A former meat-lover puts a vegan twist on the diner experience.
A Portland-based cookbook author and online food-show producer (The Complete Book of Pies, 2008, “Everyday Dish”) recalls her love of the distinctive comfort food she enjoyed as a child “squished into slippery Naugahyde booths” in neighborhood diners. Unwilling to sacrifice those indulgent diner specialties after converting to veganism, Hasson began a series of “recipe veganizations” hoping to recapture their essence without compromising food ethics. The result is 116 recipes featuring vegan substitutions like agave nectar for sugar in Cinnamon Orange Rolls and Rough Rider Barbecue Sauce, and the hearty meat-replacement seitan (processed wheat gluten) swapping out for beef in Philly Sliders and Not Your Mama’s Pot Roast with Roasted Vegetables. Six sections run the gamut from bread-heavy breakfast recipes to particularly tempting main courses like nutritious burger and cutlet variations that incorporate quinoa grains, mushrooms, cashews and panko breadcrumbs. Dessert ideas include flaxseed cookies and soymilk brownie, pudding and pie variations. A minor misstep is a meatless Quick and Hearty Chili concoction that doesn’t quite translate from accompanying photograph to recipe. For home chefs new to the vegan revolution, Hasson offers two explanatory indexes: “Vegan Pantry” takes the guesswork out of many key (and possibly unfamiliar) recipe ingredients, and “Special Equipment,” a less-essential but still beneficial kitchen resource.
Even meat-lovers may find some tempting, healthful substitutions in this worthwhile homage to the diner-dedicated vegan.