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Lucid Food

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Written by Heather Jones   
Saturday, 03 April 2010

Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life by Louisa Shafia (Ten Speed Press, 2009) is a 2010 IACP Cookbook awards finalist in the Health and Special Diet category. For a list of all the finalists check out the Project Foodie IACP Finalists' Guide.

Photo by Jennifer Martiné © 2009
There are lots of books these days that focus on preparing and eating food in a more ecological manner including those on sustainably raised foods, eating seasonally, and teaching the difference between terms like organic and free-range.  But out of all those books very few get it right in terms of really educating you about these issues while also providing you with great recipes, that is until now.  Chef and food writer Louisa Shafia's Lucid Food is a book that will make you want to be a better eater and one that will continue to inspire you every time you cook from it.

In Lucid Food, Louisa talks about what it was like for her growing up green before it was the “in” thing. Along the way she dispels the myth that eating local, sustainable, and organic food is more expensive.  She also reviews some of her Eco-Kitchen basics like reducing your paper towel use and shopping in bulk.  Louisa also tackles the issue of why organic isn’t always the best choice. But most importantly she shares recipes that are flavorful, healthful, and Lucid. 

Be sure to try out the crispy Yuba rolls recipe below at your next get-together your guests won’t believe that eating this healthy could taste so good.

*One thing to note, the recipe calls for Burdock root, if you are unable to track it down in your local Asian Supermarket you can substitute with water chestnuts.

Crispy Yuba Rolls with Lime-Mustard Dipping Sauce

Reprinted with permission from Lucid Food : Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life by Louisa Shafia, copyright © 2009. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Yuba, also called tofu skin, is sturdy and easy to work with. Its crisp texture when baked makes it an ideal wrapper for spring rolls. Find dried or frozen yuba sheets at Japanese food stores. 

Serves 4 to 6

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 large burdock root, peeled and julienned (see page 48)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 cups firmly packed shredded napa cabbage
  • Salt
  • 10 sheets yuba, each about 6 by 4 inches, reconstituted according to package directions and drained


  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the shiitakes. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, then add the carrot, burdock root, ginger, garlic, maple syrup, soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and let cool. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and season with salt.

In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Spread out a sheet of yuba on your work surface. Spread a scant 1/2 cup of the vegetables on the yuba sheet in a line 1 inch wide along the long edge of the sheet. Tightly roll the yuba sheet around the vegetables, as if you were rolling sushi. Place the roll on the prepared baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat with the rest of the filling and yuba sheets. Brush the rolls with the oil mixture and bake until the rolls are crisp and golden, about 15 minutes.

To make the sauce, whisk together all of the ingredients. Season with salt to taste.

Serve the rolls hot, sliced in half on the diagonal, with the dipping sauce.

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.


Last Updated ( Monday, 05 April 2010 )
Louisa Shafia (Unregistered) 2010-04-06 06:48:57

Many thanks for this lovely review of Lucid Food - I'm glad someone finally took on the Yuba Rolls, one of my favorite recipes!
Green with Hunger
rafiki (Registered) 2010-04-24 17:08:36

I chose to become a vegetarian back in 1976 when I was a young girl of 16. In those days, I was considered somewhat of a freak, where only eggs, rice, beans and salads were my main stables. Happy that the rest of the planet has followed suit, mostly for the earth, but also for the variety of cookbooks that are offered now with recipes and ideas that are right up my alley. Louisa Shafia’s Lucid Food sounds like it’s a cookbook whose time has finally come. I’d love to start celebrating the earth’s bounty with all her unique and diverse tastes that she offers to us so generously.
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