Ask a Chef: Isa Chandra Moskowitz

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Isa Chandra Moskowitz, coauthor of the best-selling cookbook Veganomicon, is on a mission to get everyone eating more veggies—and feeling more confident in the kitchen. Her newest title, Appetite for Reduction, offers 125 recipes for low-fat, plant-based dishes that don’t skimp on flavor. We asked her how to avoid creeping weight gain during the holidays.

• Lots of vegans and vegetarians become health-obsessed and sabotage themselves; being really restrictive can lead to bingeing. Make allowances in your diet for the occasional holiday treat, like a cookie or pie. You can bake it yourself using fresh fruit and natural sweeteners—that way, you’ll know what’s in it!

• When you eat plenty of fresh veggies every day and avoid the processed stuff, maintaining your weight is a lot easier. Vegetables taste infinitely better once you figure out how to cook them properly. Steamed veggies get a bland rap, but if you lightly salt them before steaming—try fleur de sel, truffle salt, or smoked salt—and steam them just until tender and bright, you’ll bring out lots of flavor; serve with a luscious yet low-fat dipping sauce made by blending a few tablespoons of soaked cashews with miso, vegetable broth, or apple cider vinegar. If you want to enhance the natural sweetness in veggies, lightly coat them in extra virgin olive oil and roast them.