Thursday, October 08, 2015

"Vegan Bowls" Book Review & Giveaway!

Woo-hoo! 

The first time I really got turned on to "bowls" was during a trip to Portland, OR. I'm sure most of you already know, but just in case... a "bowl" isn't just the bowl itself - it's a complete meal all in one bowl: usually grains, veggies, proteins, and some sort of cohesive sauce. Portland is really the vegan bowl capitol of the world, and there are so many great choices there. Ever since my first "bowl" experience, I was ready for more... but it's not really a phenomena around here where I live. I make some pretty successful bowls of my own -- but when I heard that my internet-friend Zsu Denver was going to be writing a whole book of Vegan Bowl recipes, I knew I wanted to be in on that action! 



I received a copy for review, and was asked to participate in the Official "Vegan Bowls" Blog Tour... huzzah! Plus, I'll have a copy to giveaway to a reader here in the United States (at the end of my post). I usually make at least 5 dishes from a cookbook before reviewing it... but I just got home from my trip to NYC and I only had time to make 3 recipes. No worries though, because they were all good solid recipes and I don't have any doubts about this book.


 Hungarian Seitan Salad Bowl from the "Salad Bowls" chapter

I think Zsu's heritage is Hungarian, and there are quite a few Hungarian or Hungarian-inspired dishes in this book, which is pretty cool. I had some store-bought seitan in my fridge, so I saved time by using that, though I would like very much to try Zsu's recipe (in the book) for "Slow-Simmered Seitan." This salad had 4 components: the dressing, the potatoes, the seasoned seitan strips, and the salad veggies. Still, it came together quite quickly, because it was easy to make the dressing and the seitan while the potatoes were simmering. I especially loved the super garlic & paprika blast in the seasoning mix for the seitan, and I also loved that the dressing had caramelized onions in it. With the addition of the potatoes and seitan, this was a really filling lunch that felt healthy and nourishing.


 Braised Greek Kabocha Squash Bowl from the "Sauteed Bowls" Chapter

Mmmmmm. I can be a bit sentimental about saying farewell to the summertime produce, but Kabocha squash helps heal my spirits. I love it so much. This bowl had 4 components: quinoa, roasted squash, seasoning mix (with onion, garlic, fresh & dried herbs - yum!), and the veggie braise. A proper bowl should have multiple elements, in my opinion, and I appreciate that the preparation times can overlap for a satisfying meal without too much time required in the kitchen. We both really enjoyed this dinner - the velvety bite of the roasted kabocha cubes were a great contrast to the cooked quinoa texture, and the combination of light and hearty flavors was perfect. I'd definitely make this again!


 Chicken-free Goi Ga Bowl

Oh yeah! This veganized version of a Vietnamese salad bowl was a total homerun. We both absolutely loved its combination of heat (from sambal oelek) and bright citrus (from the lime juice) flavors - plus it's packed with flavorful and aromatic fresh herbs, crisp napa cabbage, crunchy peanuts, and toothsome tempeh chunks. I can't wait to make this again. It came together quickly and was completely devoured by both of us. The recipe said "serves 4" but we had it alone for dinner, and it served us two hungry piggies just fine. Ha ha.

Over-all thoughts about "Vegan Bowls":

This book has many different chapters: Grain Bowls, Sauteed Bowls, Pasta Bowls, Grilled Bowls, Salad Bowls, Soup Bowls, Breakfast Bowls (and a Basics chapter)... so you can basically live off bowls morning, noon, and night. 

The design of the book is very user-friendly: One page per recipe (no turning the page to continue the recipe); All the ingredients are in a column on the left, and sorted by component (example: All the ingredients for the dressing are grouped together, then all the ingredients for the veggie component are grouped together); Clear and well-organized lay-out of instructions; "Quick tips" are offered to help streamline the preparation process.

Recipes are marked if they are soy-free or gluten-free (or if such options are provided - there are a lot of recipes for both of these dietary needs!). Many, but not all recipes feature beautiful color pictures. 

I found the instructions all to be very clear, easy to follow, and didn't have any moments where my experience in the kitchen was not matching up with the directions in the recipes. I love that! 

Here are a few of the recipes I have bookmarked to try:
Whole Wheat Parker House Rolls
Tempeh Paprikash
Braised Butternut Bowl with Sage and Chard
Sausage-style Tofu Bowl with Squash and Potatoes
Green & White Chili Bowl
Hearty Sambal Bowl
Ful Medames Breakfast Bowl
and many more! 

Giveaway Time!
Soooo... if reading this review has put you in the mood to cook up some homemade bowls of your own, you're in luck! The publisher has offered one copy of Vegan Bowls to a lucky winner (open to readers in the United States only). To enter, please leave a comment on this post, and tell me about your favorite bowl recipe or even just your favorite actual bowl in your kitchen shelves. I really like bowls and I have far, far too many. I'll pick a winner one week from today, on Thursday Oct 15th! 

48 comments:

  1. Your reviews are great! I love bowls with peanut sauce -- I'm a sucker for anything with peanut sauce!

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  2. Great review. There were so many recipes I wanted to make, too. The Green and White Chili Bowl was excellent, though.

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  3. Great review. There were so many recipes I wanted to make, too. The Green and White Chili Bowl was excellent, though.

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  4. Oh my goodness, those bowls look and sound delicious! I couldn't pick a favorite bowl (I have too many), but I will always have a fondness for a Yumm bowl. Thankfully Cafe Yumm has come to Seattle and I don't have to wait for a visit to Portland to stock up on Yumm sauce. Any business that lets me veganize something and gives me extra avocado to replace non vegan elements will make me a loyal customer for life. Bonus: favorite bowl to use is a big white bowl with kitty eyes and nose sneakily hidden beneath the food.

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  5. I tend to eat almost exclusively out of bowls, while my husband is a plate person. I love bowls! My favorite in my kitchen right now is a plain stoneware bowl with a chipped rim, that was given to me by my step-mom. It used to be an almost-complete dinner set when she gave it to me over 10 years ago, but from the bowls just this one remains. This is a great review, and the kind of book that is right up my alley!

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  6. Terri Cole2:51 PM

    I love Buddha bowls! One of my favorites is cooked farro, roasted sweet potatoes, steamed or sauteed greens and a protein (spicy beans, barbecue tempeh or baked tofu) with tahini sauce on top. It can be a different bowl every time depending how the different components are seasoned. Chopped green onions and/or avocado on top are optional.

    gaia at cinci dot rr dot com

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  7. I absolutely love any bowls with sweet potatoes. Usually I add a grain, either brown rice or farro, then usually black beans and broccoli. I try to tread lightly on the sauces as I overdo it if not careful. This book looks amazing!

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  8. the pizza bowl from isa does it! or a bowl with brown rice, steamed kale, layonna chicken chunks and mmmm sauce from peas and thank you. delicious!

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  9. My go-to bowl... Brown rice (from my freezer), kale, sweet potato & cashew cheeze sauce. So good!

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  10. My favorite bowl is basically categorized as such just because its huge. I love a giant salad!!!!! BUT! my favorite non-salad bowl is totes french lentils, quinoa, roasted beets, chard, tahini and nooch. PERFECTION.

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  11. One of the regular bowls at our house is from Isa Does It - brown rice with sauteed tofu, curried peanut sauce and kale. A definite winner!

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  12. I have a 10 inch wooden bowl that I love. I eat all my dinners in it. Looks like a great book!

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  13. My first restaurant bowl was in the '70s and is my go-to, tried and true everything bowl. Brown rice or noodles with steamed veggies and tofu (if available). Need to expand my taste and talents and would love to try the recipes in this book. Thanks for this opportunity!

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  14. Laura C.7:07 PM

    My favorite bowl is from Isa Does It. Grains, tofu, kale with a really delicious peanut sauce. I see from reading the comments here that I'm not the only one who loves this! I'd love to have a cookbook full of bowl recipes to try.

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  15. I want to go on a Magic Bowl Ride!!! :-) the Isa Does It Pizza Bowl is my #1 :-)

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  16. My favorite bowl that I want to be on my shelf is the Finel heart bowl. But I'd be happy with the mushroom bowl too, I think you have that one. These days, I'm partial to spicy celery ranch on my bowls, or a squashy nacho sauce.

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  17. I have a stone bowl from South Korea. I love bibimbab in a hot stone bowl. The veggie kind

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  18. I love burrito bowls, and I really love vegan Bibimbap bowls. I found a perfect bowl at a thrift store for under two dollars that is the absolute perfect size for all of my bowl needs!

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  19. I love Grilled Veggie Taco Bowls!! Thanks for hosting the giveaway. Best wishes to all!

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  20. I love bibimbap- the original "bowl" XD Though the winter squash and quinoa bowl looks amazing!

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  21. Oh good - I was hoping you would review this book! Will definitely put this one on my list.

    My minimalist dish collection is just no longer working in the era of bowls. My favorite kitchen bowls are actually *yours* ... so many cool bowls (and plates) over the years on your blog. :)

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  22. I'd love to win this cookbook! As for my favorite bowl, it's a really nice green enameled
    Le Creuset that I purchased on sale at Marshal's. It can go in the oven too which is great :)

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  23. My favorite bowl is either a burrito bowl at chipotle or any of the bowls at wagamama but my favorite actual bowl at my house is a HUGE mug that has poodles on it :-) because I can fit a ton in it and still have a handle to carry it by

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  24. I have been entering every giveaway/contest I can for this because I would LOVE to win this book soooo much! Anyways...yes...regarding actual bowls...I have to share this...I have a mish mash of cheap bowl in my kitchen. I have been picking them up just about anywhere I can so I can take pics of more of my creations so I don't just have the same bowl in the photo...is that weird? LOL As for my fave bowl meal anything with a grain - mostly rice or quinoa...and a bean...mostly chickpea and/or black beans!!! YUMMO!

    http://MyBlissfulJourney.com

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  25. My favorite bowl consists of a bed of steamed kale with brown rice, sauerkraut, tempeh, and tahini. Perfect combo! (Now I'm hungry)

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  26. I love so many bowl combos, but the one I make most often is roasted Brussels, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes and cauliflower over rice with some sauteed tofu I marinate for a while, topped with a miso tahini sauce. Yum!

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  27. I love any bowl with avocado on top

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  28. I love big taco salad bowls with refried beans, salsa, tofu sour cream, romaine lettuce, peppers, cucumbers, cilantro, tomatoes, and anything else that I have in my fridge!

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  29. One of my favorite bowls is pasta, greens, mushrooms and black olives.

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  30. We received 4 gorgeous BIG salad bowls from our wedding registry over the summer and these recipes would be amazing to fill them with! Glad to hear there are lots of gluten-free options as well! Can't wait to check it out!

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  31. Pizza bowl from Isa Does It! Thank you for this opportunity, I so want this book, I love bowls!

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  32. I love your cookbook reviews. You actually make (multiple!) recipes from the book, which is appreciated. :) I really like a simple bowl of broiled tofu, steamed sweet potato, and sauteed kale with peanut sauce. So good, but clearly I need more ideas!

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  33. I'd love a copy!! I serve basically everything in my pasta bowls, which may explain why I eat too much!! My favorite bowl is the Pizza Bowl from Isa Does It!

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  34. My favorite bowl meal would have to be chili. Our family chili recipe was one of the first things that I ever veganized. It was so easy to do with chili and is still an all-time favorite that even my non-vegan family requests on a regular basis. It always brings a smile to my face being able to sit down at the dinner table with non-vegans and have everyone enjoying the same meal.

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  35. This cookbook looks so good - it would be a great way for me to branch out with my bowls! My go-to is lentils, sautéed garlicky zucchini and kale, and lemon-tahini sauce or hummus.

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  36. Looks delicious! I love quinoa, chickpeas, broccoli, sweet potatoes, kale, with some avocado and lime.

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  37. Sadly, I can't enter this one, but I'm a big fan of bowls. I don't know why, but there's something about the combination of grains, chick peas, greens and a sauce does happy things in my brain. The vietnamese bowl appears to be calling my name!

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  38. I have a huge collection of vintage texasware bowls that I use for everything. I was collecting them long before Rachel Ray starting using one as her garbage bowl.

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  39. I love bowls that have tomatoes + chickpeas + pumpkin + tahini lemon garlic dressing and some greens! I usually eat a variation of this bowl sometimes with rice and sometimes with quinoa or baked potatoes!

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  40. Count me in! I am new to the whole bowl phenomenon, but I can adapt!

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  41. Zsu's recipes are so good. I love Everyday Vegan Eats, and can't wait to get my hands on this book!

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  42. As for my favorite bowl, you just made me realize I truly need a set of amazing bowls for my food bowl addiction, which is quinoa and raw veggies with tahini! :)

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  43. I love a bowl with brown rice or another hearty grain, kale or brussel sprouts (or both) and a tahini-miso sauce, sometimes with baked tofu or sauteed soy curls. I also love a big 'ol salad. I really need a perfect bowl to eat them out of though. None of mine are big enough!

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  44. Pad Thai is always my favorite!

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  45. A burrito bowl is yummy and filling. =)

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  46. I love eating food in bowls, there is definitely something very comforting about it somehow, it makes sense. Beautiful post and recipes, I love your site! :)

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