Six Degrees of Dreena Burton (plus Cocoa Granola Recipe and Cookbook Giveaway!)

[This post is part of an ongoing series of interviews with cookbook authors, bloggers, women entrepreneurs and home chefs whose work I enjoy and admire. If you've got someone in mind you'd like me to approach for an interview, please shoot me an email at dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom, or leave a comment here and let me know! And now, enjoy today's installment!]

I had no idea when I did my first (joint) interview with Cara of Cara’s Cravings that I’d have so much fun, I’d want to do it again! I love getting to ask questions of some of my foodie friends and others in the culinary realm.

Today’s guest is someone I have admired for a very long time, ever since I bought her first cookbook, The Everyday Vegan.  It was one of the first vegan cookbooks I owned, and it was a bit of a revelation (that tiramisu! those “neat” balls!).  In the decade since she first shot to fame, Dreena Burton has since developed and maintained her reputation as a consummate recipe creator (her Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies are legendary), engaging writer (in her books and now on her blog, Plant Powered Kitchen), fabulous vegan role model and, not least, mom to three growing girls. (Being one of three sisters myself, I cannot imagine how she gets it all done–but she does!)

In fact, when I first thought about publishing a cookbook back in 2008, I contacted Dreena and asked if she’d mind sharing some information with me.  Even though our connection was tenuous at best (someone she knew had taken several of my cooking classes back when I taught them in my home), she graciously agreed–and did so with incredible generosity.  I was over the moon thrilled when she agreed to write a blurb for my book! Although we’ve never actually met in person, Dreena and I have gotten to know each other over the past few years via our blogs, Facebook, and being part of the vegan community. I’m delighted to be able to share a little more about her and her latest book, Let Them Eat Vegan, with you today!

I’m also sharing Dreena’s recipe for Chocolate Coconut-Goji Granola AND giving away a copy of her book!  Skip to the bottom of the post for details.

[The soy-free “Momelet,” here filled with “Vegveeta” for a delicious breakfast cheese omelet.]

Let Them Eat Vegan is your 4th book. How have your recipes changed since The Everyday Vegan, your first book, until now?

Well, my recipes have always utilized whole foods, I think I became known as the “crunchy-granola vegan cookbook author” for many years! ;)  It’s always been important to me to use plenty of whole foods, and to maximize flavors while minimizing sweeteners and fats.  With my previous books I did just that, but in my earlier cooking I included some refined flours and also a scattering of recipes with some processed vegan foods (not much, but some).  Over the years, I evolved more into using whole-grain flours for baking (and wheat-free and gluten-free flours), and also simply using what I call “the vegan basics” (those beans, nuts, seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices).  In Let Them Eat Vegan, I went full-steam-ahead with this concept, and I think this book represents not just how I’ve evolved as a vegan cook, but also represents an evolution in vegan cooking in general – with an emphasis on non-processed and minimally processed ingredients.  All of the recipes in Let Them Eat Vegan are made with these “vegan basics”, for everyday plant-powered eating.  You won’t find any ‘white processed stuff’ – no white flour, no white pasta or bread… and also no commercial vegan substitutes like vegan sour cream, mayonnaise, etc.  The recipes are wheat-free and also largely gluten-free, and you’ll also find a sprinkling of raw delights for good measure.

Which recipe in the book would you say is most kid-friendly? Which one would you feed to skeptical omnivores?

Oooh, that’s tough.  So many are kid-friendly as I make many of these recipes regularly for our family.  Let’s see, some top picks for “kid-friendly” are: “BF Blueberry Muffins,” “Hempanana Smoothie,, “Chipotle Avocado Cream” (I know that sounds not very kid-friendly, but I omit the small amount of chipotle and our kids love this!), “Cheesy Sprinkle” (a fave with our girls for pasta, rice, beans, just about anything!), “Vegveeta Dip,” “Almond Roasted Cauliflower,”  “Mac-Oh Geez”… and many healthy treats too (“Raw Orange Chocolate Pudding,” “Troll Cookies,” “Banana Butter Pie” to mention a few!).

Picks for omnis?  That’s even harder for me to say, but I think some of the dishes that “wow” omnis so far are the “No-fu Love Loaf,” “Panfried Falafels with Quinoa Taboulleh and Smoky Tahini Sauce,” “Jerk Chickpeas,” and “Nutty Veggie Burgers.”

[Kale slaw with almond-curry dressing]

You devote an entire chapter in Let Them Eat Vegan to “Plant-Powered Lunchboxes” and the idea of packing healthy lunches for your vegan kids at school or out of the home. What would you say is the most important piece of advice for moms who are raising their kids as vegans?

I start with my motto that “kids come to love the foods they know”.  If you are introducing new foods to your children – whether vegan or not – it may take some time.  My girls wouldn’t want to drink cow’s milk or eat ham sandwiches or string cheese – all pretty typical school lunch fare.  It’s not always about the food being vegan, but about the food becoming healthier.  Working towards eating less processed, whole plant-based foods may take some adjustment for your children.  But, remember that so many of the foods we eat are already vegan!  Your children are already eating fruits and vegetables, grains, breads, pastas, and beans and possibly nuts and seeds.  It’s about eating more of them, and combining them in some pretty fantastic ways!  Our daughter said to me just the other day “Really all of our food is regular food – regular food that people eat anyway… just with no milk or meat!”  If we can remember that it’s not “different”… but rather an expansion of what we already know, it becomes far more approachable and acceptable.

And, in terms of school lunches, it’s easier now than ever before for children to eat vegan.  Not only is the word well known, and convenience products and foods far more available for quick lunch-fixes – there are so many allergies in schools that teachers and administrators are very accommodating of varying dietary needs.  Many children are allergic to dairy, and of course many to nuts and peanuts.  That is the only slight challenge with packing plant-powered lunches, is that just about every school has a “nut-free” policy.  Still, there are PLENTY of other choices for packing lunches beyond pb&j (or even almondbutter&j)!

These days, with so many celebrities touting the benefits of veganism, scientific studies, documentaries, and a slew of vegan cookbooks, veganism is positively mainstream. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in how people view vegan diets, compared to when you first adopted a vegan diet 15 years ago?

As you’ve also surely noticed, being vegan is no longer fringe.  When I started this journey almost 20 years ago, vegan was largely unknown.  It felt almost embarrassing to say the word, knowing I would be unfairly judged for its stigma at the time.   Vegan was ‘out there’, it signalled radical and extreme, and even unhealthy… when ironically a whole-foods vegan diet serves to promote health and reduce risks of disease!  Now, the word vegan is widely known, it’s trendy, and sparks interest and curiosity more so than any negative judgements.

[Raw Carob-Goji Truffles]

Are any of your girls budding chefs as well? If so, what do they like to cook?

Not as much as people might think they would be!  They like to get in the kitchen with me occasionally, but they have their own very individual interests.  Our eldest (11 years) loves (loves!) to read and draw, and also play hockey.  Our middle daughter (7 years) is very musical and loves to sing and dance and has music blaring in the background most of the day!  And, our “wee one” (3 years) – not quite sure where her interests are at this point.  Maybe she will return the cooking love in years to come.

If you had to eat one food every day for the rest of your life, which food would you choose?

Ice cream. With a side of dark chocolate.  (And as much as beans and greens sound like a boring answer, they run a close second, I love beans SO much, eat them every day – and usually in some form in a big green salad!)

[Creamy Eggplant Dip]

The Everyday Vegan was one of the first vegan cookbooks I bought, and I still consult it regularly when I’m looking for reliable recipes that I know I’ll enjoy; you are one of my culinary role models (thanks!).  Who are your role models when it comes to cooking?

That is so lovely to know, Ricki.  I really appreciate that.  Some of my early mentors and teachers may not be well known to many of your readers.  Some were Canadian chefs and cooks that I learned a lot from in their tv shows, and books and more.  James Barber, “the urban peasant”; Bonnie Stern, Ken and Mary Jo from What’s for Dinner? – these chefs taught me some of the basics about using basics!  Using things like fresh herbs and vegetables, and citrus, and beans – and even tofu!  And, one of my first cookbooks was The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen – a classic.  There are others I still learn from – not vegan chefs, but chefs that really teach intricacies about flavors and ingredients – like Bobby Flay and Jamie Oliver.

Thanks so much, Dreena! It was such a pleasure learning more about you, your recipes and your approach to cooking. 

And thanks, too, for letting me share this recipe for Cocoa-Goji Granola.  I loved this cereal (well, duh–chocolate AND goji berries?!).  And unlike most cold cereals, the millet here stayed crunchy right down to the last spoonful (of which there were many). ;)

For more of Dreena’s recipes visit www.plantpoweredkitchen.com, and connect with her on facebook and twitter.

This post is being shared at Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, and Whole Food Fridays.

 

And, finally, THE GIVEAWAY!!

Win a copy of Dreena’s latest cookbook, Let Them Eat Vegan, just by leaving a comment here! (Be sure to leave the comment through the Rafflecopter entry form, below, as well, or it won’t register as an entry).  That’s it!

You can also gain extra entries by doing any of the following: follow me or Dreena on twitter or facebook; tweeting about this giveaway; or sharing it on Facebook. (Remember that each option is a separate entry and you’ll need to do it through the form below).

The giveaway will remain open until 11:59 PM my time (EST) on Friday, August 3rd, after which point I’ll choose a winner at random and let them know via email.  If I don’t hear back from the winner winner within 3 days, I’ll choose another winner.

Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Never miss a recipe–or a comment from The Girls! Click here to subscribe to Diet, Dessert and Dogs via email. (“We love subscribers, Mum. . . almost as much as we love treats!”)

Last Year at this TimeBaked Sweet Potato Falafel (gluten free; ACD All Stages)

Two Years Ago: Review of Christy Morgan’s Cooking with the Seasons Ebook

Three Years Ago: Grain-Free Hazelnut Cilantro Crackers (gluten free; ACD  all Stages)

Four Years AgoMex-Ital Tofu Scramble (gluten free; ACD all stages)

© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share

Comments

  1. I’m not at all sure that I managed to enter with the form above but I hope so – this book sounds perfect for me! I have to learn how to make a “momelet”.

  2. Looks great, Ricki. There are some definite gems in that cookbook. Love the Lemon Mediterranean Lentil salad! Bean recipes are definitely my favorite. :-)

  3. Great interview and giveaway! My favorite type of recipes are interesting and unique salad recipes. I pack a salad every day for lunch so I’m always looking for something new to shake it up.

  4. I’ve heard a lot about the cookbook and, especially after seeing your gorgeous pics, am dying to get my hands on it. I love that none of the recipes use ready-made shop bought ingredients like mayo and sour cream.
    Enjoyd the interview too, so fun to hear Dreena’s thoughts and inspirations.
    Not sure if I’m eligible to win as an international (UK) reader but if I am thanks for the chance :)

    • Emma, yikes–not sure if it’s open to everyone, everywhere! Will ask them and get back to you asap! I loved that there were no processed ingredients in the dishes, too. :)

  5. Follow you on facebook

  6. Follow Dreena on facebook

  7. I like dinner recipes that are well-rounded (protein and all). That’s mainly what I make (for lunches too). I usually gravitate toward ones that involve pasta!

  8. Melissa says:

    LOVE all the recipes I’ve tried so far! Looking forward to Let them Eat Vegan!

  9. Maria Diestro says:

    Love the recipe! I can’t wait to try it out. My favorite types of recipes are colorful ones. Love to eat my veggie colors!

  10. I am always looking for lunch and dinner dishes. We love seitan so that is always an experiment in our home. I would so love to win her book. I have both of Dreena’s first 2 books. Yeepee for giveaways!

  11. Found you through Dreena. Great find!

  12. I loved the interview, Ricki. The questions and responses were so interesting and informative. I’m really interested in Dreena’s thoughts about getting kids to eat healthy food, as I sometimes have “issues” with my granddaughter. She eats lots of dairy and isn’t always so fond of my dairy subs — except for smoothies! (My children ate and enjoyed everything I set before them.) I’d love to win a copy of her book, and try out some of her kid-friendly suggestions.

  13. That momelet looks AMAZING. It actually looks like real eggs. Can’t wait to try to make it. Mouth watering right now…

  14. Great giveaway and interview. My favorite recipes are for salads, I make them on Sunday so I have them all week for my lunches.

  15. i like simple, easy to follow recipes w/ photos

  16. I love the whole foods approach of this book – I have some of Dreena’s other books and also love that they are family friendly. She helps me get dinner on the table!

  17. I love recipes that only use one pan – fewer dishes, and all the good stuff in 1 bite.

  18. I love what y’all are doing to help bring ultimate health to the world. Although vegan can be a taboo word, the constant support you provide and endless receipes makes it easier for those that can’t comprehend, why we wouldn’t want to eat this way! Thanks for all the wonderful things you do!

  19. thanks for the free recipe. The book is already in my amazon wishlist :)

  20. i love that there`s a chapter entirely devoted to plant-powered lunchboxes! (it`s a bit early to be thinking about this, but i love it none the less!)

  21. Oh, gosh, you really had to ask that question, didn’t you! Well, I can’t say that I really have a favourite, but I think anything with avocado has GOT to be up there among the top picks!

  22. Oh my gosh, an entire chapter about “Plant-Powered Lunchboxes” that sounds awesome!
    My favorite type of recipe are the fresh ones, made with in season ingredients and without too much fussing, looks like this book is full of those kind of recipes and ideas :-)
    Ana

  23. Terri Cole says:

    Since I became vegan in March of this year, my favorite recipes are whole-food, plant-based recipes.

  24. I love pretty much all recipes, but am especially into gluten-free vegan goodness at the moment. The Plant Powered Lunchboxes chapter sounds great. Lunches have been boring lately and I need inspiration.

  25. I love breakfast recipes! Have heard so much about this book, would love to get my hands on a copy!

  26. I would love to win this cookbook as I’ve heard so much about it. And thanks for sharing the granola recipe as I’m always looking for new ones!

  27. Would love this book – always looking for new recipies!

  28. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this book. I love how Dreena creates vegan recipes that even omnivores can enjoy!

  29. Forgot to put my favorite type of recipe in last post- I love veggie burger recipes!

  30. simple, real foods!

  31. I’m always looking for kid friendly recipes. After going plant based my youngest daughter says I’m starving her to death!

  32. I have enjoyed several of Dreena’s recipes and would LOVE to have one of her cookbooks. I love vegan ice cream recipes since I just purchased a new i.c. maker!

  33. I was so, SO fortunate to get to recipe test for this book and the Cocoa-Goji Granola was probably my very favorite recipe in the whole book. I made it so many times that I lost count!

  34. All those photos look yum!

  35. Marissa says:

    I love recipes that feature vegetables as the star, but also accent it with ingredients I already have.

  36. Mary Kate B. says:

    great recipe! i love recipes that are simple, i don’t have the attention span for extremely complicated recipes haha

  37. Caroline says:

    I’m always looking for whole foods, plant-based family friendly recipes. I’ve been following Dreena’s blog and I think LTEV will be just what I need!

  38. Lisa P. says:

    My favorite recipes are gluten-free, grain-free, and sugar-free.

  39. I would love to try some of these recipes for my family for a change of pace. They seem to always ask for the same meals and this would give them some new options! I love to cook using whole foods so this would be a great book to experiment with new ideas.
    Thank you for the offer!

  40. Barbara says:

    Hi, hope i win… Been thinking of becoming a vegan and been doing some reading about it. Having a book with recipes would be a great help. Thanks!
    Barbara

  41. Would love this cookbook! I love Dreena!

  42. Deborah says:

    The cookbook looks wonderful!

  43. Hi Ricki,

    I would love this book! Amazing. My favorite recipes are anything with a creamy sauce. Yum!

    Thanks for a great giveaway, and thank you for introducing me to Dreena. She sounds fabulous. And I’m so intrigued by that omelet. :-)

    –Amber

  44. I would LOVE to add this book to my collection. Your photos are scrumptious looking!

  45. moonsword says:

    My favorite right now are blueberry recipes…I’m so in heaven during blueberry season!

  46. Janis S says:

    The granola recipe sounds goods. I’m adding it to my list of recipes to try.

  47. Courtney says:

    I have never had a chance to read/cook out of one of Dreena’s books as my library doesn’t have them, but I have always wanted to. I would love to win this book!

    Courtney

  48. Rebecca says:

    My favorite type of recipe is a breakfast one! I never end up making them though because I am starving in the morning and not a morning person :(

  49. This is truly dangerous, chocolate granola. I bet it would taste particularly amazing with dried cherries or raspberries! But, yes, any recipe with chocolate is a winner in my book!

  50. My fave recipes are for veggie burgers. I like to try them all, beans, rice, lentils, millet etc. with lots of real veggies mixed in.

  51. Carolsue says:

    I like all recipes pretty much! Ones with Avocado have a high rating! And Mexican-type recipes are a fave.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  52. My favorite recipes right now are kid-friendly recipes, especially those that I can use for school lunches. For myself, I love interesting salads, especially those with beans in them.

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  53. I want that “Momelet!”

  54. Dreena’s Homestyle Chocolate Chip cookies have been a staple in my household, since they won the gold medal from the Toronto Vegetarian Association’s volunteer cookie judges! Knowing how versatile and delicious a recipe that one is, I’m excitedly anticipating her newest book – a free copy of my own would be just fabulous!

  55. Dreena’s books took the challenge out of becoming vegan for me. The food from the books took the challenge out of becoming vegan for my family.

  56. Desserts!

  57. Great interview and giveaway!
    My favorite type of recipes are salad recipes.

  58. nice interview – dreena burton does seem like a vegan cookbook hero – I haven’t got into her cookbooks but have been looking at her blog a bit lately and I am aware of some of her amazing recipes – I need some work on lunchboxes so will try and look out her latest cookbook. Love your pics of food from her book – that eggplant dip looks so creamy

  59. Jeannie says:

    Always looking for healthy reccipes to try.

  60. Concetta says:

    Need a “kick” to get me cooking more. This could help! Thanks, nice interview.

  61. Sarah W. says:

    I’ve so many good things about Dreena’s cookbooks & I would love to win one!

  62. love recipes with lots of spices

  63. I love making healthy desserts!

  64. My favorite kind of recipe is uncomplicated, healthy and tasty. Longstanding favorites are the scrambled tofu from The Post Punk Kitchen, the banana bread from The Farm Cookbook and the roasted yams from The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen.

  65. Something I would eat every day if I could? Peanut butter and avocado. But not together. Oh and some extra-dark chocolate thrown into the mix!

  66. Chelsea says:

    These recipes look delicious! My favorite recipes are ones involving potatoes and beans. They’re so versatile.

  67. Thanks for highlighting this awesome book! I really want to try those jerk chickpeas!

  68. Either super simple tasty ones or breakfast ones. always breakfast(:

  69. Easy, tasty 30 minute meals!

  70. I love healthy, quick meals that I can make for dinner after work! :)

  71. The kale slaw looks insane!

  72. Rhonda R says:

    Thanks for such a great interview & a chance to win the book! My favorite recipes are natural, nutritious, exciting & full of flavor =D

  73. I love the recipe for the granola! I think I’ll try it tomorrow. Thanks!

  74. Gretchen Slade Schlier says:

    I am so excited to try this recipe…I love chocolate anything! I’m not a vegan but, I gf and dairy free. I love many vegan recipes and trying to eat healthy and as close to organic as I can get. I would love to win this recipe book.

  75. Love your blog! : )

  76. Oh wow, thanks for making so many of her dishes for us to get a “sneak peek” at. I love seeing PICTURES of the food in the cookbook.

    Hope this cookbook has lots of baked goods recipes, because those are my favorite to make.

  77. Love Dreena, and would love to win this cookbook!

  78. My favorite recipe is: fat-free, moderately quick to make (between 30 and 45 minutes), and based on whole, fresh foods!

  79. i enjoy veggies & beans recipes! <3 lydia

  80. I CANNOT believe that omelet is vegan. So beautiful and it looks spot-on. And that granola looks craveably delicious. While I’m not vegan, I am dairy-free and these recipes would be right up my alley!

  81. my fav type of recipe is a vegan one! Lol. I would love to win this book, the momelet looks fantastic! Thanks for the opportunity!

  82. My favorite type of recipe is one that is vegan and includes kale!

  83. I am always looking for good dairy free recipes as i’m lactose intolerant

  84. I really enjoyed this interview with Dreena Burton. I check out her website “Plant-Powered Kitchen” regularly for all of my recipes. I love the photo of Dreena at the top of this post. My favorite vegan recipe is a very simple, yet tasty, one that involves tempeh and kale.

  85. I love all of Dreena’s books, so it would be fun to add to my collection.
    The raffle drawing software is a little odd, but I’m sure it makes life a lot easier.

  86. My favorite type of recipes are quick & easy weeknight dinners!

  87. My favorite recipe is one that is quick. :)

  88. Christina says:

    My favorite recipes are healthy energizing breakfast recipes that are easy to prepare and incorporate superfoods, veggies and fruit!

  89. My favorites types of recipes are those that are FLEXIBLE. I think it’s one reason I’ve always “connected” with Dreena’s style of food-making. Love her site, love her books, love HER! :)

  90. my favorite type of recipe lately is one that is ACD friendly and simple. all dreena’s stuff sounds so good! her choc chip cookies are outstanding!!!

  91. great giveaway – and my fave thing to make is anything involving chocolate :)

  92. Sweets win in my book!

  93. High protein, lower calorie, grain free recipes are my favorite

  94. I don’t think I have any one kind of favorite recipe. I’m often trying something new. I like trying new cuisines or styles of cooking. It keeps things interesting, especially since I live in a town without a lot of vegan restaurants. At least in my own home, there’s something exciting happening! :)

    I’d love to get my hands on Dreena’s newest book. Eat, Drink & Be Vegan always gets a lot of love at Thanksgiving at my home and has for many years. Her cranberry sauce is the best!

  95. Not going to lie, my favorite recipes are always desserts! Everything looks so delicious!

  96. vegetarian dishes. thank you

  97. Such a great interview! I loved reading Dreena’s motto: Kids come to love the foods they know. It is so true. When we first became vegan, my stepkids turned their noses up at tofu and quinoa, but now they ask for them both. It just reinforces us, as parents, to keep urging them to try new things, even if they didn’t like it the first, second, or tenth time. Thank you for this! :-)

  98. I have Dreena’s previous three cookbooks and visit her blog regularly. I know I just got to have ‘Let them eat vegan’ – sooner or later! Hope it wil be sooner entering in this giveaway!

  99. i’d love to get my hand on the book! i think my fave depends ont he season.. currently of course ice cream.. otherwise brownies!

  100. Amazing recipe Ricki! SO packed full of goodness and I’ll be deliciousness. Thanks for submitting to HVF :)

  101. amandasue says:

    I like simple recipes lol. Or breakfast ideas!

  102. I love new breakfast recipes thanks!

  103. Wiuld love to win this. I’m a fairly new vegan looking for ideas.

  104. The recipe looks wonderful…I imagine the book is amazing!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] make sure you check out Gena and Ricki’s reviews of Let Them Eat [...]

Speak Your Mind

*