookbook. In making my own seitan more frequently now, I'm trying to pull away from processed foods. I've also been looking up macrobiotic cooking lately, so this post couldn't be better timed. The only other time I've heard of macrobiotic cooking was years ago (20?) when I had a co-worker who brought a macrobiotic lunch every day to work that was professionally made by an independent person. I was fascinated at the time but didn't understand much about it. Now, I think I'm getting full circle.

  19. Christine,
    Thanks so much for commenting on my post. I'm glad you liked it! I was telling the truth about how well the recipes turned out — just the way I like my food to taste.

    Years ago, when I was following a macrobiotic diet, it was much more restricted, and eliminated so many foods my family wanted to eat, that I found myself eventually moving away from it to keep my husband and kids happy. The cookbook incorporates macrobiotic principles, but interprets them in a broader way, to create an interesting assortment of recipes that are very appealing, even if you're not familiar with the basic macrobiotic diet. (BTW, I loved the macrobiotic diet I was following, and felt very healthy and balanced eating that way. Just saying ...)

    Miss E has a powerful sweet tooth, and isn't always interested in healthy food. It's a challenge to get her to eat the food we usually have around the house, other than fruit.

  20. What a lovely looking cookbook! Mmmmmm, potato salad.... Oh, I MISS Mighty-O! If I lived that close to Mighty-O I wouldn't be able to "walk" to it! :) I just received Appetite For Reduction in the mail (yippee) and I am looking forward to test-driving it. Now, I just added this book to my wish list (and a new bookshelf to fit them all)!

  21. Miss E is very wise! The glazed top half of the doughnut is the best part! :P

    This cookbook sounds awesome! I love how colorful the Moroccan Stew is, and I'm always in the mood for some potato salad. Non-gloppy!

    Thank you for sharing the recipe, the beefless beefy stew looks so good!

  22. Christina,
    I've been wanting Appetite For Reduction for a while, but I've had a pile of books to review and have been putting off getting any new ones. One of these days ...

    Would you believe I went to Mighty-O the other day with a friend and didn't get anything! I have to be in just the right mood to eat a doughnut.

    I was glad Miss E only ate the top of her d-nut because I didn't mention that she accidentally dropped it on the floor. (ewww, but 5 second rule, you know.) When she only ate the top I was mighty relieved. She's a tiny girl and the d-nut was awfully big, so I'm not surprised.

    Loved the cat-enhanced essay on your blog. You said it all — with humor.
    The Moroccan stew was indeed beautiful — and yummy, too.

  23. That's so great that Mighty-O's won! It's great exposure, especially to donut-lovers who assume that a vegan diet means the end of their favorite pastries. I trekked out to Mighty-O's when I was in Seattle four years ago. I didn't realize how far out it was from downtown and took a cab to get there. $40 later I'd arrived! Those were some expensive donuts. :) Needless to say, I took the bus back!

    Oh, and I think you'll really enjoy Appetite for Reduction when you get it. There are a lot of easy but delicious weeknight meals in it. I could see myself buying it for people as gifts, because of its healthy meals that don't require hours in the kitchen.

  24. I'm so bummed that I missed the donut tv show, but am not at all surprised that a vegan donut maker won. Congrats to them, that is awesome news! :)

  25. Cadry,
    Your $40 donuts reminded me of the $40 movie we saw when we were new to Seattle and thought we'd correctly interpreted the eight parking signs on the street where we left our car, only to find a $40 ticket waiting for us on our return. Seattle can be an expensive place to live. :)

    I wanted to see it too but we only have the most basic channels on our TV. One thing I learned last time I was at Mighty-O, is that the Food Network owns the rights to the winning donut recipes, and Mighty-O can't sell them in the shop. At least that's what the woman behind the counter said. The friend I was with was quite upset about that because she wanted one of the winning donuts. :D

  26. Tasty looking food! But my favourite photo is the one of Miss E! What a lovely wee girl! A great pic of her enjoying the top of her doughnut!

  27. Penny,
    Thank you. We think Miss E is a lot of fun to have around! She does have a wicked sweet tooth, though!


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