Here at Rainbow Plant Life, I teach you how to master vegan cooking at home.
San Diego, CA. Before that, I lived in NYC for 8 years!
B.A. Political Science and Legal Studies, UC Berkeley 2009; J.D., Harvard Law School, 2012 (don’t worry, there’s no boring law stuff on this blog!).
Lawyer. It was not fun.
Sesame anything (tahini, sesame seeds, sesame oil)
You’ll find a collection of wildly flavorful vegan recipes that you’ll want to incorporate into your rotation for both easy weeknight meals and fancier special occasions. You’ll learn how to use vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds to recreate your favorite comfort foods in inventive and indulgent ways. You’ll pick up vegan cooking tips that will give you confidence in the kitchen and the ability to feed your entire family tasty and satisfying meals. And you’ll find vegan lifestyle tips, like how to prepare a week’s worth of meals with just a handful of ingredients and how to stock a plant-based pantry.
Listening to podcasts (okay, I do that while I’m cooking and taking photos, so I’m not sure if it counts). Hiking or just long walks in nature, laughing with friends, traveling and exploring new cultures.
Definitely wanderluster. I love traveling and always looking forward to my next trip (more on wanderlusting below).
In 2016, I binge watched 10 documentaries on factory farming over the course of three nights and went vegan immediately afterwards.
Vegan food can be just as delicious and flavorful as the other stuff, and you don’t have to sacrifice taste or texture. Using fresh, seasonal ingredients yields the tastiest food with the best flavor (check out my guide to late summer produce and recipes). And I try to layer as much flavor into my recipes and at different stages of the cooking process, so the end result is nothing short of wow-worthy. Finally, I don’t use rare specialty ingredients unless it’s absolutely necessary (for instance, when you’re trying to replicate the elusive taste of seafood, as in this Vegan Tuna Salad Sandwich).
Elevated vegan comfort food that’s packed with flavor. I take flavor very seriously. You’ll never find bland or boring recipes here. You’ll find lots of vegetable-forward recipes that stand on their own merits (like this Crispy Zucchini and Corn Casserole or Mushroom and Lentil Stew), as well as some classic comfort food remakes that’ll blow your mind (Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme but make it vegan!). Many of my recipes taste indulgent but are secretly wholesome (like my Vegan Palak Paneer), but you’ll also find a few downright decadent recipes (hi, Brown Butter Peach Cobbler) because my motto is “you can have your (vegan) cake and eat it too.” Many of my recipes are inspired by the seasons, as well as global cuisines, both from my own Indian heritage and my travels abroad (like this Thai Butternut Squash Curry or Instant Pot Pho).
I grew up in a small desert town called Barstow, California. My parents emigrated from India in the early 1980s, and we ate home cooked vegetarian Indian meals six or seven nights a week. My mom worked full-time, was the most active PTA participant at school, drove my sister and I to every possible extracurricular activity, and still found time to cook dinner every night. She is an excellent cook, but as a picky child living in a culture that viewed Indian food as too smelly and too spicy, I started to develop my own food interests.
This drove me to start cooking for myself around 14. I started with easy stuff, like rice and beans, but soon graduated to cooking my first Thanksgiving meal from scratch at 16. On the weekends, when my friends were at parties, I was curled up in the cookbook section at Barnes and Noble. I took my newfound love for cooking to college, enrolling in an Italian cooking class and racing home between classes to catch episodes of Barefoot Contessa. Instead of the standard college diet of late-night hot dogs and frozen dinners, I was cooking mushroom risotto and garlic-roasted broccolini.
Law school didn’t leave much time for cooking, but whenever I did cook or bake, I had a cohort of hungry friends who let me know how much they loved my food. I had flirted with the idea of going to culinary school, but once I got to Harvard, I was fully invested in the “become a lawyer, save the world” career path.
After graduating in 2012, I worked as a corporate lawyer in BigLaw. The long work hours left little time for cooking (I ate dinner at my desk most nights), and after two unhappy years, both my partner and I quit our jobs to backpack around the world for six months. It was one of the best decisions of my life, and it opened my eyes to the importance of living life with adventure, laughter, and authenticity. I also ate a ton of incredible food along the way (favorites include curries in Thailand, noodle soups in Vietnam, pastries in France, and loaded plates of veggies and legumes in Turkey).
After traveling, I started practicing nonprofit law but remained unhappy professionally. I did have more free time, though, and that enabled me to fall back in love with cooking and to hone my recipe development skills. In 2016, I went vegan after realizing that I had been contributing to a system which abused and slaughtered billions of animals and greatly contributed to the destruction of our planet. After becoming vegan, I instantly felt happier, healthier, and more aligned with my values of compassion and equality. I also started my Instagram account around this time and its success, along with my newfound hobby of food photography and long standing passion for cooking, led me to eventually leave the law entirely.
In 2017, I started working at Hungryroot, a food startup in NYC, where I did all things food photography, recipe development, and social media. I kept building Rainbow Plant Life as a side hustle, gradually starting a Youtube channel as well.
In 2018, Avery/Penguin Random House approached me about writing a cookbook. I had been dreaming of writing a cookbook since high school, so obviously, I said yes. I had 5 ½ months to write the book–to develop and test over 90 recipes, to style and photograph every recipe, to write the entire book, etc.–and I was still working full-time. This period taught me how to become a really great recipe developer and writer, but working that intensely, in retrospect, was bonkers. It was also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever worked on. After all, it was my baby.
My baby (The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook) was born (published) in June 2019. And shortly thereafter, after 2 ½ years of working at Hungryroot while juggling my own business, I decided to go all in and work on Rainbow Plant Life full-time. Since then, I’ve continued to grow Rainbow Plant Life on Instagram and Youtube, signed a second cookbook deal, and learned the value of outsourcing work and hiring wonderful people to help me out.
At Rainbow Plant Life, you’ll learn how to master vegan cooking at home. You’ll find a collection of flavor-packed recipes that you’ll want to incorporate into your rotation for both easy weeknight meals and fancier special occasions. You’ll learn how to use vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds to recreate your favorite comfort foods in inventive and indulgent ways. You’ll pick up vegan cooking tips that will give you confidence in the kitchen and the ability to feed your entire family tasty and satisfying meals. And you’ll find vegan lifestyle tips, like how to prepare a week’s worth of meals with just a handful of ingredients and how to stock a plant-based pantry.
If you’d like to say hello, drop me a line on Instagram :)
Nisha’s work has been featured across publications including CNN, Buzzfeed, Forbes, Glamour, Women’s Health, Elle, Well + Good, Food 52, Veg News Magazine, Refinery 29, and has worked with brands that include Instagram, by CHLOE, Pure Wow, Country Crock, and So Delicious.
I hope you find something that tickles your fancy here. If you like what you see, sign up for the mailing list to stay up to date with all of my content!