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Inspiralized: Turn Vegetables Into Healthy, Creative, Satisfying Meals: A Cookbook

Turn Vegetables into Healthy, Creative, Satisfying Meals: A Cookbook

Ali Maffucci

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The definitive cookbook for using a spiralizer: the kitchen gadget that turns vegetables and fruits into imaginative, low-carb dishes.

On her wildly popular blog, Inspiralized, Ali Maffucci is revolutionizing healthy eating. Whether you're low-carb, gluten-free, Paleo, or raw, you don't have to give up the foods you love. Inspiralized shows you how to transform more than 20 vegetables and fruits into delicious meals that look and taste just like your favorite indulgent originals. Zucchini turns into pesto spaghetti; jicama becomes shoestring fries; sweet potatoes lay the foundation for fried rice; plantains transform into "tortillas" for huevos rancheros.

Ali's recipes for breakfast, snacks, appetizers, sandwiches, soups, salads, casseroles, rices, pastas, and even desserts are easy to follow, hard to mess up, healthful, and completely fresh and flavorful. Best of all, she tells you how to customize them for whatever vegetables you have on hand and whatever your personal goal may be-losing weight, following a healthier lifestyle, or simply making easy meals at home.

Here, too, are tons of technical tips and tricks; nutritional information for each dish and every vegetable you can possibly spiralize; and advice for spiralizing whether you're feeding just yourself, your family, or even a crowd. So bring on a hearty appetite and a sense of adventure-you're ready to make the most of this secret weapon for healthy cooking.

Combining her inherent Italian-American love for pasta with her commitment to a healthy lifestyle,
ALI MAFFUCCI launched She lives in Jersey City with her fiancé, Lu.


Einband Taschenbuch
Seitenzahl 224
Erscheinungsdatum 24.02.2015
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-8041-8683-4
Verlag Random House N.Y.
Maße (L/B/H) 23,1/18,7/2,2 cm
Gewicht 645 g
Abbildungen farbige Abbildungen


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    If I had a dollar for every time my grandparents said, “We’re on a diet—we’re giving up pasta, wine, and cheese,” I wouldn’t be here writing this book. I’d be living on an island with my riches.


    Sunday-night dinners at the home of my father’s parents were always quite the scene. My sweet grandmother—a woman who proudly donned her Sunday best for Mass and washed my mouth out with soap for saying “pee” instead of “tinkle”—would be burning something in the oven and scuffling about the kitchen with a spoon in her hand, dripping sauce on the tiled floors. But despite the chaos, Pops, with his big gold pinky ring, strong nose, and all-consuming love of the motherland, always managed to prepare a flawless meatball or the perfect pesto.


    Cooking was always the main event. The party didn’t start when everyone arrived for dinner; it started when the first glug of olive oil hit the pan, signaling the beginning of a beautiful, delicious Italian meal. We were all pulled in not only by the smell of a fresh marinara simmering but also by the clinks of wineglasses filled with full-bodied reds and sounds of Pops’s favorite Frank Sinatra album (if you could hear the songs over his own renditions). The sight of Pops twirling my grandmother around to “That’s Amore” is unforgettable.


    Eating was another spectacle. My father would fight anyone for the last piece of bread to dip in the sauce left on his plate—God forbid we didn’t savor every last drop. The wine flowed, and my grandmother constantly got up to bring something else to the table, whether olive oil, more bread, or freshly grated Parmesan. Despite conversations that could be either negative or positive, the mood was always jovial, simply because we were eating. We gorged ourselves on pasta, meats, wine, and cheese nearly to the point of discomfort—yet we never missed dessert. And that was always an assortment of Italian pastries from a molto bene bakery—biscotti, sfogliatelle, pignoli. My personal favorite was cannoli and Sambuca, the little espresso beans floating in that sweet anise-flavored liquor paired with decadent ricotta-filled pastry. By the time we left my grandparents we had eaten our weight in carbohydrates, but we were happy. My grandmother and Pops would walk us out the front door and wait to wave good-bye as we drove out the driveway. Everyone was already excited for the next Sunday.


    When I had the opportunity to spend a college semester studying abroad, I of course went to Italy. I treated every day as if it were Sunday night dinner at my grandparents’. I devoured pizzas, polished off aromatic Chiantis, ripped through caprese salads, slurped up giant portions of pasta bolognese, and dipped fresh semolina bread into whatever I could get my hands on. I might as well have just slurped olive oil straight from the bottle. When I returned home, I had to face the consequences of my indulgences: high numbers on the scale. I had put on an embarassing 20 pounds during my indulgent European semester, bringing my grand total weight gain to 50 pounds since freshman year. When I saw that number, I knew something had to change.


    I gave myself some leniency, as I was suffering withdrawal from la dolce vita, after all. Then my friend Sarah gave me a book on—are you sitting down?—veganism. Despite fear of a painful good-bye to sausage, mozzarella, thick pestos, meatballs, and white pastas and breads, I was quickly sold on the promises of slender arms and skinny thighs. In August 2008, I began a two-year stint as a vegan and it worked: I lost 60 pounds and obtained the arms and thighs of my dreams. But, there was one big problem: Sunday night dinners at my grandparents’ were different—and not in a good way. Telling my family I was a vegan was like telling them I was moving to the most desolate corner of the world. Whole-grain pasta and multigrain bread just weren’t part of Pops’s vocabulary. Luckily, my grandparents’ unconditional love prevailed, and they made extra dishes for me: more vegetables, whole wheat spaghetti, and pasta fagioli. It just wasn’t the same, though.


    As a result of adopting veganism, I learned how to cook creatively and healthfully, discovered new types of food, and became empowered by my knowledge of fresh, clean eating and its immense health benefits. As an Italian-American and lover of pastas and savory foods, I still struggled with portion control—until my mother introduced me to the spiralizer. After that, my life changed.


    So, how did it all start?


    My mother is a Type 1 diabetic. This type of diabetes, which often begins in childhood, is known as insulin-dependent diabetes because the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone that normally converts glucose (sugar) into energy. If not managed properly, this chronic diabetes can cause serious health problems, such as kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, fatal heart disease, and stroke. Although there are many causes for diabetes, my mother initially developed gestational diabetes, becoming diabetic while pregnant. In 2012, when I was living in Hoboken, New Jersey, she started seeing a health coach who suggested she try raw veganism, a diet that excludes not only all animal products but also foods cooked above a temperature of about 118°F.


    A few weeks later, on vacation in Florida, she researched raw vegan restaurants and found one nearby. She figured she would try out restaurant-quality raw food before committing to the lifestyle. She ordered a “Dragon Bowl,” which listed zucchini noodles as one of its ingredients. My mother was impressed and amazed by it—so much so that she told me about the dish right away. She wanted to re-create those zucchini noodles at home, but she didn’t know how.


    A few months later, in New York City, we went to a raw organic restaurant called Pure Food and Wine. We had an incredible meal, so my mother was committed to eating more vegan and plant-based foods. She bought the restaurant’s cookbook, and that’s when she discovered the spiralizer. One of the recipes in the book was for zucchini noodles.


    My mother insisted I should try these noodles, but I was incredulous: how could a vegetable noodle taste like pasta, especially to someone who had grown up eating so much pasta? Then, one Sunday evening she made me a dish with them. I was floored. I was expecting something either crunchy and raw or mushy and overcooked, but what I tasted was the same lovely consistency of al dente pasta. Honestly, if my eyes had been closed, I would have thought she served me real spaghetti!


    Always looking for new ways to eat healthfully, I was captivated. Most important, I regretted not having tried it sooner. I apologized for being so stubborn, and I thanked my mother. She sent me home with her spiralizer and bought another for herself.


    I counted the hours at work the next day, eager to go home and make zucchini noodles for my dinner that night. I decided to make a tomato-basil pasta with cannellini beans, roasted artichokes, and shrimp. In just minutes, I had a pasta dish that was low-calorie, low-carb, and nutritious. And it seemed to come so naturally. Although my mother had presented the zucchini noodles as a spaghetti replacement, I saw that they had greater potential. As soon as I started turning the handle of my spiralizer, recipe ideas began filling my head.


    Lu, my boyfriend at the time, had no idea what I was doing, of course. He was just hungry, as usual. When the meal was ready, I tasted the dish and knew I had something special. Lu took his first bite, threw his head back, and roared “Mmmm!”


    “I know, right?” I said excitedly.


    Immediately, he responded, “How come everyone doesn’t know about this?”


    For the next three months, all I could do was think about spiralizing. If I went to a coffee shop on the weekend, I’d bring my laptop to write recipes, and I left wanting to test them that evening. I felt this great urge to create. After years of working in static corporate environments, I finally had an outlet: spiralizing had inspired me! Simply put, I was Inspiralized, and I wanted to Inspiralize others.


    The more I cooked spiralized meals, the more convinced I became of their potential. I started posting pictures of my spiralized dinners on my social media channels, and my friends commented back, asking for the recipes. When I told them the noodles were made with a spiralizer, they bought their own to get started. I was creating buzz in my own social circle, so I knew the idea would catch on just as quickly with the rest of the world.


    I was especially happy to tell everyone on low-carb diets that pasta and noodle bowls could be enjoyed again, and not just on “cheat day.” Like them, I was tired of green juices and boring lean proteins and veggies for dinner. I also couldn’t find truly diet-friendly food that tasted great. But now I had the key to that castle!


    When I searched online for “spiralized recipes,” everything that turned up was raw, vegan, or both. The only recipes I could find stuck to three basic veggies: carrots, cucumbers, and zucchini. No one was capturing the true power of the spiralizer.


    Finally, in June 2013, after mustering up the necessary courage, I walked into my boss’s office and quit my job. Then I rushed home, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and purchased the domain name That next morning, I walked into a coffee shop across the street, opened up my laptop, and without a clue as to how to start a blog, I wrote my first post and began drafting a business plan.


    In order to create and test recipes that did not exclude any types of eaters, I went from vegan to pescatarian to omnivore again. Reintroducing these favorite foods to my diet was welcomed, not feared. I took a culinary journey that allowed me to manage my waistline as I adapted all my food knowledge to this new spiralized way of cooking. My body has slimmed down, my skin glows, and I have more energy than ever before.


    Most important? Sunday dinners at my grandparents’ house are again satisfying and delicious.