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3 Vegan Recipes and Late-Night Food Memories from Jessica Seinfeld

3 Vegan Recipes and Late-Night Food Memories from Jessica Seinfeld

Jessica Seinfeld

Jessica Seinfeld always brings an element of problem-solving to her cookbooks. In Deceptively Delicious, she was trying to sneak more fruits and veggies into her kids’ favorites foods. In The Can’t Cook Book, she helped new cooks gain confidence in the kitchen. This time, Seinfeld is bringing her audience delicious plant-based recipes with a refreshingly flexible spin.

  1. Jessica Seinfeld Vegan, at Times
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She started experimenting with eating more plants and cutting down on animal products based on a recommendation from a vegan friend, and despite being a self-proclaimed skeptic, she was pleasantly surprised. “When I ate that way, I slept better and had more energy when I was awake” she writes. “And it opened up a world of new options.” But the dogmatic side of veganism, that wasn’t for her (there’s a section in the book called “How Not to Be an Annoying Vegan.”) Seinfeld settled on being vegan, at times—eating mostly vegan and allowing herself nonvegan food occasionally, but more importantly without shame or judgment. And that’s what this book is so good at—it’s a gentle invitation to try something new, without the condition that you have to do it perfectly. Seinfeld writes, “Dip a toe in. If you want to dive in, the water is warm. Go at your own pace.”

We asked her to share a few recipes and answer our food questionnaire, and she beyond delivered. Read on for her vegan takes on Chocolate Banana Bread and why late-night cheese parties with GP are so much fun.

FROM Vegan, at Times

Chocolate Banana Bread

Chocolate Banana Bread

“This was the first vegan item in our house that was unanimously approved. Full disclosure: they did not, still do not, know it is vegan. Chopping a chunk of chocolate is fancier; using chocolate chips is easier. Your choice.” —Seinfeld

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

“I have served this many times to non-vegans and they always go for seconds. I use cashew or almond milk for their mild flavor, but you can always experiment with other plant-based milks.” —Seinfeld

Glazed Ginger-Barbeque Tofu

Glazed Ginger-Barbeque Tofu

“If you do tofu, this is your new favorite. Serve over a bowl of rice, or sautéed spinach, or cooked green beans.” —Seinfeld

JESSICA SEINFELD ANSWERS OUR FOOD QUESTIONNAIRE

What’s your favorite recipe in Vegan, at Times?

It’s hard to choose just one, and I change my mind often because they are all so good in my opinion. Today, I love the Chia Pudding with Caramelized Bananas because I made the caramelized bananas this morning for my son’s oatmeal. He goes nuts for them every time, so that feels good. If you ask me tomorrow, I’d say the Sweet Oat Crepes, because you can fill them with anything you want. For dinner, the Spaghetti and Meatless Balls, Spicy Noodle Bowl, and Buffalo Cauliflower on the side. However, it was the Mac and Cheese that proved to me that I could get my family on board with more plant-based meals.

Do you have any fond food memories with Gwyneth?

I have too many to count! First of all, she is such a natural in the kitchen. I love to watch her freestyle. As far as eating, she and Jerry are similar in that they are the most enthusiastic eaters. It can get very loud when we are all together. When GP used to stay up past 9:30 p.m., we had many late-night meals together. Years ago, someone sent GP the most delicious sheep’s milk cheese I have ever tasted. Around 2 a.m., we were in her kitchen, dipping it in the greatest honey I’ve ever had. And then, this past summer at her house, I had the greatest gluten-free crust on a fruit crostata. The bottom line: The food she makes and the food that finds its way to her are always the most delicious.

But my favorite memory of all was us trying to make vegetarian meatballs together in our last goop video. I’d say it’s a challenge for us to maintain a professional demeanor without losing it in fits of laughter.

GP and Jessica Seinfeld cooking

Most-loved vegan swap?

I love flax meal and water as an egg replacement in baked goods. But I’m going to double down on my love for fruit and vegetable purées to add complexity, flavor, and interest in everyday vegan (or nonvegan) meals. À la Deceptively Delicious.

Favorite nonvegan food?

Cheese. All kinds of cheese.

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Tell us about the first recipe you ever mastered.

Chicken Parmesan for my roommates in college. And then again for my first date with Jerry.

What was your biggest cooking fail?

I call them “opportunities.” I usually “reimagine” said failure into something else before anyone I’m feeding is the wiser.

Which kitchen tools should every home cook own?

For me, it’s all about the setup and my routine. I have a sharp knife I love that fits my hand perfectly. I am excited to use it every time I pick it up. Small glass bowls help me feel organized with my ingredients on the counter. A few cutting boards in various sizes are nearby. As far as tools, I love a microplane for zesting and a citrus reamer or squeezer, and I use my food processor every day. It’s a worthwhile investment.

Your most-used ingredient?

Olive oil by Frankies 457.

Do you have any food aversions?

I am averse to capers. Passionately.

When someone says “comfort food,” what comes to mind?

These days, the Macaroni and Cheese in Vegan, at Times is all I want to eat.

Favorite cookbook?

I became a better cook because of Marcella Hazan’s books. I have many of her classics memorized, which is a great confidence builder.

  1. Marcella Hazan
                Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
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  2. Marcella and Victor Hazan Ingredienti
    Marcella and Victor Hazan Ingredienti Bookshop, $18
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What are five things you always have in your fridge?

Plant-based milks. Cut-up raw vegetables for snacking. And from Vegan, at Times, our Chipotle Cashew Queso and Sriracha Tahini Dressing to put on salads and sweet potatoes. And Honey Mama’s chocolate—it’s not vegan, but it’s so good!

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From Vegan, at Times

  • Chocolate Banana Bread

    “This was the first vegan item in our house that was unanimously approved. Full disclosure: they did not, still do not, know it is vegan. Chopping a chunk of chocolate is fancier; using chocolate chips is easier. Your choice.” —Seinfeld

    GET RECIPE

  • Macaroni and Cheese

    “I have served this many times to non-vegans and they always go for seconds. I use cashew or almond milk for their mild flavor, but you can always experiment with other plant-based milks.” —Seinfeld

    GET RECIPE

  • Glazed Ginger-Barbecue Tofu

    “If you do tofu, this is your new favorite. Serve over a bowl of rice, or sautéed spinach, or cooked green beans.” —Seinfeld

    GET RECIPE