Thursday, March 15, 2018

Real Food, Real Fast: Cookbook Review

By now, you've probably heard about Hannah Kaminsky's fabulous new book "Real Food, Real Fast." It's so popular, that the first printing edition is already almost sold out! How rad that there is such enthusiasm for vegan food. 

Hannah and I go waaaaay back - I've been reading her blog for so many years I can't even remember how long it's been. Hannah was just a (super talented) little teenager back then... but from the beginning, her blog always had an excellent style and sense of personality. She's written a few other great cookbooks, and it's been wonderful over the years to see her interest in photography develop and her recipes become more daring and creative. 

So, I was super stoked to review her newest book, Real Food Real Fast. Plus, I am definitely interested in quick, delicious and healthy meals. That's pretty much what I'm always looking for. 

real food, real fast! 

Tempeh Fries with Peanut Satay Sauce

This recipe is actually from the Snacks and Apps chapter, but it actually made a totally excellent light dinner. These tempeh "fries" have a simple but excellent flavoring on them, and are sauteed in the pan. They are SO good and toothsome and the peanut satay sauce is absolutely delicious. That sauce is so amazing - spiced, spicy, tangy, and rich. 

In the interest of adding some greens to our meal, I made some steamed-then-seared broccoli. It was such a good combo. The broccoli was also super tasty with the peanut sauce. I really love tempeh, but I don't make it nearly often enough. Writing about it and looking at this picture makes me feel ready to eat this again!

bonus gado gado with extra peanut satay sauce 

When I was making the peanut sauce, I messed up the measurements by accident and had to make a double batch to correct my error. Well, no problemo! I was stoked to have a double batch of that good stuff. I made a batch of gado gado to enjoy with the peanut satay sauce. 

Falafel Fattoush

This Falafel Fattoush is from the Salads chapter. I halved the bread and used two pita breads instead of four, and subbed in a bunch of lettuce. This salad was fantastic! We loved the fresh herbs and toasted sesame seeds. And it had an excellent spicy kick from the red pepper flakes. I added some tahini sauce too, because I cannot resist tahini sauce. True to the promise of the book's title, this recipe really was a quick dinner made after one of my late teaching nights.

  speedy doodle 

Three Pea Soup

I am a huge green pea fan, but I'm not actually a huge fan of split pea soup. So I was super stoked to see that this Three Pea Soup uses frozen green peas, fresh snap peas, and pea sprouts. What a fun and fresh spin on pea soup. It's a light soup, and surprisingly filling. All that fresh pea action gives the soup a great pea flavor - I especially loved the fresh pea salad. The recipe calls for cashew butter, which I never have on hand, so I used almond butter instead. I also added a little extra of almost everything - peas, spinach, fennel, salad... because who can resist? But I did reduce the oil, which I almost always do. I'm generally quite wary of fresh fennel, but I really loved the inclusion of the fennel in this soup!

fennel friend! 

Tofu Shakshouka

I've always wanted to try a vegan version of Shakshouka! This one was just a semi hit - I loved it, and Mr VE&T wasn't crazy about it. We both really loved the sauce , but Musty wasn't really a fan of the tofu dumplings. Oh well, more for me!! This recipe is in the breakfast chapter, but I made it for dinner, and then I ate the leftovers for breakfast and lunch. So, it's pretty much a take-all meal. I made a 1.5 batch and got four nice hearty servings out of it.

I left out the smoked paprika, to keep the flavors a little lighter. I might play around with the dumplings recipe a bit and see if I could figure out how to make Mr. VE&T like them - maybe make them a little softer. I think the chickpea flour I've been using is extra dense, so perhaps I will reduce it a touch. I want Mr. VE&T to like this dish, because I really like this quick and savory breakfast.

Straight-up Chickpea Scramble

Whoa! I loved this recipe! I served it with chopped scallions and my homemade fermented hot sauce. It was quick and simple, and easy to throw together with with simple pantry basics. Instead of using actual cooked chickpeas, this scramble used chickpea flour, which I always have on hand. In the interest of making this a lower-calorie meal, I reduced the oil by a lot, and used lite coconut milk instead of full-fat coconut milk. So quick to prepare and such a lovely result: this scramble feels like a mix of tofu scramble, socca, soft polenta, grits... simple and very filling and satisfying!

I made this on a day when I came home from a day of teaching, a long practice, and then a bunch of errands and I was desperate for a satisfying lunch at 4 pm. This came together so quickly and totally hit the spot -- along with a big pile of broccolini and a huge orange. Obviously I like to eat breakfast at non-breakfast times of day.

speedy yum-creations! 


This was a fantastic and quick dinner - based on SE Asian flavors, it came together quickly but had complex flavors! It's full of umami, with a lovely balance between super savory filling and the fresh and crispy lettuce cups. I added a bit extra lime juice and tamari for extra zing. And of course I added a few good drizzles of sriracha, though the recipe itself already has a pretty good dose of heat (entirely manageable by adding more or less red hot pepper flakes). Mr VE&T had a true inspiration and created a relish with cucumber, white onion, and Thai sweet and sour sauce. It was a great addition, but the leftovers were still great without it. This was especially fun because it's not a flavor profile or the kind of dish that I usually make, so it was novel and exciting!


Overall, this book really does live up to its title - the recipes I made felt high in the "food" quotient, and extremely low in the "processed" department. All of the meals I made also came together quickly and without drama or difficulty. What a great combo. There are still so many great recipes that I'd like to try from this book... here are a few:

Seitan Bulgogi
Wasabi Pea Fritters
Millionaire's Kale Salad
French Onion Soup
Tamarind Rasama 
Sweet Potato Cacio e Pepe
Speculoos Panforte (!!!!)
Cheesecake Stuffed Berries
Grilled Banana Kabobs

OMG! Obviously I have a lot of eating to do! 

I'm sorry I don't have a copy for a giveaway, in fact, I only have an ebook copy myself! If you're a ebook cookbook person, you can nab this book right away - otherwise you can find one in your local bookshop, or order it online and wait for the second printing to be complete ( I think that's in May). What a great book, I look forward to getting a hard copy for myself, since I am an old school believer in actual cookbooks!


  1. You are absolutely the sweetest! And seriously, I can't believe how long we've been in this blogging game together... I feel so lucky that we connected through the magic of the interwebs. It's so amazing to see your take on all of these recipes, and I especially appreciate your honest, nuanced review of everything. You truly knocked it out of the park! <3

  2. This all looks so good! I would love to eat every single one - but especially that chickpea scramble.

  3. I am very interested in checking out this book. I love the idea of recipes that are quick and use whole food ingredients!

  4. This book is definitely on my 'to buy' list. Everything looks so great.

  5. awesome review, thank you, I've been eyeing the scramble! I was lucky enough to attend the launch and I must have eaten 5 of the samples for the millionaire's kale salad and then made it and loved it at home so for sure make that one STAT!!! :)


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