THE LOW-CARBON COOKBOOK & ACTION PLAN: Reduce Food Waste and Combat Climate Change with 140 Sustainable Plant-Based Recipes
June 8, 2021
June 8, 2021
Alejandra Schrader is a plant-based nutrition certified chef, food TV personality, entrepreneur, and activist based in Los Angeles. After the US economic crash in 2009, driven by her passion for food and financial need, she decided to apply to cook competitively on FOX’s popular show MasterChef (Season 2.) From over 30,000 applicants, she earned a spot as a top finalist and was later named a fan favorite of the show. Alejandra then pursued a culinary journey focused on food systems as they relate to a greener planet. Alejandra has been featured on all major US television networks in English and Spanish and has performed cooking segments on such national shows as The Talk, Access Hollywood Live, Cafe CNN, Home & Family, and Despierta America (Univision’s morning talk show). Alejandra has also made appearances on such national Canadian talk shows as The Marilyn Denis Show and The Social. Her interviews and recipes have been featured in such high-profile printed media as The New York Times and InTouch Weekly magazine. Alejandra is a Sisters on the Planet Ambassador for Oxfam America and she’s a founding member of the Chef’s Manifesto.
Eating ethically, lowering your carbon footprint, and decreasing greenhouse gases sound like great steps you can take to curtail climate change and its impacts. But is it really that easy? In The Low-Carbon Cookbook, renowned chef Alejandra Schrader offers science-backed information on how to make the most-climate friendly choices from examining the impact of the supply chain for the foods that end up on our plates to evaluating the carbon footprint of various plant-based options we have. If you’ve been looking for ways to help slow down climate change, you can start from your dining room table—and with The Low-Carbon Cookbook as your guide.
PREP TIME: 5 TO 10 MINUTES // COOK TIME: 45 MINUTES // YIELD: 4 TO 6 SERVINGS
Roasting a mildly sweet winter squash as well as onion and herbs helps develop a depth of flavor and rich texture that make this dish just stunning. Butternut squash is rich in vitamins A and C. The cashew cream makes the soup velvety but also adds protein and heart-healthy fats.
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
Place the butternut squash cut side up on a baking tray and drizzle the olive oil over the top. Sprinkle the thyme, 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt, and pepper evenly over the squash. Turn the squash cut side down. Place the onion cut side down on the baking tray.
Place the tray on the middle rack in the oven and roast until a fork easily perforates the skin of the squash, about 45 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and allow the squash and onion to cool slightly.
Remove the outer layers from the onion and use a large spoon to scoop out the flesh from the squash. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of cashew cream, plant-based milk, and 1 pinch of salt. Set aside.
In a high-powered blender, combine the squash, onion, broth, garlic paste, lemon juice, maple syrup, the remaining 1⁄2 cup of cashew cream, and the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt. Safely secure the lid and place a clean kitchen towel over the lid to prevent steam or liquid from escaping. Process on high until creamy and smooth. Add broth 1 tablespoon at a time to reach your desired consistency.
Divide the soup into 4 to 6 bowls. Top with the reserved cashew cream and garnish with fresh herbs and black pepper before serving.
» quick tips
If the roasted garlic paste hasn’t already been made, cut 1⁄2 inch (1.25cm) from the top of a large head of garlic to expose the cloves. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast alongside the squash and onion. Once cooled, unwrap and squeeze the bottom of the bulb to get the needed amount of garlic paste.
Store the soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Yield: 2 to 3 arepas
“There’s nothing more Venezuelan than an arepa” is a popular saying that highlights just how important these pockets of goodness are in our culture. And they are—arepas were the daily bread in my home growing up. The mushroom shreds will ensure you never miss meat.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 22 to 23 minutes
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
In a medium bowl, combine ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of water and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Slowly add the corn flour, mixing with your hand or a spoon to make sure no lumps remain. Allow to hydrate for 5 minutes. Use clean, damp hands to divide the dough into 2 to 3 portions. Form each portion into a ball and then flatten into a ¾-inch (2cm) disc.
Brush the bottom of a cast-iron pan with ½ to 1 teaspoon of avocado oil. Place the pan on the stovetop over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the discs and sear until a crust with a few dark brown spots has formed, about 4 minutes per side. Place the arepas directly on the middle rack in the oven and bake until slightly puffed and the shell is crusty, about 8 minutes. Remove the arepas from the oven and wrap in a clean towel to keep warm.
In a tall blending cup or wide-mouthed glass jar, use an immersion blender to process the beans, garlic paste, 1 pinch of salt, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of water until a smooth paste forms. Set aside.
Cut the caps off the mushrooms. (Save them for later use.) Use two forks to thinly shred the stems: Work from the center lengthwise toward the end and then turn the mushroom the other way to repeat the process.
In a medium skillet on the stovetop, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of avocado oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the bell peppers and sauté for 30 seconds.
Add the spicy adobo seasoning, mushrooms, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix until the shreds are evenly coated with spices. Reduce the heat to low and add a little water to deglaze the bottom of the skillet. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring often. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Use a paring knife to slice the arepas in half to create pockets. Spread an equal amount of the bean paste inside each arepa. Use tongs to stuff them with the mushrooms and the avocado slices. Garnish with sunflower sprouts or chopped fresh herbs before serving.
Excerpted from The Low-Carbon Cookbook and Action Plan by Alejandra Schrader, reprinted by permission of Alpha Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 Alejandra Schrader.
Photo Credit: Copyright © Alpha: Kelley Jordan Schuyler, 2021
Contact: Kelsey Curtis