Chef Del Sroufe’s New Book: Better Than Vegan

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Better Than Vegan: 101 Favorite Low-Fat, Plant-Based Recipes That Helped Me Lose Over 200 Pounds

Guess what??  Chef Del Sroufe stopped by PBJ to share a recipe from his new book, chat with the PBJ Family, AND give a copy of his book to a lucky PBJ subscriber. 

I am thrilled to be included in the #BetterThanVegan2014 book tour.  The PBJ Family is going to LOVE this book.  What better way to dive into this book, than to experience one of Chef Del’s mouth-watering recipes.  With permission from the publisher, BenBella Books has agreed to share with the PBJ Family:

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Enchiladas (pg. 210) 


Photo by Robert Metzger

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Enchiladas
Serves 4
Shared with permission from BenBella publisher. "These are my favorite enchiladas. The very versatile sweet potato goes south of the border with some unusual spices like cinnamon and allspice. For the Chili Gravy: This is my favorite enchilada gravy. It's not too spicy, but you can add some heat with a little cayenne pepper, and it has that rich creamy texture without the cream. For the Cauliflower Puree: Traditional white sauces are made from cream or milk. Vegan white sauces are usually made with plant milk or silken tofu. My favorite white sauce is made from cauliflower puree. It is one of the most adaptable sauces I make, and much like its dairy-based counterpart, it takes on the flavor of whatever you use to season it."
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Sweet Potato-Black Bean Enchiladas
  1. 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  2. 1 medium sweet potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and diced small
  3. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  5. 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  7. 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  9. Zest and juice of 1 lime
  10. 2 cups cooked black beans
  11. Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  12. 12 6-inch corn tortillas
  13. 3 cups Chili Gravy (page 101) see below
  14. 1/2 cup chopped green onions (garnish)
Chili Gravy (makes about 3 cups)
  1. 1 small yellow onion, minced
  2. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  4. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  5. 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  6. 3 cups Cauliflower Puree (page 72) see below
  7. Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Cauliflower Puree (makes 2 cups, so double the recipe)
  1. 3 cups cauliflower florets
  2. 3/4 to 1 cup water, vegetable stock, or Basic Soup Stock (page 146)
  3. Sea Salt to taste
Chili Gravy
  1. Saute the onion over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the onion from sticking. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano, and cook for another minute. Add the cauliflower puree and cook for 2 to 4 minutes until the sauce is hot. Season with salt and pepper.
Cauliflower Puree
  1. Place the cauliflower in a steamer and cook until very tender, about 8 to 10 minutes Place the florets in a blender and puree with enough water to make a creamy consistency. Season with salt.
Sweet Potato-Black Bean Enchiladas
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Saute the onion in a large skillet for 5 minutes, adding water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the onion from sticking. Add the sweet potato and 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the potatoes are tender, about 7 or 8 minutes. Remove the cover and let the water evaporate from the pan. Add the garlic, jalapeno pepper, and spices, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the lime zest and juice and black beans, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes longer.
  3. Heat another large skillet over medium heat. Add 4 tortillas to the pan and heat them a few minutes until they soften. Turn them over and heat 2 minutes more. Remove them from the pan and set them aside. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
  4. To make the enchiladas, spoon 3/4 cup of the chili gravy on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Spoon a heaping 1/4 cup of the black bean mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll the tortillas up and place them in the backing dish, seam side down. Cover with the remaining gravy and bake for 20 minutes. Serve garnished with the chopped green onions.
Cauliflower Puree Variation
  1. Coconut-Cauliflower Puree -Add 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract to the blender and puree with the cauliflower and water.
Plant-Based Junkies


Now that our bellies are happy and full on plant-based goodness, here is a bit about the book.

About the Book

“Eating healthy just got a whole lot easier.

The science is very clear. A whole-foods, plant-based diet is the healthiest possible way to eat—but veganism itself doesn’t mean health, as Chef Del Sroufe, author of the New York Times bestseller Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, knows better than anyone. Sroufe managed to reach 475 pounds while eating a vegan diet rich in pastries, peanut butter, and potato chips. After converting to a vegan diet with minimal processed foods, sugars and added oils, he lost more than 240 pounds without giving up great food.

In Better than Vegan, Sroufe provides more than a hundred recipes that prove that the healthiest diet can also be the most delicious. Included in Better than Vegan are dishes such as:

• Portobello Wraps with Spicy Asian Slaw
• Gnocchi
• Three Sisters Enchiladas
• Lemon Berry Sorbet

In Better Than Vegan*, Sroufe tells his remarkable personal journey of how he went on to lose hundreds of pounds on a healthy vegan diet and then shares the kinds of meals (with no oil and low in fat and sugar) that restored him to health.

With photographs by Robert Metzger and coauthored by Mad Cowboy coauthor Glen Merzer, Better Than Vegan offers healthy and professional cooking tips with nutritional advice to help you achieve the optimal vegan diet.”

About the Author


Del Sroufe

“Del Sroufe’s passion for cooking began at eight years old and never faded.  In 1989 he went to work for one of Columbus’ premier vegetarian restaurants, the King Avenue Coffeehouse, where he honed his craft as a baker and chef.  Sroufe opened Del’s Bread, a vegan bakery, before beginning vegan meal delivery service in 2001, serving eclectic plant-based cuisine to Columbus residents.  During this time, he developed what became a very popular cooking class series, sharing many of the delicious recipes he had created over the years.

In 2006, Sroufe joined Wellness Forum Foods as co-owner and chef, where he continued the tradition of delivering great tasting, plant-based meals to clients in Columbus as well as throughout the continental U.S.  Sroufe also joined The Wellness Forum as a member where, after a lifetime of yo-yo dieting, he has lost over 200 pounds on a low fat, plant-based diet.  He continues to teach cooking classes at local venues like Whole Foods, Community Recreating Centers, and The Wellness Forum.  Sroufe is the author of Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook*, a vegan cookbook companion to the acclaimed documentary Forks Over Knives*.”


Glen Merzer

Glen Merzer is coauthor with Pamela A. Popper, PhD, ND, of Food Over Medicine*, with Howard Lynman of Mad Cowboy*, with Howard Lyman and Joanna Samorow-Merzer of No More Bull!*, and with Chef AJ of Unprocessed*.  Merzer is also a playwright and screenwriter, having most recently completed a screenplay from Mad Cowboy*.  He has been a vegetarian for 40 years and a vegan for the last 20.

q and a
Chat with Chef Del


PBJ:  Chef Del, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for the PBJ Family.  Speaking of busy schedule, what do you enjoy doing, during your downtime?  What are your hobbies, and interests?

Chef Del: I work too many hours so when I do have free time, I like to spend time with friends and family. I love going to see movies on the big screen and have a few guilty pleasures on tv. Music is a huge part of my life and in addition to listening to music as much as possible, I like to sing. I recently bought a keyboard so I could teach myself to play.


PBJ:  The section in your book, “Cooking with Plants”, is not only helpful to those that have never stepped one foot in the kitchen (that would have been ME two years ago, lol), but for all of us eager to learn how to cook without all of the added fat, such as oil.  I found it very easy to transition to cooking without oil, and I actually learned quite a bit from your book, about how to do so more efficiently, and with more flavor.  Would you mind sharing some of your tips to cooking without oil, with our PBJ readers, and why it is so important to our health, to not use oil?

Chef Del: Here’s my basic how to saute without oil from the book: “Sautéing without oil is a pretty straightforward process, whether you’re sautéing vegetables as a side dish or doing a stir-fry. You start out with a dry pan and make it warm. Keep in mind that some vegetables have more water in them than others. Onions, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, fennel, beets, and celery have high water contents, so they tend to do quite well in that oil-free environment. Add vegetables in order of their cooking time, and try to factor in how much water is in the vegetables. Higher-water content vegetables go in the pan first, and the low-water content vegetables generally go last—eggplant, broccoli, snow peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, zucchini. It’s a good idea, for example, to put onions and carrots in first, since they are water-rich and have a long cooking time. Use the water-rich vegetables to help provide liquid for the cooking of water-deficient vegetables. Sauté broccoli with onion, for example, and sauté cauliflower with mushrooms. You should need to add very little liquid to the pan when you sauté. A residue will build up on the bottom of the pan—that’s caramelization—and you should scrape the brown off the bottom of the pan as you cook and retain those flavors in the dish.”

Oil free baking is a little more complex but applesauce is my favorite fat substitute. It works well for most recipes and helps keep baked goods moist.

Keeping dietary fat to a minimum is important in a society where ⅔ of us are overweight. excess dietary fat is a major contributor to excess body weight–every tablespoon of oil you use in cooking has 128 calories and 14 grams of fat.Another way to think about it is if you eat 100 extra calories a year, you can gain 10 pounds. When I first started my weight loss journey, getting rid of the oil in my cooking was the first thing I did.”


PBJ:  After reading your journey thus far, it is apparent that you are truly an inspiration.  Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.  Who inspires you, and what words of wisdom could you share with the PBJ family that would encourage, and inspire them to give this plant-based lifestyle a try, and/or stick with it?

Chef Del:   “There are a lot of great scientists and doctors like Dr. T Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, and others, who spent decades researching the relationship between diet and health. Having that foundation of science to show how important the right diet is, makes it easier to teach others.

I find a lot of inspiration in meeting people like myself, who have walked away from traditional medicine and let food be our medicine. There is nothing more empowering that watching someone regain their health using nature’s best gift–food.

The most important thing I would say to people is to put their trust into good science, and learn to know the difference between good science and psuedo science and advertising. We are bombarded everyday with half-truths and advertising that does not have our best interest at heart. The low-fat, whole food, plant-based diet works, not only to prevent disease, but often to reverse it too. How empowering is that?”


Thank you again, Chef Del, for taking time to chat with the PBJ Family.  I am looking forward to making your 101 Favorite Low-Fat, Plant-Based Recipes, that helped you lose over 200 pounds.  YOU ROCK!!


I was asked:  What will you do in 2014 to better yourself?

There are many items on my list.  Primarily, I plan on reading all of the MANY informative books in my PBJ library, and continuing to educate myself on this amazing plant-based lifestyle. 

My PBJ Library is GROWING!!

My PBJ Library is GROWING!!

I will be the first to admit that I have been slacking when it comes to taking care of ME.  I have been so focused on trying to help others, that I have taken the focus off of myself, my health and well-being.  Do not get me wrong, I do not plan to stop helping others.  It is just that I have found that I am more effective at helping others, when I focus on improving ME.   



The publisher, BenBella Books, has generously offered to send one lucky PBJ reader a copy of Better Than Vegan:  101 Favorite Low-Fat, Plant-Based Recipes That Helped Me Lose Over 200 Pounds. 

This contest is open to entrants in the USA and Canada only

To be entered into the giveaway and qualify, you must follow/subscribe to this blog by email or RSS feed, and answer this question, by leaving a comment below:  “What will you do in 2014 to better yourself?”. 

Deadline is midnight (CST), Wednesday, January 15th.

The winner will be e-mailed on Thursday, January 16th.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond, or another lucky PBJ reader will be chosen.  Once the winner has responded, I will announce them here on this blog post.

If for some reason you do not win a copy of this amazing book…don’t worry! CLICK HERE* to grab your very own paperback copy.  CLICK HERE* for the Kindle Version.  You do not necessarily need a kindle to read the kindle version of this book.  Download the free Amazon Kindle App, and you can view the book from your smartphone, pad, computer, etc…

NOW….Are you ready to WIN this book??

 Congrats to Nancy Brightwell,
the winner of our Giveaway

Follow Chef Del on his book tour here:  #BetterThanVegan2014

We would LOVE for you to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.

Disclosure: The publisher sent me a copy of the book to review. This post contains affiliate links, indicated by a *.


  1. Kathy smith says:

    For 2014 my goal is to become a model of what healthy eating can do for you. Many people think this lifestyle is difficult but I look at the benefits and am focused.

  2. Sue Ellen B. says:

    I just retired after a very stressful career in health care. 2014 is the year that I reclaim my life and health!

  3. Maggie says:

    What will you do in 2014 to better yourself?

    Working out! I changed my diet to WFPBNO in 2014, so 2014 I’m working to complement that with regular aerobic and strength-training workouts.

  4. Kelly Garbato says:

    I’m trying to eat healthier (2013 was the year of the junk food vegan at my house), and I’d also like to start fostering dogs now that we have the time and resources to do so!

  5. Cheryl Nybo says:

    We started a WFPB eating pattern about 4 months ago and will continue to learn more, read more and improve our food choices in 2014. We feel so much better now and you are never too old to start. We are 71 Thanks for the chance to win this great book

  6. Terri Cole says:

    In 2014 my plan is to continue improving myself by reaching a healthy size. Chef Del is an such inspiration to me because I am a fat vegan! I have lost 60 pounds and need to lose another 50-60. I think this book could help me achieve my goal. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  7. Sara Valdez says:

    In 2014, my goal is to keep with the healthy plant-based food and ditch the vegan junk food, run my first 5K, and teach my kids how to eat right to live strong

  8. Brandie says:

    To better myself in 2014, I’m going to be making lots of yummy dishes. Cont being animal product free. And laugh more.

  9. Nancy Brightwell says:

    I will continue on this plant-based journey and try to do better with the elimination of oil, salt, and sugar.

  10. julie bell says:

    In 2014, my goal is to learn the plant based lifestyle. I have dabbled in it but need to do more research to find out what foods are critical to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I am a lazy cook and would live on a simple salad if it would support me. I have also eaten some amazing plant based meals. This is what I want to learn about

  11. LaJuana Dunn says:

    I pledge to myself to become stronger physically, more flexible, have better balance and continue to eat Plant Strong Whole Foods every day of 2014!

  12. Cassie says:

    To better myself in 2014…
    …I’m creating more healthy habits in my life, like eating a salad a day and exercising 4-6 days of the week.

  13. Deb E says:

    Ten days in, I’m doing very well with replacing healthy green tea for the tons of coffee I was drinking. Also kettlebell exercises are more consistent, so yay me! Follow you on RSS feed.

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