Recipes and Relationship Tips From Two 'Lusty Vegans'

Recipes and Relationship Tips From 'The Lusty Vegan' (Source: dating a new romantic partner, we all have different ways of assessing compatibility, be it star signs, political leanings or common interests. (You both love hockey! And shopping! Must be a match made in heaven. Or not.) While you never know until you know, another oft-overlooked love connection factor just might be dietary preferences. For example, what happens when one vegan falls for a carnivore? Can the relationship work?

In their fun new book, The Lusty Vegan ($22, out today from Vegan Heritage Press), Chef Ayindé Howell and Zoe Eisenberg explore just that very question. Part cookbook, part relationship manifesto, the co-authors share insights on food and love between vegans and omnivores, plus 80 original recipes by Ayindé. Although both are vegans, neither have ever dated one! "Having been vegan all my life, I have noticed the reaction [from dates,]" says Ayindé. "It's usually concern mixed with shock—'Is that why you're so skinny?'"

Recipes and Relationship Tips From 'The Lusty Vegan' (Source: Vegan Heritage Press)So how do you deal when, as the authors quip, "one partner wants a cheeseburger and the other wants a tempeh slider?" "This is the struggle," explains Ayindé. "You have to bite the bullet and just think of everything you like about the person, while they nosh on the very thing you could never do." That said, we asked Eisenberg for her top three "inter-palate" relationship benefits:

It's a Conversation Starter
"It opens up a dialogue you might not have otherwise," she points out. "When one of you is vegan and the other is not, you will undoubtedly have the 'why vegan?' conversation, which will lead you to talk about a variety of things, from ethical beliefs to health, economical, environmental and spiritual ideals."

You Learn to Compromise
"If you don't see plate to plate when it comes to food, you will have to compromise to make the relationship work, especially during the more serious stages of a relationship, like living together or starting a family. Of course, veganism isn't just about food; it also highlights ethical and moral differences between you and potential partners. However, when the relationship is with the right person, it's easier to make small sacrifices to make it work."

You Cook More 
"For centuries, mealtime has served as a way to bring people and communities together. If you're vegan, unless you live in a super vegan-friendly city and have an unlimited budget, you will likely cook more. Hopefully, you and your significant other will cook together. Cooking and eating with your partner is a great bonding experience."

Inspired? Try the duo's recipe for vegan Hearts of Palm Lobster Rolls.

Recipes and Relationship Tips From 'The Lusty Vegan' (Source: Vegan Heritage Press)Ingredients:
2 1/2 tablespoons grape seed or safflower oil
1 14-ounce can hearts of palm (not packed with sugar), rough chopped to consistency of crab meat
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
2 6-inch hoagie rolls
Vegan butter
Lemon wedges, to serve

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the hearts of palm and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Set aside to cool. Add the celery and peppers and mix well.
2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, three to four minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
3. Remove from the heat and add the onion mixture to the hearts of palm. Mix well. Add the Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice and mayo.
4. Toast the hoagie rolls until gold brown, then butter the insides.
5. Divide the hearts of palm mixture between both rolls. Serve warm with wedges of lemon.

From The Lusty Vegan © 2014 by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg. Used with permission from Vegan Heritage Press.