All-American Herbivore

With a great cookbook collection comes great responsibility; Each individual novel contains dozens, if not hundreds or possibly even thousands, of painstakingly compiled and tested recipes, and nearly each one is just as worth to grace the dinner table. How can one possibly cook enough to do justice to this growing mass of text, all so lovingly created? As a cookbook author myself, I know the pain and suffering that goes into producing these titles. I’m constantly feeling torn between wanting to create my own original recipes, and just enjoy the hard work that others have already done for me, cooking and baking from the massive number of books piling up on my overburdened shelves. While I may never fully utilize the great resources at my disposal, there are some particular books that have proven to be truly useful for every day meals, and will certainly see many repeat trips to the kitchen. Just one such title is American Vegan Kitchen, by Tamasin Noyes. Filled with classic comfort foods and hearty fare to satisfy herbivores and omnivores alike, there’s so much more than just burgers and fries to enjoy here.

There’s nothing better than a big vat of soup bubbling away on a chilly autumn afternoon, so I wasted no time whipping up a giant potful of Black Bean Soup. Though a bit more involved than my typical approach to this staple soup, that complexity definitely came through in the final flavor, as it was so much more than watery beans and a few chopped vegetables. Thick to the point of being closer to a stew, it was packed with all different flavors in every spoonful, with a pleasantly smokey, spicy, and just slightly zesty undertone. Wonderfully accented by a hit of lime, it was just the acid necessary to brighten up the whole conglomeration. Happily producing enough for many meals at once, I was thrilled to find leftovers a few days later, and enjoyed a big bowlful well into the busy work week.

Straying a bit from the theme of solid “American” entrees, I was pleased to see that there were far more than just the stereotypical offerings to choose from. More reflective of our tendency to borrow flavors and ingredients from other cultures, adapting them with out own ingredients and palates, I immediately zoomed in on the irresistible-sounding Peanutty Tofu Kale Pockets. Simple in preparation but highly sophisticated in taste, each stuffed pita was a perfect portable meal. Nicely balanced nutritionally with greens, protein, fat, and starch all wrapped up in one hand-held format, this is what I wish I had packed in my lunchbox instead of so many sad school lunches. Easily adapted to use whatever veg or spice blend you prefer, the only thing I would argue must not be messed with is that killer peanut sauce. The recipe does make far too much for just sandwich servings, that’s part of its genius, as I found it’s even better on leftover plain pasta the next day.

Finally, just to make sure I had some of the basics covered, I simply had to try my hand at making the All-American Incrediburgers. Though I’m embarrassed to admit it, this was actually my first time working with wheat gluten in a savory format, and not just bread. However, I can absolutely promise it will not be the last. Honestly, these were possibly some of the best veggie burgers I’ve tasted. Unnervingly meaty in both flavor and texture, chewy but still tender, this is one that I wouldn’t be afraid to serve to a self-proclaimed meat eater. Each large burger is enough for the heartiest appetites as well. Surprisingly easy to make, these beat out the standard frozen soy pucks by a landslide.

What makes this particular cookbook stand out from the rest, is how thorough it is. I was impressed that there were recipes for absolutely everything mentioned, from suggested toppings and sides, to spice mixes and even a basic bread to build your sandwiches on. Though I’ve only scratched the surface in trying out what American Vegan Kitchen has to offer, I know that this won’t be the last of my trials; It’s one cookbook that isn’t going to be simply sitting around and collecting dust on my shelf.

38 thoughts on “All-American Herbivore

  1. Those tofu pockets look lovely Hannah, as does the burger. I am still searching for the perfect veggie burger, I think for the UK it has to be one that does not contain vital wheat gluten as it is so hard to get here.

    I love omni friendly vegan food, it is an excellent advertisment for eating well without animal products. I read an article the other day that said that numbers of veg*ns in the UK was fairly static, but lots of people were identifying themselves as meat reducers, which is fab as vegan food is being seen as mainstream.

  2. I’ve actually heard really good things about that cookbook although at the moment I can’t remember where. Strange.

    Everything looks amazing, especially the killer peanut sauce. A girl can never have too many peanut sauce recipes…

  3. Those peanuty tofu kale pockets sound like they were made for me. And I’ve been looking for a good veggie burger recipe for a while now so I don’t have to feel guilty buying those individually plastic-wrapped frozen ones. Thanks for highlighting this great resource.

  4. American Vegan Kitchen has been on my wishlist for so long! The black bean soup looks so tasty, and I love how you decorated it with the lime wedge and the tiny chive slices. The tofu pockets and the burger look delicious too. I also have to admit that I don’t have much experience using wheat gluten for savory dishes. Sometimes faux meats made with wheat gluten can be so spongy or too chewy, but I’ll trust your palate and I will definitely give those incrediburgers a try as soon as I splurge and buy the cookbook! :)

  5. The more I read about this cookbook, the more tempting it sounds. The foods you’ve so beautifully described and photographed just might send me to the book store!

  6. Hmmm… I think there are a *few* things better than a bubbling pot of soup, and most of them involve your blog and cookie/cake recipes ;) Must admit the peanutty tofu sounds good though!

  7. Your reviews always make me want to run out and get things LOL. I dream of being a cookbook author but I realize just how much time and effort go into, big applause to you for doing it so well!!

  8. I’m amazed that was your first time working with wheat gluten. I share similar dilemmas to you, on one hand there are so many amazing recipes already in existence, yet my creative energy means I always love experimenting on my own, so usually I do a mix of both. And then, when I do make the recipes of others I always have debates with msyelf about how closely to follow them. Oh the choices!

  9. I can’t even begin to tell you how fantastic these three dishes look. YUM!

    I must get these recipes… especially those pitas!

  10. What a coincidence. I just found her Incrediburger recipe on her website last week and bookmarked it as a must try. I’m glad to see you liked it. With your recommendation, I’m sure I’ll be making it soon!

    Oh, and you commented on our blog last week about the almond gnudi that was on the menu for Tayst’s special vegan dinner. It was AMAZING. I want to devour those fluffy little pillows of almond-y goodness every single night! This is a dish that one of us needs to create ASAP!

  11. This book is on my Amazon wish list! Those burgers look awesome, and the peanutty tofu kale is right up my alley! YUM.

    Love your new header!

  12. This book looks right up my alley ! I am new to the vegan lifestyle and am very curious on how to create simple dishes with vegan ingredients !!!

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