Tuesday, March 10, 2015

But I Could Never Go Vegan!
Review and Giveaway

In a nutshell: I love this book! But I Could Never Go Vegan! is jam-packed with mouthwatering recipes that will give omnivorous readers all the inspiration they will ever need to start eating more healthfully, sustainably, and compassionately right now. Exquisitely photographed and cleverly laid out (recipes are arranged by excuses, rather than by seasons, occasions, or mealtimes), this book will not only inspire reluctant vegans, but will galvanize seasoned herbivores, who will find a profusion of delectable new recipes to add to their culinary repertoires.

Yes, you'll find incredible recipes for breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, dessert, and lots of special occasions. However, the Table of Contents reads like every "but I could never go vegan" excuse you've ever heard like, "Vegan Cooking is Too Hard,""I Could Never Give Up Cheese!," "All Those Special Ingredients are Way More Expensive," and of course, the ever-present, "Where Would I Get My Protein?" to name a few. There's even a chapter dedicated to die-hard pescatarians with recipes like Artichoke Crabcakes with Sriracha Tartar Sauce and Beer-Battered Faux Fish and Chips.

Think you can't veganize your favorite breakfast dish? Check out these yummy Chickpea Omelettes from the chapter, "Vegan Cooking Is Too Hard." Vibrantly colorful and remarkably egg-like, these omelettes were hearty and healthy, and filled to the brim with mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, kale, and green onion. And they were super easy to make!

When does tofu not taste like tofu? When it's made into a scrumptious Tofu Chevre! I can't emphasize how impressed I was with the creamy texture and tart, cheesy flavor of this easy-to-prepare recipe. By adding some culinary lavender and rose petals, the result was a lovely cheesalucious treat. If you think you could never give up cheese (or know someone who does), give this nut-free recipe a try!

I've become a soup lover, and we often make a hearty meal of soup at our house. But until now, I've never been a fan of cheese in soup. Smoky and sultry are two words that come to mind when describing this lusciously creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup from the"Not Soup Again!" chapter. With its gorgeously golden creamy base and bright green broccoli chunks, I'm now a cheesy soup lover!

Imagine the best "meatball" sub you have ever tasted, then think of the yummiest eggplant parmigiana you have ever enjoyed, and you'll get an idea of what these scrumptious Eggplant Meatball Subs with Spicy Marinara Sauce are like. This fantasy grinder, with its chunky, spicy, sassy sauce taste like a hoagie from heaven.

Also from the "But I Hate (Insert Vegetable Here)" chapter, you'll find this delightful recipe for Sweet and Sour Cauliflower. Mark is not a huge cauliflower fan, so I thought I'd give this recipe a try. The sauce has just the right balance of sweetness and kick, and Mark gave it two thumbs up! In this chapter, you'll find more win-'em-over recipes made with beets, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

Balsamic Baked Pears with Cashew Blue Cheese from the "I Could Never Give Up Cheese!" chapter was a delightful mix of tart, sweet, and salty. I've been laying low on sugary desserts lately, so this subtly sweet treat really hit the spot! 

And because I made a whole batch of blue cheese, I treated myself to Kristy's Roasted Root Veggie and Kale Salad with Cashew Blue Cheese so much, I'm sharing the recipe with you. Although you'll have to get your hot little hands on a copy of the book to get the recipe for the blue cheese (my intention is not to tease, but to rather, to tempt!), this salad is so good, you're going to love it on its own! Take a look at this vibrantly beautiful salad, and then check out the recipe near the end of this post.

The recipe for Roasted Root Veggie & Kale Salad is from But I Could Never Go Vegan: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It's Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over for Dinner, copyright © Kristy Turner, 2014. Reprinted with the kind permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. 

Serves 4 

3 medium beets, peeled and chopped into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1 small celery root (celeriac), peeled and chopped into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1 tablespoon liquid aminos (or tamari or soy sauce)
Olive oil spray
2 teaspoons dried thyme
Several dashes of ground nutmeg
Salt and black pepper to taste

8 to 10 small rainbow carrots, peeled, or 1 cup (160 g) chopped carrots
1 bunch kale (12 to 16 ounces), stems removed, chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1½ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup (250 ml) balsamic vinegar
2 to 3 tangerines, peeled and separated into wedges
Cashew Blue Cheese (found on page 46 in But I Could Never Go Vegan!)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

2. Spread the beets and sweet potatoes on one baking sheet, keeping them separated so the beets don’t bleed onto the sweet potatoes. On the other sheet, spread the celery root. Drizzle the liquid aminos over the celery root. Spray all the vegetables with olive oil and evenly distribute the thyme, nutmeg, salt, and pepper across them.

3. Roast for 15 minutes, then toss to ensure even cooking (keeping the beets as separate from the sweet potatoes as possible). Scoot the celery root toward one side and lay the carrots on that baking sheet. Lightly spray the carrots with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, return both sheets to the oven, and roast for 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, place the kale in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and oil. “Massage” with your hands for 2 to 3 minutes, rubbing the lemon juice and oil into the leaves. Set aside.

5. In a medium pot, bring the vinegar to a boil over medium heat (not high heat); reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until reduced by at least half, if not two-thirds (the longer it cooks, the thicker it will be). Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl or cup to cool.

6. When the vegetables are fork-tender, remove to cool for about 5 minutes. Add to the kale with the tangerines and toss. Serve with Cashew Blue Cheese and the balsamic reduction.


• Try adding different root vegetables or even winter squash.

• If sweet salads are not your thing, replace the reduction with Lemon-Tahini Dressing (page 117) or Dijon-Thyme Vinaigrette (page 255).
But I Could Never Go Vegan! illustrates beyond any remaining shadow of a doubt that there is definitely a decadently delicious life beyond dairy, meat, fish, and eggs, and you can tantalize the taste buds of anyone who enjoys eating. Enter to win your very own copy of this wonderful book right now simply by leaving me a comment below with your "favorite" excuse for not going vegan (it could be the most illogical excuse you've ever heard, the one that you might have told yourself before you stopped eating cheese, ice cream, or eggs, or the one that drives you the most crazy), and then follow the prompt in the Rafflecopter box. (This step is required for entry.) After you leave a comment, you can earn additional entries by following any or all of the other Rafflecopter options. I'll be selecting one lucky winner at random.* Good luck!

*Sorry international readers, this giveaway is open only to residents of the US and Canada.