Book Review: Veganish

This is a first. Today I bring to you a book review!

veganish

Upon receiving my copy of Veganish – the omnivore’s guide to plant-based cooking I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I had read a description of the book and it sounded to me like a vegan cookbook. I went straight to the recipes in this book, glancing over the titles of them and they all sounded vegan to me. But when I read a bit further, I noticed each recipe included “omnivorous variations”. I guess that’s where the title “vegan-ish” comes in… This was kind of confusing to me and definitely made me have mixed feelings about the book.

I don’t really know what the author was aiming for in creating a book like this. I do understand that sometimes vegan dishes don’t always appeal to omnivores, or sometimes omnivores wouldn’t look twice at a plant based cook book – but on the other hand is giving an omnivore options with a vegan dish to make it not vegan anymore really going to help them transition to a more plant based diet? Wouldn’t the omnivore already know how to throw some chicken or butter into their dish if they felt like it?

I feel it may be hard to read a book like this and actually be persuaded to include more exclusively vegan dishes in their diet, especially when the author goes into detail about being vegetarian, and then vegan for a lot of years but then going back the other way, becoming a (as she calls it) reluctant omnivore. People do not usually welcome an adjustment like changing their diet very easily, so seeing options to add animal products into some amazing vegan dishes may be too familiar and comfortable to someone who has trouble with change.

On the other hand, this book could possibly help people discover the ingredient swaps and options for enjoying vegan food. It might be able to help those slowly transitioning to a plant based diet, for those that are actually committed to becoming plant based. And I do know that slowly changing your habits is important – I certainly didn’t become vegan overnight. Also, I realize there are families with various dietary preferences, where certain family members refuse to change and they all need to get along at meal time, so it could be a good resource for these people. After being vegan for over 3 years now, it’s been great seeing those close to me learning more about using plant based ingredients and being interested in incorporating them in their own lives!

So anyways, now I’d like to discuss my experience cooking from this book.

There are so many tasty-sounding recipes in the book, but the one that stood out to me first was the Thai green curry vegetable stew. I’ve always loved the green Thai curry you find at Thai restaurants and have never seemed to be able to recreate my own. This recipe was exactly what I have been looking for; it was amazingly flavorful and easy. I opted for the tofu variation of this recipe by pan frying chunks of tofu with some coconut oil, salt and pepper and adding it in. For the veggie mix I used red bell pepper, mushroom, celery and carrot. I couldn’t get fresh basil so I added a couple teaspoons dried. This recipe will become a regular in my home! I’ve made it twice in two weeks.

THAI GREEN CURRY VEGETABLE STEW

Yields about 4 servings
Delicious and easy, this is great over Coconut Jasmine Rice (Grains).
Choose a quality curry paste with all-natural ingredients (see About Quality Ingredients).

Combine in a medium soup pot:

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 yellow or white onion, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
    Cook over medium heat for about 8–10 minutes, until onion is translucent.

Add:

  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1–3 Tbsp prepared Thai green curry paste
  • ¼ cup mirin, white wine, stock, or water
    Cook for 3 minutes more, stirring to lift pieces off the bottom of pan.

Add:

  • 4 cups assorted vegetables, such as zucchini, broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms, and snow peas
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
    Simmer until vegetables are cooked.

Add:

  • ¼ cup whole Thai basil leaves
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1–2 tsp Sucanat or coconut sugar, to taste

Adjust salt, sweetener, and lime to taste. Serve over rice.

Variation

  • To add [extra] protein to this dish, add tofu (fresh or fried separately in coconut oil) with the seasoned coconut milk. Simmer until almost fully cooked before adding vegetables so as not to overcook them.
  • I sometimes blanch and shock (see Essential Techniques) the  vegetables separately and add them at the end to keep them perfectly cooked.

thai green curry simmering in a pot

cooked thai green curry plated with white rice

If this book is what you’ve been looking for, here is some further information.

Buy Links

About the Author:

Mielle Chenier-Cowan Rose has been a vegan chef and advocate for natural living for over 15 years. She studied healing foods and culinary nutrition at Bauman College and has worked with some of the most prominent vegetarian restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the raw food restaurant phenomenon Café Gratitude. Readers of her culinary writing can almost taste the uncommon reverence she has for her ingredients, for cooking, and for every being on the planet. She lives in Nevada City, CA.

 

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Summertime Soba Noodle and Raw Vegetable Salad

Nobody really likes to sweat in their kitchen in the summer time (although I tend to do this at times, due to my lack of outdoor cooking space). I tried this recipe a while back and thought it would be a great summer time recipe to post. The only heat it requires is to boil a pot-o-noodles! It’s also a quick recipe, and you can make a big batch and eat all week if you like.

The original recipe came from a blog I stumbled across, Cookie + Kate.

Serves approx. 6

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces soba noodles (100% buckwheat kind if you want to ensure gluten free)
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium tamari (or soy sauce, just be sure it’s reduced sodium or it will taste too salty)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to your liking of spiciness)
  • 1-2 bunches green onions, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped cilantro (I am not a cilantro fan, so didn’t use much. I usually use a little parsley in place of cilantro.)
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1/4 head of green or red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 3 whole carrots, shredded with vegetable peeler
  • 2 cups shelled edamame, steamed
  • 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • Optional ingredients for extra flavor
  • one lime, juiced
  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
  • peanut butter! (do it!!)
Instructions
  1. Cook soba noodles according to directions, and rinse in a colander.

    dry soba noodles

  2. Chop up all your vegetables, and toss into a bowl with the soba noodles.

    diced veggies

    soba noodle salad

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the tamari, sesame oil, canola oil, rice wine vinegar and red pepper flakes.

    dressing for soba noodle salad

  4. Pour the dressing into the pasta and veggies and toss well to combine. Eat right away or put it in the fridge to have the flavor mingle.

    soba noodle salad

BBQ Sandwiches

THANK YOU to the blog Luminous Vegans for this recipe!! You rock 🙂

This barbeque sandwich was so delicious and easy too, I’m so glad we tried these! “How does a vegan eat barbeque?” you may ask. Enter the wonderful texture of Green Jackfruit. We found Young Green Jackfruit in the Asian isle at the supermarket.

young green jackfruit in brine

Get yourself two cans of Green Jackfruit in Brine. Green, not yellow! Also get a good, tasty bottle of barbeque sauce. We bought an organic one that was sweetened with agave. It was the best BBQ sauce eva! You’ll also want to preheat your oven to 400 degrees at this time.

green jackfruit

Now you know what Jackfruit looks like.

Jackfruit has a hard core in it which needs to be cut off and discarded. So get chopping and then you have this…

jackfruit with cores removed

Now into the pan…

jackfruit in frying pan

Now bust it up with your spatula! Nothing exciting yet, but take a closer look at the texture.

texture of jackfruit

Time to get saucy. Coat the jackfruit in the BBQ sauce. We used a whole bottle for the two cans of jackfruit. Simmer it in the sauce for about 20 minutes on a lower temperature.

Next, spread it over a baking sheet (covered in tin foil if you want less mess).

baking sheet covered in bbq jackfruit

Bake for about 20 minutes until it gets a bit crispy like this…

baked BBQ jackfruit

Pile the finished product on a bun and enjoy the amazing-ness!!

BBQ jackfruit sandwich

YUM!! Thanks again Luminous Vegans for the tasty recipe!

I’ve Discovered a Dairy-free Yogurt Made From Almonds!

I’ve tried a few different non-dairy yogurts since becoming vegan (soy, coconut..), but there hasn’t been anything I have been overly fond of. I came across a new product when shopping at an organic market – Amande Almond yogurt! I like the flavor and texture; it’s a good find. It’s not packed full of sugar but has a nice sweet taste. You also get a good sized tub for the price, unlike the coconut yogurt. Make sure if it looks liquidy, just give the whole tub a good stir. The good stuff hangs out in the liquid so don’t dump it out!

Just wanted to share my discovery!

top lid of almond yogurt

Front view of almond yogurt container

Yummy Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

This is a great tasting, healthier muffin I love to make. I adapted this from an old recipe I used to make in my “pregan” days, so this version is eggless, cholesterol free and even more delicious! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 9 large bananas
  • 1 3/4 Cups  agave, or you could use white sugar but use a bit more (agave is sweeter than sugar)
  • 1 1/2 Cups unsweetened organic applesauce
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 Cups whole wheat flour
  • 6 Tbsp ground flaxseed or more as desired (optional)
  • Mini chocolate chips, to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Mash bananas – I used potato masher

mashing bananas

  • Add agave/sugar
  • Add applesauce

wet ingredients for banana muffins

  • Add dry ingredients

banana muffin batter

  • Mix in chocolate chips

batter

  • Grease muffin tins or use liners instead. Fill up about ¾ with the batter.

muffin batter in tins

  • Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean

muffins fresh out of the oven
banana chocolate chip muffins

These are crazy moist and good, and no oil! The recipe makes a big batch and you can freeze them so you always have something you can defrost and run out the door with.

I Can’t Stop Eating These Sour Cream and Onion Kale Chips

I think these might be the cure to my potato chip addiction!! I can’t get over how good these are, and can’t stop eating them! They also taste so deliciously like sour cream and onion, but of course don’t contain any dairy.

The recipe came from Thrive Foods cookbook. I made these in my food dehydrator but you can do them easily in the oven. I’ve included the instructions for both methods.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cashews, PRE-SOAKED in water for 35 minutes
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (or 1 Tbsp cider vinegar and 1/2 Tbsp apple juice – I didn’t have apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch kale (I used some green and some purple kale)

Instructions

Combine the soaked cashews, water, onion powder, garlic powder, vinegar, salt, and parsley in a blender and process until smooth, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides if needed (this may take several minutes). Set aside.

soaked cashews in mini blender

sour cream and onion mixture blended
Wash the kale to remove any grit, then carefully dry the leaves. Strip the leaves into a bowl, roughly tearing any large pieces. Discard the stems. Pour the creamed mixture on top of the kale, using a small spatula or spoon to remove the mixture from the blender. Using clean hands, massage the mixture into the kale for 1 minute to evenly coat the leaves.

green and purple kale
Oven method:

Heat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, then spread the kale chips over the sheets, as evenly and flatly as possible, to ensure even cooking time. (Don’t overlap them) Bake between 1 1/2 and 2 hours (time varies according to the dryness of the kale), tossing halfway through the baking, until the kale has dried out and is crispy but not burnt. Keep a close eye on the kale at the end of its cooking process, and remove any premature crispy chips from the batch if needed. Enjoy immediately or keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Dehydrator method (which also means this method is a raw recipe):

Warm the dehydrator to 115 degrees F. Spread the kale onto 4 mesh dehydrator sheets, and dehydrate for 10 – 12 hours, or until crispy (time will vary depending on relative humidity). We put this together before bed and let them dehydrate overnight!

sour cream and onion kale ready to be dehydrated

kale chips ready to eat

Ready to eat...nom nom nom

I think I just increased my daily kale consumption by 300%.

Nothing But Good Stuff Protein Trail Mix Cookies

I think I will only make this cookie or versions of this cookie from now on. These not only taste amazing but they are full of purely good stuff. They don’t contain flour of any kind (gluten free!), no oil, and low amounts of natural sugar, plus they are packed with protein and other healthy nutrients! I would call this a Supercookie!!

Thanks Peas and Thank You for another great recipe!

Ingredients (12 cookies)

  • 3 T. flax seeds (ground into meal) or buy pre-ground flax seeds
  • 3/4 c. non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened plain Almond milk)
  • 2 c. old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 c. pepitas – chopped if desired (these are the inner part of a pumpkin seed)
  • 1/4 c. chopped almonds (I pulsed whole almonds in my mini blender)
  • 1/4 c. raisins
  • 1/4 c. dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. vanilla protein powder (I used Vega One All In One Nutritional Shake powder, Vanilla Chai flavor – has no added sugar and amazing flavor!)
  • 3 T. honey (I used about 4 Tbsp agave)
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. vanilla
  • stevia to taste (I used 2 packets I believe which is 4 tsp – but add a bit, mix, taste, and see how you like the flavor. Adjust sweetness if necessary)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, combine ground flax with milk and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients.

cookie mixture

  • Add flax mixture to dry ingredients and stir until combined.
cookie mixture before forming into cookies

Look at all that whole food goodness!

  • The mixture will seem a bit dry, but will hold together when forming the cookies.
sticky cookie hands

The mixture likes to make your hands pretty sticky. Be patient when forming the cookies, it's worth it 🙂

  • To make cookies, spoon dough into your hands and pack cookies. Ration the dough so you can make 12 cookies. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray or lightly greased.

mixture formed into vegan cookie
cookies on cookie sheet

  • Bake for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are slightly browned. Let them cool completely on the pan before transferring to an airtight container.
finished vegan protein trail mix cookies

They don't look much different when baked, and are super chewy and soft

I hope you enjoy these healthy treats as much as we do!

Ceviche – Raw salad cooked by citris juice

I had no idea what Ceviche was, I  just knew when I read the ingredients on the recipe it looked good! I came across it in my Vegetarian Collection cookbook. The cookbook says it is commonly served throughout Central and South America, but is usually made with seafood in it. You could eat this like a salad or heap it on top of crispy whole wheat pita bread like we did! The ceviche is “zingy” and flavorful. It also has ingredients I normally don’t like raw if at all, like olives and tomatoes, but I gobbled this up! The fat fills you up, and not in the gross “I need to unbutton my pants and let my gut fly” kind of way, so you could have it as a light supper, snack, or appetizer.

Vegetarian Ceviche

  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • half jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 can hearts of palm, drained and rinsed (check the Indian isle of your grocery store)
  • 2 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green olives (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, salt and pepper. Whisk in oil until thickened. Stir in parsley and jalapeno.

ceviche preparation

Real men eat plants and know how to make delicious food 🙂

Cut hearts of palm into thin rings and avocado into 1/2 inch pieces; add to bowl along with tomatoes, onion and olives. Toss to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes, or refrigerated, up to 6 hours (I’m not sure when happens after the 6 hours…this is just what the recipe states).

hearts of palm getting mixed into lime juice olive oil mixture

finished ceviche
While the flavors mingled together, we split whole wheat pitas, brushed them with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of garlic powder, baked them on an oven sheet at 375 for about 5 minutes (this is just a guess – just watch them. They should get brown and crispy but they burn easily, so keep those peepers peeled!)

Nom nom nom…

ceviche on top of baked pita crips

Chickpea and Broccoli Casserole

I think you could make this casserole with just about any veggies you have on hand. I might try it even with a marinara sauce on the top next time. The texture and flavor of this was great! Especially the next day after the flavors have mingled. I love how the chickpeas are mashed, it makes the casserole have a rich texture that doesn’t seem like you are eating legumes (even though I love legumes, this change was a nice way to eat them).

I came across the recipe for chickpea and broccoli casserole posted on the Vegan Mama blog.

  • Two 16-oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 3 large carrots, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets (about 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (preferably whole wheat)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Roughly 2 Tbsp of powdered garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • A bit of Daiya vegan cheddar cheese mixed into the body of the casserole.
  • I also made a crumb topping–which I highly recommend–made of melted Earth Balance vegan butter combined with whole wheat bread crumbs and a little Daiya vegan cheddar cheese. I don’t know the amounts–sorry–but it’s pretty easy to eyeball and probably largely suited to individual taste, anyway.

Preheat oven to 350º F.

In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas well, using a potato masher or firm fork. It takes about 2 minutes to get the right consistency.

beginning to mash chickpeas

Beginning to mash chickpeas

prepped veggies

Prepped veggies

Add the vegetables and mix well. Add the bread crumbs and mix; then add the oil, and mix again. Finally, add the vegetable broth and salt, and mix one last time.

veggie mixture for casserole

Transfer all ingredients to a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish (preferably glass or ceramic). Press the mixture firmly into the casserole. Top with crumb topping of whatever you like. Bake for 1 hour.

chickpea and broccoli casserole ready for oven

finished casserole

CREDIT: Vegan with a Vengeance, by Isa Chandra-Moskowitz

Hot and Sour Soup

Finally I’m back to blogging after a bit of a break! I’ve had too much wedding related chaos to make any time for myself, or my cooking. But I have some goodies saved up that I will now post.

First I have to show off an awesome addition to my kitchen, thanks to my amazing fiance!! I’ve gotta show off both what a great guy he as, as well as his mad welding skills (he is a welder). I mean, how lucky am I to have a guy that does this for me…and actually not just for me but for both of us because we cook together often! It makes it way easier for both of us to be in the kitchen.

kitchen island

How did I live without this stainless steel beauty before?

That’s the food dehydrator stored at the bottom. A great place for that massive thing which used to hang out on our kitchen table because it didn’t fit anywhere else.

Now…on to the FOOD! I got the idea of making this soup from another blog, luminousvegans. I’ve always wanted to try hot and sour soup but never have! The recipe is from Vegan Yum Yum.

Hot and Sour Cabbage Soup
Serves six?

1 Tbs Oil
1 Small Onion, minced
1 Small Cabbage, about the size of a grapefruit
2 Large Carrots, chopped
1 15oz Can Tomatoes, blended smooth
6 Cups Water
1 Cup Cubed Pressed, Baked Tofu (like wildwood baked) – I changed this and just used firm tofu, couldn’t find baked
1/4 Cup Tamari, low sodium
1/3 Cup Seasoned Rice Vinegar (or if you only have regular rice vinegar like I did – use 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1  1/2 Tbsp sugar and 3/4 tsp salt)
1 tsp Hot Red Chili Flakes (I used Asian hot chilli sauce – to taste)
1/2 tsp Salt
Black Pepper, to taste (a lot!)

Heat a large 5 qt soup pot that has a heavy lid over medium heat. Add oil and onion, and saute until golden.

sauteeing veggies for soup

Meanwhile, quarter your cabbage, remove the core, and shred the cabbage with a large chef’s knife. Add carrots, tomatoes, cabbage and water to the pot and stir well.

tofu cubed

First time using tofu cubed up in something - loved it in this soup!

Add the tofu, tamari, vinegar, chili flakes and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, then turn heat down to medium low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until cabbage and carrots are the desired tenderness.

soup ingredients simmering in a pot

Grind a lot of fresh black pepper over the top and serve.

The flavor in this soup was so great, I am going to make it again very soon. The tofu absorbs the soup flavor and it is melt in your mouth goodness – it’s addicting. This soup is also easy, and you can keep it in the fridge and eat it all week.

This one is a winner – try it out for yourself!