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Don’t we all want to get in and out of the kitchen with minimal effort and a full, happy belly? Chef JL Fields thinks so, and it’s the premise and promise of “Fast & Easy Vegan Cookbook,” the sixth cookbook she has written or co-authored about the vegan lifestyle. And from the book’s recipes I have tried, she has delivered.

Fields is the founder and culinary director of Colorado Springs Vegan Cooking Academy, and she writes a monthly vegan dining review for The Gazette. Her recipes are always delicious, and I like her down-home, easy-flowing writing. She makes her points in an upbeat conversational way, as if you’re chatting over a cup of coffee.

No, she hasn’t convinced me to go vegan or even vegetarian. I enjoy meat in moderation. But for those who need to get their protein from meals that don’t involve animals, she has some tips. One example: protein pasta.

“An upside of the increasing popularity of the gluten-free diet is that legume-based pasta is now readily available,” she notes on her recipe Protein Pasta Primavera.

Brands she recommended are Explore Cuisine (available at King Soopers, Natural Grocers, Safeway and Sprouts), Pow!(available at King Soopers, Natural Grocers and Sprouts), The Only Bean, Sea Point Farms and Thrive. Most of the pastas are produced using black beans, chickpeas, green lentils, mung beans, edamame and red lentils. A 2-ounce serving ranges in protein from 12.5 to 21 grams with less than 200 calories. These pastas are lower in carbs and fat and rich in fiber.

Another thing I like is the way she organized the 100 recipes. Chapters are titled “No Cooking Required,” “30-Minute Meals (or Less),” “Five Ingredients,” “One-Pot Wonders,” “Bake It Right: Sheet Pan & Casserole Dinners” and “No-Pressure Pressure Cooking.” More cooking information follows the recipe chapters.

The point of the book is that these recipes are fast and easy. Here are five tips from Fields that will help you achieve this:

• Cut up veggies and fruit in advance. Store in covered containers. Veggies can be piled into a skillet for a quick dinner sauté, and fruit can be put into a bowl and served with yogurt for a quick breakfast.

• Keep canned foods on hand: beans, hearts of palm or artichokes, green chiles and sliced olives. Any of these can be a base or a flavor addition that makes a fast meal taste great.

• When cooking grains, make a little extra and portion them out in 1/2 cup servings to freeze. They will thaw in the refrigerator overnight and can be used in a salad or reheated for dinner.

• Build up your spice rack by adding these to your pantry: chile powders (especially chipotle, and smoked and sweet Spanish paprika), dried mushroom powder, vegan Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, chile sauces and liquid smoke.

• For light to no cooking, try any of the following: Make salads with canned beans; reheat leftovers and serve with prepared (flavored) tofu and a quickly steamed vegetable; or spread hummus or bean dip on large, raw Swiss chard or collard green leaves for an alternative wrap.

The cookbook costs $14.99 and is available online at Amazon, Barnes and & Noble, Target and Walmart, as well as the Citadel and Briargate Barnes & Noble stores. Visit jlgoesvegan.com.

Contact the writer: 636-0271

contact the writer: 636-0271.

Food editor

Food writer for features life section and columnist for Go! Entertainment - Table Talk column

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