Cookbook Review: Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (Recipes Included)

Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes is the latest vegan cookbook from Isa Chandra Moskowitz. The recipes are nearly all under 400 calories and many are under 200, while still being filling and nutritious. I recommend this cookbook for anyone, vegan or not.

Isa Chandra Moskowitz is the author of several vegan cookbooks, including Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, (those two co-authored with Terry Hope Romero) and Vegan with a Vengeance. In Appetite for Reduction, she has put together 125 recipes that are under 400 calories – perfect for that New Year’s resolution to lose weight – and are packed with nutrients – perfect for that New Year’s resolution to eat healthier.

Chapter Titles and Recipes

Chapters are: Full-On Salads, Totally Stuffed Sides, Rub-Your-Tummy Veggies, Main Event Beans, Sink-Your-Teeth-Into Tofu and Tempeh, Talk Pasta To Me (and Noodles!), Soul-Satisfying Soups, and Comfort Curries, Chili, and Stews.

Don’t be fooled by the chapter titles, though. The salads chapter contains green salads, but also potato salad, taco salad, pasta salad, and so forth. Each salad is paired with a complementary dressing or two (recipes in the book). Likewise, the curry, chili, and stew chapter also contains recipes for cornbread and biscuits – necessary for any meal with chili or stew.

Recipe Information

Each recipe has nutrition information to the side calculated per serving. The serving sizes are reasonable. As an example, her hummus recipe is ¼ cup per serving because, as she says, “who eats just a tablespoon of hummus?” She also includes variations on the master hummus recipe, adding the nutrition information for each variation.

For those short on time, the cookbook includes fifty-nine recipes that can be prepared in under thirty minutes and another twelve quick recipes for dressings (71 total quick recipes). Most of the recipes don’t take much longer than that. Every recipe has the active time and total time needed to prepare it so that the home cook can budget time effectively.

Recipes with more than twenty minutes of downtime are marked with a special label. This is something I really like. On nights when my daughter has a lot of homework, I can plan a recipe that will give me a chunk of time to sit with her.

Recipes are also labeled as to whether they are gluten-free or soy-free. Some recipes have notes about ingredients that you might need to check the label for, such as soy sauce – some commercial soy sauces contain gluten, for instance.

There are tips for many recipes that range from help finding ingredients to nutrition tips, how to “shave” brussels sprouts, and when to use fresh or canned ingredients.


Even niftier, there are two indexes. One index is the traditional cookbook index, where you can look for a recipe to use up those black-eyed peas or tomatoes.

The other index is arranged by the labels (gluten-free, soy-free, 30 minutes or less, and downtime) and further broken down by chapter. So if I feel like eating stew on a chilly winter’s eve, but I don’t have much time to cook, I can quickly find out that my choices are 2nd avenue vegetable korma, curried chickpeas and greens, and portobello pepper steak stew.


Isa Chandra Moskowitz consulted with Matt Ruscigno to be absolutely certain that her recipes were as nutritious as she thought they were. Ruscigno’s chapter is full of general information on nutrition for vegans. It’s short, but very informative.

I’ve received permission to publish two recipes from Appetite for Reduction. Enjoy OMG Oven-Baked Onion Rings and Quinoa, White Bean, and Kale Stew (stew photo at the top of the post).

Quinoa, White Bean, and Kale Stew

from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Serves 8 • Active Time: 20 Minutes • Total Time: 40 Minutes

Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Downtime

This is one of my winter staples, especially if I’m having a busy week, have no one to impress, and don’t want to use a million dishes (big ups to the disherwasherless!). You get your beans, greens, and grains all in one pot; in this case I use white beans, kale, and quinoa. You also get about eight servings out of it, so you can either freeze it or keep it in the fridge for four days or so, having it for lunch or dinner or . . . stew for breakfast? Why not!

It’s really versatile, so make up your own spice blend, use different beans and grains (although cooking time may vary for the grain), and, you know, just do whatever you want—this stew is your canvas. Prep the herb blend before proceeding with the recipe; that way you just dump everything in at the same time without much fuss.

Herb Blend:
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed (see tip about crushing fennel seeds, page 248)
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper

Everything Else:
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and green parts, about one average-size leek)
1 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, peeled, cut into medium dice
1 large parsnip, peeled, cut into medium dice
8 cups vegetable broth
1-1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into medium dice
1 cup dried quinoa
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch kale (about a pound), coarse stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces

First, prepare the herb blend by stirring all its ingredients together in a small bowl.

Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the leeks and garlic in oil with the salt for about 3 minutes, or however long it takes you to prep your carrot and parsnip. Add the carrot and parsnip, along with the herb blend, turn up the heat to high, and sauté for a few seconds.

Add the vegetable broth, potatoes, and quinoa. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, until the potatoes and quinoa are tender. Add the kale and beans, and cook, stirring frequently, until the kale is wilted. Cover and simmer over low heat for 5 more minutes. Taste for salt.

When you serve this stew you may want to add a little lemon juice or a splash of balsamic vinegar or hot sauce—whatever your thing is. Or you may not!

Per serving (1/8 recipe):
calories: 300
calories from fat: 25
Total fat: 2.5 g
saturated fat: 0 g
Trans fat: 0 g
Total carb: 56 g
Fiber: 9 g
sugars: 6 g
Protein: 14 g
cholesterol: 0 mg
sodium: 890 mg
vitamin A: 210%
vitamin C: 150%
calcium: 20%
iron: 30%

OMG Oven-Baked Onion Rings

from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Serves 4 • Active time: 30 minutes • total time: 50 minutes


When my boyfriend requested low-fat onion rings, I kind of let out a sigh; maybe I even rolled my eyes. I’m not crazy about onion rings in the first place and so of course I would be even less crazy about low-fat ones. right? Well, sometimes it feels good to be wrong! I ended up gaga over these. Somehow the greasy mess that is a diner onion ring became a thing of beauty when coated in some whole wheat bread crumbs and baked in a superhot oven.

2 vidalia onions (about a pound), or other sweet onion such as Walla Walla
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup cold almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons olive oil

Slice the onions into 3/4-inch-thick rings. Separate the rings and place in a bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel or something, to keep the onioniness out of your eyes.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed 12 by 18-inch baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with cooking spray, and set aside.

Now you’ll need two bowls for the batter and breading. If you’ve got large, wide cereal bowls, those’ll do the trick. Into one bowl, dump the flour and cornstarch. Add about half of the almond milk and stir vigorously with a fork to dissolve. Add the rest of the almond milk and the apple cider vinegar, and stir to incorporate. Set aside.

In the other bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and salt. Drizzle in the oil and use your fingertips to mix it up well.

Get a conveyor belt going. From left to right, arrange the onions, the flour mixture, the bread-crumb mixture, and lastly the baking sheet. Dip each onion slice into the flour, letting the excess drip off. Transfer to the bread-crumbs bowl and use the other hand to sprinkle a handful of bread crumbs over the onion, to coat completely. This may take a bit of practice.

Carefully transfer each onion to a single layer on the baking sheet. Make sure you use one hand for the wet batter and the other for the dry batter, or you’ll end up with club hand.

Spray the rings lightly with nonstick cooking spray and bake for 8 minutes. Flip, and bake for another 6 minutes. The rings should be varying shades of brown and crisp. Taste one to check for doneness. Serve as soon as possible. With ketchup if you must.

You have to use sweet onions for this. Otherwise the taste won’t be as special and the texture won’t be as juicy. Also, if things go as planned, you’re not going to use all of the onions or all of the coating. Just use the nice big rings, and use the tiny inside rings for something else. For the batter and coating, you need a lot to get everything breaded, but there will be a bunch left over. Them’s the breaks.

Per serving (1/4 recipe):
calories: 220
calories from fat: 45
Total fat: 5 g
saturated fat: 1 g
Trans fat: 0 g
Total carb: 38 g
Fiber: 3 g
sugars: 5 g
Protein: 7 g
cholesterol: 0 mg
sodium: 520 mg
vitamin A: 0%
vitamin C: 10%
calcium: 6%
iron: 10%

Written by Heather Carr

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