Sunday, November 15, 2015

Lani Muelrath's The Plant-Based Journey: Review, give away + recipe for cranberry sauce with dates and oranges

I am delighted to share this review and give away of Lani Muelrath's new book The Plant-Based Journey. Whilst there are many vegan-focused recipe books out there, this contribution stands out because it focuses more broadly on the whole lifestyle of plant-based eating. There is easily accessible science (reminiscent of The China Study but in summary form); helpful descriptions of plant-based food groups and how they can combine to give different meals; an actual meal plan example; and then both recipe templates (including customizable bases for burgers, soups and bowl meals...) and specific recipes.

Lani Muelrath has an impressive reputation as an author, speaker and teacher on plant-based and mindful living. She has a qualification in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University and is active in promoting a plant-based lifestyle in the US. In The Plant-Based Journey. she draws on her own 40-odd years of plant-based eating experience.

Cranberry sauce with dates and oranges
I mentioned that the book has a broad focus. It does this without being overwhelming because it is divided into distinct sections: why plant-based eating may be helpful (Section 1: Awakening), key nutritional principles for a plant-based diet (Section 2: Scout), how to start making the transition and make use of meal templates (Section 3: Rookie), how to integrate plant-based eating into travel and socialising (Section 4: Rock star), a 10-day plant-based makeover (Section 5: Champion), and then notes on exercise, case studies and specific recipes (Section 6: Key supporting players). I liked all of the sections but was particularly drawn to the meal templates and recipes.

I also liked the diversity of recipes included in the book. Dishes like black bean polenta pie, portobello pot roast and pumpkin muffins are particularly well-suited to our current autumn weather. The lime chipotle chickpeas (featured below) are suited to any weather and may be the best chickpeas I've had (which says a lot!). I enjoyed them hot and cold, in a jacket potato and on top of a bagel thin with kale. The flavour was amazing given the marinade took 5 minutes to make.

Lime chipotle chickpeas

The recipe I'm sharing with you is for cranberry sauce with dates and oranges. Fresh cranberries just don't exist in Australia (imported or otherwise) so it is still a novely to be able to buy cranberries and make things like cranberry sauce from scratch. If you don't have fresh berries available, frozen would work too, although I know even they can be tricky to source in some places.

It is worth finding cranberries if you're able to because this sauce is so much better than commercial options. In fact, I would put it in a completely different category. Whilst it would go well with savoury dishes, nut roasts and even (should you not be fully plant-based) turkey, it's also delicious in yoghurt, with sweet potato and probably even on oats.

Cranberry Sauce with Dates & Oranges 
Recipe from Lani Muelrath's The Plant-Based Journey, published September 2015 by BenBella Books, Inc

Shared with the kind permission of Lani Muelrath and BenBella Books, Inc.

Yields about 2 cups

8 Medjool dates, pitted 
Juice from 1 orange 
1/4 cup water 
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries (about 2½ cups or 200g) 
1 tablespoon orange zest 


1. Soak the dates in the orange juice for a few hours or overnight. 

2. In a high-powered blender or food processor, blend the dates with the juice and the water. 

3. Put the date mixture in a large pot with the cranberries and orange zest. Cook over high heat for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes. Add more water as needed so the mixture stays liquid though dense, like thick, chunky applesauce. Remove from the heat. 

4. Let cool and store in the refrigerator. Serve as you would any cranberry sauce: with holiday dinners, or on cooked whole grains, mashed potatoes, your morning oatmeal, or to perk up a sandwich. 

Note. If you’re in a hurry, you can probably skip soaking the dates. If you do, cook them for a few minutes longer to soften.

I have a digital version of The Plant-Based Journey to give away. Entries are open worldwide! To enter, just leave a comment below. Entries close at the end of the month (30th November 2015).

I received a complimentary print version of The Plant-Based Journey. All opinions are my own.


  1. I haven't heard of this book before, but lime and chipotle chickpeas is something we eat a lot of in our house!

    1. Dannii, what timing! I just made a big batch of the Lime Chipotle Chickpeas recipe from The Plant-Based Journey in preparation for an upcoming TV spot on CBS TV! They've asked me to come in for a segment about Whole Food Plant-Based Party Hors D'oeuvres. These are really good and I hope you get a chance to make them soon - easy too!

  2. Wow, fresh cranberries do exist - they really are unicorns here. Sounds like an interesting book.

  3. This book actually sounds perfect for my sister who is a new vegan and wanting to lose weight. The meal templates sound really useful! Thank you for hosting the giveaway :)

    1. Good luck to your sister as she starts her vegan experience!

  4. I would be devastated without easy access to fresh cranberries - I love juicing them with cucumber and orange! This is one of the nicest cranberry sauce recipes I've seen in that it doesn't include a pound of sugar (yay for dates).

  5. I am jealous that you have fresh cranberries to cook with - and the book looks great - I quite fancy those chickpeas - great to have a batch of those as they would give so many meals a boost - I would love them in a taco - are there many photos in the book?

    1. There aren't really photos other than on the cover - I guess because parts of the book are more information / guidance rather than all recipes. I didn't miss them as much as I usually would in recipe books.

  6. This looks like a great book. And I love the idea of sweetening cranberry sauce with dates instead of sugar.

    gaia at cinci dot rr dot com

  7. I really could use this book due to going vegan and gluten free the last 2 weeks due to medical findings!!! pretty please!!! lol :)

    1. Good luck on your new eating approach! I'll keep my fingers crossed your name comes out when the winner is randomly selected :-)

  8. Sounds like a great book! I could have used it when I went vegan ;p
    The cranberry sauce sounds really lovely and a perfect holiday accompaniment =)


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