Back in the day, when I was a wee vegan, there weren't many vegan cook books out there. I think I was already vegan for a couple years before I bought my first all-vegan cookbook ("How It All Vegan" by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard). I had been a vegetarian since age 14, so I had a number of vegetarian cookbooks with recipes that were vegan or mostly vegan, but I also frequently engaged in the lost of "veganizing" non-vegan recipes.
i had a ponytail back then
Of course it's wonderful to have vegan cookbooks coming out of our ears these days (remember when you felt a moral obligation to buy every vegan cookbook that managed to get published? ha ha). But there's also a part of me that misses the adventure and mystery and reckless abandon of the time when there was all that veganizing going on.
you can't tell in this picture, but this book is a really great & user-friendly size
Well, now there's a new cookbook that does it all! "The Complete Guide to Even More Vegan Food Substitutions," by Joni Marie Newman and Celine Steen is both an excellent cookbook full of appealing recipes, and a very thorough guide to learning how to make your own veganizing decisions. It's so cool!
The book is broken into sections based on what is being substituted: Milk Substitutions, Cheese Substitutions, Egg Substitutions in Savory Dishes, Egg Substitutions in Baking, Chicken and Beef Subsittutions, Seafood Substitutions, Bacon Substitutions (a whole chapter!), and also a chapter called "No Mimicking Meat." Plus, there is an extensive "Complete Chart of Vegan Food Substitutions" ~ including all the possible substitutions you could imagine. Again, I must say, it's so cool!
Mushroom Broth Powder
This homemade broth powder was easy and fun to make, and was called for in several of the dishes I made. It's a quick zip-zip in the food processor, and suddenly you've got a lovely umami blast to add to your other recipes. I love that The Complete Guide to (Even More) Food Substitutions includes so many recipes for kitchen staples like this. I still have about half of this batch left, and I put it in a spice jar so that it will last until I need to make another batch.
Cook-Off Chili with Roasted Corn
One of the features that I really like in this book is that every once in a while they'll have a two-page spread, and on the lefthand page is a non-vegan recipe, while on the right is their veganized version of the same recipe. Substitutions that they made are highlighted and clearly explained... all so that you can start to understand the art and science of veganizing recipes.
This is one of the recipes in the book that includes a non-vegan (aka "original") version of the recipe on one page, and then a veganized version on the opposing page... along with the authors' thoughts and ideas on converting the original recipe into a vegan adaptation. It's really interesting to read, even as an experienced vegan.
Let me tell you, this is a really great chili recipe!! I have plenty of chili recipes in my life, but this is one of my new favorites for sure. I absolutely loved the flavors, and the edition of the roasted corn -- which was as easy and very worthwhile addition. My other favorite chili is the one with Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes from Appetite for Reduction, but not everyone is up for Brussels sprouts in their chili, if you know what I mean. I think this is now my favorite "traditional" chili recipe. I'm already looking forward to making it again.
Scallion Kale Pudla
Yum yum yum yum! Lately I've been on a real pudla kick. In case you don't already know about these savory veggie pancakes made with chickpea flour batter... you should check out Kittee's inspirational pudla post from quite a while back. The recipe in this cookbook is a great variation with a slight twist of East Asian flavors, and packed full with scallions and kale, both of which I love. I made this for breakfast a few days in a row and really loved it.
Cauliflower Taco Crumbles
Genius Idea! These little cauliflower crumbles were so easy to prepare and were so tasty. Cauliflower isn't as high-protein as seitan or tofu, but it actually does have a pretty good protein level - and it's also super yummy and healthy and low-cal. This minced cauliflower (I used a food processor) is mixed with a rich array of seasoning and then roasted until just a little chewy. So good!
the crumbles put to use in delicious tacos
As you can see, we had a lovely little taco night with these crumbles, along with some good salsa, some fresh yellow tomatoes, guacamole, and cabbage. Such a great summery dinner.
Sassy Hot Sauce Chickpea Sticks
MmmmMmmm. Imagine Torta di Ceci (aka Farinata) + Polenta + Umami Blast, then cut it into little french fry shapes, and roast it all up... and that's what you've got here. These little babies were rich and dense and somewhat irresistible. I dipped them in some homemade ranch dressing, as per their suggestion, as that was a great idea. I gave some to Mr. VE&T, but then I "accidentally" kept eating his. Oooops!
Asopao de FrijolesWe have a winner!!! Mr VE&T loved this dinner so much that he actually said "I'm making out with this." ha ha / ew? Anyhow, we both loved it. It was easy and quick to make, low-cal, and packed with flavor. This recipe is a veganized version of a Puerto Rican stew that is traditionally made with chicken -- instead, this recipe uses black beans. The flavors are abundant and rich, without feeling at all heavy or overdone. I also loved the addition of capers and green olives, for a little special touch... This recipe is definitely going on our re-make list.
Overall Thoughts:I think this book is totally great as a cookbook: it's chock full of super appealing recipes for meals, and it also contains many recipes for elemental vegan substitutes that you can make yourself: things like broth powder, creamer, yogurt, cream cheese, seitan, bacon, ricotta, vegan butter, etc etc. The layout is clear and easy to use, with one recipe per page, many beautiful pictures, and clear indications of which recipes are soy-free, gluten-free, no-added oil, quick-and-easy, and so on.
I also think this book is super useful as a resource for learning to veganize your own favorite recipes and family recipes from your pregan days, if that exciting world of veganizing recipes is of interest to you.
In addition to the copy I was sent to review for this post, the publishers have also offered to send a copy to one winner from the USA or Canada. To enter, please just leave a comment on this blog post -- tell me about something you've successfully veganized, or un-successfully tried to veganize, or just dreamed about veganizing. Maybe this book will help you in your quest! I'll pick a contest winner in one week, using the random number generator.