In light of the holiday season, it can be hard to stay motivated to be cruelty-free for new vegans. We have a little surprise to help keep you motivated! We were lucky enough to interview an Emmy award winning VEGAN celebrity chef, Christina Pirello! If you don’t know about Christina Pirello, she’s awesome! She hosts Christina Cooks! and is a well seasoned cookbook writer, and speaking of her cookbooks, she has one debuting today! She has compiled a list of 1,000 recipes, tips and techniques for vegan cooking! Christina Pirello’s Wellness 1000: Simple Plant-Based Recipes and Sound Advice to Cook Your Way To Vibrant Health is extensive, to say the least, with recipes including cooking basics such as stocks, sauces, soups to extensive with sections on tempeh, grains, tofu and deserts! Check it out here to see more information or check out some of her vegan recipes! Check out what Christina has to say below!
Vegetarian Snob: So, the age old question, what caused you to go vegan?
Christina Pirello: At 14, I decided to become a vegetarian. My father is a butcher and he was offered the opportunity to work for a day in a slaughter house and make a lot of money. With four kids, he took the job. But when it came time to kill the animals, he told us that he just could not do it. He lost the job, but kept his soul intact. At the same time, I had an art teacher who was a vegetarian and it just all came together and sealed the deal for me. I was committed.
Vegetarian Snob: What are some of the struggles you went through switching to veganism?
Christina: I did not really struggle with animal food at all. My father used to say that I was born without the gene to appreciate meat. It seems I disliked it most of my life. I was not a big milk drinker. I missed provolone just a little bit but mostly my struggle was with sugar. I was addicted. And since I was choosing a vegan macrobiotic diet to regain my health, I had to give it up. No question; no excuses.
Vegetarian Snob: How did you overcome those struggles?
Christina: Being diagnosed with cancer and making the commitment to heal with a vegan macrobiotic diet opened my eyes to the power of food. The foods that had gotten me into trouble; junk food, sugar, dairy were easy to give up when my life was on the line. Animal products were no problem but sugar was like kicking heroin. But I am so glad I did…all of it.
Vegetarian Snob: What advice would you give to people who are just starting out with veganism?
Christina: Well, the biggest thing is to remember that just because something is vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy for us. Soda is vegan, so are Oreos…doesn’t mean they serve our lives in any way. Many people turn to veganism for ethics, the way we treat animals and it’s quite noble, compassionate and wonderful to do so. Just don’t lose sight of healthy eating in the process…a healthy vegan eats whole unprocessed seasonal foods.
Secondly, be gentle with yourself. It can be an evolution. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Try going meatless one day a week and build from there. It’s meant to be a great way to live, not a burden or a drag.
Vegetarian Snob: How do you feel your television presence has impacted or informed the vegan community and non-vegan community?
Christina: I think my show has served to help, along with the work of many others, to take veganism from a weird, hippie, fringe movement into the mainstream consciousness. It has served to make veganism more accepted. I also think the way I present information has served to help people understand the power of food in their day to day lives…and helped make plant-based eating known for what it is…healthy and delicious!
Vegetarian Snob: Your new e-book coming out on the 19th, is thorough to say the least! How did you come up with all these recipes and keep motivated to create such a comprehensive cookbook?
Christina: A lot of Wellness 1000 is a collection of what my publisher calls my ‘greatest hits!’ The book is part compilation of recipes from other books and some surprising new recipes added. Each recipe was re-visited and re-vamped to be up to date and current.
It was a long haul for this one, but I love my job and get to do what I love so each recipe is a labor of love for me.
Vegetarian Snob: What is one cooking tip or food preparation tip you have for our readers?
Christina: Don’t stress over cooking. It’s fun, easy and sexy. Enjoy it.
Vegetarian Snob: If you could be a fictional character, who would you be and why?
Christina: Vianne Rocher from the book ‘Chocolat’ as she was part chef, part confectioner, part sorceress.
Vegetarian Snob: Who do you look up to?
Christina: My grandfather was the greatest man to ever live…ever.
Vegetarian Snob: What is your favorite food?
Christina: Whole grain bread…with a fruity extra virgin olive oil.
Here’s a sample recipe from Christina Pirello’s new e-book Wellness 1000: Simple Plant-Based Recipes and Sound Advice to Cook Your Way To Vibrant Health
Barbecue Tempeh Sandwich
makes 4 full sandwiches or 8 half sandwiches
⅓ cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons spring or filtered water
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon avocado oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon organic soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
8 ounces organic tempeh, cut in half lengthwise and pieces cut in half to create 4 slices
Avocado or sunflower oil
1 red onion, cut into thin half-moon slices
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into thin ribbons
4 whole grain burger buns
4 leaves romaine lettuce
4 tomato slices
1. Prepare sauce: Place all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly,
about 4 minutes. Cool slightly.
2. Lightly oil a cast-iron griddle and place over medium heat. Brush both sides of tempeh slices with
barbecue sauce and lay on griddle.
3. Cook tempeh, 4 minutes per side, until heated through and the
edges are beginning to brown.
4. Toss onion and bell peppers with the remaining barbecue sauce
and arrange on griddle to cook. Cook the onion and bell peppers, stirring constantly, until they are
wilted and beginning to brown, 6 to 7 minutes.
5. Make the sandwiches: Lay burger buns open on a dry work surface.
6. Lay a lettuce leaf and tomato slice on each bottom.
7. Top each with a tempeh slab and spoon onion and bell peppers evenly over
8. Serve immediately.
9. Snob Away
Be sure to check out Christina’s new ebook that debuts today! I hope you like her recipes and the interview has given you the push to make it past the holidays. I know it can be hard if you’re just starting out, but trust us, it is 100% worth it! Just keep in mind what Christina said: be gentle with yourself.
Stay tuned for the debut of our Thanksgiving recipes coming soon!
Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with Christina Pirello, I am just an exploring vegan excited to share all my vegan-y discoveries with whomever may want to read! Read more about my philosophy on product reviews here. Please note that if you buy a product through my links, I receive a small percentage from Amazon.
Like this review? Sign Up To See What Else We’re Cooking Up!