Appetite for Reduction: A Review

I feel so refreshed. Rejuvenated. Reassured.

Like I’m running through fields of daisies on a sunny, blue-skied summer day.

errr….what? Okay, so maybe that’s a little bit dramatic. But really, as soon as I read the first two pages of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s new book, Appetite for Reduction, I just about took a huge sigh of relief.

As you may recall, my last cookbook purchase left me, to put it lightly, underwhelmed. I didn’t waste very long jumping on my computer and finding one to soothe my disgruntled feelings towards said book, and I knew Isa would have something for me. Truth be told, I don’t know why I didn’t just get it from the get-go, because when I saw the same author of my beloved Veganomicon had an even newer book out that had previously slipped under my radar, I was jumping in my seat with excitement.

I realize I could have been playing with fire; after all, Skinny Bitch was a “diety” type book, and here I was buying Appetite for Reduction – “125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes.” What am I trying to do here, watch my weight?!

Well, no. But I usually appreciate a health conscious book, and had faith that Isa (first-name basis) would have a much better attitude about it than Skinny Bitch. After all, this is the spunky, funny author from Veganomicon, you know.

Reading the preface, I knew I made the right decision. You can see for yourself – Isa isn’t pushing beliefs on anybody…

…and rather, being healthy to “enjoy food, enjoy life, and do what makes you feel good.” These recipes are not restrictions. They are not “diety.” And the message is not that you need to be skinny to be healthy. It is that different things work for different people, and everybody has her choice. And this just so happens to be what works for her, and boy am I glad…because the recipes she shares in this book?


I couldn’t find a single uninteresting recipe, and even though the vegan mastermind has written multiple books in the past, myself already owning two of them, I don’t feel like I’ve “seen them before.” There are classics. There are funky twists on classics. There are new creations and there are comfort foods. And they are good for you.

The feeling I get is that Isa isn’t necessarily trying to make these meals low-fat…but rather, realizing that excess oil, sugar and unrefined carbs are easily replaced – and so, if it’s a benefit to all involved and there is absolutely no loss in the final dish, why not “lighten up”?

It was difficult for me to narrow it down to a single recipe to make, but reading Isa’s explanation of each dish helped. For this Tempeh Helper recipe, she shared her nostalgic memories of Hamburger Helper as a child, and it flashed me back to being younger and helping with boxed dinners, too. With those memories in mind, I knew what I wanted for dinner.

Tempeh Helper! Creamy, “cheesy,” “hamburger”-y deliciousness.

…except, I imagine this to be way “more better,” as they say in these parts. Mo’ betta’ if you’re like me.

This recipe incorporated tempeh as the hamburg, and a nooch sauce as the cheesey sauce. The nooch sauce was way mo’ betta’ than the sketchy plasticy, yellow cheese that you get from hamburger helper, and of course the tempeh was much more animal friendly than some ground beef 😉 Not to mention the fact that there are fresh vegetables rather than freeze dried.

What I love most about this book? There is no calling for random, specific ingredients that one would rarely have, or random pre-made ingredients that you’d rather make yourself. This cheese sauce consisted of nutritional yeast (okay, now that I think about it, maybe that is a random ingredient…but I think a lot of vegans are at least in the know of it!) garlic powder, flour, water and a couple other seasonings.

Nowhere in the book was there call for vegan mayonnaise, but if you’d like to make your own, there is a recipe.

I can’t find a recipe calling for vegan cheese,

and nor can I find a recipe calling for vegan cream cheese.


When all was said and done, this was a delicious meal, and even my mom liked it. I don’t think she knows what tempeh or nutritional yeast is no matter  how many times I tell her, but sometimes ignorance is best.

After all, it’s only after I’m asked what tempeh is that I’ll say it’s fermented soybeans. If we’re taught all our life to avoid fermented products, how’s it look to someone else when I say I’m eating fermented soybeans?

But that’s irrelevant. Back to the matter at hand.

I can’t sing enough praise for Isa’s Appetite for Reduction, and believe it may be my new favorite. But still, to be fair, I’ll pick it apart in pros and cons, just like I did for Skinny Bitch.


  • Wide array of recipes, each feeling like they’re adding something to the pot. You won’t find recipes that have been published a thousand times before.
  • No calling for random, ridiculously expensive or hard to find ingredients.
  • No reliance on products like vegan cheese, vegan meat (except homemade seitan), vegennaise, tofutti, etc.
  • Majority are easy and quick to prepare.
  • Nutritional information, which could be a con for some people, I understand. However, the cool thing is that you aren’t just told calories, protein, fat, sodium, etc. This book also includes iron, vitamin c and other vitamins and minerals, too!
  • Inexpensive. And most of the recipes are, too!


  • Show nutritional information for each recipe (see above)
  • No dessert/snack/breakfast recipes, which isn’t too terribly unappealing to me seeing as how I’ve got plenty of other resources and not to mention the fact this is the same woman who authored Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar and VCTOW, but a healthy snack recipe or two are never overlooked in my book 😉
  • With 125 recipes, there’s 125 new recipes I want to make now, so it’ll take me a year to get around to making everything. (As you can tell, I’m really grasping at straws to find more cons here…)

Do you own this book? If so, what should I make next?!

What’s a childhood meal you remember helping to make?


Filed under review, Uncategorized

24 responses to “Appetite for Reduction: A Review

  1. Yep, I’m buying it 🙂
    I never used to help with meals, bar pizza and chips…the first meal I ever cooked was a chicken garlic kiev and fries. Oh how times have changed!

  2. I was wondering about that book. I have her brunch book, which you would love and the cookie book. I remember making something called winter harvest casserole and I loved it. I need to make a vegetarian version of it now. This one sounds good, but I was never a hamburger helper fan…Tony on the other hand loved it. Sadly, no more for him either.

  3. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan

    Love this book, love this tempeh helper recipe, love this author. 🙂
    Try the baked falafel or fried rice!

  4. Yay! So glad you’re liking the book. I definitely trust Isa to come up with stellar recipes. I make a full batch of her Mac Daddy mac ‘n’ (not)cheese a couple times a year and freeze it in chunks — SO much more flavor than the ‘real’ thing!

  5. Stefanie

    This is going to be my next cookbook. I own Veganomicon, Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar, and Viva Vegan right now and enjoy all three books. Thanks for the great review. 🙂

  6. So glad I found your blog; LOvvvE it!!! I Just started my own healthy living blog and can’t wait to comment and read more of yours! Your recipes all look so superb-pancakes=yum! 🙂

  7. I so badly want that book, I looked at it at the bookstore and actually wanted to eat every single recipe. Plus Isa is kind of amazing in general, sooo…

    Beautiful food! 🙂

  8. I’ve borrowed and read pretty much all of her cookbooks from a friend and I think this should be the one that finally brings one of my own into my house. After checking it out on Amazon (and a $12 price? That’s great!) I really think I’d like to get it. I like how there’s nutritional info but again, for someone like me it’s a bit of a deterrent when it comes to making some recipes. Hopefully I’ll be able to get passed that. Thanks for doing a review on this, it’s much appreciated!!

  9. Looks like a winner! I love when you find a new cook book that you love:)

  10. I love Veganomicon so I will probably love this cookbook! Thanks for the review.

  11. I just got Veganomicon in the mail YESTERDAY and am trying to conquer it now! What are your favorite recipes in it??

  12. That cookbook looks so good! I think that recipe looks phenom too!

  13. Ayla

    I got that book for Christmas and I LOVE it. I’ve made a few things in it already and everything has tasted phenomenal. This is weird but I’m kind of salivating just thinking about it.. haha. I kind of feel like people will judge me for the “Reduction” part of the title but there isn’t anything about this book that feels diet-y, just delicious. 🙂

  14. I don’t have that book… I do have Veganomicon on loan from the library, and apparently nobody else wants it, because I’ve had it for so long that I might as well have bought it! 😉 I really, really wish there were a cookbook like that one, but which scaled down the recipes for one or two. It’s a pain to do that on my own.

    (PS: The original kefir is $2.37 at Whole Foods now… because they’re going to stop stocking it in April to “make room for new products”! Sad face.)

    ❤ ❤

  15. That book looks awesome! I love how they show the vitamins and minerals in them. 🙂 I also love that they don’t call or rely on all of those random ingredients, like vegan cheese or cream cheese — it’s sometimes hard to find those.

  16. Oh YAY for this review! I wanted to grab Veganomicon after stumbling on her site a few weeks ago and just loving the recipes I’ve tried! Is there a particular book of hers that you would recommend over the others? I bet they’re all lovely, but hey. Why not ask.

  17. I remember making garlic bread with my Dad and helping my Mum make lasagne. I would be the one to put the layers of pasta on. Ahh, nostalgia 😉

  18. Mmm, glad you found something to erase the skinny experience…I’m all like that. Baking gone bad – it churns in the back of my mind until I can bake something else. Watched a bad movie – can’t rest until I’ve seen a better. 🙂

  19. Just based on the introduction alone, this book sounds WAY better than “Skinny Bitch”. And I like how you said it doesn’t call for any obscure ingredients. I hate when I have to stock up on tons of weird vinegars, seasonings, and sauces just to make one recipe. 😛 I’m definitely going to make a trip to the bookstore this weekend to check this out!

    I don’t really remember helping to make meals a lot as a kid… my job was just to set the table for dinner!

  20. I don’t have this book, but have perused it quite frequently at the bookstore. It looks good though! I actually kind of like it when recipes have the nutrition info. I know the info in most non-vegan foods, but with dishes like seitan and tempeh it gets tricker. Always useful to know more about macros, in my opinion!

    I remember helping my mom make Hungarian crescent cookies. Mine always looked deformed.

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  22. ahh thank you for the review! this book sounds awesome..!! def going to look into getting this!

  23. That looks really good! If I ever take a foray into going vegan, I will definitely check out this book. I really like the author’s philosophy — “I believe in health at any size, or heck, the right to not be healthy at any size!”


  24. Thank you for this review! I was going back and forth as to whether I needed ANOTHER cookbook, but you helped convince me that I do!


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