The Daily Beet

20 Oct Interview with author, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau!

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If you have been around plant-based cooking for any amount of time, you have more than likely heard of Colleen Patrick Goudreu.

Colleen is the author of three very popular cookbooks, The Joy of Vegan Baking, which won VegNews magazine’s “Cookbook of the Year” Award, The Vegan Table, and Color Me Vegan, which was released December 2010. Her first non-cookbook, The Vegan’s Daily Companion: 365 Days of Tips and Inspiration for Cooking, Eating, and Living Compassionately, was released in 2011.

Her latest book is entitled The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Cleaner, Getting Leaner, and Living Compassionately.

We are so happy to have her join us today! She will be answering some of the questions you had for her!

What advice do you have for people making the switch to a plant-strong life on how to handle their friends/family/co-workers? 

Reflecting your values – whether they are motivated by health or ethics – in your behavior sometimes means you may rock the world of people around you. To be in the presence of someone living their truth can be incredibly threatening to people. Unfortunately, as a response, I’ve seen far too many people react by abandoning their values lest they upset their friends or family members. But there is another choice – and a better one at that. It’s really just as simple as being authentically who you are. Anyone who meets me knows where I stand on certain things, namely my belief that animals are here for their own sake and not for my pleasure. That’s not something I have to apologize for. That’s not something that changes according to who invites me to dinner or who it might make uncomfortable. Being a joyful vegan in a non-vegan world is the art of walking the line between being humble and speaking the truth, and the power of example is the most profound gift we can give. If we are confident and joyful in our vegan-ness, others will respond in kind. By speaking our truth, we give others permission to speak theirs.

What was the biggest challenge for you when you started?

Honestly, my transition was pretty effortless. As soon as I made the connection between the violence I was contributing to by consuming animal’s milk, chicken’s eggs, and animal’s flesh, nothing that contained these things was appealing to me at all. I think the hardest part though – which is why I wrote The 30-Day Vegan Challenge – were the social aspects, the barrage of questions, the stream of myths I had to respond to, and the hostility with which some people responded to my being vegan. Now I know what was going on, and I can tell every single person who experiences this same thing to just hang on, because I guarantee it gets better as you remain true to what you believe in.

How have you overcome challenges?

Those challenges I experienced led me to find the answers I needed to respond to the myths and misconceptions and led me to be a guide for others. I know exactly what the process and transition is like, and I want to help others go through it joyfully, confidently, and healthfully.

Randi asked… what suggestions do you have for a family that is starting a plant-strong diet, but who needs an easy to pack, fun and tasty lunches for our kiddo at school every day?

There’s an entire chapter in The 30-Day Vegan Challenge with a number of ideas for just this need!  My mantra is ‘if it tastes good, they will eat it,’ and that includes children and picky eaters a like. The suggestions in a chapter called Packing Lunches for School and Work are broken up by sandwiches, salads, wraps, snacks, and beverages, focusing on things that are easy to transport.

Katie asked…  How did you come up with the concept of writing a cookbook based on the colors of vegetables and what veggie of each color is the one least known or over-looked that you wish people would use more in their cooking?

Hi Katie. I came up with the idea because it’s how I encourage people to eat. I always say if you want to eat as ethically as possible, live according to your values of compassion and nonviolence. It’s that simple. If you want to eat as healthfully as possible, eat by color. It’s equally simple. People are so ridiculously confused when it comes to messages about nutrition and health, and really the simplest thing we can do is eat by color. So the book is organized by the different colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue/purple, white/tan, black/brown – and then by a combination/rainbow of these colors. I highly recommend that people make green leafy veggies the most prominent color in our diets, because they’re quite literally a combination of all the other colors! (The green folate just masks the other colors, just as what happens on trees in the autumn when the green starts to disappear and reveal all the colors that were there the whole time!)

Nellie asked…  What are the best 10 or 15 items to always have on hand so I can make breakfasts, lunch, dinners and snacks that cover my nutrition needs?

Great question, Nellie. I talk a lot about stocking your kitchen in the book, and I do think having the right staples on hand is essential for spontaneous, delicious, and easy cooking. OK – assuming “spices” can be one item (even though there are dozens!) and that we’re not talking about fresh veggies (which obviously should be staples in every fridge), my 10 favorite staples would be spices (cumin, caradamom, chili powder, cayenne, coriander), tahini, tamari, peanut butter, nutritional yeast, a variety of vinegars, sesame seeds, hummus, olives, and capers!

Luce asked What are some menu ideas when having die-hard meat lovers over for dinner? Also, what are great dishes to bring when invited to other’s homes? Thanks!

Hi Luce – I talk a lot about the fact that we don’t crave the flesh of animals (we’re NOT obligate carnivores who start thinking about lunch when a bird flies overhead or when we see deer grazing in a field!), but we do crave fat, salt, texture, flavor, familiarity, and a certain mouth- feel. In the book, I offer many suggestions for meeting each one of these needs (chewy mushrooms or frozen tofu for chewy texture or guacamole or cashew cream for a creamy texture, etc.). As for dishes to bring to other people’s homes, honestly stews are my favorite dishes to make in the world. Soups and stews. They’re so easy with endless possibilities, and they’re easy to double if I’m serving a number of people and also easy to transport when going to someone else’s home. Stews are hearty and warming and fabulous. You can make them even more substantial by serving them atop a nice grain like quinoa.

Where can people find you? And could you tell us about your latest book, “The 30 Day Vegan Challenge”?

People can visit my website www.colleenpatrickgoudreau.com or www.compassionatecooks.com, which is where they’ll also find the book. We’re revamping the website after all these years, which I’m very excited about! Signed copies of all my books can be purchased through my website (and yes, it means you’re supporting the author directly!), but of course they’re available wherever books are sold both in stores and online.

We want to thank Colleen for taking the time to talk to us today and answering some of your questions! If you would like to enter to win a copy of Colleen’s latest book, please leave a comment and tell us your favorite fall inspired plant-strong dish!


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Engine 2 Team
Engine 2 Team

The Engine 2 Team is dedicated to helping you become plant-strong! Each of us are on the plant-strong journey right along side of you!

  • Lisa
    Posted at 03:05h, 20 October

    My favourite fall dish is sweet potatoes, black beans, sweet onions, and jerk seasoning. Love your cookbooks, Colleen!

  • martha
    Posted at 03:17h, 20 October

    My fav fall dish is sweet potato stew with garbanzo beans, okra, tomatoes, and spices! And sweet potato biscuits would be good with this too…. 🙂

    • Andrea Westmoreland
      Posted at 08:50h, 24 October

      Martha, what is your recipe for sweet potato stew? I’d love to try it! 🙂

  • Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen)
    Posted at 04:33h, 20 October

    Thanks for this great interview! I am very intrigued by Colleen’s answers and am considering purchasing all of her books. I am wondering whether Colleen uses oil in her recipes though. I didn’t see any mention of this in the interview and this is a biggie for me, as I follow the Engine 2 Diet. Can you tell me before I place an order for Colleen’s books? Thanks!

    • Kristen
      Posted at 19:08h, 20 October

      Hi Wendy,
      I know Colleen uses oil in her baking book, not sure about the others though.

  • Danna Quintana
    Posted at 05:55h, 20 October

    I love that compassion is the essence of her dialog. I too found veganism to be a no-brainer once my awareness was awakened. My only regret is that it did not come sooner. But its never too late!

  • Vickie
    Posted at 06:19h, 20 October

    A friend gave me The Vegan Table, love it. My favorite fall meal is Winter Squash Stew with White Beans and Kale.

  • Andrea
    Posted at 06:48h, 20 October

    I live in MI where this time of year pumpkins abound. My family loves pumpkin risotto, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup….you get the picture. Happy Halloween!

  • cindy buteyn
    Posted at 06:49h, 20 October

    White bean cassoulet. It’s so easy, and my meat eating husband loves it. It was a recipe I found in cooking light a few years ago, that I veganized ( I took out some parmesan cheese and substituted nutritional yeast). I love taking out the crockpot in the fall.

  • Deb
    Posted at 07:34h, 20 October

    My favorite fall dish is pumpkin soup.

  • Beth
    Posted at 07:40h, 20 October

    I bought your book The 30 Day Vegan Challenge. It’s great! I needed help to make the switch and it’s full of great tips and recipes. Thanks!

  • Andrea hill
    Posted at 08:06h, 20 October

    I love the idea of organizing the book by color!

    For fall recipes, can’t beat butternut squash soup!

  • Laura Greenfield
    Posted at 08:40h, 20 October

    I need to get this book!

  • Laura Greenfield
    Posted at 08:41h, 20 October

    oh roasted veggies!!! We like to roast whatever veggies we have on 475 for 25 minutes. We use low sodium veggie broth, water and braggs to marinate while cooking.

  • Kimberly Louis-Jean
    Posted at 10:24h, 20 October

    I love mushroom or butternut squash soup !!

  • Brianne
    Posted at 10:33h, 20 October

    Sounds like a great cookbook — my family has just transitioned to a vegan lifetsyle and we are so excited to continue.

    My favorite fall dish is baked acorn squash with dried cranberries and walnuts.

  • Adam Sparrow
    Posted at 10:39h, 20 October

    What a great interview! Thanks for this.

    My favorite fall meal is Root Veggie Roast with Mashed Cauliflower

    Now I am super hungry : )

  • Monique
    Posted at 10:52h, 20 October

    Portabello mushroom burgers with baked sweet potato wedges and a hearty salad!

  • Courtney
    Posted at 11:19h, 20 October

    My favorite fall dish is red beans and brown rice. When spiced correctly, it tastes just like the original Louisiana version. Yum!

  • GetSkinnyGoVegan
    Posted at 11:48h, 20 October

    I think it may have to be pumpkin pie. Maybe the raw kind with dates and nuts, I know I am a very naughty vegan but I cannot give up my sultry seeds.
    Not yet.

  • Sirica
    Posted at 11:48h, 20 October

    Love any Fall soups & stews!!!

  • Tori
    Posted at 11:54h, 20 October

    Just made a vegan mushroom straganoff that was incredible! Also a family favorite of ours is sweet potato and black bean enchiladas with a tangy green chili sauce. Plant strong comfort food at its best!!!!

  • Joanne
    Posted at 12:26h, 20 October

    I LOVE vegan chili with loads of fresh veggies! Mmmmmmm!!!

  • Diana
    Posted at 12:51h, 20 October

    I love to do roasted acorn squash stuffed with a whole grain (brown rice, bulgar wheat, etc.) pumpkin puree and dried cranberries and raisins. delicious!

  • Dennis Smith
    Posted at 13:03h, 20 October

    Red Beans and Brown Rice. Takes the chill off and keeps me Plant Strong!

  • Valerie Lee
    Posted at 13:44h, 20 October

    Favourite fall dish? Anything with squash ! I have been baking lots of different squashes & adding to my dishes, One of favourites so far is the Turbana squash.
    I also love brussels sprouts!

  • veggie365
    Posted at 14:08h, 20 October

    I love squash – so as the season changes, I move from summer squash and zucchini to butternut and acorn! Love it!

  • Melissa Stone
    Posted at 14:59h, 20 October

    I love roasted vegetables and quinoa!

  • Andrea
    Posted at 15:20h, 20 October

    I am having caramelized onions, lentils with garlic and brown rice for supper. Even my kids ask for seconds on this meal!

  • Luce
    Posted at 15:26h, 20 October

    My favorite fall dish is spicy butternut squash soup. Nothing better than coming inside on a cold day to a warm bowl of soup!

  • Emily
    Posted at 15:36h, 20 October

    I love pumpkin-curry soup, and just harvested my pumpkins out my garden to make it this weekend. Doing an immersion for my family, we all need to stay on track!!!

  • Cathy
    Posted at 15:39h, 20 October

    A great big pan of roasted fall veggies with lots of garlic and thyme. Great hot right out of the oven and as cold leftovers.

  • Erin @EatPlantsandRun
    Posted at 16:17h, 20 October

    I would have to say my favorite fall foods and meals are vegan hearty chilis, soups, and anything with butternut squash. YUM.

  • Cecilia
    Posted at 16:18h, 20 October

    Butternut squash and apple soup!

  • Leolin
    Posted at 16:31h, 20 October

    Anything with pumpkins. Punpkin pie, bread, muffins, soup….YUMMY!!

  • Lynnette
    Posted at 16:32h, 20 October

    hearty soups & stews are a fall favorite; baked apples with cinnamon and crunchy topping of toasted oats and a few walnuts

  • Cindy
    Posted at 16:34h, 20 October

    my favorite fall dish is roasted fall vegetables with rosemary and garlic! thanks for sharing a very inspiring interview!

  • Becky
    Posted at 16:38h, 20 October

    The kale & red beans from the E2 book – I add rotel tomatoes to spice it up.

  • Brian Hyatt
    Posted at 17:37h, 20 October

    My favorite fall dish is spaghetti squash with curry.

  • Sharon
    Posted at 19:00h, 20 October

    Roasted pumpkin with a drizzle of maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon!

  • denise
    Posted at 19:01h, 20 October

    my favorite fall dinner is chili w/corn bread.i would love to see your ideas for kids lunches i work in child nutrition and i am always looking for heath vegan food ideas they will eat.

  • Brett
    Posted at 19:04h, 20 October

    My favorite fall-inspired dish is stuffed acorn squash.

  • Kristen
    Posted at 19:07h, 20 October

    Oh easy question-anything pumpkin, especially pumpkin soup!

  • Elizabeth
    Posted at 20:34h, 20 October

    I just love butternut squash soup!

  • Sharon McRae
    Posted at 22:52h, 20 October

    I heard Colleen speak at the DCVegfest and she was fabulous! My favorite fall inspired dish is vegetable stew, made in my clay pot, with a beautiful array of squash, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, beets, asparagus, cauliflower, and some tomato paste and spices, served over a bed of steamed greens with quinoa….so warm and comforting! I like to serve it with black beans sometimes, too.

  • Bev
    Posted at 23:43h, 20 October

    Just heard Colleen at the World Veg Festival in San Francisco the first weekend of Oct. Here’s the link to her awesome, funny (and who doesn’t like funny?!) talk:

    Oh, and for fall, I’ve been enjoying roasted butternut squash soup, but I always kick things up, so, have added kale and quinoa to it.

    Here’s hopin’ for her book! There was another contest, elsewhere, to win it, but it required rockin’ the vote.

  • Cathy
    Posted at 23:58h, 20 October

    Colleen is so funny and inspirational. I feel more confident about sharing why I’m eating this way since hearing her talk. My favorite fall dish is the E2 soup “Savory Lentils and Greens.”

  • Nelson
    Posted at 11:06h, 21 October

    My favorite fall dish depends on how my garden does. This fall it is butternut squash soup, followed closely by baked butternut squash.

  • Jeffrey Hicks
    Posted at 13:20h, 21 October

    Roasted Root Veggies

  • patrick
    Posted at 14:53h, 21 October

    I’m starting my 28 day challenge this weekend.

  • Carol
    Posted at 17:34h, 22 October

    My current favorite fall dish is stuffed delicata squash, one of Ann Esseltyn’s recipes. Stuffed with peas, pearl onions…. sometimes I add brown rice to the stuffing. Yum!

  • arubinst
    Posted at 09:16h, 23 October

    My favorite fall dish is Moroccan sweet potato stew: sweet potatos, carrots, onions, white cabbage, garbanzos, dried fruit (apricots are good, but raisons work too) cooked in some veggie broth, with Moroccan spices and served over WW couscous. A big hit at some recent potlucks I’ve been to.

  • Beckie
    Posted at 09:47h, 24 October

    My husband and I are in our 3rd week of transition to whole foods plant based diet thanks to Rip’s Engine 2 book. It was nice to read this interview with Collen. So far our favorite recipe is a Lentil and Rice dish, it make the whole house smell delicious. My husband swore he hated lentils until he tried this. There is hope. We would love to win the cookbook by Colleen.

  • Lani Muelrath
    Posted at 15:29h, 25 October

    What a happy coincidence to come across this interview today – this morning I was in an interview myself for another website and mentioned Colleen more than once as being very influential in my dietary progression. We met first at Farm Sanctuary Festival of the Turkeys and she was Celebrity Chef at our McDougall Advanced Study Weekend last month. Her new book is amazing! All of her books are gorgeous.

    And yes, there is oil in many of her recipes yet as chef presenter at a McDougall event, you can bet she had all kinds of tips for oil-free cooking. Joy of Vegan Baking is full of high fat recipes – yet let’s remember its purpose was not focused on health but do demonstrate alternatives from animal products and transitions to baking without eggs or dairy. In Color Me Vegan, you can easily engineer out the oils and “Engine 2” them up. Also with 30 Day Challenge. Colleen has been a guest on my Teleclass series and will be again soon for the new book so stay tuned.

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