Friday, September 22, 2017

Bold Flavored Vegan Cooking // Cookbook Review & Giveaway

Spoiler alert: this is a glowing review! 

When I first went vegan, there weren't very many vegan cookbooks. I only had one, and it was kinda funky. Instead, I used vegetarian cookbooks and just left out the cheese, or tried to convert the recipes myself... with very mixed results. So I still get a little thrill every time a new vegan cookbook is published. I just kinda can't believe it! 

Now that I've been doing this vegan thing for 17+ years, though, I'm also pretty experienced in the kitchen. I often meet people who are interested in becoming vegan, or who've only just started eating vegan, and now there are so many great cookbooks for people like that -- which is so wonderful. But, as for me, I love when a vegan cookbook isn't afraid to cater to experienced home cooks... and if you're in the same boat, I think you will love this new cookbook: Bold Flavored Vegan Cooking, by Celine Steen of the beautiful blog Have Cake Will Travel. 

I've already made 7 things from this book, and we loved all of them. The recipes truly live up to the title - strong, impressive and memorable flavors. Nothing meek or forgettable here! The recipes also don't shy away from specialty ingredients (harissa, gochujang, dried shiitake powder, various special spices)-- but the book also offers recipes for many of them, in case you don't have access at your local market. Personally, I find this all very exciting! Veganism is already a bit of a limitation, and it's such a thrill to explore new flavors and cuisines and feel my vegan horizons expanding.

Not a book for people who are scared of specialty ingredients. 
Definitely a book for people who don't need another recipe for oatmeal or avocado toast!

Teriyaki Tempeh Tacos

The first recipe I made was these delicious Teriyaki Tempeh Tacos. My homemade tortillas were a bit funky and rustic, but make no mistake -- these tacos were just wonderful! Even though there were several components, they came together pretty quickly. First is a gently seasoned batch of rice. Next up is a batch of tempeh, sauteed with homemade Teriyaki Sauce. And then lots of veggies cooked lightly, but still crispy -- including highly desirable water chestnuts and snow peas. Ha ha. Mr. VE&T *loves* water chestnuts and snow peas, neither of which I cook with all that often. So he was very happy! Then the tacos were garnished with Kimchi, sriracha sauce, and a few other goodies. So many flavors! 

Smoky Kale and Chickpeas with Miso Peanut Drizzle

Hello, Miso Peanut Drizzle, nice to meet you!! This Smoky Kale and Chickpeas with Miso Peanut Drizzle is a super quick and nutritious meal to put together, with very satisfying flavors and textures -- so much more than you would expect from something so easy to prepare. Instead of the roasted sweet potato suggested by the recipe, I used my final butternut squash from last winter's garden! The Miso Peanut Sauce really is special, and calls for red miso, for extra umami oomph!

umami oomph!!!

Gochujang Kimchi Sausages

I love homemade seitan, but I guess I am kinda lazy, because I really don't make it very often. And yet, when I saw a recipe for Gochujang Kimchi Sausages -- seitan sausages with pureed kimchi in the batter?! Yes, please. These are spicy little sneakers, but not it's too much. They're just bursting with flavor - the ingredients list reads like a Who's Who of umami highrollers. So much great stuff packed in!

Gochujang Kimchi Bowl

I used some of my magical seitan sausages in this lovely Gochujang Kimchi Bowl. Once you've made the sausages, this is a super speedy recipe -- veggies, a hearty dose of kimchi, and some flavor-punch garnishes. I made a big batch and had it for lunches for several days. Just looking at it is making me want to eat it all over again!!

Soy Pomegranate- Glazed Baby Eggplants with Dukkah

Mr. VE&T is a card-carrying member of the eggplant fan club... so I am always looking for tasty eggplant recipes to make for him. This recipe for Soy Pomegranate- Glazed Baby Eggplants with Dukkah is a bit more like an appetizer... so I made a size of tofu cubes to go with it. Because we are two people who love to eat, I bought several extra mini-eggplants. Even if you just make a regular batch, I recommend making a bit extra of the marinade. It's really tasty and it adds all the flavor to the dish. What a great dinner. 

I also really liked this dukkah mix. Dukkah is just so good and so easy. Why isn't it more of a household ingredient? Why did it take me so long to know about dukkah? Who was keeping the precious secret from the world? I used the leftover mix on my morning avocado toast and sprinkled on hummus for lunch.

Fresh Corn Tacos with Salsita Verde

Alas, as I am writing this post, it's just after midnight... and is officially the first day of autumn. I actually really love Autumn, but looking at this picture is making me wish I could just have a little more time with summer. These Fresh Corn Tacos with Salsita Verde were absolutely amazing. Pretty much brought down the house. The corn, onion, and bell pepper are perfectly seasoned - spunky but not overpowering. And the fresh tomatillo salsa takes seconds to prepare and is totally dynamite! They're served with slices of avocado, roasted pepitas, and cilantro... SO PERFECT. I have some corn that I froze in the peak of corn season, so I think I will have to make these again pronto.

fiesty flavors!

Miso Sweet Cookies

Last, but not least, the desserts chapter in this book deserves special mention. SO many enticing recipes to explore! Of course, I am a cookie monster, and when I saw a recipe for Miso Sweet Cookies (cookies with miso!?), I got straight to work. I actually made a double batch - I gave half to a special friend of mine who had a long flight ahead of her, and I brought the rest to class for my yoga students. I like to bake them treats from time to time.

These cookies are so special and unique. The recipe calls for a whole 1/4 cup miso - but the saltiness isn't overwhelming at all -- just fantastic. In addition to the miso, the cookies have oats, dark sugars (Sucanat and Turbinado), nuts of choice (I used sliced almonds)... and the super magic ingredients: fresh orange juice and orange zest. What a combo!!

flavors that pack a punch!!
*this doodle was Mr. VE&T's idea!*

Bold Flavored Vegan Cooking also has an amazing and inspiring "Staples" chapter -- full of exciting spice mixes, toppings, sauces, pickles, and condiments that you can make yourself and open up a whole new world of flavors in your home cooking!!

The cookbook is very beautiful, with gorgeous color pictures, and a layout that is very enticing and easy to read. The recipes are labeled "gluten-free" "in a hurry" "soy-free", and so on... so you can get a sense of which recipes suit your needs for any particular meal.

Here are just a few of the many recipes I'd still like to make, just to give you a sense of some of the great range of flavors and ideas in this innovative book! 

Red Curry vegetables
Harissa Sprouts and Chickpeas
Indonesian Inspired Rice Pancakes
Summer Plate with Pickled Pepper Cream
Grilled Pineapple with Tahini Lime Nuts
Orange Creamsicle Tartlets with Ginger Pears

*** GIVEAWAY! ***

If you are a fan of flavor, I've got great news! The publishers of this fine book, Page Street Publishing, are allowing me to offer a giveaway! To enter, please leave a comment on this post and tell me about one of your favorite big flavors, or secret power ingredients, or really, just say anything. And be sure to leave your email address or another way to contact you, or I will select a different winner! 


  1. This seems great! I've actually grown wary of buying new vegan cookbooks because they all seem to repeat the same standards (hummus and avo toast anyone?) but I like new, exciting, and bold foods. So yay!

    My fave flavor enhancer is vinegar - I think a few dashes at the end helps boost flavor in pretty much any dish!

  2. This book sounds right up my street, one of the things that I loved about learning to cook as a new vegan was all of the fun and cool ingredients I got to discover along the way. Nutritional yeast is definitely one of my favourite flavour enhancers, I throw it in almost anything!

  3. Hi! This book sounds great, challenging and exciting. I feel like I'm good in the kitchen, but I don't know a bunch of these ingredients. So fun!

  4. I hope gosh, I forgot my email it's Again, this book sounds great!

  5. I've always loved Celine's recipes, and it's clear that it won't be any different with this book! Your glowing review confirms that I really need to get my hands on it.

    One of my favorite flavorful ingredients is pomegranate molasses: not only does it add a perfect sweet and sour touch to the dishes in which it's used, it also tastes amazing and adds a wonderful depth to the flavors of the dish. (Ok, I have tons of favorite power ingredients, but as a fervent Iranian food lover, I just had to go with that one!)

  6. One of my favorite flavor powerhouse ingredients is tahini. So delicious and creamy! Adds a punch to salad dressings or drizzled over any grain or vegetable. Like your miso cookies, tahini also makes a great cookie. My email is

  7. Wow, all of the recipes you tried look great! If you ever need someone to help eat all of these recipes you test, let me know and I'll be right over!

    As far as flavors, I love umami ingredients such as miso, nutritional yeast, soy sauce.

    I'd love to check out this book!

  8. It IS nice to have a not-so-basic cookbook published alongside the slew of
    newbie titles.
    I love putting red curry paste in unexpected places, like a stew of black beans.

  9. I really like experimenting with flavors! Would like to have this book! karengdelaney {at} yahoo /dot/ com Thanks for the chance!

  10. This cookbook sure sounds intriguing and inspiring, and I love how the food looks in your photos, too, Amey.

    One bold flavor I love is Urfa Biber, a warm and complex dried pepper (available from, just a fyi).

  11. We love kimchi and kimchi flavored anything in this house! I've had my eye on this book!

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. This time of year I love to add pumpkin to whatever I can. I guess it's not a big flavor, but it packs a pretty nice nutritional boost. One of my favorite recipes to add it to is slow cooker butter chickpeas. So good!

  14. Anonymous1:26 PM

    I love cilantro.I make theses kinda ordinary burritos with pinto beans and fajita rice and then add fresh cilantro and it really takes the burittos over the top.

  15. Anonymous5:49 PM

    oh those cookies sound great - i want them NOW.

    fruitcrmble AT Comcast DOT net

  16. Chipotle in adobo. I use it all the time. Not in cookies though. Those miso cookies sound amazing.

  17. Wow, those recipes look scrumptious! Would love to try them...The latest funky ingredient I've experimented with is jackfruit...It's a work in progress! Thank you!

  18. This book sounds amazing! I think my favorite flavor punch is fresh spices of any kind. I recently got into Penzey's Spices, and having high-quality, fresh cumin, oregano, paprika, etc on hand has made my cooking so much better. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity! Email: hampiesandwiches at gmail.

  19. I have always been a fan of kimchi, and recently discovered kimchi sauerkraut. I love anything spicy, but salty is right up there, so kimchi sauerkraut is the perfect combo. I also love picked jalapenos, and have been known to heap kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickled jalapenos on scrambled tofu. Here is my email address--thank you for hosting another great giveaway! ceevegnashville - at - gmail - dot - com

  20. I, too, am always excited to see a vegan book that doesn't include a bajillion smoothie recipes or go over "how to go vegan" for pages and pages. i'd never heard of the HCWT blog, so thanks for the recommendation! I'm always looking for new vegans to follow, especially when they're not afraid of big flavours!
    My favourite condiment of all time is chili oil, specifically the kind with little bits of fermented bean swimming around at the bottom. This, mixed will sesame oil, hoisin, soy sauce and white pepper will make anything taste delicious!
    Thanks for the great giveaway, my e-mail is <3

  21. Oh my gosh, the tempeh tacos and the kimchee bowl sound so good — I have to get out my tortilla press for the tacos, then make a batch of hemp sausage for the bowl! Love your witty illustrations.

  22. Not commenting to enter, because I already have this! I got to test for this cookbook, and it was SO GOOD. Celine was also super nice about having me as a spicy-adverse tester... I made gochujang with pretty much no chili as an experiment so I could make a sandwich.
    Must say, those miso cookies were one of my absolute favourites!

  23. what a lovely book. Those dishes looks divine and I would love to win it so I can try all those great recipes. Millie

  24. I love this review! I am really interested in this cookbook. Lately I've been feeling like my cookbooks are just repeating the same things over and over again. I mean some have been gifts from friends and family, so I guess they don't know that I already have 40+ recipes with overnight oats and vegan sloppy joes. XD And it isn't like they are bad cookbooks, just cookbooks for beginning vegans?

    I am mostly interested in those miso cookies. I LOVE SWEET MISO! I had the burn miso ice cream at Vedge and now I have dreams about sweet miso.... sadly I have no idea where to start lol

  25. I love cilantro! Some people hate it but I add it to many things.

  26. I like adding hot sauce to soups, chilis and other savory dishes when appropriate. =)


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