A little over 10 years ago, I moved from the Southern part of the US to Boston with Jeff. I was so excited to start a new life in a new place with a new-to-me culture and scenery, and it seemed like nothing could stand in the way of my happiness. But fast forward a few months later, and I found myself sitting in a cubicle in a job I wasn’t thrilled about, and my happiness quickly turned into frustration. I craved the opportunity to do something that had meaning and would give me a sense of fulfillment that was overwhelmingly lacking in my current 9 to 5 life.
During that time, I was also starting to learn how to cook. I failed miserably at almost everything I tried to make, but something kept me coming back to the kitchen to try it again, and I eventually got better over time. When I went vegan, I felt like I was starting all over and made the same kind of dumb mistakes and choices in the kitchen, but again, felt the urge to come back and try to work them out. Over more time, planning and making dinner became something that I looked forward to—a ritual that got me through the work day and gave me something to focus on, plan and create. I loved discovering new-to-me vegan ingredients and following recipes I found online.
One day I was looking online for something to make for dinner and stumbled across a website called The Post Punk Kitchen, run by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. It had recipes! It had a cooking forum! It had other vegans on it! Isa was relateable, funny and would answer cooking questions that were posted in the forum. She also had a cookbook called Vegan With a Vengeance that I ordered as soon as I heard about it. Once I received it, I bookmarked everything, and began to cook my way through it. Isa’s methods were approachable, affordable, easy and delicious. It became my go-to resource for cooking, and made me feel like it was “okay” and “normal” to be vegan. (At that time, I didn’t know any other vegans and felt pretty marginalized among friends and family.)
Because Vegan with a Vengeance made vegan cooking so fun and approachable, it played a big part in why I fell in love with and continue to love cooking. Now, fast forward 10 years later, and Vegan With a Vengeance has been re-released as a 10-year anniversary edition. Some recipes are reworked, some are completely new and it contains all-new photography by Kate Lewis. It couldn’t have come at a better time, because my old copy is pretty shabby:
You can’t really tell from the picture, but the pages are all warped, the spine is about to give out, and all of the pages are stained. If your old copy of VwaV looks like mine, or you don’t have one, today’s your lucky day because the nice folks over at Da Capo Lifelong are offering a free copy of the new edition of Vegan with a Vengeance to two readers through this post … it’s so shiny and new!
To enter for a chance to win, just leave in the comments section the name of your favorite comfort food recipe or recipe by Isa and I’ll randomly pick two comments on Friday, July 17. Leave your email or twitter handle or some way to contact you in your comment in case you are chosen as one of the winners. Shipping is limited to US/Canada only. Good luck!
The winners of this giveaway are Jen and Stephanie, congrats! Thanks to everyone who entered.
Speaking of comfort food, here’s a recipe from the new edition, BLT Mac and Cheese with Eggplant Bacon. Easy to make, filling and perfect when you want something carby, cheezy with fresh greens and tomatoes with salty, smoky eggplant bacon, this recipe will hit the spot!Print
BLT Mac and Cheese with Eggplant Bacon
- Yield: 4 servings
From Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2015
BLT Mac & Cheeze! Do I have your attention? If it’s summer and you have a garden, or a CSA, or just want to use some in-season produce from the grocery, maybe you can relate to the challenge of Too Many Tomatoes (though, really, can you have too many?). After moving to Omaha, I began growing tomatoes and looked for any reason to put them in everything. And so BLT Mac was born. I made the “B” out of eggplant (remember: vegans will make ba-con out of anything). For the “L,” arugula is always prolific in the garden, plus I love its muskiness, which goes per-fectly with the bright and smoky flavors of the other ingredients.
FOR THE CHEEZE
- 1 cup cashews, soaked in water
- for at least 2 hours or overnight
- 1 cup vegan vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- Salt and freshly ground
- black pepper
FOR THE BLT MAC
- 8 ounces small shell pasta
- or macaroni (gluten-free, whole wheat, or any type)
- 4 cups baby arugula
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes (or chopped regular tomatoes)
- 1 recipe Eggplant Bacon
EGGPLANT BACON (makes 2 cups bacon)
- 1 pound eggplant
- Cooking spray
- 1⁄4 cup soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
TO MAKE THE CHEEZE
- Drain the cashews and place with all the sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend away until completely smooth. Scrape down the sides with a spatula to make sure you get everything. Depending on the strength of your blender, this could take from 1 to 5 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper, keeping in mind that you want it just a little saltier than you think because it’s going to be poured over all of the other ingredients.
TO MAKE THE BLT MAC
- Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. When the pasta is tender, drain it in a colander. Immediately place it back in the pot you boiled it in and stir in the sauce. Place the pot on low heat and stir for 3 minutes or so, until the sauce is thickened a bit and everything is deliciously creamy. Taste for salt again.
- Now toss in the arugula, tomatoes, and eggplant bacon, leaving a little extra aside to garnish, if you like.
This recipe is so easy you’ll be making eggplant bacon in your sleep! The perfect slice has varying textures from crisp and browned in some spots, to tender and chewy in others. To that end, hand slice these babies instead of using a mandoline and aim for 1⁄8-inch slices, but don’t worry about perfection. The varying degrees of thickness will work to your advantage here. Just don’t cut it too thick, the eggplant needs to crisp up, and slices that are much thicker will just get soggy.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Prep the eggplant while the oven is preheating. Eggplants vary in size, so if using baby eggplant that is 2 inches wide at its widest, just slice into 1⁄8-inch-thick circles. If using large eggplants, first cut in half lengthwise, then slice the halves into 1⁄8-inch-thick half-moons. Now, what we’re going to do is bake it at a high temperature with just a bit of cooking spray, then let it cool, then give it smoky salty flavor and reheat.
- Spray the lined baking sheets lightly with cooking spray. Arrange the eggplant pieces in a single layer and spray lightly once more. Place in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes, keeping a close eye. Rotate the pans about halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and flip the slices. They should be browning already, and if any are slightly burnt, don’t worry; just transfer them to a plate to cool.
- Return the remaining strips to the oven for about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven. The eggplant should be dark brown to burnt in some places, and yellowish white and tender in some places. Transfer to a plate to prevent further baking.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350°F. Mix the soy sauce and liquid smoke together in a large bowl. Dip the eggplant slices in mixture a few at a time and return to the baking sheet. Bake for about 3 more minutes, until heated through. Serve! Keeps well for a few more hours, but definitely use these the day of.
My favorite? Too many to choose just one, but anything with chocolate tops my list!
Pasta — any pasta dish! I have loved it since a small child!
My favorite comfort meal happens to also be an Isa recipe: the Curried Peanut Bowl with Tofu and Kale (I think that's what it's called in the book!) from Isa Does It. I fell in love with it during testing and I had a hard time moving on to new recipes because I wanted to eat it every night. It's so quick and easy, and totally customizable. I still make it all the time.
Her Everyday Pad Thai has been a go-to of mine for a while!
Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles, puffy Pillow Pancakes, Meaty Beany Chili, vanilla bean cupcakes with chocolate ganache, New York Deli Macaroni salad… everything I have tried so far is delish! Would love to win this book. I don't have a copy of this one 🙂
Coconut Chana Saag from Isa Does It
Every summer, once fresh corn starts to appear at the farmers market, it's not long before I make a huge batch of the corn chowder from VwaV. Excited about the new edition!
Catherine R. says
Chipotle Mac and Cheese is an absolute favourite – can't make it enough.
Ancho lentil taco meat
Meaty beany chili and cornbread
Emily Frock says
I love everything I've tried in Appetite for Reduction – specifically, the collards with pineapple and the onion rings. I'd love to try this book too!
Pesto pasta with roasted cauliflower.
My favorite has always been the Asian marinated tofu. In fact, I had it last night and this afternoon! Special shoutout to the pumpkin cookies!
I love love love Isa's recipes! 2 of my regular faves include her hot sauce glazed tempeh and her puffy pillow pancakes. I went through chemotherapy in 2012 and part of 2013…and her delicious vegan meals kept the weight on me!
lisamichelleharrison at gmail dot com
Mac and Trees!
Chipotle Mac & Cheese with Roasted Brussels Sprouts
(lizhudson0 at gmail dot com)
Adrianna Magistro says
Isa's Mac and Shews! ?
los j.rabbs says
Butternut rancheros are in my weekly rotation. I also found her @PPK!
My favourite comfort food is definitely Isa's nirvana enchilada casserole. Anything with roast potatoes and guacamole!
natashahenschke at gmail.com
The chickpea cutlets. Soooo, so good.
Jen Manriquez says
My favorite Isa recipe is the tofu scramble from Vegan Brunch. It's honestly the best, and most versatile, vegan scramble recipe out there. And it makes amazing breakfast tacos! I would absolutely LOVE to get my hands on the new VwaV cookbook. That's the only Isa book I've never had, neither the old version or the new one. I hope I win! ? Jen.firstname.lastname@example.org
Peanut butter waffles from Vegan Brunch!
erin.c.desrochers at gmail dot com
my fave comfort food is Isa's leek and bean cassoulet, it's in veganomicon. yum! email@example.com
Barbara Clark says
Anything with noddles!
Kristen M says
Fresh baked bread with butter!
Everyday Pad Thai from Isa Does It!
msacerich at gmail dot com
I can't wait to check out the book! My favorite comfort food is farinata or sopa. I love rosemary in mine, then spread avo on top…heaven.
Hot sauce glazed tempeh from Veganonmicon. (d dot wethington @ gmail dot com)
The ancho lentil tacos from "Isa Does It" and the chipotle mac and cheese from the PPK! (katberlin at hotmail dot com).
Ms O'Kane says
My favourite comfort food is a bowl – grain, greens, beans, delicious sauce – and my favourite bowl is a Mexi- Bowl. As for Isa's recipes, Black Bean Chili and Baked Falafel from Appetite for Reduction are two I make regularly.
That eggplant bacon is amazing. I love the fauxtess cakes from VWAV. My original copy of the book is literally in pieces and barely survived a storage flood. It was my first vegan cookbook so I can't part with it.
Good Morning! ummm.. my favourite brunch item is Vegan French Toast with strawberries….yum!! Thanks for stellar giveaway and excellent site! Cheers, Valerie 🙂
Appetite for Reduction's sublime chili mole, paired with the scallion cornbread. So simple and so perfect.
Chickpea cutlets and fluffy mashed potatoes!!!! Bunnygarden on Twitter 🙂
To say I'm obsessed with Isa would be an understatement. Today I'm having her Everyday Pad Thai for lunch and Beefy Asparagus Stir-fry for dinner. Next I plan to cook her Tempeh Giardino. Isa Does It is by far my favorite cookbook and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of VWAV! My favorite comfort food recipe of hers is probably the Good Gravy Bowl. My email is jackydlt at gmail dot com.
Lasagna made with Isa's Green Garden Puree (Vegan with a Vengeance)
Aimee B. says
My favorite comfort food is mashed potatoes.
Maple mustard green beans and potatoes from VWAV! Isa is a goddess and I could name a million favorite recipes. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My favorite isa comfort food recipe is mango bbq beans from appetite for reduction!
Katie B says
My favourite comfort food is a big bowl of chili over a sweet potato
I love any kind of pizza! Thanks for the giveaway.
Hardy Party says
I love Isa and her recipes. There are a lot of favorites, but to name one Glam Chowder. email@example.com
Alli Rosen says
I was contemplating giving up dairy and found Isa's book "Isa Does It" around the same time. My diet is completely changed because of that book but I've never had my own copy of VwaV! I still cook Isa's recipes at least once a week (usually 3-4 times a week). I LOVE that BLT mac 'n' cheeze with arugula recipe you posted. I usually make it on nights that I work late and just want to veg out with some super easy tasty noms. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!
Tamarind Lentils from Veganomicon! They are great in everything: salads, burritos, sammies, bowls.
Thanks for the recipe and giveaway.
My go to comfort recipe is either vegan mac & cheese or my vegan KC style pulled jackruit BBQ. Or even better serving them together! firstname.lastname@example.org
Terri Cole says
Isa's Voluptuous Pumpkin Pie and Maple Pecan Pie saved the holidays for me. Also, that Lentil-a Roni from Isa Does It is delicious!
gaia at cinci dot rr dot com
Any of her mac 'n cheese or the chickpea cutlets or the Roasty Soba Bowl from Isa Does It. So much of what she makes is perfection!
oh man. it's pretty much impossible to pick a favorite Isa recipe. So many of her recipes have become absolute staples for me. I think my #1 favorite recipe from VWAV though is the Fronch Toast. When I went vegan 15 + years ago, I was prepared to live a french-toast-free life style. And when VWAV came out, and I had that first piece of french toast after 5 years, I went running around the house in circles hooting and hollering. I was so happy and so grateful for that recipe.
linda s. says
Isa's Red Lentil Thai Chili has been a staple in our house for years..it's the best..Yummy!!!
D Johnson says
My favorite is homemade gluten free, vegan pizza with sun-dried tomatoes and basil.
valerie sobus says
my all time favorite isa recipe is her recipe for snobby joes! it was one of my first vegan recipes i made for my non-vegan husband and both him and i have loved it ever since 🙂
Uninspired chef says
Curried peanut sauce bowl with tofu and kale, chocolate chip cookies, and in and email@example.com
My favorite comfort food meal is a falafel sandwich and french fries.
My favorite comfort food is curry anything over rice. It just makes my mouth happy.
stir fried vegetables with spicy peanut sauce and pasta
Definitely lasagna! Thanks for the chance to win 🙂
Tomato soup & grilled cheeze
Hard to pick! LOVE the breakfast nachos.
Isa's mac and cheese is the best.
Monica D'Orazio Corliss says
Any baked pasta dish.
Mimi Five says
@veganviolist— definitely Glam Chowder from Isa Does It
Sweet potato gnocchi with cream tarragon sauce and Brussels Sprouts. Yum!!!
Jim Columbia says
You can't go wrong with a Vegan Mac-and-Cheese as a comfort food,
Isa's Pad Thai is just – OH! MY! GAWD!! WOW!!!
Courtney Howard says
Mac & cheese
isa's pad thai is my all time favorite. i make it often and it never fails to please. thank you for the giveaway.
Julie Mae Reck says
My favorite is Pomegranate BBQ Tofu served with Coconut Jasmine Rice!
Tracy Halasinski says
The pesto recipe from VWAV is my go-to!
Diana @ VeggieNextDoor says
Another vote for ancho lentil tacos & Mac and Shews!
Aiyana Simonetti-Poe says
I'd say anything with pumpkin and/or cinnamon. firstname.lastname@example.org
Wheat-free chocolate chip cookies and the ice cream recipe (and I make ice cream sandwiches out of them!) from Vcon.
TRAN! (www.thinktran.com) says
haven't tried any of Isa's recipes yet, but my favorite comfort food is mac'n'cheese. Totally getting this book to try it vegan!
Andy Pacocha says
Isa's chickpea cutlets with mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts and broccoli and gravy!!
i love any form of mashed potatoes, and isa's chickpea cutlets and tofu scramble are my faves! thanks!
My favorite Isa recipe is a simple one – vegan cornbread!
Corrine Greenfield says
A (vegan) creamy pasta dish!
Lydia Claire says
Pad Thai, my favorite hands down. =)
The chickpea cutlets! With the gravy! and mashies! a dream in beige!!!! horstgraven at hotmail dot com