Six Degrees of Marni Wasserman–and Sweet Pea Guacamole

 [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 ricki@rickiheller.com, or leave a comment here and let me know! And now, enjoy today’s installment!]

Marni Wasserman interview on rickiheller.com

I’ve known Marni Wasserman, plant-based chef, cookbook author and healthy living advocate, for several years now. I first met Marni shortly after I graduated from nutrition school and began to teach cooking classes in my home, way back in 2005! Since then, I’ve watched with interest as her career in the holistic nutrition field has grown–and soared.

After offering private cooking classes for many years, Marni recently opened her expansive, beautiful Food Studio and Lifestyle Shop on Eglinton Avenue West in Toronto. From there, she’s able to reach more people, teach about healthy eating and living, and provide other resources for anyone looking to improve their diets with plant-based, healthy foods. Her recipes are filled with nutrition-dense superfoods, simple to prepare and sure to make a convert out of anyone waffling about whether or not a vegan diet can taste good and satisfy major appetites.

Marni is also the author of two books, Fermenting for Dummies (co-author) and Plant-Based Diet for Dummies. I’m delighted to be able to introduce you all to her today!

Plant Based Diet for Dummies on rickiheller.com

Q. You’ve been involved in healthy eating for quite some time. . .in fact, I remember when you came to my house for several of my cooking classes, back in the day! What prompted your interest in holistic nutrition, and how did you end up running a cooking studio?

A. I have always had a love for food and especially healthy food. When I first came to your cooking classes, I was loving the idea of going to classes and that prompted me to want to teach classes. I had taken a few around the city and then I made the decision to go to school for nutrition and then culinary school, and that became the next logical step for me, to open a cooking studio. It was just natural for me to share my passion for cooking and nutrition through classes, and now I have been doing it for almost seven years!

Q. You also seem to have endless energy—you published two books in the past year! Tell us about each of the books and how you came to write them.

A. I have no idea where this energy comes from. Must be all the good plant based food 🙂 My first book deal with Wiley came after I wrote an article in Chatelaine [magazine] about fermented foods. They contacted me to see if I was interested in being the author for that book title. When that was complete, we discussed doing the Plant-Based Diet book, which was a no brainer for me. I am not really sure how I wrote two books in a year but some how it all came together. I am just super excited to have the Plant-Based Diet book because it has so much amazing information that I just want to share with everyone.

Q. What’s your recommendation for an easy-to-make fermented food people can make at home? Do you have a recipe to recommend?

A. Most definitely sauerkraut! It is so simple to make. All you need is cabbage and salt! [see Marni’s Simple Sauerkraut recipe at the end of this post].

Q. I really enjoyed reading Plant-Based Diet for Dummies. You cover so many key points in a clear and easily approachable way. What would you say is the main stumbling block for people who may be curious but hesitant to bring more plant-based foods into their lives?

A. One of the biggest stumbling blocks I have come across is that people fear they will not get full or get enough protein on a plant based diet. It is an area that I have spent so much time on in my classes and with my clients. I have made sure to outline all the different sources of protein in the book, as well show people how to make balanced, filling plates so that they are nourished and not looking for more!

Q. What are your favorite three recipes from the book?

I love the banana bread, guacamole [see below] and the pesto pasta – but so hard to choose because I love them all!

Thanks so much, Marni! And thanks for sharing that guacamole recipe with RH readers–I got to try a sample at the book launch, and let me tell y’all, it’s spectacular. If you already love guacamole, Marni’s recipe takes it up a notch, adding extra protein and a subtle sweetness via the peas that is irresistible. If you’ve never had guacamole before, this is the perfect recipe to get you started!

Marni offers plant-based cooking classes and other information daily through her cooking studio in Toronto. She also appears at a variety of events and expos where she advocates a plant-based lifestyle for health. If you’d like to know more about Marni, check out her website, or follow her on Facebook, instagram, or twitter or Pinterest.

Grain-Free, Sugar-free, Candida diet Pea Guacamole on rickiheller.com

BONUS RECIPE!  Simple Sauerkraut from Fermenting for Dummies (used with permission).

As Marni tells, us, “Lacto-fermentation is a natural biological process in which sugars and starches are converted into lactic acid. The presence of lactic acid makes it easier for foods to be absorbed in the digestive tract. In addition to enhancing digestibility and improving the bioavailability of nutrients and minerals, fermented foods also enhance the vitamin levels and produce helpful enzymes that act as catalysts to keep your body functioning optimally.”

Simple Sauerkraut on rickiheller.com

[Photo of cultured vegetables I made in a similar way to the sauerkraut–this jar also contains carrot and daikon radish in addition to red cabbage.]

 

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Comments

  1. I love Marni and all she does! Thanks for sharing her today, Ricki. I can’t wait to try both of these recipes!

  2. Frederique says:

    Hello!
    Ive been marinating the idea (haha) of making saurkraut for like 2 weeks now, and my work makes me scared solid of growing pathogenic stuff that might make us sick! I don’t do dairy, so i have not been getting any probiotics from anything and i know saurkraut may be a good substitute. My question: adding a weight on the cabbage and still having to add a lid kinda makes no sense to me… the weight has to fit INSIDE the jar completely then? I imagine the weight having to be something made of inert material such as glass or plastic (metal could leach from the acidity of lactic acid)? Im dying to try, but im scared of failing!!!!

    • Frederique, I’ve made sauerkraut many times and have only had one “bad” batch. And believe me, you can smell it before it gets anywhere near your mouth! I use a rolled up cabbage leaf as my “weight”. The idea is that the shredded cabbage needs to be submerged totally in the brine. So if you pack it down well and then push down a rolled up cabbage leaf or two before you replace the lid, it should work just fine. I decided to try it because I figured even if it didn’t work out, I’d know, and then could go back to buying the stuff in the jars! I think it’s worth trying once to see how it works for you. I should also note that I never ferment it that long at room temperature–a week to ten days is my usual time. You can see my earlier recipe here. 🙂

  3. Frederique says:

    Thanks! Ill let you know how it turns out… and if it does, i may try my hand at Kombucha next!!
    🙂

  4. Frederique says:

    Big News!
    Tried it with a bit of Miso as a “starter” (I still put the salt though!) and it’s on day three and happily fermenting away!
    At first, It didn’t seem to be doing anything at all, but yesterday (day 2) I started noticing the mason jar lid being tight and slightly rounded so I decided to “Burp” it. Never have I ever been so happy to hear the sound of a pop can being opened paired with the pungent smell of fart! I even did a happy dance!
    Do you have any idea why there is such a range of time people ferment their cabbage? I heard 3-5 days was enough all the way to someone saying it has to ferment a MINIMUM of 10-12 weeks! The latter mentionned something about high charge of bad amino acids or something. Anyway – I wonder when it’s best to eat for the probiotics sake? maybe its just a question of taste, tenderness and tang? I was gonna put it in the fridge on day 5 or so, but i’m feeling quite perplexed about it all!

    • Congrats, Frederique! I’d say the timing is, just as you thought, mostly a matter of taste, tenderness and tang (plus a fourth “t”: temperature). It takes longer to ferment in cool temperatures, so if someone is using the really old-fashioned method of a crock pot in the cellar, it could take weeks. But on a countertop at modern “room” temperature (70F/22C), it will take less time. 🙂 So glad it worked out! 😀

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