Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese has quick and easy vegan recipes Danny Bowien shares simple, tasty recipes from his new cookbook, "Mission Vegan: Wildly Delicious Food for Everyone."

Yes, you can make a quick and simple vegan meal. This chef shows you how

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Many people are returning to school and the office and finding themselves with less time. So we thought it would be nice to hear from cooks and chefs about simple recipes you can make in a pinch.

DANNY BOWIEN: I think the great thing about vegan cooking is that you don't have to be vegan to cook vegan food or to eat vegan food.

MARTIN: That's chef Danny Bowien. His new book is called "Mission Vegan: Wildly Delicious Food For Everyone." As you've probably figured out by now, it's a vegan cookbook, but Bowien isn't a vegan chef. His last cookbook had a meat dish that takes two days to prepare.

BOWIEN: There's, like, a duck recipe that requires a couple gallons of duck fat and, like, some potting clay - like, some clay. And you have to wrap it in clay and a lotus leaf and bacon. But that's where I was at that time in my life.

MARTIN: Right now, though, not so much. He's juggling being a chef, restaurateur and dad, so he appreciates simpler recipes.

BOWIEN: But for this book, it was really fun and also challenging to make something that I could put out that my dad in Oklahoma, who still lives there, could go to a market, procure all the ingredients and go home and make a dish and not take a couple of days. I think the duck recipe in the last book required, like, two to three days total time. And that's how a lot of restaurant recipes are. They take multiple days of prep and planning. And most of these recipes can be thrown together in an hour and using, like, you know, five or six ingredients.

MARTIN: One of his favorites from the book is the pasta pomodoro.

BOWIEN: I make it once a week at my house. I make pasta pomodoro for me and Mino and my girlfriend, Sara. And it's the simplest recipe. It just requires, like, you know, a handful of really good ingredients. There's, like, a knife-cut noodle recipe - like a hand-cut noodle recipe - and it's just semolina flour and water. And you knead it, you let it rest, you roll it out and then you cut it with a knife - very simple.

MARTIN: And he designed the sauce to be simple, too. All it takes is heating up some canned plum tomatoes with some extra virgin olive oil, garlic and fresh basil. But when he's really in a pinch, he turns to an even simpler recipe.

BOWIEN: It's called budae jjigae, but it's essentially a stew. And it was created after the Korean War. And the dish traditionally incorporates a lot of processed meats and, like, things that are very shelf-stable.

MARTIN: For his version, you can find most of what you need at home.

BOWIEN: It's based around the instant noodle. So I always have instant noodles in my pantry. I have most of these ingredients - a can of beans. There's always some tofu in the fridge. You can have dried or fresh mushrooms. I always have some, you know, Korean - the seaweed - like, the roasted seaweed snacks. And yeah, there's always some sort of, like, herb in my fridge that's kind of, like - needs to be used.

MARTIN: He says the beauty of the dish is you can use whatever ingredients you have in your pantry. Once you have them, it's simple to pull together.

BOWIEN: Put all the ingredients into this casserole - like, a casserole dish - cold, and then bring it to a boil. And when you go to restaurants, oftentimes you get it this way. A lot of times, you'll crack a raw egg into - or an egg into the casserole as you're cooking the stew. So in order to, like, kind of match that fatty unctuousness, we incorporate seasoned sesame paste or just, like, tahini that's been thinned out with a little bit of water. And it works really well. It makes a really creamy, delicious broth.

MARTIN: That chef Danny Bowien. His cookbook "Mission Vegan: Wildly Delicious Food For Everyone" is out now. And for more quick meal ideas, check out npr.org. There, you will find Danny Bowien's recipes for pineapple kimchi and fragrant chili fried rice.


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