Cookbook Extract: OMD, by Suzy Amis Cameron

This simple, plant-based program to save your health, waistline, and the planet comes out this month and we’ve got 3 great recipes to share from it: “Chicken” Fajitas, a Sun-Dried Tomato and Asparagus Lasagne, and Lemon-Blueberry-Coconut Scones. Yum!

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Change the world, one meal at a time.

Suzy Amis Cameron is a former actor, environmentalist, mum of five and wife of Avatar director James Cameron. Her ground-breaking new book OMD: The Simple, Plant-Based Program to Save Your Health, Save Your Waistline, and Save the Planet comes out this month and has already been endorsed by Jamie Oliver, Arianna Huffington, Jessica Alba, author Michael Greger, and Jane Goodall!

Suzy and James are absolutely committed to spreading the word about the incredible benefits of plant-based eating for our health and our planet. Did you know that if you choose a veggie burger instead of a beef burger, once a day, for one year, you will save:

  • The petrol it takes to drive 15,272km – like driving from Sydney to Perth and back again, TWICE!
  • 662kg of greenhouse gases – the weight of 1.5 grand pianos!
  • 1278049 litres of water – half the water in an Olympic-size swimming pool!

Suzy’s book, OMD, explains how swapping one meat and dairy-based meal for a plant-based one every day can help you lose weight, reverse chronic health concerns, and slash your carbon “foodprint” in half. But OMD is more than just a diet plan, it’s a movement that makes it possible to feel your very best, while doing what’s best for the Earth by taking a meaningful step to reverse climate change.

Thanks to Murdoch Books, here’s three sample recipes so that you can have a taste of the authenticity of Suzy’s voice and motivation: “Chicken” Fajitas, a Sun-Dried Tomato and Asparagus Lasagne, and Lemon-Blueberry-Coconut Scones. Our review of the whole book will follow soon!

“Chicken” Fajitas

This hearty, satisfying classic helps convince many a sceptic that this plant-based thing is totally doable. And while you’re eating, take a bit of inspiration from my friend Kathy Freston, who says it best in her wonderful book Veganist: “It is safe to say whether we are talking about trimming down, living longer and better, reducing animal suffering, helping the global poor, or shrinking our carbon footprint, there are few things you can do that have the broad impact of a plant-based diet.”

Makes 6 servings

2 (250-gram) packages vegan grilled “chicken” strips (such as Beyond Meat)
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chilli powder
¼ cup chopped fresh coriander
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ red onion, sliced
1 red capsicum (pepper), seeded and sliced
1 green capsicum (pepper), seeded and sliced
1 yellow capsicum (pepper), seeded and sliced
12 spelt tortillas
1½ cups shredded vegan cheese
1½ cups Really Great Guacamole (page 254)
Hot sauce (optional)

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the “chicken,” lime juice, cumin, chilli powder and coriander. Toss to coat evenly. Set aside.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and capsicums. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
  3. In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the seasoned “chicken” and cook until it is warmed through, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the “chicken” to the platter with the capsicum and onion and keep warm until ready to serve. Serve the fajitas family style with tortillas, cheese and guacamole so that everyone can assemble their own. Pass the hot sauce to whomever wants some.

Per serving: 580 calories; 19 g fat (5 g saturated fat); 68 g carbohydrates; 10 g fibre; 30 g protein; 0 mg cholesterol; 980 mg sodium

Swapping out 680 grams of chicken and 1½ cups dairy cheese, you save about: 7 kilometres of driving, 4 square metres of land, 1,440 litres of water.

Brad and Sandy’s Sun-Dried Tomato and Asparagus Lasagne

With a deep passion for engaging community through food, Brad and Sandy Elliott have created comforting and familiar Italian classics for the last twenty-five years in their catering business. Shifting their mind-set to emphasize health and the environment, Brad and Sandy now make their signature meals fully plant-based. This plant-based version of one of their old restaurant’s recipes is a favourite on the Avatar set (where Brad and Sandy cater daily meals for 150 cast and crew members). Please don’t let the number of steps hold you back; there are a lot of parts to assemble, but this dish is so sublime, it will convert even the most sceptical folk in your house!

Makes 10 servings

12 lasagne sheets
1 onion, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (450-gram) package extra-firm silken tofu, drained
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Juice of 1 lemon
1½ teaspoons salt
2 (225-gram) jars sun-dried tomatoes, drained
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
3 vegan Italian sausages (about 225 grams), coarsely chopped
2 bunches asparagus (about 900 grams), chopped
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (225-gram) package shredded vegan mozzarella
2 tablespoons vegan buttery spread, cut into small pieces

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Coat a 33 x 23-centimetre baking dish with oil.
  2. Cook the lasagne sheets according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the onion and garlic and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer about half the onion mixture to a small bowl and set aside.
  4. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining onion mixture to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown, 5 minutes. Return the onion mixture to the work bowl of the food processor and add the tofu, the 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Transfer the tofu mixture to a medium bowl and set aside.
  5. Rinse out the work bowl and return it to the food processor. Put the tomatoes, basil and remaining ¼ cup nutritional yeast in the work bowl and pulse until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Transfer the tomato mixture to a medium bowl and set aside.
  6. Without rinsing out the work bowl, add the sausage and pulse until finely chopped.
  7. In the same pan you used for the onion, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add half the remaining raw onion mixture and the sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is browned and slightly crispy, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage mixture to a medium bowl and set aside.
  8. In the same pan, combine the remaining raw onion mixture, the asparagus, water, pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until the asparagus is bright green and tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  9. To assemble the lasagne, spread a small amount of the tomato mixture over the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange 4 lasagne sheets side by side over the tomato layer and top with thin layers of the following: one-third of the tofu mixture, half the sausage, half the asparagus, one-third of the tomato mixture and ½ cup of the cheese. Repeat in the same order to form a second layer of each ingredient. Top with the remaining 4 sheets, followed by the remaining tofu mixture, tomato mixture and cheese. Dot the top of the lasagne with the buttery spread. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, uncovered, before serving.

Per serving: 410 calories; 19 g fat (2 g saturated fat); 46 g carbohydrates;7 g fibre; 20 g protein; 0 mg cholesterol; 1,040 mg sodium

Swapping out 225 grams each of beef and dairy mozzarella cheese, 425 grams of dairy ricotta cheese, 2 tablespoons butter and 2 eggs, you save about: 69 kilometres of driving, 119 square metres of land, 8,767 litres of water.

Lemon-Blueberry-Coconut Scones

These scones are just scrumptious, and a huge crowd-pleaser at MUSE during afternoon snack. They call for a flax egg, a mixture of ground flaxseed and water that takes the place of the traditional egg in this recipe.

Makes 12 scones

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
3 tablespoons warm water
2 cups plain flour, plus more as needed
5 tablespoons vegan buttery spread
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a rimmed baking tray with baking paper.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the flaxseed and warm water. Set aside and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture thickens.
  3. In a food processor, combine the flour, buttery spread, sugar, coconut, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Pulse until thoroughly combined. Transfer the flour mixture to a large bowl.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Add the milk mixture and the flax “egg” mixture to the flour mixture. Stir with a spoon until just incorporated. Mix in the blueberries. The dough will be slightly sticky but should pull away from the sides of the bowl; if it seems too sticky, add an extra tablespoon of flour.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a disc about 1 centimetre thick. Cut the dough into 12 wedges and arrange them 5 centimetres apart on the baking tray.
  6. Bake the scones until lightly browned, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Per scone: 125 calories; 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat); 24 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 0 mg cholesterol; 150 mg sodium

Swapping out 5 tablespoons butter and ¾ cup dairy milk, you save about: 2.4 kilometres of driving, 0.56 square metre of land, 503 litres of water.

Text and recipes from OMD, by Suzy Amis Cameron, Murdoch Books, RRP $32.99.

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