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One vital aspect to the Zen sect of Buddhism is monks’ adherence to a strictly vegetarian diet. Eating neither meat nor fish, monks also avoid ingredients like garlic, onion, leeks, and chives. As a result, the food prepared in Zen monasteries is healthy, low-calorie, accentuates the most subtle of flavors, and can even be eaten to help detox the body. The recipes contained in Simply Zen can all be made in three easy steps, leaving cooks with beautiful, healthful dishes that can be enjoyed as a regular meal or presented to guests. 

The activities undertaken by the author Aoe have been introduced on various media abroad.

Publicity updates:

- Article on army.mil regarding temple cuisine tasting event held at Zama army camp

- Article on Asahi Shimbun international edition 

- Aoe went on air on MINESTA on Radio Nippon (11 Jan, 2013)

Simply Zen featured on HANAKO magazine (edition 24 Jan, 2013) and Weekly Diamond magazine (edition 19 Feb, 2013) 

- Aoe's activity has been featured on NHK program (14 Feb, 2013)


Selected Recipes

  • Spicy Celery and Carrot Pickles
  • Deep-fried Wontons
  • Chilled Fig with Sesame Dressing
  • Clear Tomato Soup
  • Spinach and Tofu Salad
  • Deep Fried Lotus Root
  • Sweet Potato Infused with Lemon
  • Zen Curry
  • Shiitake Sushi

Rights Update


・Switzerland (French)

About the Author

Kakuho Aoe is a monk from the Jodo Shinshu sect of Pure-land Buddhism. As a temple cook, Aoe strives to conveying Buddhist teachings to the public through food and cooking, He earned his MBA at the California State University, Fresno Graduate School and is a father of three.

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