People often turn to the Internet for recipes and while I do as well, I also have a few go-to cookbooks that I always check first. Toronto’s Rose Reisman’s Meal Evolution, Recipes Inspired by Canada’s New Food Guide is now one of them.
I talk to Reisman about her latest cookbook.
Q. How long has this book been in the making?
A. I started researching recipes for this book about six months after the latest Food Guide came out (January 2019) and realized there has never been a complete recipe book addressing the philosophy.
Q. Why are you excited about Canada’s new Food Guide?
A. I’m excited because it is the philosophy I have been using for more than two decades to control my eating, diet and lifestyle, a heavier plant-based diet that is healthier for our bodies and the environment.
Q. What is in this new food guide that wasn’t in any earlier versions?
A. The new plate guide now has three food groups rather than four. Fruits and vegetables, proteins and whole grains. No longer are milk and meat their own food group, they are incorporated in the protein groups, which is more heavily plant based. The new plate image shows that half your plate should be vegetables, one quarter protein and the other quarter whole grains.
There are no longer serving sizes, just pay attention to your plate image. Instead of just grains, the emphasis is on whole grains over simple or white grains. The guide also wants you to consider not just the food you’re eating but taking the time to eat; becoming aware of hunger cues, cooking more often and eating with others to make eating a whole experience.
Q. Your cookbook also includes recipes that reflect current eating trends from Instant Pot recipes to bowls and sheet pan meals. How did you decide what food trends you were covering in this book?
A. I always try to write my book with current trends as a highlight since we are in the present. I believe that sheet pan, Instant Pot, vegetarian, gluten free and bowls will continue for years to come.
Q. Recipes also include a selection of gluten- and dairy-free choices as well as recipes for vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters. Basically, you covered everything. Why was this important to you?
A. There are so many food intolerances and allergies out there today as well as many beliefs and ethical dilemmas when it comes to food.
Q. I also like that there are substitutes. Don’t like a particular grain, change it up, the same for greens. Why was this important for you?
A. Everyone has specific tastes and (and enjoy) flavours and textures. Substitutions are key when I write a book and develop recipes.
Q. You have written 18 other cookbooks. Congratulations. Are all the recipes in Meal Revolution new or can they be found in other books as well?
A. These are all new recipes since I focused on a more plant-based book, latest trends and current diet requests.
Q. Can you tell me your recipe creation process? Who are your recipe guinea pigs? How do you know your recipe will make the cut? What makes a recipe good? How often do you test it before it lands in your cookbook?
A. Writing so many cookbooks, I have a good process. Originally I search for ideas either in restaurants, social media or on the web and see if I can create a healthier version of the idea. Each recipe is tested at least three times to ensure accuracy. If by the fourth try it doesn’t make the cut, it’s tossed! My family and friends are my testers and they give me honest feedback. A recipe is good if it’s clear to understand, doesn’t take excess time and has balanced flavours.
Q. What is the best thing about all these recipes in your cookbook?
A. I believe my recipes are easy to follow, takes a minimum of time and tastes delicious and satisfies a wide spectrum of tastes.
Q. You have shared your passion for healthy eating for more than 25 years. What are you most excited for in the food world now?
A. I’m most excited that we’re finally directing people to a more clearly understood plan- based diet.
Q. COVID-19 has changed things again. People are eating more and often not healthy items. What advice do you offer people to get back to being healthy?
A. Start today, not tomorrow! It takes time to change our eating habits. Do it slowly and remember change doesn’t happen overnight. Start reducing fast food and simple carbs from your diet on a daily basis. Focus on consuming more fruits and vegetables, eating less meat and more whole grains.
Q. You are hosting a free virtual cooking class April 21 to help people get back on track to healthy eating. Can you please tell me about this?
A. I wanted to encourage people to eat better and live a healthier lifestyle. It is better tasting and healthier than what they may now be serving their family. I have selected three springtime recipes using lean protein, whole grains and vegetables.
Q. Almost every recipe in this book sounds delicious and I have added a bunch of new recipes to try. I know you love all these recipes, but can you tell me if there were only five you would recommend people trying today, what would they be?
A. My five favourite recipes are: Avocado, Tomato and Cucumber Salad – Page 68; Indonesian Fried Rice with Sweet Peas – Page 83; Salmon Poke Bowl – Page 108; Roasted Salmon with Pistachio Crust – Page 188; Gluten-free Almond Chocolate Chip Blondies – Page 248.
Q. If people were trying to incorporate more vegetables in their diet, what suggestions would you offer?
A. Only eat the vegetables you like. At any opportunity snack on them, add them to your soups or stews or main meals. Always include vegetables at your lunches and dinners. Try going meatless at least twice weekly either for lunch or dinner. Try the various forms of soy natural products and add beans to salads, soups, chilis and grains.
Q. What is next for you, Rose?
A. After this epidemic I want to go back and focus on our catering and lunch school program that has had to take a backseat during the epidemic.
Q. Anything else you would like to say?
A. Thank you for this opportunity to discuss my latest book and my passion.
Read my review of Food Revolution by clicking here.
Roasted Salmon with Honey, Mustard, and Pistachio Crust with Asparagus and Tomatoes
Dijon mustard, honey, and nuts compliment the mild flavour and flaky, buttery texture of salmon perfectly. Add a side of roasted tomatoes and asparagus and this satisfies the nutritional requirements for a complete and healthy quick meal.
1 lb (450 g) salmon fillets
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
2 tsp (10 ml) Dijon mustard
1 tsp (5 ml) honey
1/4 cup (38 g) chopped pistachios
1/4 cup (27 g) panko crumbs
1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped parsley
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) salt
1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) pepper
1 1/2 lb (675 g) asparagus, trimmed
1 cup (150 g) cherry tomatoes
1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) salt
1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) pepper
Heat oven to 400 F (220 C). Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with vegetable oil.
In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp (5 mL) olive oil, mustard, and honey. Spread overtop of salmon.
In another bowl mix pistachios, panko, parsley, 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil, and salt and pepper. Sprinkle over top salmon and put salmon on baking sheet.
Place asparagus and tomatoes beside salmon and spray with vegetable oil and add salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, until salmon is cooked, and asparagus is fork tender.
Eating salmon can help prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, boost your brain function, and reduce the risk of cancer, stroke, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and asthma. If possible, buy organic since farmed salmon can have toxins.
Gluten-free Carrot Loaf with Dried Dates and Apples
Serves 16 (half slices) – GF/VEG
We all have our favorite carrot loaf or muffin recipe, but this gluten- and dairy-free version is outstanding. Using the right combination of almond and coconut flour gives it the light texture.
1/3 cup (80 ml) coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
1/2 cup (25 g) grated carrot
1/2 cup (75 g) dried dates or raisins
1/2 cup (75 g) diced apples
1/2 cup (75 g) coconut flakes
2 cups (200 g) almond flour
1/4 cup (25 g) coconut flour
1/3 cup (67 g) coconut or brown sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1 tsp (3 mL) cinnamon
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) salt
Heat oven to 350 F (180 C). Spray an 8-inch x 4-inch (20-cm x 10-cm) loaf pan with vegetable oil.
In a bowl, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, eggs, carrot, dates, apples, and coconut. Mix well. Add both flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until well combined. Batter will be thick.
Pour into pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until tester comes out dry. Cut into eight slices, then cut in half again.
Coconut sugar is a better sweetener than white sugar, but it is still a sugar, so moderation is necessary. Coconut sugar retains nutrients, including iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium. It has a lower glycemic index than white sugar, which means it raises your blood sugar level more slowly.