I have two Robin Robertson cookbooks in my library: 1,000 Vegan Recipes and Party Vegan. I love them both. As a new vegan Robin’s recipes have exposed me to how easy and delicious eating vegan really is. When I was offered the opportunity to review her latest book, Quick-Fix Vegan: Healthy, Homestyle Meals in 30 Minutes or Less, I jumped at the chance.
Robin Robertson has written an impressive number of cookbooks and Quick-Fix Vegan is a continuation of her tradition to offer tantalizing plant-based recipes in context:
to all who extend the circle of compassion through a vegan lifestyle.
She dedicated her book to me! (Well, and every compassionate, plant-based eater out there.)
The intent of Robertson’s latest cookbook falls completely in line with my current situation. I love to cook but I don’t have the time on a daily basis. Her solution is to share quick, well-balanced and economical recipes with her readers. She begins the book with her “quick-fix vegan basics” which include time-saving strategies (keep your kitchen organized; cooking intuitively), pantry basics (beans, grains, tomato products, etc.), ingredient shortcuts, how to plan ahead, and a review of key kitchen equipment to have on hand.
Quick-Fix Vegan offers six basic recipes that allow you to make “convenience” food from scratch: vegetable broth (you know I’m a fan of homemade stock!), seitan (three ways!), pizza dough, pie dough, roasted bell peppers, and toasted nuts. Each basic recipe is quite simple. I found this section enlightening simply because it reminded me that when I take the time to make any one of these basics, I have the base for so many recipes.
Here is a sampling of the 150 recipes included in the book:
- Starters and Snacks: Moroccan Pumpkin Humus, Red Bean-Chipotle Dip, Curried Puff Pastry Nibbles, and Jerk-Spiced Kale Crisps.
- Stovetop Suppers: Lemony Couscous and White Bean Pilaf, Spicy Smoked Portobello Tacos, Korean Hot Pot, and Seitan Forestière.
- Pasta Express: One-Pot Pasta Primavera, Rotini with Creamy-Avocado-Herb Sauce, Skillet Lasagne, and Spicy Peanut-Hoisin Noodles with Tofu and Broccoli.
- Soups in Short Order: Quick Vegetable and Quinoa Soup, Sweet Potato-Spinach Soup, Coconut Corn Chowder, and Last-Minute Laksa.
- Speedy Sandwiches: Chesapeake Chickpea Sandwiches, Seitan and Slaw Wraps, Mediterranean Quesadillas, and Indonesian Satay Sandwiches with Peanut Sauce.
- Snappy Salads: Black Bean and Sweet Potato Salad, Soba Slaw, Green Papaya and Tofu Salad, and Corn, Red Bean, and Blueberry Salad with Mango Dressing.
- Easy Make-Ahead Bakes: Mac and Cheezeburger Bake, Jambalaya Bake, Tuscan Kale Lasagne, Special Spicy Empanadas, and Muffuletta Pizza.
- Sauces and Condiments: Sienna Sauce, Three-Nut Cheeze Whiz, Hoisin-Peanut sauce, Golden Pineapple-Raisin Chutney, and Mix-and-Match Pesto.
- (Almost) Effortless Desserts: Butterscotch Apple Cookies, Shortcut Baklava, Fresh-Fruit Cake, and Ginger-Cashew Chocolate Truffles.
Quick-Fix Vegan is incredibly comprehensive! Robertson’s recipes are easy, flavorful and have been adding a great variety to my meals.
I use her Lemon-Cashew Cream Sauce on everything!
When possible I try to share at least one recipe in my cookbook reviews. Robin, who knows I have a thing for kale, suggested that I share the Lebanese Sleek from the Stovetop Suppers section. This recipe rocked my kale-loving world and here is the recipe!
Reprinted with the author’s permission
I developed this satisfying recipe for a friend who enjoyed it in a Lebanese restaurant and wanted to make it at home. The name of this pilaf comes from the word silek, which is Arabic for Swiss chard – although I usually use kale because it’s more readily available. This dish reminds me of a Middle Eastern version of Hoppin’ John. Serve this topped with Tzatziki Sauce (page 118).
- 1/2 cup medium-grind bulgur
- 1 1/4 cups hot vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons zataar or baharat spice blend (see note)
- 9 ounces kale or chard, chopped
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Salt and black pepper
- Place the bulgur in a bowl. Add the vegetable broth and set aside for 15 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and spice blend and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the kale or chard, scallions, black-eyed peas, and the soaked bulgur. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the ingredients are tender and the flavors are well blended, about 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve hot.
Note: Zataar or baharat spice blends are available in Middle Eastern markets, gourmet grocers, or spice stores. They are also available online. If unavailable, combine the following: 1/2 teaspoon each ground black pepper and paprika; 1/4 teaspoon each ground coriander and ground cumin; 1/8 teaspoon each ground nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon.
Truly, truly one of my new, all-time favorite dishes!
If you’re looking for a vegan cookbook that offers creative — dare I say fancy/impressive — dishes that can be prepared quickly and easily, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Quick-Fix Vegan: Healthy, Homestyle Meals in 30 Minutes or Less.
And now, how about a chance to win a copy of this great book? Enter now!
a Rafflecopter giveaway