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Vegan cookbooks offer delicious recipes

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“APPETITE FOR REDUCTION: 125 Fast and Filling Low Fat Recipes,” by Isa Moskowitz, Da Capo Press, 390 pages, $19.95

“VEGANIZE THIS,” by Jenn Shagrin, Da Capo Press, 280 pages, $19

The word "vegan" may have you squirming. To many, it conjures up images of raw celery, bland salads and plain tofu.

But two cookbooks may change your mind. "Veganize This," by Jenn Shagrin, and "Appetite For Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low Fat Recipes," by Isa Moskowitz, are two great vegan cookbooks that inspires the mind to move past plain, bland and raw foods.

One of the tastiest and easiest meals is the Orecchiette and Wild Arugula Salad in Vegan Basil-Mint Aioli. This basic Italian dish is simple yet exciting. As the recipe indicates, it simply takes the ingredients, a good food processor and cooked pasta.

"Appetite for Reduction" blows the idea of bland salads out of the water. In the first chapter alone, Moskowitz addresses the idea of plain salads:

"There was a time — a lonely, lonely time — when salads were a pale and limp affair," he said.

Moskowitz continues to explain the anatomy of a salad, encouraging readers to pick the brightest, most vivid vegetables and become familiar with the produce aisle.

Her recipes are inviting, sound delicious and make the possibilities of salad open wide. She also includes recipes for dressings alongside the salad recipes.

My favorite salad idea from "Appetite for Reduction" is the recipe that convinced me to buy the book in the first place — the Everyday Chickpea-Quinoa Salad.

With a total calorie count of 290, this is perfect for the dieter who wants to maximize taste. If you've never dealt with a food like Quinoa before, no problem. Moskowitz directions are so easy to follow and she gives great food handling tips along the way.

One of the great things about "Appetite for Reduction" is the brevity with which the book is written makes everything that much more enjoyable. At the same time, the needed information is communicated. One of the best parts of the book is the introduction by Moskowitz and the section titled "Mission, Nutrition," by Matt Ruscigno, MPH, RD.

These sections bring the whole idea behind vegan and healthful eating to the forefront. They address myths, explain the reasoning behind the recipes and tell the reader how these recipes deliver the proper nutrition.

These two cookbooks are a great opportunity for anyone interested in cooking healthier —or even just tastier — to try something new.

Livi Whitaker can be found writing for such publications as the Deseret News and Mormon Times and writes the positive blog for all things lovely, www.thebrightbit.com