Living the veg life, one meal at a time
Sprouts and Chocolate Interviews Author Marni Wasserman
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Sprouts and Chocolate Interviews Author Marni Wasserman on her new book Plant Based Diet For Dummies

If you are considering going plant based, I would highly recommend this book because it not only has a great selection of recipes such as: Super Chia Banana Porridge, Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie, Carob Fig Frozen Fudge and Chunky Miso Soup, just to name a few but this isn’t just another cookbook. This book contains valuable information on the benefits of going plant based and with Wasserman’s credentials she discusses science and nutrition along with cooking tips, being a savvy shopper and navigating restaurants and special occasion dining. If you are feeling overwhelmed about changing your lifestyle and eating habits, this book is a winner. 

A little about Marni Wasserman:

Marni entertained the idea of becoming a vegetarian at the age of thirteen influenced by her best friend and her family whom were vegetarian. While her staples at the time were pre-packaged vegetarian meal (ie veggie nuggets), eggs and potatoes with ketchup, her diet has evolved to a whole foods, plant based diet.

Since then, Marni has studied at York University where she received an Honours B.A in Kinesiology and Health Science, The Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto (now on the faculty), the Natural Gourmet Culinary School in New York making her a personal trainer, holistic nutritionist and a certified chef. And if these titles weren’t enough she has added author and owner of Marni Wasserman’s Food Studio and Lifestyle shop. She is the author of Fermenting for Dummies and now Plant Based Diet for Dummies, which gives reader the 101 of going plant-based along with many delicious and easy recipes to help you transition. In case you are a little less experienced in the kitchen or want to know more about going raw or gluten free, Marni teaches classes for every level at her newly located food studio at 510 Eglinton Avenue West in Toronto.

S&C Interviews Author Marni Wasserman

After her game-filled, awesome book release party at MW Food Studio for Plant Based Diet for Dummies in which she dished up a delicious Green Smoothie and Sweet Pea Guacamole in a cooking demo, I had the opportunity to interview Marni Wasserman about her year and two books.

green smoothie

Top: Green Smoothie

Bottom: Sweet Pea Guacamole

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Photo credit to MW Food Studio

JD: Where is your favourite restaurant to eat at in Toronto?

 MW: While I prefer to cook at home, my favourite restaurant isn’t even a plant-based restaurant. Pizza Libretto is great because they do a pizza with arugula, mushrooms and on a spelt crust when requested.

 JD: How has the attitude toward the vegetarian and veganism lifestyle changed since you went plant based as a teenager?

 MW: I think the whole concept around eating vegetarian and vegan has changed because people are more open minded, and there are more resources i.e. bloggers, restaurants, Twitter. People are also more accepting and it has changed drastically.

 JD: You attended The Institute of Holistic Nutrition and now are on the faculty. Congrats! How does a holistic nutritionist differ from a Registered Dietitian?

 MW: Holistic nutrition looks at whole lifestyle, whole picture as opposed to working towards food as a qualitative approach to healthcare or treatment based. Nutritionists will look towards preventive medicine/diet and a Registered Dietian zeros in on an issue without looking at the whole picture (not all of course). Holistic approach is more well rounded and works with people from baseline or root cause or working specific illnesses or ailments with for example diabetes or with special ailments.

 JD: Why did you choose to teach a cooking class verses just a blog or video seminars?

 MW: Social media was not as prominent when I started 7-8 years ago. I was working with what was present and available at the time. I don’t even think Twitter existed! Going to classes was so experiential that I wanted to translate that into a hands-on learning experience. I only had 7 students in first class who were friends and friends of my family.

S&C Interviews Author Marni Wasserman

Marni Wasserman whipping up some delicious and fresh Sweet Pea Guacamole.

 JD: What are the biggest challenges you have faced in terms of recipe development for your blog and cooking classes at MW Food Studio?

 MW: Finding things that are easy for people to replicate at home, that are simple and that have ingredients that are accessible. I don’t want people intimidated by their kitchen.

 JD: One of the reasons many people don’t want to commit to a plant-based lifestyle is that their partner or family doesn’t want to make the transition as well. What advice can you offer to a skeptical meat-eater to try a plant-based diet?

 MW: I would offer to make recipes that they can either work with a meat meal so they can have the best of both worlds in the beginning, try a few meals per week or day, then if its a partner at least they’re eating some of the meals with their meat without pushing it on them. Start small and take baby steps from there.

 JD: From your book Plant Based Diet for Dummies are there any recipes for that beginner cook or someone a little veg-curious?

 MW: Every section of the book has easy recipes in it. Pesto pasta is a good one because everyone loves pasta and you can add things to it. Roasted tomatoes are a good add-in. The tempeh stir-fry is simple and protein-packed. The Breakfast Smoothie or Soaked Oats are great beginner recipes. The desserts! It is good for people to see you can make desserts without dairy or eggs.

 JD: Oh I love dessert! Which recipe do you recommend to start out with?

 MW: Definitely the date squares. The apricots can be substituted for the dates as well, the dessert is delicious either way.

S&C Interviews Author Marni WassermanSprouts, sprouts and more sprouts!

 JD: I personally found that the toughest part of going vegan was giving up cheese and I know I am not the only one. Any ingredients you use in your studio to substitute for that creamy cheesy flavour?

 MW: The top three we use here in the studio are: nutritional yeast, avocado and cashew cream. White miso gives dishes a cheesy salty flavour that people miss going plant based.

 JD: For most people, breakfast needs to be super quick but healthful. What recipes from your book do you recommend for people on-the-go in the morning? Something that could be prepped ahead of time?

 MW: Smoothies can be prepared ahead of time, just dump everything into the blender and put into the fridge until ready to blend. Chia porridge and soaked oats can be prepared the night before so just grab it before you head out the door.

 JD: New Food Studio location, Fermenting for Dummies and now Plant Based Diet for Dummies all in one year! What should we look forward to next?

 MW: There is a possibility of a third book on the horizon but who knows what? Sky is the limit.

S&C Interviews Author Marni Wasserman

Playing some fun games about creating a perfect plant-based plate

 JD: What is your favourite class to teach?

 MW: My Italian class is great because a lot of people think that Italian food is all pasta, cheese and meat. I love the Glow Without Gluten, the program I just launched in the late spring and the studio will be running that again in the Fall. Easy Raw at Home will be running again since they both went over so well.

 JD: Any upcoming projects we should watch for?

MW: Creating more series types of courses, five-week series such as Glow Without Gluten. Some coming up in the fall and others are in development for 2015.


Check out Marni Wasserman’s blog and website at She also does one-on-one consults and private cooking parties at her Toronto-based studio. Follow Marni’s journey on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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