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Salt-Free Cooking Ideas & Defiant Daughters Book Review

Posted Mar 18 2013 10:26am

Here we are on a Monday morning again. Did you have a nice weekend? It was beautiful here in California and I tried my best to get outside and enjoy the scenery and fresh air:

Beautiful day in March on California's central coast.

Cooking Without Salt, Oil or Sugar:

There were 125 comments on my post asking about ideas for adding flavor without using salt, oil, or sugar . If you are looking for ideas, then I highly suggest reading through them; you guys are brilliant!

By far, the most mentioned ideas for adding flavor without salt involved using spices and herbs. I for one definitely need to experiment more with new flavors and I bought myself some smoked paprika this weekend. For roasting, I love the idea that one reader left about spritzing the veggies with some veggie broth to help the spices stick better and even using flax meal or dried coconut for texture. Other ideas I want to try include:

  • Using carmelized onions for flavor,
  • Topping foods with salt-free fermented vegetables (there is a brand called Rejuvenative Foods that makes one that I have tried and liked),
  • Adding celery to dishes because of its higher natural sodium content,
  • Cooking beans with a bay leaf and kombu to add flavor,
  • Gremolata <—— this is something I have never heard of, but a reader said it is a condiment made by chopping together parsley, garlic and lemon juice and zest. Sounds fantastic!

And, of course, I can’t forget that this whole discussion was inspired by my giveaway for the fantastic cookbook, Bravo!: Health Promoting Meals from the TrueNorth Health Kitchen. The random number generator selected comment #13 from Jennifer B. who said:

“…to flavor without using any oil at all my go-to’s are Onions and Garlic – ALWAYS!!!! Can’t go wrong with those two ingredients! LOVE Garlic and/or Onions! I’ve never been a salt person. I never add salt to anything.

Your photos and food are awesome as always! I’ve heard many wonderful things about True North Health Center and think it’s awesome you took the class from the chef!!!!”

Thank you to everyone who participated, I really enjoyed reading all of your comments.

Tempting Tempeh Chili:

Despite the warm temperature, I got it in my head to make chili last night. I had a bunch of vegetables on hand, plus some dried kidney beans I found at the farmers’ market. I used this recipe , plus I added some crushed tomatoes and a ton of fresh parsley:

Pictures of making tempeh chili

I served my tempeh chili with some soy yogurt and avocado and it was so hearty and comforting:

Tempting Tempeh Chili with soy yogurt and avocado.

Plus, I had just a few leftovers. :)

Leftovers from Tempting Tempeh Chili

By the way, if you have my app, Vegan Delish (get it here !), then you can find this recipe under Tempting Tempeh Chili.

Defiant Daughters Book Review:

I am so pleased to wrap up this post with another book review and giveaway, although this is one of the first times I’ve reviewed a non-cookbook book. Even though my blog does focus primarily on healthy vegan food, I was asked a few weeks ago if I was interested in reviewing this one called Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals and The Sexual Politics of Meat. I was honored to be asked and, upon reading this book, I fell in love with it and thought it might also appeal to some of you. Here is my review, please read on to the end to enter to win your copy:

For those of us who grew up eating the Standard American Diet and who have made the decision as adults to stop eating animal products, that moment of consciousness was significant. For me, there was a period of several months where I started reading more and more about animal welfare and the health effects of a whole foods, plant-based diet that culminated on September 16, 2010, when I announced to my friends and family that I had decided to go vegan. While that decision was exhilarating and powerful for me personally, I recognized later that it caused confusion and even hurt to some people around me as it seemed a declaration that snubbed the traditions of our mainstream culture.

In this same spirit of decisiveness and boldness that all of us who call ourselves vegan have within us, comes a new book being released this week. Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals and The Sexual Politics of Meat is an anthology of elegant and engaging stories from authors describing their experiences being vegan and vegetarian in a world that is often unfriendly and even hostile to thinking and living differently. The essays included in Defiant Daughters are extremely varied, ranging from Ruby Hamad’s piece, “Halal,” that describes her experience as a Muslim American woman who leaves her religion and the practice of eating meat in the span of two years to “Found Art, Found Hope,” where my friend and Our Hen House co-founder Jasmin Singer writes about combining her natural artistic talent with that of an activist spirit that is deeply personal and a beautiful ode to the power of hope and fortitude.

Kate Jacoby’s piece, “Getting to Vedge” is not only about her journey in opening a mainstream-acclaimed vegan restaurant, but on how veganism can be convenient, easy and rewarding and how that spirit is the best way to encourage others to consider becoming vegan. In “Confessions of a Not-Yet Vegan,” Darleen Smoot examines the question of how far one must go to live a compassionate life and what is holding her back from taking the plunge from vegetarianism to veganism. I had a connection with each of the stories presented in Defiant Daughters. Some drew laughter, others tears, but overall I felt a deep identification with the authors and her experiences.

The book that inspired this anthology, Carol Adams’ The Sexual Politics of Meat, originally published in 1990, is by no means required reading for this new book, but is available for those who want to learn more about the connections between feminism and veganism. As I continue on my journey as a vegan and an activist, I strive to replace the inherent rebellion that was part of my decision to change my life with positivity and an eagerness to share the compassion that comes with being vegan. In that way, we can use our collective energy as “defiant daughters” (and sons!) to build a new world where oppression derived from culture and practice is replaced with a recognition that both humans and animals have a right to freedom.

To enter to win a free copy of this book, please leave a comment on this post telling me who has inspired you the most to consider veganism, vegetarianism, or a plant-based diet. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada who are 18 years or older. I will randomly select a winner from everyone who leaves a comment on Friday, March 22nd.

Defiant Daughters book cover

Good luck, thank you for reading, and I’ll see you back here on Wednesday.

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