The Lusty Vegan – Review & Recipe

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for review.

The Lusty Vegan, new cookbook authored by Chef Ayindé Howell and Zoë Eisenberg, isn’t your usual cookbook. As the title suggests it’s about uniting a passion for amazingly delicious vegan food with relationships. Ayindé and Zoë share their experiences of past failed relationships with non-vegans, what worked, what didn’t work and why, their lusts both in the kitchen and in the bedroom; general advice on how to approach different types of relationships; and they pair it all with a collection of recipes for delicious food to feed your relationships and appetites.

What I Liked About The Lusty Vegan

Reading about their experiences made me realize how lucky I am to be in a vegan-on-vegan relationship. But I can somewhat relate to some of it. My relationship with Mauro didn’t start out that way. Way back in the day when we started dating, I was a vegetarian and Mauro was an omni. Soon after he decided he wanted to be vegetarian, too—it was something he had thought about before meeting me. Years later we embarked on our vegan journey together.

It’s nice and convenient to be on the same page about these things with your life partner, but the book also has accounts from other couples who aren’t and manage to work things out since they have so many other affinities in life. There’s hope for everyone! 🙂

And then there’s the food. Interestingly enough, the recipes I choose to try out for this review ended up being from the “Food for Sex” section. We started off the day with the Cardamom Chia Seed Parfait, which was rich and tatsty. For lunch we opted for the Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mejool Dates and the Polenta Cakes with Chili-Garlic Sauce. Brussels Sprouts and Polenta are two foods we make with frequency in our house, so I wanted to try something with a different spin. Both delivered and were sexier versions of seasonings we use. I made one modification to the sprouts recipe. I cut the amount of dates to a quarter of the original requested in the book. I thought 2 cups of dates was going to be too sweet and caloric. The end result was just a touch of sweetness and perfect for our palates. Totally lusty!

The Lusty Vegan is a quirky read that made me feel like a fly on the wall in the duo’s sex lives. Definitely a book for mature audiences and vegans seeking some pro tips on relationships for vegans dating non-vegans, and vise-versa, and recipes to impress your date. Check out the guest post with tips for omnivores dating vegans and a feature recipe below.

Be Lusty!

Recipe: Cajun Tofu with Dirty Quinoa

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Serves 2

Every now and then, I get lazy and hit the easy button. Often, this includes falling on my favorite prepared spice staple: Cajun seasoning. This rub is a nice blend of salt and red spices that can act as the undertone or the main flavor. In this recipe, it’s the main flavor. Traditionally, dirty rice is made with meat, rice, and herbs. I stripped it down to the main flavors and switched the rice to quinoa for extra protein. It is an flavorful dish guaranteed to satisfy. (From The Lusty Vegan © 2014 by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg. Used with permission from Vegan Heritage Press.)

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa, well-rinsed
1 tablespoon grapeseed or safflower oil
1 tablespoon vegan butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons low-sodium wheat-free tamari
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Sea salt

8 ounces extra-firm tofu, frozen and defrosted
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons low-sodium wheat-free tamari

1 tablespoon vegan butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup dry white wine, divided
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
1. Quinoa: In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil, then stir in the quinoa. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Set aside.

2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and butter. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly from the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking. Add the garlic, and sauté for an additional minute.

3. Add the cooked quinoa and mix well. Add the tamari, Cajun seasoning, thyme, and red pepper flakes (if using), and mix until all ingredients are well-incorporated. Remove from the heat.

4. Tofu: Cut the tofu into 4 slices, approximately 1/8-inch thick. Use a paper towel to press out as much water from the tofu as possible, then transfer the tofu to a shallow bowl. In a separate small bowl combine Cajun  seasoning, basil, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, and sage and mix well. Use your hands to gently rub the seasoning mixture onto the tofu, coating well. Set aside.

5. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu and sear for 3 minutes on each side, until brown and slightly crispy. Add the water and tamari to the skillet and allow to reduce for 3 to 5 minutes. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the dirty quinoa onto the plates and top with the tofu.

6. Butter Sauce: Melt the butter in a medium skillet over high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 30 to 45 seconds. Add the Cajun seasoning, basil, and sage. Working quickly, add 1/4 cup of the white wine and the cornstarch and sauté until mixture begins to bubble rapidly. Mix continually with a whisk or fork. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of white wine and allow the alcohol to burn off. It may flambé, but the fire won’t last long. Remove from the heat and stir until the sauce becomes cloudy. Immediately spoon the butter sauce over the plated quinoa and tofu and garnish with sliced grape tomatoes.

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