Quick and easy are the top SEO words for online recipe searches these days. But quick and easy doesn’t always result in food worth eating. There’s an art to simplicity, and lucky for you, there’s Nava Atlas, accomplished artist, vegan visionary, and the author of a dozen cookbooks, including her newest, 5-Ingredient Vegan.
Nava gets it, you’re busy. So is she. Like you, she doesn’t want to spend all day in the kitchen. But she’s still committed to being plant-based, still prefers home-cooked meals — the food she fed herself and her family before the advent of the Impossible Burger, before supermarkets stocked tahini and tamari, before vegan was cool. Nava helped make it cool. And approachable. Her new book proves she’s still at it.
Hallelujah, now umami bombs like tamari, tahini, sriracha and salsa are easy to get, and 5-Ingredient Vegan recipes rely on them, as well as pantry staples like tinned tomatoes, quinoa, and coconut milk. They bring the flavor and do the work so you don’t have to. Nava combines these and other readily available ingredients for fast, no-fuss, gotta-have recipes to please everyone. Case in point — Nava’s recipe for curried greens smashed potatoes. I’m a fool for greens and for Indian spices. My husband loves potatoes. It’s a win-win, and it’s a breeze, too.
We live complicated lives. We often eat complicated food. The plant-based Impossible Burger contains 40 ingredients, many of which are best understood by microbiologists. Nava’s have five ingredients, and you can get them in the supermarket. As she writes in the intro to 5-Ingredient Vegan, “Simplicity doesn’t imply mindlessness, but rather echoes Walt Whitman’s view that ‘Simplicity is the glory of expression.’ With a few well-chosen ingredients, a simple meal can be as delicious as a more elaborate one.” Amen, sister.
With food photography by fellow vegan culinary star Hannah Kaminsky, and Evan Atlas, the author’s son, 5-Ingredient Vegan is simply splendid.
Curried Greens Smashed Potatoes
- 4 medium-large golden potatoes
- 5- to 6- ounce package mixed power greens see note or baby spinach
- 2 scallions sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 cup Indian simmer sauce your favorite variety
- Scrub the potatoes and microwave until done. Start with 2 minutes per potato, then add time as needed. They should be fairly soft, but not collapsed.
- Meanwhile, rinse the greens and wilt down in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Drain well. Return them to the pan and stir in simmer sauce. Be generous without drowning the greens. Cook briefly over medium heat until the mixture comes to a gentle simmer.
- Cut the cooked potatoes in half lengthwise and smash lightly with a large fork. Divide the greens among them and serve at once.
You’ll find power greens shelved near baby spinach and other packaged greens. If you can’t find it, use baby spinach. This dish will taste just as good!