Celebrating 50 years of 'Diet for a Small Planet' with Frances Moore Lappé and daughter Anna Lappé

In 1971, Frances Moore Lappé published “Diet for a Small Planet,” which promotes a plant-centric approach to eating as being more beneficial for personal and global health. The book is now being re-released in a 50th-anniversary edition.

Here & Now‘s Scott Tong speaks with Frances Moore Lappé as well as her daughter Anna Lappé, who helped update the book.

Recipes from “Diet for a Small Planet”

Frankie’s Feijoada

6 servings

This recipe was one of the favorites from the first edition, with updates from a Brazilian friend for the 20th anniversary edition.

  • 1/4 cup oil for sautéing
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 scallions (white and light green parts), chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked black beans, or two 15-ounce cans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 sweet potato, diced (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 sliced orange, for topping

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Heat the oil in a large pot and sauté the onion, garlic, scallions, green pepper, and tomato until the onion is translucent. Add the beans, stock, bay leaf, vinegar, celery, sweet potato, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Mash some of the beans in the pot to thicken the mixture and continue cooking for 5 more minutes. Remove the bay leaf and top with chopped cilantro and orange slices. Enjoy with rice and greens.

Anthony’s Leek, Shiitake, and Miso Butter “Casserole” and Soy-Pickled Peppers

4 to 6 servings

This is a comfort food mash-up of Honk Kong noodles and leek chowder that plays to the strength of the angel hair-like pasta, fideo. The final result is a savory umami bomb. The Soy-Picked Serrano Peppers (recipe follows) provide a good counterpoint. If you’re serving it with the peppers, start those pickling before you begin making the pasta dish. – Anthony Myint

  • 1 medium leek
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for sauteing
  • Salt
  • 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, or more if you want it more mushroomy (chanterelle and oyster are also good options)
  • 2 shallots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced, for garnish
  • 4 ounces Bloomsdale spinach or other sweet, tender green
  • 2 tablespoons miso, light or dark are both fine; red miso is especially good here
  • 1 cup half-and-half, plus more as needed
  • 12 ounces fideo or angel hair pasta, broken into 1-inch pieces
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Clean the leek thoroughly and reserve the tough greens for stock or other use. Cut the tender interior lengthwise into quarters, then slice finely crosswise and place in a microwave-safe bowl. But the butter into small pieces, toss it with the leeks and a generous pinch of salt, microwave for 30 to 60 seconds until the butter is melted and the leeks are completely relaced. Add more time as needed. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Remove the shiitake stems. (You can reserve them for stock as well). Slice the shiitake caps into thin strips. Heat a large pan – large enough to eventually toss all the pasta – on medium-high heat, spoon 4 or more tablespoons of the butter from the melted leeks into the pan, and salt generously. Sauté the shiitakes until golden brown, about 6 minutes, tossing occasionally.

In a small pan, melt a bit more butter, about a tablespoon, and add the shallots, frying them until golden brown and crispy, 2 to 4 minutes. Set aside.

Wash, drain, and cut the spinach into ½ – ¼ inch-wide strips.

Add the leeks, butter, and miso to the large pan with the shiitakes and break up any miso clumps. Add the half-and-half and chopped spinach and simmer until spinach has just softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, boil the pasta until just cooked, approximately 2 minutes. Drain, reserving about a half cup of the pasta water, add the pasta to the large pan, and toss and fold to incorporate. The result should be a slippery and savory pasta. Add salt to take and another generous splash of half-and-half or reserved pasta water right before serving to ensure slipperiness. Garnish with cilantro and the crispy shallots and serve with soy-pickled peppers.

Soy-Pickled Serrano Peppers

  • 6 serrano peppers
  • ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari

Halve the peppers lengthwise, remove the stem and seeds, and thinly slice them crosswise. In a small bowl, combine them with the soy sauce. These soy-picked peppers are a great complement to the mild leek pasta. They’re also delicious atop tacos and sandwiches.

Walnut Cheddar Loaf

1 loaf, about 6 servings

This vegetarian version of meat loaf is especially nice served with whole walnuts sprinkled on top.

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 ¼ cup cooked brown rice (1/2 cup uncooked)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion until translucent. Mix the onion with the remaining ingredients in a bowl and put the picture in an oiled 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until edges are browned. Allow to cool and cut into slices.

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