Main Street Vegan Academy
Fun fact: I was the first person to enroll in Victoria Moran’s Main Street Vegan Academy in 2012! I had seen Victoria speak at a vegan event in Manhattan a few months earlier, and she had mentioned that she was working on a program to train vegan lifestyle coaches. I knew it would be a good addition to my already-established health coaching practice, so I eagerly awaited more news. As soon as enrollment opened, I applied!
Main Street Vegan Academy is an intense weeklong course in Manhattan that Victoria runs. Vegans come from all over the country (and sometimes all over the world!) to train to become vegan lifestyle coaches. The course includes guest lecturers from notable vegans and field trips to vegan locations in New York City. I made a lot of friends during that week, and JL Fields was one of them.
Since then, hundreds more people have passed through the Academy’s figurative hallowed halls, and the vegan movement is stronger than ever.
The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook
Recently Victoria and JL have teamed up to create The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook, which includes recipes from many of the Academy’s alumni, including yours truly.
This is more than just a cookbook – it’s also a beginner’s guide to veganism. Victoria begins the book by debunking the myths that being vegan is expensive, complicated and weird in the “It’s Really Easy Being Green” Chapter. In the “Fifty Shades of Vegan” chapter, she explains that veganism isn’t a diet. It’s not a cult or an exclusive club either – veganism is a lifestyle devoted to living compassionately. She also shares tips on how to eat out, how eat vegan on the road, and how to veganize your wardrobe in the “Vegan Outside the Kitchen” chapter.
The delicious recipes in The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook will get you through breakfast and lunch all the way through dinner and dessert. There are plenty of recipes to help you out during social occasions, too. They’re all easy-to-make, and they don’t use ingredients that are hard to find or too “weird” for omnivores.
The recipe chapters in The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook include:
- More Morning and Great News – which contains breakfast recipes
- The Social Vegan – which is loaded with snacks and appetizers
- Salad Days and Soup for Super – which is full of salad and soup recipes
- Set It and Forget It – which is all about one-pot meals
- Main Street Mains – which is devoted to main dishes
- Chocolate and Other Pleasures – which is all about dessert, of course!
Helpful “Coaching Corner” tips from the Main Street Vegan Academy coaches are sprinkled throughout the book, and Jackie Sobon took the book’s mouthwatering photos. (I almost cried when I saw her beautiful her photo of my Mini Tomato Tarts recipe!) Jane Velez-Mitchell wrote the book’s intro.
The first recipe (well, the first that isn’t my own!) that I tried from The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook is Britt LoSacco’s vegan Buffalo Chickpea Dip. I had a holiday get-together planned last weekend, and I knew this would be a hit with my friends. Unfortunately the gathering was canceled due to a snow storm. Fortunately, that meant that Dennis and I had this whole thing to ourselves! It didn’t last long.
Buffalo Chickpea Dip is really easy to make, and it uses ingredients that are readily available in any grocery store. It’s something that just about anyone would love, regardless of dietary preference, and it’s perfect for just about any type of party or friendly gathering.
I have a lot more recipes that I can’t wait to try bookmarked, such as Michael Suchman’s Pepperoni Pizza Puffs, Bonnie Goodman’s Easy Cheesy Broccoli Soup, and Anna Pelzer’s Garden Socca.
The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook is a must-have for new vegans. Seasoned vegans will enjoy adding the recipes to their repertoires!
Buffalo Chickpea Dip
- 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 3/4 cup Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce, or your favorite hot sauce
- 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened vegan milk or water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 rounded tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup shredded vegan cheddar cheese, divided
- Tortilla chips, celery sticks, and carrot sticks, for dipping
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Combine the white beans and raw cashews in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to break them up a bit. Add the hot sauce, milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, onion powder, and garlic powder. Process until the mixture is entirely smooth (this will take several minutes), stopping to scrape down the bowl as necessary.
Scrape the bean mixture into a bowl and stir in the parsley and chives to evenly distribute. Stir in the chickpeas and 3/4 cup of the shredded cheddar. Transfer the dip to a 9-inch square baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar over the top. (Note: This dip can be made up to this point a day or two ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to heat and serve.)
Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until warmed through. If the cheese on top isn’t fully melted, set the dish under the broiler for a minute or two to melt; this isn’t necessary but looks nice.
Serve warm with your favorite dippers.
Nut-free option: Replace the cashews with 1 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked, rinsed, and drained.
Recipe from The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook by Victoria Moran and JL Fields. Reprinted with permission.
If you enjoyed this Buffalo Chickpea Dip, you may also like:
I have 2 copies of The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook for two lucky winners. Follow the instructions below to enter. U.S residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight on December 19th. Good luck!