Food

Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Tips for a Great Vegan Brunch

Often the highlight of weekend plans (and a great way to recover from a late night out), brunch holds a unique place in the culture of dining.

When done properly, the breakfast/lunch hybrid known as “brunch” should feel more like an event than a regular meal, which is why we’ve asked Isa Chandra Moskowitz—who literally wrote the book on vegan brunches—for tips on how to throw the best Sunday get-together possible. The famed cookbook author recently began serving brunch at her restaurant Modern Love Brooklyn, where weekend comfort foods such as Challah French Toast, Biscuits & Gravy, and Seitan & Waffles are served with a vegan Black & White Egg Cream, housemade raspberry ginger ale, and, of course, mimosas. For those of us who don’t live close enough to Brooklyn, we asked Moskowitz how to create the ultimate vegan brunch at home. Here are her tips for keeping everyone (including the host) happy.
 
VegNews: What have you found to be the biggest challenges vegans face with brunch?
Isa Chandra Moskowitz: The only challenge is that there are not enough vegan brunches for us! So, definitely support the places that serve vegan brunch, and host some yourself.
 
VN: Okay, so if vegan brunches are hard to find, how can we throw awesome parties at home?
ICM:
First, have snacks ready for when people arrive. A mixture of sweet and savory muffins or scones are the perfect "good afternoon!" This way, no one is going hungry as you pull together a few last-minute details. Next, set up a coffee station so people can pour their own without bursting into the kitchen. If you have a large Thermos, great! If not, set up the coffeemaker in the dining area with all of your creamers, sugars, and a pile of mugs. Speaking of creamer, my absolute favorite is Wildwood soy creamer. I avoid anything with zero grams of fat because how in the world can that be cream? Finally, when people ask if they can help, say yes! Yes, do the dishes. Yes, brew more coffee. Yes, take out the garbage. But no, do not touch that Spotify playlist, or I will end you.
 
VN: Some of us get so ambitious with vegan brunches that we find ourselves overwhelmed when it’s time to prepare all of the dishes. How does an amateur chef make things exciting without choosing dishes they can’t successfully prepare?
ICM:
Limit your brunch to five things. The essentials are a scramble, potatoes, a veggie, something toasty, and a sweet dish. Waffles are always the easiest of the sweet vegan breakfast trifecta (pancakes, waffles, or French toast).
 
VN: For those who equate “vegan brunch” exclusively with tofu scramble, what do you recommend?
ICM:
Tofu scramble is in my top five favorite things to cook, so I just think switching it up with different ingredients. Maybe have it on garlic bread with truffled arugula, in breakfast tacos, or make it more like a curry. But if you insist on straying, scrambled chickpeas are always fun, too.
 
VN: What do you love about brunch at Modern Love?
ICM:
For customers, it gives you a reason not to lay in bed all day. The food is casual and fun, and there's a lot of it! Plus, you can have amazing caffeinated conversations and listen to ‘80s music. For us, it’s a chance for the restaurant to let its hair down.
 
Maya Gottfried is the author of Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary and the forthcoming Vegan Love: Dating and Partnering for the Cruelty-Free Gal.

Photo courtesy of Isa Chandra Moskowitz

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