I think it can safely be said that Dreena Burton is one of Canada's most famous vegans. She's the author of the best-selling vegan cookbooks "The Everyday Vegan" and "Vive le Vegan." And Dreena is also a constant source of cooking inspiration via her popular blog "Vive le Vegan", regular articles in VegNews magazine, and frequent interviews on Erik's Diner podcast. We're honored to feature Dreena in our "Veggie Hero" series!
Vegetarian or vegan?
How long have you been veg*n?
Eleven years now, if I'm doing the math correctly!
What inspired you to go veg?
I gradually became vegetarian after reading "Fit For Life" in my late teens. I learned more about eliminating dairy and eggs, and after experimenting with our own diets for about a month, my husband and I made the decision to stick with vegan eating. We felt better physically and knew our choices were something we could feel good about from an ethical perspective.
What's your best story of trying to find veg food?
I was on a business trip in Norway, before I began writing cookbooks. My hotel was rather remote, and so eating at restaurants or cafes was not an option. The hotel's restaurant menu was heavily meat-based, and there were a couple of buffet-style dining hours, where my plate looked so sad... a pale green salad, some boiled potatoes, and reheated frozen peas and cut carrots. I couldn't wait to return home!
How do you handle family holiday dinners?
I cook myself! I have cooked our Christmas dinner for the last 10 years, and it is fabulous! We have an amazing line-up of dishes, all the recipes I have included in my books (mostly from The Everyday Vegan). They include a Phyllo Potato Mushroom Pie, Stuffed Squash, Mushroom Gravy, Pureed Roasted Yams (aka sweet potatoes), Pureed Roasted Rutabega, Garlic-Sauteed Kale, Lemon-Herb Tofu (this one recipe is from Vive), sometimes a salad, oh, and for dessert, either my Tiramisu or Ice-Cream Pie. Different family members have joined us year to year, and each time the meal has been a huge hit. It's a once-a-year major cooking event, and worth every moment of prep and cooking!
What's your favorite veg food?
Must I choose? I'm far too indecisive! Rice milk, beans, fresh blueberries, and chocolate to name just a few - oh, and how could I forget non-dairy ice-creams?!!
Do you have a favorite veg book?
"Becoming Vegan" by Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis is a favorite for it's nutritional information, and in terms of animal rights literature, I highly recommend Erik Marcus' books "Meat Market" and "Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating."
Tofu or tempeh?
Tofu, but I do like one brand of tempeh "burgers" (see, I told you I was indecisive!).
What did you have for breakfast today?
Green tea first thing, then fresh fruit followed by a cereal mix of kamut puffs with a generous serving of hemp seed nuts and lots of rice milk.