Healthy New Year: Appetite for Reduction

Hopefully the phrase “better late than never” applies to healthy cookbook reviews that a certain blogger promised to review way back in January.  If, like me, you’ve fallen back into less-than-healthy eating habits in the weeks since January 1, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Appetite for Reduction is just the book to get you back on track.


Appetite for Reduction is focused on low-calorie and low-fat cooking.  Rather relying on skimpy portion sizes or cutting out food groups, Isa bulks up recipes with lots of veggies and reduces cooking oil.  As a result, the recipes in AFR don’t feel like “diet” food, but eating them does make me feel healthy. I know that I’m getting in all of my veggie servings and plenty of beans and whole grains.

Although the book has a lot going for it, I don’t find myself reaching for it that often.  I think that’s because, compared to Isa’s other books, I find there’s less of a fun-factor with this one.  For that reason, in order to put together this review, I spent a few weeks cooking some new-to-me recipes and some old favorites.

My hands-down favorite new-to-me recipe was the coconut butternut rice, which I served with blackened tofu and greens (as suggested in the book).  I’ve tried many versions of coconut rice, and the addition of butternut squash really took this recipe to a new level.  Be warned that the recipe makes a ton.  You may want to half the recipe or freeze half of the finished batch.  I, sadly, wound up throwing out some of my rice because I could not eat it fast enough.

Blackened Tofu, Coconut Butternut Rice and a side of kale

Blackened Tofu, Coconut Butternut Rice and a side of kale

I also really enjoyed the chickpea picatta.  Unfortunately, I do not understand the hoopla surrounding the caulipots.  Despite the cute name, I found them to be a rather standard version of cauliflower mashed potatoes — an idea I first encountered during the Atkins craze in the late 90s.

Finally, the vegetable korma was another fairly standard dish for me.  It was quick and easy to throw together, but did not really stand out from other veggie curries I’ve made.

On the whole, AFR is a good choice for those looking for creative ways to add veggies to their diet and those looking to cut calories.  (If you do pick up a copy, start with the hoisin mustard tofu lettuce wraps.)  However, if you’re looking to add just one of Isa’s books to your shelf, reach for Isa Does It or Vegan with a Vengeance instead.


Chickpea Picatta over Caulipots

Chickpea Picatta over Caulipots

2nd Ave. Vegetable Korma

2nd Ave. Vegetable Korma



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Filed under Book reviews, Cookbooks

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