Cooking with the Sexy Vegan


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Blog post by Kara A. DiCamillo

When I received a copy of Brian Patton’s The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude, I definitely raised a skeptical eyebrow. Not necessarily because of the sexy picture of him on the back cover with a carrot in his mouth, or because of the very impressive quote from Ed Begley, Jr. on the front cover (which states “It’s a must-have!”), but because of one simple reason: I am not a vegan. In fact, I’m not even a vegetarian!

So why did I, a meat-eating, cheese-loving, average American decide to try this book? That is because I love food, and Patton made me realize that vegan food can be, as he states, “diverse, creative, and delicious.” As you may already know, eating a vegan diet reduces your water footprint and your carbon footprint. In fact, more and more environmentally friendly types try cooking a meatless Monday dinner, or experiment with going veggie for a month.

While Patton started experimenting with vegan cooking in the hopes of losing weight, he is now a YouTube sensation. Several years ago, he started posting instructional cooking videos on YouTube as his witty, ukulele playing alter-ego “The Sexy Vegan” and quickly gained a large following.

“I was around 260 pounds and I felt terrible all the time. And since I was the only meat eater working for a vegan company [Vegin’ Out, a vegan food delivery service in Los Angeles], I thought I’d give it a try for a month. I started to feel better and lost a few pounds, so I went another month, and another month. Ten months later, I had lost 60 pounds and felt better than I had in my entire life,” says Patton.

Patton has been a vegan ever since and is now executive chef for Vegin’ Out. But, as a “regular dude” he still wants cocktails, sliders, and spaghetti with meatballs.

The Sexy Vegan Cookbook covers the basics of cooking, from slicing vegetables to finding the right type of tofu to re-creating the classics without using meat or dairy. Patton’s book is filled with over 100 easy and original creations including cocktails (The Dudetini), breakfast (Hangover Hash), sandwiches (“The Quote-Unquote Tuna Melt”) and snacks, as well as sauces, salads, and desserts.

I admit I do have a different take on vegan food thanks to Patton’s cookbook, and what helped persuade me as well was his own story. Throughout the book his musings about each recipe, their inspiration, and his hilarious tips to go along with it proved to me that vegan food can be just as delicious as meatier fare. I made the recipe below (substituting lettuce from my own garden and grilling the hearts of palm) and it was filled with flavor.

Thank you, Sexy Vegan! You have got me yearning for more.

Seared Hearts of Palm Salad
(Courtesy of The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude)

Makes two entrees or four appetizers

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
4 whole hearts of palm, patted dry and cut into 1-inch-long segments
Salt and pepper
¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives
1 packed cup arugula
1 packed cup torn butter lettuce
1 medium avocado, diced

DRESSING

2 tablespoons chopped oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes
4 tablespoons sun-dried tomato oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over medium-high heat. In a bowl, toss the hearts of palm with the remaining teaspoon of oil and the salt and pepper. Place them cut side down in the pan. If there is no sizzle, wait until the oil is hot– otherwise they will not sear. When golden on one side, flip and repeat. In a food processor or blender, puree the dressing ingredients. In a large bowl, toss the olives, arugula, lettuce, and avocado with the dressing. Arrange on a serving plate. Then cut the hearts of palm in half cross-wise, so you can display the seared sides, and artfully place them around the outside of the plate.

For related articles, see:
Eating Healthy Food Can Change the World
Recipe for Healthy Eating: It’s ‘Morselicious’ 

© 2012 SCGH, LLC. 

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