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The Lusty Vegan: Hot and Spicy

All Animals magazine, March/April 2015

  • This is an easy recipe that omnivores and vegetarians alike can enjoy. It's a good source of protein and fiber. Geoff Souder

New cookbooks are bringing attitude to plant-based eating. From Linda Watson’s Fifty Weeks of Green (romance and thrifty recipes) to John Schlimm’s Tipsy Vegan to the potty-mouthed Thug Kitchen, vegetarian cooks don’t have to be strictly clean-eating and clean-talking anymore. The Lusty Vegan: A Cookbook and Relationship Manifesto for Vegans and Those Who Love Them by restaurant chef Ayindé Howell and Zoë Eisenberg serves up more heat than your spice cabinet. They confront inter-dietary relationships pragmatically: An omnivore may pair with a vegetarian, or a vegan might meet someone irresistible who finds chicken irresistible. First-date pitfalls start with questions about that tofu entrée and continue through cohabitation’s three-meals-a-day dilemmas.

The authors dish up sassy relationship advice and a pinch of naughty talk with their imaginative recipes. A humble cauliflower becomes a big-date-worthy steak, perfectly seared and flavorful. Tempeh makes a painless debut, sautéed crisp in french-fry slices and served with dipping sauce. Herbivorous “lobster” rolls and “crab” cakes use hearts of palm in a way that will win hearts everywhere. Omnivores score some undaunting dishes to fix for plant-eating sweeties. There are even recipes to soothe a broken heart (think chocolate).

You aren’t the only one fighting about eggs versus scrambled tofu on a Sunday morning. Such conflicts can be over easy, especially when the reward is a delightful recipe from Lusty Vegan.

Bean Tostadas

Serves 2

Mung beans are rich in soluble dietary fiber, they are a low-glycemic-index food and they have more than 7 grams of protein per half-cup serving, so they are well worth trying. If you prefer, however, you can use 2 cups of regular refried pinto beans in step 1 (about 6 grams of protein per half-cup serving).


2 cups water, or more
½ cup dry mung beans or 2 cups refried pinto beans
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 corn tostada shells


½ cup chopped purple onion
½ cup chopped Roma tomatoes
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 pickled jalapeños, chopped
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
2 limes, cut in quarters

1. If using mung beans, bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the mung beans, cover and reduce the heat to medium-high. Cook for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook until the water begins to evaporate and the beans split open, 35 to 40 minutes, and they no longer have a powdery taste. You may need to add more water, ½ cup at a time. Or heat the refried beans on medium-low heat, adding water as needed.

2. Once the desired consistency is reached, add the cumin, chili powder and smoked paprika, stirring well to mix the ingredients together. Add the nutritional yeast, salt to taste and olive oil. Remove from the heat.

3. Place a tostada shell on a plate and top with ¼ cup of the beans. Add the toppings of your choice.

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