Going plant-based isn’t the huge commitment it seemed to be a few years ago, when few meat alternatives and vegan restaurants were available. But despite veganism’s increased accessibility — and proven health and environmental benefits — the diet still falls victim to scrutiny that it’s expensive and hard to maintain.
But recipe developer and YouTube creator Olivia Biermann is working to break down those myths with her latest cookbook, “Liv B’s Easy Everyday,” a followup to her first book “Vegan on a Budget.” Biermann’s book provides readers with 100 cost-effective vegan recipes that can be made with just five ingredients in one pot or on a sheet pan, simplifying an oftentimes intimidating lifestyle.
“While a lot of vegan recipes call for expensive ingredients, some of the world’s most popular vegan foods like rice, beans, pasta and tofu are relatively inexpensive,” she told us via email. “It can sometimes be hard to come up with new recipe ideas, but I find that focusing on these staples as the base for most of your cooking will take you farther than you think.”
Before she became a published author Biermann got her start with a YouTube channel in 2016, which now has more than 630,000 followers. Biermann’s weekly videos teach viewers how to cook plant-based meals, be they riffs on classic comfort foods like ice cream, burgers or nachos or new, viral trends like the TikTok feta pasta. In addition to YouTube, Biermann also runs a successful blog where she shares her vegan recipes.
Biermann’s focus on making plant-based cooking more accessible and affordable is evidenced by the recipes and tips in her cookbook. As she writes, “everything in these pages was conceived with simplicity in mind.”
Her book, which was largely inspired by the global pandemic and the increased need for simplified cooking, offers practical recipes for busy home cooks who are plant-based or looking to live a more plant-based lifestyle.
She offers a range of recipes from sauces and beverages to mains and dessert. Each recipe calls for only five ingredients (along with very basic water, salt, pepper and oil). The ingredients needed are typically ones with long shelf lives that you can use time and time again, such as grains, canned sauces, nuts and spices.
In addition to few ingredients, minimal cooking appliances are required as well. You’ll need a blender to make vegan sauces and cheeses, like her basil and walnut pesto and herb and garlic Parmesan sprinkle. Other necessary cooking appliances include pans, baking sheets, pots and bowls for mixing.
But if you still have reservations about going completely plant-based, even with Biermann’s easy and cost-effective recipes, there’s no need to worry. She says it’s best to start with small, manageable changes, like trying meatless Monday or swapping out a few ingredients with plant-based alternatives.
In the meantime, Biermann will continue to lead by example, which she says is an effective way to help people along in their plant-based journey. To get a feel for Biermann’s cookbook, here are a few recipes from “Liv B’s Easy Everyday” that put her methods to use.
Zucchini boats are an effective way to put some of your seasonal produce to use. In this recipe, the filling is made with short-grain brown rice, mushrooms, vegan mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce, but it’s easily customizable. Swap the rice for a different grain like bulgur or quinoa or use corn instead of mushrooms.
One Pot Mushroom Stroganoff
Stroganoff, a stew-like dish that’s served over pasta, is a childhood classic for many. Biermann’s plant-based version of the dish can be made in one pot and uses mushrooms instead of beef. Coconut milk and lemon juice are easy ingredient swaps for sour cream and give the meal a smooth, creamy finish.
Chocolate Souffle Cake
It’s not every day you find a delicious, five-ingredient dessert — let alone one that’s vegan to boot. Desserts oftentimes require a lot of work and even more clean up, but not this chocolate souffle cake. With just 40 minutes and five ingredients you’ll be able to make a light, rich dessert that’s perfect to serve as a follow up to one of these easy vegan recipes that will make eating plant-based a cinch!
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