One of the healthiest diets we can follow is a vegan diet. I’ve been a vegan for many decades and enjoy leaving animal products out of my diet. Plus, I have tremendous compassion for animals, so the last thing I want to do is eat them. While some think veganism is a hippy trend, it’s actually growing in popularity among those who want to improve their health. There are copious recipe books on the market and each has its own vibe and theme. And you’ll find vegan books written by celebrities, sports stars, models, fitness gurus and other well-known people. But, I recently found a plant-based recipe book written by a Zen Buddhist Monk, and I had to have it.
In this mouth-watering book, Buddhist temple priest and chef Koyu Iinuma shares some simple and delicious plant-based meals that he prepares in the kitchens of Fukushoji temple in Yokohama, Japan.
- Zen Vegan Basics
- The Basic Rules of Zen Buddhist Temple Cooking
- Zen Vegan Food at Fukushoji Temple
- A Glossary of Ingredients
- Make-ahead Basics and Snacks
- Delicious Congee Rice Porridge
- Zen Vegan Main Dishes
- Zen Vegan Italian Style
I had heard that the diet of the monks is rigidly restricted to a few simple ingredients, so couldn’t imagine a recipe book featuring their cuisine if you will. But, like everything, times change and they have altered or upgraded their diet while still paying respect to their historic traditions where every part of the ingredient is used.
In the Zen Basics, it’s shared that it is forbidden to kill any being and eat their meat. So their cuisine utilizes only vegetables, beans and grains. The ingredients are prepared with care, ensuring a balance between five flavors — sour, bitter, sweet, hot (spicy) and salty. The next section dives into the basic rules of zen cooking. These include no animal protein, no dairy, no strong-smelling vegetables, and the dashi stock must be vegan. But, with some clever food combinations, this chef has created delicious vegan meals that the whole family can make and enjoy together.
Each recipe features a full-color image, written instructions and a special Zen Vegan Note that shares a helpful tip or two. There are numerous recipes for congee, a kind of rice porridge that can be combined with vegetables and a variety of spices, herbs and oils.
Some of the included recipes you can enjoy making are the Crispy Rice Balls with Seasoned Nori Seaweed, Baked Potatoes with Seasoned Nori Seaweed, Seared Carrot Congee, Quick-simmered Kombu, Seared Napa Cabbage with Tomato Sauce and many more!
Disclaimer: I received complimentary products to facilitate a review. All opinions are my own, yours may differ.