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Friday, February 22, 2013

Not just for sexy vegans

Photo and text by KARA DiCAMILLO/ News contributor

One of my friends from college is a chef in Los Angeles. He recently sent me his new cookbook called “The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude.” When I opened the package I was a bit skeptical because, as you know, I am not vegan. But I do love food and with my weekly CSA veggie pickup I knew there would be options for experimenting.

Brian Patton started experimenting with vegan food in hopes of losing weight, and quickly became a YouTube sensation. I started following his instructional cooking videos a few years ago. As his witty, ukulele-playing alter ego “The Sexy Vegan,” Brian gained quite a large following.

The kale, carrots and leeks used in the recipe were bought at a local farmers market. And thanks to this cookbook, I have a different take on vegan food. My exact comment when I tasted this soup was, “Wow, vegan food can actually be flavorful.” I admit that my chorizo from Simmon’s Farm was calling my name from the freezer, just begging me to be added. But I resisted and, to be honest, I didn’t miss it.

White Bean and Kale Soup

(Courtesy of “The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude”)
Makes 6 cups

2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil
Half cup of diced yellow onion
A half cup of thinly sliced carrot
1 large leek, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary
4 cups of vegetable stock
2 leaves of kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (I added more, about 2 cups)
2 cups of drained freshly cooked white beans, or one 15-ounce can of white beans, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons of chopped fresh Italian parsley

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat, and add the onion, carrot, leek and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and rosemary, and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the vegetable stock, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the kale and beans, and simmer for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir in the parsley and serve.