Title: Let Them Eat Vegan!
Author: Dreena Burton
308 pages; Softcover
Publisher: Da Cabo Press~Lifelong Books, Boston $13.99 US
Reviewed by, Chef John Vyhnanek
There are a lot of good sounding recipes in this
cookbook. Let Them Eat Vegan, by Dreena Burton, is her fourth
book on this subject: nine chapters of great suggestions for
satisfying plant-powered recipes for the whole family.
guess it’s a life style choice that one makes in eating animal
free foods. It might be a return to natural ingredients and
organics that has piqued the interest of so many these days.
Whatever the reason it is also good for you to eat more
wholesome vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds over
food that may be animal based.
Oh come on, you’ve
already eaten vegan food at some point in time and don’t say you
haven’t! What about the three-bean salad you had last night or
the granola energy bar you had for breakfast with your cup of
tea? See, now that you think of it in this regard, it is all
different that what you thought. You don’t have to feel deprived
even at the mention of the word. It can even be fun!
Looking over the 200 or so recipes I decided to try two that
were pictured in the center section of the book amongst the two
dozen shots. Mexican Bean Soup (page 77) topped with Chipotle
Avocado Cream (page 58) not only looked good but tasted good
too! Although the ingredient list looked daunting, about 20
ingredients, it was relatively easy to make, taking only about
30 minutes. My recipe taster, a friend of mine know for being a
finicky eater, loved it! The recipe made close to a gallon, so
much that there was plenty for him to take home for a quick
dinner and a few lunches.
Tempeh Tickle (page 122) with
Spinach-Herb Pistachio Pesto (page 154): I chose the author’s
suggestion for grilling the tempeh (soybeans pressed into a
solid cake) rather than pan-frying it. It was marinated in a soy
based, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and mustard mixture that
added a lot of flavor to the rather bland tempeh. As suggested
in the recipe, I made the sandwich version with a topping of
Spinach-Herb Pistachio Pesto. It was quite lovely looking and
had a nice flavor component lent by the pesto. Well this was
another winner for my friend, so much so, he ate it all!
Well if the recipes in this Vegan cookbook where enjoyed by my
non-vegan friend, then just think how well they will be received
by those of you who are eating Vegan and looking for just some
good recipes. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I thought the
recipes were good too!
4 to 6
has bold, vibrant flavors
without being heavy, as a
chili can be. Be sure to
pair with Chipotle Avocado
Cream. And avoid
substituting cumin powder
for cumin seeds-the whole
seeds really add a
distinctive flavor element.
1/2 to 1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil or splash of
1 1/2 cups finely chopped red onion
6 to 7 medium to large
cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons cumin
2 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno
(adjust to taste; see note)
2 1/2 to 3 cups water
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14-oz) can black
beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14-oz) can pinto or
kidney beans, or another can of black beans, drained and
1 cup frozen corn kernels
vegetable-flavored bouillon cube (I use Harvest Sun
1 teaspoon agave nectar or other natural
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime
Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
wedges, for serving
Chipotle Avocado Cream, for
serving (page 58)
In a large pot over medium heat, combine the oil
or water, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin seed, dried
oregano, cinnamon, and jalapeno (if using). Cover and cook for 6
to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally; lower the heat if the onion
Starting with 2 1/2 cups of the water, add
the remaining ingredients, except the lime juice, cilantro, lime
wedges, and Chipotle Avocado Cream. Stir, increase the heat
to high, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low,
cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Stir in the
lime juice and add the remaining water to thin, if desired.
Serve in individual portions with cilantro and lime wedges and a
dollop of Chipotle Avocado Cream.
Kid-Friendly: If making
this soup for a family with young children, you may want to omit
the jalapeno so the soup does not have spicy heat. It will still
be flavorful, just not spicy hot for the little ones. Also, if
you don't have a fresh jalapeno on hand, feel free to add a
few pinches of crushed red chili flakes or a few dashes of hot
sauce, to taste.
Serves 2 to 3
Tempeh is not always
approachable for folks. It
looks strange, sounds
strange, and can even taste
strange. But when
prepared with a little TLC
(and yet still simply), it
can taste phenomenal! This
recipe will tickle your
taste buds, and get you
past the tempeh fear
1 (8-ounce) package tempeh
2 tablespoons white or red
1 tablespoon tamari
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin
1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon garlic
First prepare the tempeh, by simmering in 2 to 3
cups of water for about 20 minutes. Drain the tempeh in a
colander and leave it in the colander to cool slightly while
preparing the marinade (see note).
In a baking dish,
combine remaining the ingredients, stirring or whisking to blend
When the tempeh has cooled enough to handle,
remove from the colander and gently pat or press with towels to
remove any excess moisture. Slice the tempeh, first cutting the
block into quarters, and then slice each quarter in half
lengthwise (to make thinner) to make eight slices. Place the
slices in the marinade. Cover the dish, and if marinating for
more than 1/2 hour, be sure to refrigerate after this time.
I like to barbecue the tempeh, grilling it over medium-high
heat on the first side for 4 to 5 minutes, and then the second
side for 2 to 3 minutes, until grill marks appear and it is
heated and firmed slightly, but not drying out. But you can also
bake or panfry the tempeh.
To bake, preheat the oven to
400°F, cover the dish with foil, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove the foil, flip the slices, then cook for another 6 to 8
minutes, until the marinade is absorbed and the tempeh is
To panfry, place on a nonstick skillet
over medium-high heat. Let the tempeh cook without flipping for
5 to 6 minutes. Then check the underside and if golden brown,
flip to the other side (if not, cook on the first side for
another couple of minutes to gain color). Cook on the other side
for another 4 to 5 minutes, or longer if necessary, until golden
If This Apron Could Talk: The trick with this
marinade is to get the slices of tempeh soaking while still
warm. After boiling it, let it drain in a colander until just
warm (don't rinse!), then pat dry and get it into the marinade
while warm so it can soak up the flavors.
Suggestions: In addition to serving hot as an entree, this is
delicious in sandwiches, still warm or cooled, with a thick
spread such as Spinach-Herb Pistachio Pesto, Raw Aioli, or "Almonnaise."