Ok, my lovely readers, there is something you should all know about me. I geek out hard over the people I admire. Established bloggers, successful authors, celebs from my favorite TV shows… you get the picture. So when Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows asked me to be a part of her official Oh She Glows Cookbook Virtual Tour, I just about lost it!
Angela was not just one of the first plant-based bloggers I started following at the beginning of my healthy journey several years ago, she was THE first. This was back when I used Twitter religiously (way before @theblondevegan was born) and my one vegan friend (shoutout to Kathryn Polster, my forever yoga buddy!) re-tweeted one of Angela’s recipe posts.
Me being a freak-a-leak when my Oh She Glows Cookbook arrived in the mail:
I meandered on over to her blog after I read Kathryn’s tweet and was stunned at the amount of amazing recipes she had. I stalked, I subscribed, I became an avid reader. Her friendly and personal tone is what I try to model The Blonde Vegan after, and I so appreciate Angela’s honesty when it comes to her personal life, her past eating disorder struggles and how she got into the plant-based lifestyle.
Anyway, it is almost needless to say that Angela’s cookbook did NOT disappoint. It is one of the most gorgeous, well put-together and enjoyable to read cookbooks I have ever gotten my hands on. Scratch that… it’s most definitely the most gorgeous, well put-together and enjoyable to read. From cauliflower mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy to fudgy mocha pudding cake (Holy YUM) to tons of simple salads and a whole section on “homemade staples,” you will probably get lost in it the moment you start thumbing through.
Today I am going to share her “Walnut, Avocado & Pear Salad with Marinated Portobello Caps & Red Onion.” This salad was the bomb.com. And for all of you veggie-heads out there who stress about getting enough protein, each of these mushrooms packs in about 6 to 8 grams of protein, so load on up! (And they’re frickin’ yummy.)
P.S. I went ahead and used Angela’s photos because, heck, when else am I going to be able to sprinkle my blog with one of my food photography idol’s food photos?!
P.S.S. (or is it P.P.S? Ugh, middle school English, where are ya when I need ya?) Stay tuned for a Q & A with Angela at the end of the post!
Walnut, Avocado & Pear Salad
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes
Gluten-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free, grain-free
2 large Portobello mushrooms
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 recipe Anytime Balsamic Vinaigrette (also in the book. Or add a few tablespoons of a balsamic you have on hand!)
1 (3-ounce/142-g) box mixed greens
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 avocado, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup (75 mL) walnuts, toasted
1. Gently rub the outside of the mushrooms with a damp towel to remove any debris. Remove the stems by twisting the stem until it pops off; discard it or freeze for another use, such as a stir-fry. With a small spoon, scrape out and discard the black gills.
2. In a large bowl, combine the mushroom caps, onion, and half of the balsamic vinaigrette and toss until fully coated. Marinate the mushrooms and onion for 20 to 30 minutes, tossing every 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Place the mushroom caps and onion on the pan and grill for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until grill marks appear and vegetables are tender. Reduce the heat if necessary. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside until the mushroom caps are cool enough to handle, then slice the mushroom caps into long strips.
4. For each salad, place a few handfuls of mixed greens in a large bowl and top with half of the chopped pear, avocado, walnuts, and grilled mushrooms and onion. Drizzle the salad with some of the remaining balsamic vinaigrette and enjoy!
* Angela’s salad dressing recipe is so good you’ll probably be tempted to drown your salad in it. Do it… it’s g-free, nut-free, soy-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free and raw!
If I admired Angela before reading her cookbook, I am now truly inspired by her and all she has accomplished. It’s easy to see how much love, effort and time went into this book, and it absolutely shows. Now here for the Q&A!
Q&A with Angela Liddon:
Angela Liddon, 30
Born: New Brunswick, Canada
Currently live: Ontario, Canada
Q: How long have you been vegan?
A: I went vegan in 2009 which was a very gradual transition. It wasn’t something that I set out to do, but I felt so amazing eating plant-based the rest was history. Once I learned more about factory farming, my life-long love for animals took over and I found alternatives to animal products and childhood favourite foods.
Q: Have you always had a passion for cooking, or was it inspired by your transformation into the vegan lifestyle?
A: I always say that I barely knew how to boil a potato before I started my blog! And it’s true. I knew very little about cooking. I did some baking growing up, but I was always the type of baker who followed a recipe to a tee and didn’t trust my skills enough to experiment or wing it. Once I created my blog in 2008 and started making recipes, I eventually developed some culinary skills, learned a ton, and got comfortable creating my own recipes over time. It’s amazing how much you can learn if you do it every single day and keep at it! My advice to others is to read a ton of cookbooks (I learned so much about how to write proper recipes from reading other good cookbooks), watch cooking tutorials online (hello, You Tube!), and reading blogs that you admire.
Q: I am so curious to hear about your blogging journey. You have been blogging for 5 years, and Oh She Glows has won so many awesome awards and nominations. Can you tell me what prompted you to get started blogging, when you started realizing that your blog was turning into something quite popular, and how the blog has evolved from the beginning to now?
A: I started my blog on Halloween Day 2008. At the time, I was working as a researcher and very unhappy with my career. I knew deep down that I made the wrong decision career-wise, but I just thought it was too late to change after getting my Master’s degree and spending countless years in school. I started my blog as a hobby and a distraction! To be honest, I didn’t think it was something I would stick with for more than a couple weeks! I fell in love with it though. I wrote about my journey to health, recovering from an eating disorder, and I connected with some amazing people in the process. In the beginning, I wrote a lot more articles on my blog, but in the past few years my love for recipe creation and food photography (another recent passion) has taken over and now I focus more on recipes with stories of my life mixed in.
Q: Have you ever been recognized in the street as the face of Oh She Glows? If yes, can you describe one of the first times that happened and how it felt?
A: I’m approached now and then in my area or sometimes on vacation. It’s always so awesome to meet people like that so randomly, especially when it’s in a different country. My husband gets spotted too. I’ve actually met some really good friends this way because they emailed me later on and we decided to hang out! One of my favourite things about blogging is how many great friends I’ve met through the blog.
Q: Favorite vegan dish?
A: Do you know how hard this question is to answer? haha. It changes every day almost! Well, today I can tell you that I’m really craving my Life-Affirming Warm Nacho Dip recipe that’s in my cookbook. It’s dairy-free and oil-free, but you’d never know it! People go crazy over this dip and it often steals the show at a party.
Q: (I hate when people ask me this question, so feel free to skip it if the answer is the same as mine… “I love the way I eat, so no,” but I am curious nonetheless!) Is there a food that you miss the most since going vegan?
A: In the beginning, I used to miss all the foods I gave up quite a bit, but once I started creating alternative recipes (like vegan mac and cheese for example!), I rarely crave the old stuff anymore. With the exception of one thing though. Once in a while my husband will order pizza and the smell literally drives me insane. What is it about pizza that smells so good? Anyway, I’m lucky because he usually gets half the pizza without cheese just for me (and extra veggies and pizza sauce, of course). True love.
Q: Tell me about your cookbook journey! This interview is to celebrate the launch of your cookbook, after all. How long has it taken to compile all of the recipes, take all of the food photos, go through it with an editor, go through the publishing process, etc.? Has it taken time away from blogging/other aspects of your life?
A: The cookbook was indeed a JOURNEY! That is a god way of putting it. Or maybe a marathon. Some people relate it to pregnancy and giving birth. I don’t know about that, but it was definitely a long road. I really had no idea what to expect going into it and I think that was a good thing because if I had known how much it would take over my entire life I might not have been as eager to do it. Just the honest truth. I started working on my book proposal in 2011, so it’s been a good 2.5-3 years of hard work, lots of tears, and ups and downs. It was really hard balancing my blog posts with the cookbook. Many weeks I was testing over 10-15 recipes per week and writing/editing/food photography, so it was a bit insane! And the grocery bills were insane. Of course, now that it’s finished I’m so happy I challenged myself to do it! You know what they say – nothing worth while comes easy! My dad used to always tell me that growing up. It will be nice to get back to the blog full-time now and focus on some other business ventures we’re working on simply for a change of pace.
Q: What would you choose for your very last meal on earth?
A: Most likely vegan pizza or mac and cheese. Comfort food and carbs all the way! I’d have to finish it off with my Chocolate Espresso Torte from my cookbook, just for good measure.
Q: Favorite snack?
A: This is going to sound so boring, but it’s hummus and crackers + veggies. I truly eat this every single day and I go into withdrawal if I’m out of hummus! My go-to brand is Fontaine Sante – some of the Canadians reading probably know about this brand. It’s unreal, silky, smooth, and has the best flavour out of any brand I’ve tried. Of course I like to make hummus at home too, but I go through it so quickly it’s hard to keep up!
Q: What role does fitness play in your life? What are your favorite types of exercise?
A: I love being active. I always have since I was a young girl. Fitness is a big part of my life, but it doesn’t control my life the way it used to when I suffered from an eating disorder. Now my approach to fitness is very balanced and I give myself time off when I want it, but I also know I feel my best when I get some form of activity 5-6 days a week. I love running, hot yoga, hiking, spinning, and weights/resistance exercises. It’s fun to change it up.
Be sure to pre-order Angela’s book HERE so you can make all of her yummy recipes and, you know, kinda try to be her.
And because selfies with cookbooks are fun…
Recipe reprinted by arrangement with AVERY, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © GLO BAKERY CORPORATION, 2014.