Monday, August 11, 2014

The HappyCow Cookbook: Recipes from Top-Rated Vegan Restaurants Around the World

One of the first websites that I found after going plant-based was HappyCow. I remember carefully selecting a restaurant to try out with my adventurous and supportive coworkers and sharing my passion for great food that is focused on keeping cows happy. And mooing. I even reached out to HappyCow to request to add my blog to their list, and upon doing so, discussed contributing a few posts to the HappyCow blog. The community there is supportive and kind, and there's always a new restaurant to be found anywhere on the globe. I also have a search on my Plant-Based Resources section that is easy to use and can query vegan and vegetarian-friendly options near you!

A couple of months ago, my dad handed me the latest issue of the The Houston Chronicle with a headline "Vegan Aloud". He saw the word vegan and immediately snagged it to show me later. When I opened up the section, I realized the article was about The Loving Hut, a vegan restaurant that I had been to a few times before. Then I squealed with joy as I realized they had been listed in The HappyCow Cookbook, which I didn't even realize was being released!

I couldn't wait to find out what amazing recipes were inside, and I received my preview copy a couple of weeks later. I was also overjoyed to see a recipe from Counter Culture, an Austin favorite of mine that I miss dearly. The cookbook includes over 80 recipes from across the globe and features interviews with the owners. It's full of beautifully photographed (and extremely yummy-looking) dishes that are approachable and easy to understand. I love that restaurants have shared their menu items for all of us to try out!

I am probably completely biased because I absolutely love dessert, but here are some of the recipes that are on my must-try list:
Chia Pudding from Luna's Living Kitchen, Charolette, NC
Chocolate Raspberry Hazelnut Cake from G-Zen, Branford, CT
Gluten-Free Coconut Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes from Chaco Canyon, Seattle, WA
Peanut Butter Blondies from Green Cuisine, Victoria, BC, Canada
Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding, Counter Culture, Austin, TX
Raw Brownie Bliss Bites from Choices Cafe, Miami, FL

If you'd like a chance to win a copy of The HappyCow Cookbook, comment below with the name of your favorite restaurant and be sure to check out others on the HappyCow site.

To give you a sneak peek into the cookbook, I've included the Spicy Cha Cha from The Loving Hut here in Houston, TX below.

From Loving Hut in Houston, TX

Spicy Cha Cha
Serves 4–8

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons and 3 cups rice oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons sea salt
3 cups water
2 pounds vegan sea crescents (aka “vegan shrimp”) each sliced in half*
3 cups bread crumbs
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
½ yellow onion, diced
4 stalks green onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons vegan mushroom seasoning
2 teaspoons dried hot chili powder

*Can be purchased online.

Put the all-purpose flour, sugar, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon rice oil, baking soda, and a pinch of sea salt in a large bowl. Add water slowly and mix well until it becomes a thick batter.

Dip the vegan sea crescents into the flour mixture then roll the vegan sea crescents in the bread crumbs. Make sure each vegan sea crescent is fully covered with the bread crumbs.

Add 3 cups of rice oil in a deep frying pan or a medium-size pan, then turn the burner to medium heat. Place the vegan sea crescents into the pan and fry them until they become golden in color. Take the vegan sea crescents out and set aside on a plate with a paper towel to blot any excess oil.

Add 1 teaspoon of rice oil into a hot pan. Add all diced vegetables (bell peppers, celery, onions) and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the fried vegan sea crescents. Sprinkle with vegan seasoning, sea salt, and dried hot chili powder. Stir well for an additional 10 seconds. Remove from the heat and serve alone or ideally on a bed of chopped lettuce with steamed rice.

Kelsey is a passionate vegan living in Houston, Texas, spreading the word about the benefits of eating a healthy, plant-based diet. She's also a minimalist enthusiast, a self-proclaimed financial guru of her household, and founder of The Little Red Journal.


  1. I love Watercourse Foods in Denver - 100% Vegan Restaurant as of 2014. And Sputnik (they have the best vegan cubano sandwich ever).

    1. Send me an email at! I'll have your copy sent out for the HappyCow cookbook.



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