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Mayim Bialik dishes up vegan cookbook to help families embrace plant-based meals

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From her PhD in neuroscience to her quirky role on "The Big Bang Theory," Mayim Bialik doesn't fit the stereotype of cookbook author hiding behind the pots and pans. But her belief in the benefits of vegan diets has propelled her to add that credential to her resume, and the result is a tasty combination of plant-based recipes and help for families who want to try going meatless. It's titled: "Mayim's Vegan Table: More than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours" (click for details).

Written with input from pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon, the cookbook makes it clear that vegan dishes don't have to be limited to adult fare, and that it's healthy for kids to experience plant-based meals. In addition to recipes, the book provides guidance for those who are interested in learning more about the health and environmental benefits of veganism.

Recipes in "Mayim's Vegan Table" range from kid-friendly meals like mac'n'cheese (plant-based, of course) to comfort food pleasures such as kugel and matzoh ball soup. Also provided are nutritional tips for families who want to follow a full-time or flexible vegan diet and even guidance on dining out the healthy way. (Get a sample recipe below - and order the book now by clicking here.)

Mayim recently spoke out for the multiple benefits of a vegan lifestyle in an interview with Redbook magazine:

The Western obsession with protein is honestly unnecessary. The average American male consumes about 100 grams of protein per day, and the average female consumes about 70 grams. Both of these figures are almost twice what the Food and Nutrition Board recommends.

Veggies and fruits contain protein. Plant sources of protein include legumes and grains. You can feed your children and yourself with so many other healthy proteins than animal-based ones. Beans and nuts are just two sources of proteins that are versatile, easy to use, and delicious.

In addition, multiple studies have shown that vegan diets can promote health while helping to maintain a healthy weight. You can learn more about Mayim's new cookbook by clicking here for "Mayim's Vegan Table: More than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours."

The following recipe was adapted from "Mayim’s Vegan Table: More Than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours" by Mayim Bialik with Dr Jay Gordon.

Winter Vegetable Risotto Recipe

1 medium-size carrot, peeled and diced

1 medium-size parsnip, peeled and diced

1 lb (about 2 cups) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced

1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or thyme

5 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

5 1/2 cups vegan vegetable stock

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 chopped cup onions or shallots

1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio rice

1/2 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk (rice or soya milk works, too)

2 Tbsp tahini

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbsp mirin (a sweet rice wine)

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Place the carrot, parsnip and squash in a large bowl with the rosemary. Add 3 tablespoonfuls of the oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until soft but not mushy.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the stock and wine and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to a low simmer.
In a large non-stick pot, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions and rice and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the rice begins to toast.
Add 1 cup of the simmering broth-and-wine mixture to the rice and cook, stirring continuously, until the liquid is mostly absorbed. Continue adding the broth 1 cup at a time, cooking and stirring as it is absorbed. It will take about 20 minutes for all the broth to be absorbed and for the rice to become tender and creamy.
Add the almond milk, tahini, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and mirin and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the roasted vegetables. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Makes 6 servings

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